Sandy Beach Camping

Sandy Beach Camping

Camping is good for the soul, a chance to unwind, relax and make memories that last a lifetime. I remember when I was a child the excitement of packing up the car with a tent, blankets, pillows, a cooler full of food and a handful of toys I could fit in my suitcase along with my clothes. 

 

Struggling to put up tent poles, searching for downed limbs for kindling, watching the adults light the fire, and cooking hot dogs over the fire. Followed by a perfectly roasted S’more. Although camping only happened a few times a year when I was younger, these were some of my favorite summer memories.

 

Throughout the years our camping has upgraded from the tent to the pop-up and now to our RV. There is something about having tons of fun in and around the campground and then climbing into your comfy bed in the camper.

These days camping happens more frequently, almost every weekend, at one place or another. Just a few weekends ago my Husband’s Family joined us at Sandy Beach County Park. We had his parent’s reserve our favorite site at Sandy Beach, site #176. 

 

My favorite part of the camping, is waking up early in the morning. When the campground is quiet. I usually get up before the sunrise, to take a quiet stroll around the park. Sometimes you see a handful of campers sipping their coffee, but most are tucked away in their tents, trailers, or cabins fast asleep. As I wander through the campground I stop at the boat launch for some of the best views of the sunrise. There are a few benches down there where you can sit and watch the waves lapping against the shore. As the sun begins to rise above the horizon, early morning fishermen, arrive and begin unloading their boats. These fishermen are usually on the water early and off the Pond before the day boaters begin launching around 10-11:00AM. 

 

Sitting there, at that time of the morning, the view is spectacular. The way the colors seem to dance across the sky and reflect across the water. When Hardy Pond is still, it looks almost like glass reflecting the colors above. The colors change drastically as the sun continues to rise. 

Sunset over water

As the sun rises, the campground begins to come alive, children begin playing at the campsites, adults fiddling with campfire, or beginning to cook. The smell of breakfast fills the air.

 

This weekend My Mother In-law wanted to explore the new Dragon Trail, and luckily there was a trail maintenance day. There are approximately 4 miles of the trail completed on this side of the pond. The trail winds through the woods from the Marina, past the Gatehouse at Sandy Beach County Park, and nearly to Sportsman’s Park. The trail is naturally surfaced,  except for a few low lying areas that require bridges or boardwalks. 

 

Natural surface trail through wooded area

This is just the first bit of construction, which once completed will loop all the way around Hardy Pond. Basic maintenance on the trail is required. So we volunteered with the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance to trim branches, install gravel in natural runoffs, and clear debris from the trail. It is always fun to give back to the community any way we can, and knowing that we had a hand on making this attraction part of our community, in itself is satisfying. After participating in the maintenance day we needed a brake, so we met back at the In-law’s site for lunch and some entertainment. 

The view from their site is simply amazing, and the watching boaters try to launch and load boats all afternoon is priceless. Boats of every size from 6ft paddle boats to 30-35ft catamarans. My Husband’s Family and enjoy seeing the variety of boats launched here. 

Truck launching boat in the water

 

We usually have a campfire, cook with the cast iron Dutch Oven, roast S’mores, but Mother Nature had different plans, it was too windy to have a bonfire safely. So we grilled hamburgers and decided to teach my Mother In-law how to play cribbage, while watching movies in the trailer and eating WESCO popcorn. 

 

burgers on a flat top grill

 

Days camping are always better when you spend them with Family and Friends. That weekend was no different. We definitely cannot wait for my Husband’s Family to return to the area and join us again at Sandy Beach County Park. Until then we will find another place to park our trailer.

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