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Ludington State Park Leads as Michigan’s Top Campground in Popularity

Ludington State Park has emerged as the most popular campground in Michigan, according to recent data from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The park, renowned for its scenic beauty and extensive facilities, recorded the highest number of nights camped during the last fiscal year, spanning from Oct. 1, 2022, to Sept. 30.

The state park, situated in Ludington on the shores of Lake Michigan, reported a total of 47,265 nights camped. This figure was complemented by 13,136 reservations, underscoring the park’s appeal among campers. Ludington State Park is known for its over 300 campsites, distributed across three distinct campgrounds, offering a variety of camping experiences.

Trailing behind Ludington in popularity were Holland State Park in Holland, with 39,548 nights camped, and South Higgins Lake State Park in Roscommon, recording 39,288 nights. These figures reflect the growing interest in outdoor recreation activities in Michigan’s state parks.

The data also sheds light on occupancy rates, a crucial metric in assessing campground popularity. Petoskey State Park in Petoskey recorded the highest occupancy rate at 77.4% during the last fiscal year. Following closely were McClain State Park in Hancock with a 73.6% occupancy rate and Wilderness State Park in Carp Lake at 71.3%.

However, Ludington State Park stood out during the peak camping season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with an impressive occupancy rate of 94.38%. This was closely followed by Leelanau State Park in Northport at 91.46% and Grand Haven State Park in Grand Haven at 91.43%.

The report also highlights a slight downturn in camping reservations. In the fiscal year 2023, there was a 2.6% drop in reservations compared to the previous year, decreasing from 496,000 to 483,000. This decline follows a surge in camping reservations during the COVID-19 pandemic, a period that saw increased interest in outdoor activities as a safe recreation option.

During the pandemic, the competition for campground reservations intensified. Longtime campers expressed frustration as both newcomers and seasoned campers competed for limited spots. This led to a practice where campers booked multiple locations for the same dates, only to cancel the ones they did not intend to use.

The DNR data revealed a 20% increase in reservation cancellations for the 2023 Memorial Day weekend as of Feb. 28, compared to the same period in 2022. However, overall cancellations saw a decline, dropping from 70,000 (14%) in fiscal year 2022 to 62,000 (12.8%) in fiscal year 2023.

The popularity of Ludington State Park and other Michigan campgrounds has significant implications for the outdoor recreation industry. The high demand for camping spots underscores the vital role these natural spaces play in promoting outdoor activities and supporting the industry’s growth.

For campground, glamping, and RV park owners, as well as outdoor hospitality operators, these trends offer valuable insights. Understanding the factors driving the popularity of certain parks, such as Ludington State Park, can inform strategies for enhancing visitor experiences and managing reservations effectively.

The data also suggests a shift in camper behavior and preferences, which industry stakeholders can leverage to adapt their services and facilities. By aligning with these trends, the outdoor hospitality industry can continue to thrive, offering enriching experiences to a diverse range of outdoor enthusiasts.

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February 18, 2024 1:51 pm

Isn’t it thrilling how Ludington State Park remains a beloved choice? It’s a testament to its natural beauty and diversity. Who else is eager to experience it firsthand?

March 19, 2024 10:13 pm

I can’t wait to soak in all the natural beauty and outdoor adventures at Ludington State Park! It’s going to be an amazing experience exploring Michigan’s top campground. Plus, imagine telling ghost stories around the campfire under the stars. it’s like our very own outdoor thriller movie night!

February 22, 2024 10:28 pm

Hey, did you know that Ludington State Park offers a bunch of outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating? It’s a cool place to enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan while camping with family and friends.


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Ludington State Park Leads as Michigan's Top Campground in Popularity! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/michigan/ludington-state-park-leads-as-michigans-top-campground-in-popularity/