I want to introduce you to a small campground in the Manistee National Forest named Peterson Bridge. The Manistee National Forest is located on the western side of Michigan, and runs about the entire pinky finger area of the mitten. South of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Manistee National Forest is an inland forest, sporting 12 different campgrounds to choose from. In the Northern area of the forest, just southwest of Cadillac is Peterson Bridge Campground, on the southern edge of the Pine River.
Peterson Bridge is a small rustic campground featuring 31 campsites, 18 standard sites, and 13 tent only sites. 11 of the tent sites are walk-in sites, which means carrying all your gear a few hundred yards, maybe more depending on the sites you chose. 8 of those sites are right on the Pine river, designed for use by canoeing/kayaking groups coming off the river on multi-day trips, and leaving for the next leg in the morning. Most of the sites are full shade sights, which kept the temps. down, and gave a great atmosphere while chilling by the fire.
The standard portion of the park is mostly designed for smaller trailers, like pop ups or smaller trailers, as the units are to stay on the paved driveways of the sites. However, the living/lounging areas of the sites are surprisingly spacious, and well thought out.
The “facilities” are mostly pit toilets, with one modern set of bathrooms next to the Host Site, which I found to be very clean and well kept. There are water spigots scattered around the campground, and firewood and bags of ice are available to buy from the Host Site, and the camp host will even deliver it to the campsite with his golf cart if he is available. Ice was $2, and bundles of firewood were $6. The Host, John was very nice, and eager to make sure we were all set, and to make sure if anyone was loud or bothersome, just let him know.
We went to kayak the Pine, and got out of the river right in the campground, and just carried the kayaks to our site, and got ready to eat dinner, making it a pretty darn good afternoon, but that is another story, coming soon.
If you are looking for a great rustic campground, off the beaten path, I strongly recommend Peterson Bridge Campground. And if you go, tell John I said hi.