Hello everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and a relaxing Mother’s Day! We just got back from a camping trip, so now I’m feeling super refreshed and ready for the week. Sometimes you just need a little weekend getaway to recharge and give you a fresh perspective on life.
I wanted to check in and share with you all our camping trip to Pentwater, Michigan. We love camping because it gives us the chance to explore our state and take a little vacation here and there without spending a ton of money. I hope to continue doing these trip reviews as time goes on. I’ll review the campgrounds we stay at and also the towns we visit and the activities they have to offer. If you are also in Michigan and are looking for your next weekend getaway spot, hopefully I can help you with that!
Michigan has so much to offer. We are surrounded by natural beauty – the Great Lakes, forests, wildlife, sand dunes, and more. There is so much to see in our state. I’ve lived here my whole life, and there is still so much I haven’t seen yet! Whether you want to lie out on the beach, explore a busy city, eat amazing food, or get lost in the woods somewhere, you can pretty much find it all here in Michigan.
This weekend we stayed at Charles Mears State Park in Pentwater. First of all, I have to confess that I am not the best picture taker when we go on vacation. I’m one of those people who just likes to take everything in as it’s happening instead of fumbling with my phone/camera to try to capture it. I guess that’s a good thing, but later on I always regret not having more pictures. So for this post I am relying on a lot of my husband’s photos, who is much better about capturing these moments! 🙂
Anyway, Mears State Park has a lot to offer. The campground is very sandy with all paved lots, which beats having to park your camper in the mud. The bathrooms and showers were very clean, and it seemed to us that you would be pretty close to them no matter which lot you’re parked in. The campground itself was very quiet this weekend, although it’s not prime season yet, so I’m sure it gets much busier in the summer. The only downside I could really see to this campground is that the lots seemed a little small and didn’t offer much privacy. It was pretty empty when we went, though, so we didn’t have this problem at all.
Our set up for the weekend 🙂
There is a footpath leading to a big sandy beach just over that hill in the back. It was a little too chilly for us to enjoy it this trip, but you can bet I’ll be spending some time there when we go back in the summer!
Also located inside the park is the Old Baldy nature trail, which consists primarily of wooden steps ascending up a steep hill, and then a flatter dirt path through the woods across the top.
These pictures were taken from the lookout deck. Here you can stop and take in the beautiful view of Lake Michigan.
Neither of us managed to get pictures of this, but also not far from Mears State Park is the Pere Marquette State Forest which contains the Pentwater Pathways. In the winter they are used for cross country skiing, and hiking/mountain biking in the summer. There are four different loops to the pathways ranging from easy to difficult, and totaling somewhere around 15 miles. We hiked the easier and medium trails while we were there. This was a nice scenic hike with lots of trees and some small hills. It was still a little chilly so the mosquitoes weren’t too bad yet, but they were definitely there. We started each morning with breakfast over the campfire and then a hike on either Old Baldy or the Pentwater Pathways. After that, we spent the rest of our time exploring the nearby towns.
We did a ton of walking our first day – over 20,000 steps according to my Fitbit. After our hiking adventures, we decided to explore Ludington, which is about a 20 minute drive from the campground. Ludington has a lot more shops, restaurants, and businesses than many of the other towns nearby. It was still a bit early, though, so I think several places were still closed up. This was my first time visiting Ludington, and I would definitely like to go back in the summer. I loved their huge sandy beach!
We walked across the beach and out to the lighthouse, which was very chilly and windy, but gorgeous!
We drove over to Mears to visit one of my husband’s favorite places – the Silver Lake Sand Dunes. If you’ve never been, it’s pretty neat because you can drive your vehicle right on the dunes. There are places nearby where you can rent Jeeps, ATVs, etc., or you can take your own vehicle.
Normally it’s full of people riding around or hanging out at the beach, but as you can see, there was hardly anyone around at this time. If you’re like my husband and love anything and everything related to motor sports/off-roading, then you’ll love the sand dunes. Even if you don’t, it’s worth it to drive out there just for the amazing views.
After the sand dunes, we stopped for ice cream at Whippy Dip. My husband had the Oreo hot fudge parfait and I had a scoop of mint chocolate chip.
While we were out in that direction, we stopped in Hart for a short bike ride on the Hart-Montague bicycle trail. I didn’t manage to get any pictures of this, but it is a very nice paved trail that stretches 22 miles. After our bike ride, we stopped by La Probadita in Hart, which is a small Mexican market and restaurant. My husband had a chicken burrito, and I got a chicken quesadilla which was delicious! That plus the complimentary chips and salsa and a side of guacamole made for pretty much my ideal dinner!
Overall we really enjoyed our stay in Pentwater. This time of the year things were still a little slow, but it was nice to enjoy the peace and quiet. The state park campground was very nice and clean with a beautiful beach and close to many different activities. Pentwater itself is a very charming, laid back town. Everyone we met was super friendly and easy to talk to. We really loved just exploring and enjoying the outdoors on this trip. It was a great way to relax and recharge.
Already looking forward to our next visit!