Interlochen State Park is the largest and oldest park in the system with over 500 modern campsites. There is a lot of people in the campground when it’s full and the population can be like a small city. It’s location near Traverse City and the Leelanau Peninsula makes it a great location for lots of stuff to do and is a place I would recommend if you’re looking for somewhere to stay for a week-long summer vacation with your kids.
Official website http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=460&type=SPRK
Interlochen MI, 49643
The modern part of the campgrounds, situated on Duck Lake, is divided into two loops with a north loop and a south loop. When I was there the north loop was more popular probably because the sites seemed a little bigger and more accommodating to larger rigs. The southern loop is larger and has a lot of campsites. The one drawback to the southern loop is there is a large valley the runs through the middle of the campground near sites 320,499 and 396. The sites are “ stair-stepped” so they are somewhat level but I would avoid this area if you can. I would recommend staying in the southern half of the south loop where it’s more level. The campsites have trees through but I would not say they are heavily wooded. You will have to look on the DNR website to see if the site you want is shaded or not. There is a boat launch in the south loop which is popular with kayakers and fishermen.
the rustic campsites are on the other side of the street from the main campground and are on the shores of Green Lake. I did not drive through the rustic campground so I will have to check them out next time I am up that way.
Reservations for Interlochen are usually easy to get since the campground has so many sites. The sites along the lake are the most popular and you should reserve those as soon as you can. I would also make reservations as early as you can for holiday weekends. The most popular weekend is the Fourth of July with theCherry Festival happening in Traverse City. For the most part, this is a good park to check for last minute campsites because they may have some available because of the size of the campground.
The bathrooms at Interlochen are ok as state park bathrooms go. They are older but seemed to be maintained. I hope to get back there soon and get some pics to post
Beach and boat launch
There is a nice sandy beach at Interlochen on Duck Lake located between the north and south loops. I was there in the middle of the week and it was not too crowded but imagine when the park is full the beach could be crowded. If you like to be near the beach I would recommend the sites on the north loop. The sites closest to the beach on the south loops are not totally level but would be ok if you had to. There was a sign warning of swimmers. I have not read about anyone complaining online about it like they do for Higgins Lake but I would take precautions like showering after swimming.
The modern campground on Duck Lake has two boat launches. one near the park store by the main day use parking lot and one in the south loop of the campground. Parking is not available for the one in the campground so if you launch a boat from a trailer you will have to take your trailer back to your campsite. There is also a boat launch at the rustic campground on Green Lake.
Interlochen is not a large town, but there is a nice size grocery store about 2 miles from the campground. There is also a gas station for when you need to fuel up after towing a big heavy trailer. If you don’t feel like cooking Bud’s is about a mile from the campground. The food is excellent and they also have a gift shop and a grocery store. A hardware store about 10 miles away at Chums Corner at the intersection of M31 and M37. I know this because I needed a fuse for my trailer. Always keep some spare fuses.
Things to do
I think Interlochen SP is a great place to stay for a week or longer since there is so much to do in the area. It’s between Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes. You can also go shopping in downtown Frankfort and visit the lighthouse there. If you like lighthouses you are not far from Point Betsie, Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Old Mission Point Lighthouse. and the Music school is right across the street if you want to listen to a concert check their schedule. They have some concerts performed by the teachers that you can listen to for free. Or some big-name artists that you will need tickets for.
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