Enjoy Fourth of July Weekend in Michigan State Parks

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This year the family can experience a traditional Americana celebration of Independence Day with a weekend filled with camping, cookouts and special events in Michigan state parks. Help the kids deck out their bikes in red, white and blue and parade through the campgrounds. Take part in games and fishing derbies or kick back and enjoy local fireworks displays from park vantage points.

With 98 state parks and recreation areas to choose from and DNR Parks and Recreation staff nearby for assistance, make this Fourth of July weekend one of your summer’s best memories.

Don’t miss out on that perfect campsite. Make a reservation at any of Michigan’s state parks by calling 800-447-2757 or visit www.midnrreservations.com. You’ll have to hurry though; sites are filling up fast!

The spectacular Detroit fireworks display can be viewed from Milliken State Park on June 27.

Proud Lake Recreation Area Red White and Blue Weekend
In honor of Independence Day, Proud Lake Recreation Area, 3500 Wixom Road in Commerce Township (Oakland County) will sponsor a Red, White and Blue Weekend July 1-3. The event will include campsite decorating, yard games and a bike parade for kids of registered campers. For details, call the park, 248-685-2433.

Harrisville State Park Fourth of July Celebration
Harrisville State Park, 248 State Park Road in Harrisville (Alcona County) will hold a Fourth of July celebration on July 2 with a visit from Smokey Bear. Smokey will visit the host campsite for pictures during the morning and will be part of the 1 p.m. parade in Harrisville. Harrisville will display its fireworks at dusk. For details, call the park, 989-724-5126.

Van Riper State Park Fourth of July Festival
Celebrate Independence Day with a Fourth of July Festival, July 2, at Van Riper State Park, 851 County Road AKE in Champion (Marquette County). Events include a bike parade and old-fashioned games including balloon toss, hula hoop and minnow races. The park will provide decorations for the bikes. The parade starts between 10 and 11 a.m. in the campground. Other events take place throughout the day. For details, call the park, 906-339-4461.

Wilderness State Park Horseshoe Tournament
Celebrate the Fourth of July in Wilderness State Park, 903 Wilderness Park Drive in Carp Lake (Emmet County) with events planned for July 2 for registered campers. A bike parade starts at 11:30 a.m. with the park supplying decorating materials. Join Smokey Bear for a parade around the campground at 1 p.m. followed by the Lawnlympics Horseshoe Contest at 4 p.m. The top four teams will receive medals and an invitation to the Wilderness State Park Championship Tournament set for Aug. 20. For details, call the park, 231-436-5381.

J.W. Wells State Park Independence Day Celebration and Chili Cook-off
Head to the Upper Peninsula for the Independence Day Celebration and Chili Cook-off at J.W. Wells State Park, N7670 Highway M-35 in Cedar River, (Menominee County). Join the park staff for a scavenger hunt from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, July 2, and look for patriotic ducks and glow-in-the-dark worms as well as other nature items in the park. Get your picture taken with Uncle Sam from 1-3 p.m. or sign up for a variety of games in the ball field then cool off with a watermelon-eating contest. Treats will be provided. At 4 p.m. join in the Chili Cook-Off and sample entries from the two categories: hot and regular. Prizes will be awarded in both categories.

On Sunday, July 3, dress patriotically or decorate the bike for the 10 a.m. Walk Parade around the park perimeter. Meet at the beach for the Sand Castle Contest from 1 to 2 p.m. Judging will take place at 2 p.m. The fireworks begin at dark in Stephenson. For details, call the park, 906-863-9747.

Twin Lakes State Park Fourth of July Celebration
Join Twin Lakes State Park, 6204 E. Poyhonen Road in Toivola (Houghton County) for an Independence Day celebration for registered campers on July 3-4. The celebration starts with a boat parade at dusk on July 3. Kids can decorate their bikes and take part in the bike parade at 1 p.m., July 4, followed by an ice cream and hot dog social. For details, call the park, 906-288-3321.

Traverse City State Park Fourth of July Bike Parade
The staff at Traverse City State Park, 1132 US-31 North in Traverse City (Grand Traverse County) has planned a bike parade for registered campers on July 4. Decorate bikes at the camp host site at 10:30 a.m. and join the parade at 11 a.m. in the campground. For details, call the park, 231-922-5270.

Maybury State Park Fishing Derby
Maybury State Park, 20145 Beck Road in Northville (Wayne County) will hold a Fourth of July Fishing Derby from 1-3 p.m., July 4, on the docks of the fishing pond. Participants can compete in different age groups for prizes for the biggest fish. There is no charge for the event. A Recreation Passport is required for vehicles entering the park. For details, call the park, 248-349-8390.

Charles Mears State Park Fourth of July Bike Parade
Charles Mears State Park, W. Lowell St. in Pentwater (Oceana County) will conduct its annual bike parade through the park campground the morning of July 4. Prizes will be awarded for best-decorated bikes in many age classes. For the exact start time, call the park, 231-869-2051.

Sterling State Park 6th Annual Freedom Walk
Take a five-mile walk along the River Raisin Heritage Trail to celebrate Independence Day. The sixth annual Freedom Walk begins at 8 a.m., July 4, in St. Mary’s Park in Monroe and ends at Sterling State Park, 2800 State Park Road in Monroe (Monroe County). Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at the end of the walk. Walkers should note that no transportation is provided between venues. It is recommended that walkers position a vehicle at both locations to avoid a 10-mile round trip walk or arrange for a pickup at the finish line. For details, call the park, 734-289-2715.

Fourth of July Fireworks

Michigan state parks offer great vantage points for viewing some local fireworks displays. Reserve a camping spot and forget all about those bumper-to-bumper, late-night traffic jam headaches.

Holland State Park July 4th Fireworks
The fireworks that can be seen from the Holland State Park beach, 2215 Ottawa Beach Road in Holland (Ottawa County), are a tradition of the VanAndels, who provide fireworks each year for their family’s July 4th celebration. The fireworks are scheduled for July 3. Dates and times for these fireworks may change depending on the family. To check on dates and times, contact the park, 616-399-9390.

Yankee Springs Recreation Area Gun Lake Fireworks Display
Visit Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 2104 S. Briggs Road in Middleville (Barry County) and enjoy an Independence Day fireworks display at dark on July 3, put on by the Gun Lake Protective Association. For details call the park, 269-795-9081.

Sterling State Park 6th Annual Fireworks Show
The sixth annual Fireworks Show starts at dusk on July 3 inside Sterling State Park, 2800 State Park Road in Monroe (Monroe County). For details call the park, 734-289-2715.

Charles Mears State Park Independence Day Fireworks
Enjoy the Independence Day fireworks display on July 3 being launched off Pentwater pier and viewed from Charles Mears State Park, W. Lowell St. in Pentwater (Oceana County). For details, call the park, 231-869-2051.

The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.

Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking “YES” on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.