The state of Michigan has over 100 state parks. Some are well know like Tahquamenon Falls S.P, or Silver Lake S.P. There are many, known only to locals, or frequent campers. One of them is located in southeastern Michigan, right above the Lake St. Clair. It is the Algonac State Park.
The park encompasses the area of 1,500 acres and has a half-mile of St. Clair River frontage. One of the park’s major attractions is viewing freighters sailing up or down the St. Clair River.
The park is open all year for a variety of activities including camping and a day-use area. The day-use area has a picnic area, picnic shelter, and restroom facilities.
Camping in Algonac State Park
Algonac State Park has two campgrounds – the River Front and the Wagon Wheel. The River Front campground has 220 campsites. The Wagon Wheel campground has 76 sites. Both campgrounds are modern.
The River Front campground has very few mature trees and there are many sites that has full sun all day. While the sites are fairly large, the campground gets very packed, as most campers come with RV’s and campers. There are very few people with small campers or tents. People that tent to camp in Algonac S.P. are mostly families, or group of friends. They do a lot of grilling and partying in the campground. So, expect it to be busy and loud.
Even though the park has half-mile of St, Clair River frontage, don’t get excited about getting a campsite right on the edge of the river though. The river frontage is across the road from the campground.
The Wagon Wheel campground has more trees, and therefore there are more sites with some shade there.
The restrooms and showers in the campground are typical what you can expect in Michigan state park. Fairly descent, but overused and quickly dirty, even though they are regularly cleaned.
In Park Activities
There are archery and trap shooting ranges.
The park also has three hiking trails. The Oak Savannah Trail is a 2-mile long hiking trail that takes you through Oak Savanna. There are also a short (0.5 mi) – Blazing Star Prairie Trail, and longer – Lake Plain Prairie Trail.
As I mentioned earlier, you can view freighters sailing up or down the St. Clair River. You can find out what ship is going to pass and when from the Marine Vessel Traffic website.
There is no beach along the river. However, you could take your folding chairs and set them on the shore somewhere and watch the river.
This is pretty much what the park itself offers.
Other Attractions & Activities in the Area
Even though the park itself does not have much to offer, as far as activities, are concerned, there are things to do in the area.
There are many locations around where you can go fishing along the river, and if you have a boat, on lake St. Clair.
You can go boating on St. Clair River, and Lake St. Clair. There are many boat ramps in the area.
You can kayak on St. Clair River, or on Lake St. Clair of Harsens Island, or off some spots along the Anchor Bay. River has a current and a lot of boat traffic, and therefore can be intimidating to the beginner kayaker. More info available on Blueways of St. Clair page.
You can go riding on the Bridge to Bay Trail, which extends from Algonac to Port Huron. The trail is pretty old, and not in the great shape. It is not complete either. There are sections where you need to ride on the road shoulder. So, again not for everybody… More info about the Bridge to Bay Trail is available here. You can also go riding on Harsens Island. There are no trails there, but the car traffic, most of the time, is fairly light. However, it’s a good idea to be used to riding on the road.
City of Algonac
The city of Algonac located about 2 miles south of the campground offers all the necessities, like groceries, gas, etc. However, besides these it does not have much, as far a tourist attractions. There are two museums in town – Algonac Clay Historical Museum and Maritime Museum, both run by Algonac-Clay Historical Society.
There is also a nice waterfront boardwalk stretching for about half mile, officially known as Algonac Waterfront Park.
Along the stretch of Road 29 west out of town, you will find many waterfront restaurants. Some located in local marinas.
I would recommend camping in Algonac State Park, if you are interested in partying with your friends or family. For families with small kids, it might be OK, if you are looking for something close to home (there is a small playground in the park). Otherwise, there are other much better state parks for families with kids.
If you are looking for solitude and quiet environment, this is not the place to camp at.
If you are looking for some outdoor active recreation, like bicycling, hiking, kayaking – again there are other much better state parks for those.
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If you are, by any chance, interested in bike riding on Harsens Island, check my post: Bike Ride on Harsens Island.