CADILLAC — If you’re hoping for a summer camping spot at Mitchell State Park, you’ll have to act fast.
The six-month window for campground reservations opens Nov. 26, and spots at the park are expected to go fast. Winter has only just begun, but many folks are already thinking about their summer plans.
For other state parks, reservation dates start with Memorial Day weekend, but due to an ongoing construction project, Mitchell State Park Campground won’t have bookings available until June 30.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Cadillac District Account Tech Brenda Pylkas said the campground is replacing one of its old bathroom structures, and while it’s putting a pause on campsite availability, the result will be an updated facility for visitors. Rather than toilets and showers behind held in the same space, the new facility will have standalone showers.
Memorial Day is a popular weekend for camping and for many families, the kick off to summer, but Pylkas said the loss won’t be setting the campground back. They’ll be opening back up just in time for the Fourth of July.
“For Fourth of July weekend, you start seeing sites filling up at the end of December, first couple of weeks in January,” she said. “And of course, the canal side, they’re the first ones that are always taken, and then the other ones that have views of the lake are taken, and our cabins.”
For the last few summers, the campground has been at 100% capacity nearly every weekend. Pylkas said those looking for a walk-in reservation on a weekend would have better luck on a weekday. Even still, she said Thursdays were the park’s busiest check-in day this summer.
Once fall rolls around, reservations tend to lighten up, and it’s much easier to book by either walk-in or early reservation. But to guarantee their vacation, Pylkas recommends securing a spot through the Michigan DNR website as soon as possible.
Campers who couldn’t secure the spot of their dreams the first time around can sign up for the DNR’s cancellation alert system. Pylkas said visitors can pick out their preferred dates, and if a cancellation occurs, they’ll receive a notification and have another chance to book.
Although, she said people should keep in mind that multiple people could still be vying for the space. Mitchell State Park Campground reservations from June 30 and beyond can be made starting Saturday using MiDNRReservations.com.