Port Austin, Michigan – June 20 – June 27, 2010
Mom had to work on Saturday so we didn’t leave until Sunday morning for our camping trip in the thumb area of Michigan.
We planned to stay for a few nights at Sleepy Hallow Sate Park just North of Lansing on the way. From what we had read about Sleepy Hallow we thought it would be a fun place to spend a couple days, but we were a little disappointed with the park. We stayed in site #125 which was right by the trail to the fishing dock, where we did manage to catch a couple small fish one night. The campsites were mostly in a newer growth forest area and were basically surrounded by overhanging walls of vegetation. This made for very private sites but also blocked the breeze and made it hot and buggy. The mountain bike trail had some interesting sections, but also had others that were almost completely grown over. This girls enjoyed swimming and paddling in Lake Ovid, but it also was very weedy in most places. We decided to pack up and move on to the thumb a day early.
On the way we made a stop in Frankenmuth to get some chicken for lunch at the Bavarian Inn. Then we made a quick stop at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland on the way out of town. The girls thought we were at the North Pole and wondered where santa was.
In the thumb we camped at Port Crescent State Park near Port Austin, Michigan. Since we arrived a day early we had to switch to a different site than we had reserved. Mom was pregnant so she voted for the site #96 that was open near the bathhouse. The site was fairly large and very sandy. It ended up being nice that the girls could take themselves to the bathroom and the playground that was right next to the bathhouse. We were also only a couple sites up from the camper’s beach area. We thought the Port Crescent campgrounds was very nice there were several sites right on Lake Huron and most were sandy and would be good for tent camping. It was only about half full on the weekdays and then very busy on Friday night and Saturday.
Port Austin and the rest of the towns in the thumb were small and quiet. We liked the change compared to the busy tourist towns on our side of the state. We had great weather with rain only a couple nights and Sunday morning while we were packing up.
We stopped in Grand Ledge, MI for lunch and then we walked the Ledges Trail along the Grand River in Fitzgerald County Park to see some of the cliffs.
For more information on this trail in Fitzgerald Park see page 60 in: Best Hikes with Children in Michigan
The beach area on Lake Ovid in Sleepy Hallow State Park.
Little Sleepy welcomed us at the check in.
Stopping for lunch in Fankenmuth, MI.
The campers beach at Port Crescent State Park.
The day use area at Port Crescent. The beach was 15-30 ft wide and sand with some rocks.
Hiking the Huron Sand Dunes trail in Port Crescent. State Park. It is kid friendly 2.3 mile trail that started at the campgrounds.
Overlooking the mouth of the Pinnebog River on the Huron Sand Dunes Trail.
We also found this hike in: Best Hikes with Children in Michigan
Point Aux Barques Lighthouse.
Harbor Beach break wall lighthouse.
Mountain biking the trails at Albert E. Sleeper Sate Park. The trails were wide and a fairly easy ride. They would be good for kids who are just learning to ride off-road.
Walking the Port Crescent. Beach at sunset.
Paddling near Port Austin.
Paddling around Point Aux Barques.
The Turnip Rock sea stack.
Thumb Nail Rock.
The low cliffs leading up to Point Aux Barques.
Turnip Rock one more time.
Paddling out to the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse. It was only a few feet deep most of the way along the shoal even 2 miles from shore.
Walking along the Port Crescent. Beach. The waves must not get very big along here because the beach has tree and grass growing within 10ft of the water in some spots.
Another sunset at the campers beach at Port Crescent. State Park.
The playground near our campsite.
Paddling the Pinnebog River out to Lake Huron.
Jumping down the sand dunes along Pinnebog River. Notice all the canoes pulled up on the sand bar in the background. The park very busy on nice Saturday afternoon. The river had very little current so you can easily paddle in either direction.
Stopping along the beach for a swim break.
The last night we ate here at The Bank restaurant. We would recommend it if you are ever in Port Austin. The food was a little expensive, but very good. We thought we deserved a good meal after eating camp food and showering in flip flops all week.
With 3 small children this has become one of our favorite hiking guides. This is really a good book for anyone looking to get out and find short, but interesting hikes all over the state. Like all of the books written by Mr. DuFresne there are well written trail descriptions and nice maps of each outing.
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