As Memorial Day Weekend approaches campground reservations incre - WNEM TV 5

As Memorial Day Weekend approaches campground reservations increase

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says there are plenty of spots available at state park campgrounds for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. 

The D-N-R also reports campground reservations currently are up 12 percent over last year – a positive trend for the state's economy – and encourages campers to explore available options for the Memorial Day holiday weekend and beyond.

"Tourism is a $22.8 billion industry in Michigan," said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "We know people come to Michigan – and Michiganders tour their state – to explore and enjoy Michigan's abundance of world-class natural resources. From breathtaking Great Lakes vistas to quiet forest trails, to natural places to fish and hunt, there’s a lot to see in Michigan’s award-winning state parks and other beautiful travel destinations across the state."

Olson said the year-to-year camping reservation increase is a healthy start to the summer season and also a positive indicator for Michigan’s tourism, generally.

"We are pleased with the increase in demand for camping reservations," he said. "This type of increase demonstrates that state parks are growing in popularity and contributing significantly to tourism throughout the state.”

Currently, the DNR has 645,000 camping and lodging nights booked through this season, up nearly 67,000 from last year at this same time. It is anticipated there will be more than 1 million camping and lodging night reservations by the end of the 2016 season.

Many state parks and recreation areas have availability throughout the summer, including Memorial Day weekend. State parks offer a diverse range of modern, semi-modern and rustic camping sites. There are also a variety of alternative lodging options available, including rustic cabins, camper cabins, mini cabins, lodges, pop-up camper rentals, tepee rentals and yurts, available in many of the parks.

Advance reservations

Camping reservations can be booked up to six months in advance in state parks. Although many campers take advantage of making advance reservations, there are available camping spots located across the state throughout the remainder of the season. Campers are encouraged to visit www.midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757) to check on availability. Camping spots also are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rustic camping

For outdoor enthusiasts seeking a more rustic outdoor experience, there are 138 state forest rustic campgrounds located throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. The majority of these campgrounds also are first come, first served. Fees and registration procedures are posted at the information kiosk at each campground. Visitwww.michigan.gov/stateforestcampgrounds to explore a variety of camping options.

Recreation opportunities, education

Michigan’s 102 state parks offer a great variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, such as boating and kayaking, bicycling, fishing and hiking. Many parks are located on a river or lake and give outdoor enthusiasts easy access to miles and miles of Great Lakes shoreline and inland lakes. Select parks offer disc golf and boat rentals.

For visitors seeking a hands-on experience in outdoor adventure, Recreation 101 classes are available throughout the year. DNR staff provides expert instruction in classes such as archery, fishing, kayaking and windsurfing. Learn about upcoming programs at www.michigan.gov/rec101.

Availability this weekend

A list of state park campgrounds with available reservations can be found online at www.midnrreservations.com. In addition, a number of parks have availability during Memorial Day weekend, including:

Aloha State Park (Northern Lower Michigan)

Baraga State Park (Upper Peninsula)

Brimley State Park (Upper Peninsula)

Burt Lake State Park (Northern Lower Michigan)

Interlochen State Park (Northern Lower Michigan)

Waterloo Recreation Area (Southern Lower Michigan)

For more information, please contact the Central Reservation System at 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757). .

A Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry to state parks and recreation areas. Learn more about how the Recreation Passport gains you access to Michigan state parks and more at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.

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