Just north of Muskegon, in Michigan, is a nicely hidden campground called Pioneer Park. When our family decided to rent an RV and head up to Michigan to do some camping, I set out to find a great campground for us. Since we hadn’t been camping in a very long time, and we had never been RV camping, making sure we had a great campsite was a necessity! When looking for a campground there were a couple of specific things I was keeping in mind. We wanted to be as close to the beach/lake as we possibly could. We needed a site with a full electric and water hookup. Finally, it wouldn’t hurt if the campsite was easily accessible since we were new to driving an RV. So, what I ended up narrowing our search down to was Pioneer Park.
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The park is 145 acres and has everything from the camping we were looking for, to swimming and beach access on Lake Michigan, tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts, and softball fields. There was also a playground for the kids, overlook decks, Wi-Fi, restrooms, and showers. They are also pet-friendly with group camping available, and a picnic lodge.
While the park is not far from town, to get there you have to drive down a 2 lane neighborhood road. Unfortunately, we arrived once it was dark and we were still new to driving the RV so it felt like a very long road. You’ll arrive at the Park Office first to check-in. They had lots of great information about the area available, along with ice and firewood to purchase.
Heading Into Pioneer Park Campgrounds
The road into the campsites took you around the large play area with the tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts, softball fields, and horseshoes. There was also a large picnic lodge and other picnic areas and shelters. I never saw anyone using this space, but I really didn’t come this way too often. While it got us there, the first night we ended up not taking the main road through to the campsites. Instead, we took a right turn right away that took us into the campsites. Again, it worked, however, there were low hanging trees on this path and I know a few hit our roof.
Inside the campsite area, there are 235 spaces available. We were booking a little over 2 and a half months out, but the campsites were pretty limited. I found a site that was near one of the restrooms, but also not too far in the middle of everything (so we didn’t have to try maneuvering that thing around too many other campers). We were located in space 116. During our stay, there was a tent in the space next to us. On the other side, there was an RV there our first night and our last night, but it was empty during the week.
Hookups at The Campsite
We had both water and full-electric hookup. These were in the center of 4 spaces (ours, next door, behind them, and behind us). The electric box not only had the outlet for the RV, but it also had some 120-V outlets so I was able to run an extension cord to the prep table we had outside. For our site, the setup could have been done a little differently. For where the hookups were located, our fire pit should have been on the other side of our site. If we pulled in to have the hookups on the RV the same side as campgrounds, our door and fire pits would be on different sides of the RV. We were able to back the RV in at an angle so that we could still reach the hookups, but keep the door and the fire pit on the same side.
Restrooms at Pioneer Park
The bathroom facilities at Pioneer Park were pretty good. Coming from someone that really hates spiders (yes, and I still went camping), I had no problems using them. The restroom we had right next to our site had three bathrooms and a shower. I never used the shower in that building, but I did use the toilets, and never felt like it was icky (buggy).
Down the path a little further from us was a much larger facility. It had many more toilets which were nice, but it also had larger individual shower rooms. These were large enough so my sister-in-law was able to go in with my two nieces and not be cramped. Using these public showers, you’ll just want to make sure you bring some flip flops that can get wet, and a carry case for your shower essentials. There is a handicap accessible one as well that also has a handheld showerhead and had the best water pressure (even though none of them had bad pressure that I found). All of these buildings were cleaned on a regular basis, and you could tell.
Located somewhat centrally was the dumping station. This was where we could go to empty the RV’s waste tanks. There were two holes in the ground, with drive-ups on both sides and two hoses. I thought that emptying the waste tanks would be the absolute worst thing, but it was actually fairly simple, and the setup at the site helped with that. There were also dumpsters up by the park office to dump your trash.
Now, let’s talk about the beach! There were overlooks with a great view of the beach and sunsets. There should be two stairwells to the beach, but there had been some erosion, so I believe that removed one. To get to the stairs there was a nice boardwalk along the side of the campsites. At the top of the stairs, there were some life jackets you could borrow if you needed them. The girls had brought their own puddle jumpers, so we didn’t need them, but it was great to know that they offered them. There was one set of stairs down to a landing, and then a few more stairs before you went the rest of the way down on the dunes. They had a rope tied to a sign that you could use to help pull yourself help when coming back up the dune.
There is also a beautiful forest area, with tall trees. The girls nicknamed this the enchanted forest. There were lots of paths throughout them that you could hike around on, with them leading you back to the beach. This beach access was located further north up the beach. There was a beautiful spot on top of the dunes that provided a gorgeous view. While the beach is connected all the way through, very few people actually made their way up this far north.
The park hours were 8:00 am – 10:00 pm May through September, and the quiet hours 11:00 pm – 8:00 am. There were park rangers that also made regular passes through the park during those quiet hours to help enforce it, but also throughout the day to simply keep an eye on everything. If something happened to come up and you needed them, you could visit the park office to have them reached.
A Few Other Notes About Pioneer Park:
Bring bikes! Kids were riding around on them all day around the campsites, but many adults had them as well.
Your individual site has a fire pit and picnic table. However, I would recommend bringing something to allow you to cook over the fire or a separate grill.
Despite what a review about the park said, you can see the stars (weather permitting) and they were beautiful!
There is Wi-Fi, but it was still kind of weak. There was very low cell service available. I mean, the goal of camping is usually to disconnect, so it wasn’t a horrible thing that I couldn’t mindlessly scroll through Instagram. However, if you have to do some remote working, it could make it difficult.
The campground is pet friendly, and there was actually a grassy dog park area for them instead of just your own campsite. Pets are not allowed on the beach though.
Try to book a site not right next to a speed bump. Unfortunately, they’re not noted on the map. I should have walked around and noted where they all are, so I’m sorry I didn’t. The reason I would recommend not being to close to them is that when some of those kids ride around on their bikes, they seem to like to speed up before going over them, and the noise it made always startled me! Not a big deal, just a side note.
It’s not too far from other attractions you could take advantage of. Since we visited during the era of COVID, we didn’t do any of these, but it was good to know they were there. There is an amusement park, museums, great restaurants, even a WWII submarine you could visit, lighthouses, and much more!
Would I Recommend Pioneer Park Campground?
So, would I recommend you visiting Pioneer Park Campground? Yes. While it was a bit of a drive for our first time renting an RV, it was a beautiful campground. It was very family-friendly and easily accessible. We felt safe at all times, the girls loved that there was a beach, and we had a wonderful time! There seemed to be a lot of locals there, which was reassuring as well. If you’re thinking of camping in Michigan, you should definitely consider staying here! They will begin taking reservations for 2021 on January 4th, 2021. Have you been to Pioneer Park?
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