We started our 2017 summer adventure to Michigan and Wisconsin with a visit to Proud Lake State Recreation Area (SRA) near Wixom, Mich. It offered a relaxing stopping point for us to visit family as we began our journey up through Michigan. This state park campground has some great features that allow you to feel like you have escaped the urban Detroit metro area, while still allowing quick access to all the attractions the Motor City has to offer.
Proud Lake SRA was our first introduction to Michigan DNR parks and it is very visible that the campground management team takes great pride in the facilities. The bathrooms were meticulously cleaned (multiple times a day), grass was manicured, fire pits we cleaned, and the camp host even drove around asking if anyone had garbage he could take to the dumpster.
Campground: Now that we have stayed at a few other Michigan state park campgrounds, we have learned a few things about the state park system:
- Grass sites are more the norm than the exception (in Ohio and Pennsylvania we are used to gravel or paved sites at state parks)
- Fire pits here are unique (see pictures below)
- There are little to no restrictions on how you can park your equipment on your site (we have seen some very creative campsite set-ups!)
- Michigan DNR sites require a passport for entry. It’s $11 annually for residents, $9 for a daily nonresident pass, or $32 for an annual nonresident pass. We went ahead and purchased the annual pass, since we were scheduled to camp at several Michigan state parks on this trip.
In addition to the well-maintained campground, the Proud Lake State Recreation Area also features a beautiful lake where guests can swim, kayak, canoe, fish, or boat. The water was so clear that in the shallow waters you could see all the way to the bottom. We have never seen lakes that clear in Pennsylvania.
We also learned that the campground host plans several activities throughout the week. If we had still been there over the weekend we would have loved to stop by for the coffee, donut, and bagel hour. 🙂
The only major downside we found to the campground was that many of the sites were grass and had a good bit of front to back slope to them. Additionally, if the campground was full it could be rather tight getting a bigger camper in and out of many of the sites. The loop on the right of the campground was definitely better for bigger campers, while the loop on the left (the section closer to the bathrooms) was better for smaller campers, pop ups, and tents. Campsites in the middle of the loops were back-to-back sites, while campsites on the outer edges of the loops backed up to the woods.
Bathrooms: The one bathhouse for the campground was relatively new and meticulously maintained. Because it is the only bathroom/shower house, on a busy weekend it would probably be a hopping place. In addition to the women’s and men’s restrooms, each side of the building had four single stall showers, very similar to the family bathrooms many Pennsylvania state parks have started incorporating into their campgrounds. It was a great setup, and made it so easy to get all the kids showered.
In addition to access to the beautiful lake, Proud Lake also offers the following amenities:
- Horseshoe pits
- Beach swimming area
- Boat launch
Touring: Since the main purpose for our stop at Proud Lake was to visit family (who lived just a few miles away–how awesome to live so close to a nice campground!) we decided to forgo any touring and have fun around the campground kayaking and biking. The park is only about 45 minutes outside of Detroit, though, so it would be a great base camp to explore things such as: The Henry Ford Museum, River Raisin National Battlefield Park, and the Motor Cities National Heritage Area. Since these are all stops we would like to make one day, we will hopefully be back soon!
Date of Stay: June 20-22, 2017
Cost of Stay: $25 per night (plus recreation pass–see above)