Nordhouse Dunes
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Camping: Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness

If you don’t like to camp, you’ve probably never camped on the beach.  Although you can’t camp on shore, at Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness in Michigan, you can set your tent up just a short walk to the beach.  This means that you can wake up, have some coffee and then walk down to the beach.  It’s a busier place to camp then some of the more remote beaches on Lake Michigan that are part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but it’s still beautiful.

The water is clear, there is hardly any pollution or garbage throughout the beach.  It’s a simple, clean way to enjoy the summer.  The water is chilly, but the temperatures can get hot enough that you’re begging for a cold dip in the water.

The drive to the park took about 6 hr. 45 min.  We opted to leave late on Thursday and drive halfway and stay in Lansing, Michigan.  This worked out well, we stayed at the Red Roof Inn West Lansing , which was clean and comfortable and only $70 a night.  We got a good old fashioned Cracker Barrel Breakfast and stopped at Walmart for a few extra things.  (Aka three matching straw hats for the boys.)  The rest of the drive was under 3 hours.

The hike into the camping area was short, about 30 minutes.  We’ve camped other places where it’s a very long hike or strenuous, and this was not either.  It was short, to the point, and you were there in no time.  This also meant, that in the event of inclement weather, you can pack up and be on the road in less than an hour.  (Which, yes, we did.)

So what did we do?  We mostly sat, swam and ate.  My husband makes amazing food on the fire, and since the hike was short, we were able to bring a cast iron griddle.  He made pancakes, quesadillas, bratwursts… so needless to say, we didn’t lose any weight.  We also had Starbucks Vias and smores, so we weren’t really going too rustic.

The only downside to this area to camp, that I saw, was the amount of people.  This wasn’t a remote location, and since the hike is easier, more people were here.  They were loud at night (drinking of course) and sometimes disturbed us while we were sleeping. There was still plenty of beach space, but lots of people were walking around with their dogs, and some even playing loud music.

However, I could think of worse places to spend a weekend than sleeping on the beach (and yes, for some reason, I fell asleep everywhere.)  It was very relaxing.

I’ve written a number of other posts about camping, particularly for women.  If you’re new to camping, and not sure if you’d be up for it, consider reading some of these other posts, which include information on back-country camping and needed supplies:

Camping: it’s not so bad

Camping and Dolly Sods Wilderness

Hiking and camping supplies for Spring trip

Hiking and camping supplies for Fall trip