There are 1,300 licensed campgrounds in Michigan, and they’re going to be everything from small RV villages with pools and stores, to places where you have to squeeze a small trailer between two trees.
The Battle Creek RV & Camping Show has a camper for every situation. Sponsored by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds, the show runs March 3-6.
It’s been two years since Kellogg Arena has hosted the show. Since then, the world of outdoor recreation opened up as people rediscovered the joy of spending time in nature.
That means more variety in gear as the demographic expands.
“One of the things that you’ll notice in the travel trailers is, some lines have moved to a more rugged, off-grid type where people may be pulling their trailer off of concrete,” said John Lindley, president and CEO of MARVAC
These new trailers have solar power and batteries and rugged suspension.
“It’s the ability to go to more remote locations than would be afforded in a traditional camper,” said MARVAC Director Darren Ing.
It could appeal to a fisherman who wants a place to sleep by his favorite fishing spot or a young couple who want to road trip without having to set up a tent at every stop.
Head to Battle Creek to check out the newest in campers, while also connecting with the top dealers in Michigan. Maybe you’re not in the mood to buy, but places like KreneK RV also offer rentals.
Here are some highlights from the show:
If you want a home away from home: Jayco Seneca (Bish’s RV)
The gigantic Seneca is like a motorhome – but a motorhome with a steering wheel. It has at least three beds, a full-sized refrigerator and a washer/dryer combo. Ing referred to it as “luxury on wheels.”
If you want to see the stars: Ember Overland (Bish’s RV)
Lindley mentioned Ember as a standout if you’re looking to travel somewhere there isn’t an RV hookup. The 171FB is in the middle of the pack, when it comes to weight. It has rugged suspension and a solar package. Bonus: A stargazer skylight over the bed.
If you want to be efficient: Ember Overland Rok (Bish’s)
The Overland comes in a micro version, called Rok. The inside really only has room for a bed that can be turned into a couch with a small table. Open up the back, though, and you’ve got an outdoor kitchen and entertainment center.
If you want to be modern: Keystone Bullet Ultra Lite (Larry’s RV)
Looking across the tops of the campers that pack Kellogg Arena, you’ll notice a sizeable solar panel on top of the Bullet Ultra Lite. It’s not your grandma’s RV – the Ultra Lite is stylish, with the kinds of outlets we need in the modern world, including a USB charger that pops out of the kitchen counter. And while an Ultra Lite, it also manages to fit in a bunk bed along with the master bedroom.
If you want to have great meals: Forest River XLR Micro Boost (KreneK)
The XLR has a beautiful kitchen, with a deep-seated sink and fireplace. But the best part is the deck that can be unfolded from the back of the trailer. Once you’re done cooking, you can eat out on the deck, or at the table just inside.
If you want to travel light: Aliner Classic (KreneK)
If you’re looking for light but spacious, check out the Aliner. For context: The mid-sized campers in this list average 5,000 pounds, while the Aliner is 1,725 pounds. Pulling it behind your vehicle, it looks like a flat box. But once you get to your campsite, it unfolds up and out.
If you want that #vanlife: Coachmen Nova (KreneK)
It’s amazing what they can fit in a van nowadays. The inside of the Coachmen Nova doesn’t look different from a lot of the RVs in the show. But it’s a Dodge Ram V-6, so you’ll probably find it easier to drive.
If you’re spending the day on the lake: Rockwood Geo Pro
Another tiny trailer, the Geo Pro fits a bed and a TV on the wall. With solar power, you can take it out into the woods without worrying about an RV hookup.
NEARBY CAMPING SITES
Ing said that Michigan ranks fourth in RV shipments, even if the state isn’t as big or as heavily populated as the other top states.
“It speaks to people recognizing Michigan as a destination state for tourism and travel, and all that goes along with being here in Pure Michigan,” Ing said.
Fort Custer Recreation Area
This state park is home to three lakes and abundant woods with 28-miles of hiking, biking and horse trails. Camping facilities include 219 modern sites with electrical service. Modern restrooms are mid-April through mid-October. Activities include swimming at Eagle Lake beach, disc golf, hunting, fishing, mountain biking and cross-country skiing.
Camp Turkeyville RV Resort
Right next to the famous Cornwell’s Turkeyville, which serves up an all-turkey menu. Amenities include modern facilities, heated pool, store, showers and laundry, internet access and cable, volleyball court and horseshoe pits, fishing pond and playground.
Sixty-two shaded, grassy sites on a chain of five lakes. Enjoy the sandy beach with cement boat ramps, fishing game room, large recreation hall for groups, minigolf, playground, grocery store and bait shop. You can rent a boat, from a small canoe to a big pontoon.
Sites cover 30-50 AMP. Amenities include camp store, bathroom and shower facilities, laundry facility and dump station. Enjoy the pool, mini-golf course, horseshoe pits, basketball court, several playgrounds, shuffleboard, hiking, fishing on Nottawa Lake and more.