Nestled on the shores of beautiful Otsego Lake near Gaylord is the Otsego Lake State Park. With a beautiful beach and close to I-75 this a very popular park. With the town of Gaylord only a few miles away and lots of golf courses in the area, you can find plenty of things to do and places to see.
- Near Gaylord
- Next to I-75
- New Bathroom Building in South Loop
- Beautiful beach and clear water
- Popular park and can be difficult to get reservations
- Beach can get crowded on hot summer days
- Sites near the road and railroad tracks can be noisy
The campground is divided into a north loop and a south loop. The south loop is more popular because it is closer to the lake and has one of the newest bathrooms in the state park system. The north loop is the larger of the two loops. It has its own little beach with a ramp that leads to it. Most sites in either loop are well used and dirt surface. Booth loops are wooded and shaded. There are some small hills in a few areas of the park so you want to make sure you get one that the DNR calls level. The sites on the east side of the park are closer to the water. I would not say they are right on the water like some of the sites at Young State Park but they are the most popular. Old 27 runs next to the east side of the park and you can hear some road noise so the sites on the west side are better too. There are also some railroad tracks that run between the road and the park. I think they are not used frequently but a train did go by during the daytime when I stayed there.
one thing to note about the campground is the location of the dump and water stations. They are located next to the booth at the entrance and can be tricky to get to after you check in. If you are like me, and fill up with water when you get there, be sure to squeeze over to the right as far as you can when you stop to check in so you can make the u-turn to get back to the water and then you have to do the same to get back to the park so you want to use the outside water station if you can.
Otsego Lake SP is one of the more popular parks and if you want to camp here you need to make reservations six months to the day. The lots closest to the lake are taken first so you have to be sure to try for those right when the system lets you reserve them at 8 am.
The bathroom in the south loop is one of the nicest bathrooms in the state parks. It’s like the Taj Mahal of bathrooms. The state must have gotten a grant to build this new modern environmentally friendly green building. I would definitely try to get a site in the south loop because of the bathroom building. I stayed in the north so I did not use the showers and I read some reviews that they are low pressure and not as warm as people would like because of the green design. The bathroom buildings in the north loop are older buildings but adequate.
Beach and Boat Launch
The beach on Otsego Lake is nice and sandy with crystal clear water. It’s a little bit of a walk from even the closest campsite. There is a large parking lot for the beach and on hot weekends it fills up and the beach can get rather crowded. You can go down to the north loop and take the ramp to the beach. It may be a little less busy than the main beach. A boat launch is located a the south end of the parking lot for the beach. I don’t have a boat but from the number of trucks and trailers parked it must be a popular boat launch. The shoreline along the park is sandy and I have seen a lot of boats pulled up to the shoreline and tied up. I think people camping can leave there boat in the water if they chose to do so. that’s one of the reasons why the sites along the lake are so popular.
The state park has a store next to the beach that sells firewood and basic necessities. Opposite the entrance, is a party store if you’re looking for some adult beverages. About 8 miles away in the north side of Gaylord is Meijers, Walmart and Family Fare that has a Starbucks and a Dairy Queen, I like to go there to get groceries then I can get a Peanut Buster Parfait. East of I-75 on Main Street near the courthouse is lots of downtown shopping and restaurants.
Things to Do
Otsego Lake State Park is not a large park in terms of area and does not offer much in the way of hiking trails. I don’t play golf so I am not sure what makes for a good golf course but I know there are a lot of golf courses in the area. Besides shopping in the gift shops in downtown Gaylord I like to go see the deer and elk at the Gaylord City Elk Park. there is a viewing area behind the Secretary Of State office on Grandview Blvd. Not far away from there next to Jay’s Sporting Goods is Cops and Doughnuts. My favorite is the peanut butter cream long johns.
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