Leelanau County, Michigan

July 9, 2010 § 2 Comments

We packed up the car on Friday, persevered through Chicago/Indiana weekend traffic (via some questionable GPS routing), and arrived in Empire, MI around 1:30 AM to begin our July 4th weekend. At Empire Township Campground we were greeted by a patient host who stayed up for us (and other campers) and enjoyed a peaceful rest under the stars at a relatively private campsite. Provided you’re not looking for the KOA-type amenities I wholeheartedly recommend this campground.

My mom and I woke up early to secure a chance at a campsite at Sleeping Bear Dunes’ Platte River Campground.

you can see her smiling with the card indicating our place in line

The campground is 75% reservable so we had our fingers crossed that there were enough of the right types of sites available for us to get a spot. We originally had hoped for a regular tent spot but the camper in front of us commented that he’d had a walk-in campsite a few times and preferred them, so we picked one of those instead. Our site was quoted at 188 yards from the parking lot, but it was an easy walk and a lovely secluded area with a level tent pad and no pesky gravel.

We headed back to town to pick up the boys, have breakfast (Joe’s Friendly Tavern: delicious!), peruse a couple shops, and buy cherries at the farmers market.

A quick stop at Esch Road Beach:

Then a well-earned nap. :)

When we woke up we headed out to The Honor Trading Post in Honor, MI. The folks there set us up with kayaks & inner tubes for a lovely trip down the Platte River (again, wholeheartedly recommend this company! Riverside Canoe Trips do the same for minimally more and are a larger operation).

Too tired to cook, we hit up Empire Village Inn for pizza (we’re now repeat offenders). Again, delicious!

vending machine for firewood!! bah-boom-BOOM!

We enjoyed a small fire and a restful sleep that evening.

Sunday morning we made breakfast (omelets & breakfast potatoes) on the stove and headed over to the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City to see the air show and a crafts fair. We headed back to camp, made dinner (mmmmm.. pita pizzas!), and played games until we fell asleep.

Monday morning we made pancakes and started the loong journey home.

All in all an active and enjoyable weekend.

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