Campground – Hoeft State Park


 

Hoeft State Park Campground
5001 US-23 North
Rogers City, MI 49779
989-734-2543

Dates of Visit:  July 5-12, 2011

 


I read that P.H. Hoeft State Park is a "heavily wooded" park, and I saw when I got there that this was no exaggeration! In fact, there are places that felt like an enchanted forest…and enchanted I was!

This is me in Site #2. This is usually the camp host site (full hookups), but they do rent this site out when a camp host is not in residence.  To the left, Site #1 is the hospitality site, where the Explorer Guide meets campers for planned activities.

To the right in Site #3 were my great neighbors, Rod & Mary from Saginaw (on the right). They've been camping here since 1992 – the great fishing is the big attraction for Rod here. But he also said he really liked the rustic, quiet little town of Rogers City where "people say strange things like please, thank you and have a nice day."

Mary said she always looks forward to this relaxing break from her stressful job as a nurse and that the peace and fresh air helps her sleep like a baby during the 2 weeks they're here.

Their friends, Ron & Bonnie, from Fenton were visiting and they invited me over to share a campfire. They used to camp here a lot, and wound up liking the area so much they bought a little cabin nearby. They said this is the nicest state park with the nicest marina in the nicest town. Do you really think this place is pretty nice, y'all? We laughed and kidded each other like old friends before the campfire burned down. Can the folks in MI get any better than this? I think not!

Entrance to main campground, showing Site #5 on the left. There is a playground on the right and from there the path to the beach.

Hoeft Campground - heavily treed sites

The further back you get, the more heavily treed and enchanted it is.

This is Site #41, a nice large one right across the road from the bath house. Sites 19-21 are other popular requests due to their close access to the beach.

On Site #81, I met Linda & Dennis here from Columbus, Ohio on their "shakedown" cruise – their first time out ever in their new-to-them 40' motorhome!

They have been boating for 26 years and used to pass here on the way to the harbor, so decided to camp here on land for a change. When on water, they were used to "anchoring out" and being self contained, so they don't mind not having full hookups. They said they prefer state parks to resort type RV parks because the sites are more spacious and they are not interested in being packed "concrete pad to pad" like some private parks they've seen. They like to explore the natural features within the parks and really think the dunes are great here.

I got a kick out of them saying they were going to give RVing a try for a year and then decide which "toy" to give up – the boat or the motorhome.

Linda said she thinks there are probably advantages and disadvantages to both styles, whether traveling on asphalt or water. When boating, she'd worry about weather, fog and big waves. She grinned as she said she would worry about dying at least once every summer on the boat. With RVing she doesn't think she'd have as many worries and that traffic would be the main aggravation. However, they discovered a cracked windshield on their first morning, so I'll be interested to hear what she says next year.

I later met Robin in Site #119, who provided some contrast with a differing viewpoint. This meeting turned out to be more interesting when I later found out he and his wife are friends with Ron & Bonnie, who I met through Rod & Mary…such a small world!

He also had his satellite setup out and thought he might get a signal through a clearing, but said he finally gave up.

Robin said he was more used to private RV parks where he used his Passport America membership. He really preferred having 50 amps and more amenities like swimming pools and pull through sites. But on the other hand, he appreciated the natural beauty of the park and liked the more laid back style in state parks and thought people seemed friendlier and more outgoing. So apparently he's found a nice blend and does a little of both…

Staying Connected

I have a built-in Verizon aircard in my Lenovo laptop. When I got here, I was told this was a dead zone and no way could you get a signal. However, I tried a trick Verizon told me about: if you are in an area and can't get a signal, go to the nearest place where you can get one, then don't disconnect. Sometimes you latch onto that tower and it will stay connected. I had connected in Alpena and it stayed on until the next day (I didn't turn off computer). Even when I was dropped, I was able to connect again. However, it got worse every day in terms of speed and kicking me off. Of course there are free wi-fi places in town, but due to my work and the equipment needed to transcribe, etc., I need access from my motorhome. A MI friend said she used to be able to connect with her aircard at the pavilion on the park grounds, but I never tried that out. So I'd have to say if constant, reliable internet access at the RV is an issue for you, this might be a deal-breaker.
Cell phone: I could not find a place to connect anywhere in the campground itself. Up on the dunes, I could get a couple of bars sometimes and was enough to make short calls before being dropped, but it got pretty aggravating after a while.
Pros & Cons
Readers have asked for short recaps of pros and cons about the parks I visit. I realize this is subjective stuff and what bothers some people, others won't have a problem with, and vice versa.  As a fulltime RVer, I like things that weekend campers can do without.  But, based on my own observations and/or comments from others, but here goes:
Heavily treed sites make for shady and very tranquil campground. I personally loved the "enchanted forest" feel in many areas and on some of the paths. Heavily treed sites mean no satellite TV signal. I and several other campers say they tried and even with tripod setup, the trees win as there's just no way around or through them. Even on the sites that look more open, the direction is wrong (no southern exposure).
Beachfront features: volleyball court, playground equipment, picnic area, views of big monster freighters coming into Calcite quarry (Rogers City) star gazing, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing Beach is pebble bottom when entering water and water doesn't really warm up until mid July or August.
Site #2 is the campground host site that offers full hookups (30 amp, water & sewer). When there is no camp host, you can rent this site for $33/night. The electrical box is pretty far from the gravel pad, so you need to have a really long cord or position the RV off the pad a bit. Then you'll need about 30' of sewer hose to reach the hookups on the other side (electric is on the right and sewer & water is on the left). Even though this site is at the front of the park and looks more open than the interior ones, I could not get satellite TV no matter how I tried to configure the tripod.

Other Camper Comments – So many people I talked to who have camped here for many years said this is one of Michigan's best kept camping secrets. And they were a little hesitant to be sharing it for fear of it becoming like the "Gold Coast" on the other side.

A couple with their 4 year old little girl on her very first camping trip: "We like the outside loops because they're larger and more private. And we really like the easy trails – just get the bug spray and go!"

Another thing I really liked: This is the kind of place that celebrates their campers – I was sorry I couldn't be here for "Esther Gibb Day" on July 30. "This summer will be Esther Gibb's 60th consecutive year of camping at P.H. Hoeft State Park! Celebrate with us at the host Campsite on July 30. Free ice cream and cake!" Now how cool is that – and think of all the tales that lady could spin around the campfire!

Campground Button      General Campground Information:

144 Total Sites – Campground Site Map showing layout

Reservations:  Campsites may be reserved up to 6 months in advance of arrival date.

Reviews from other campers at RVParkReviews.com and StateParks.com

 

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I'd love to hear your own experiences about places I've been - and what you think are "must-sees" - and I really value any suggestions and feedback from readers, so please let me have your 2 cents in Comments below: