If you want to have a family friendly college football Saturday you may want to camp out this Saturday at the Portage Lake Campground at Waterloo Recreation Area.
The campground host is hosting a family oriented football celebration including watching the game outside, crafts and games for the kids, food- all in a wonderful nature setting just outside of Chelsea.
We recently spent the night at Portage Lake Campground and loved it!
We lucked out and got a nice, wide, shady site in Portage South,- we were tenting, so we appreciated the extra space and the lack of neighbors across the camp road. Many of the campsites were a bit smaller and more closely packed, but those in trailers did not seem to mind, nor did those travelling in groups.
We were an easy walk to the facilities which were cleaned and well-maintained throughout our visit.
There aren't any great views from the actual campground sites themselves, but a short walk to the day use area brings you right to the beach. We spent some time in the early morning, watching the sun cascade across the gentle waves and enjoying swans swimming in the distance.
There are a couple of hiking options. One is right in the campground-the Dry Marsh Nature Trail. This is very short, about .5 mile, but those with young children or who just want to stretch their legs will find its wide trails and loop pathway perfect.
This campground also has access to the Waterloo-Pinkney Trail which is a 34 mile point to point trail. We did a nice 90 minute out and back walk late in the evening and found the trail almost entirely to ourselves-only passing one other hiker. It would be nice if there were loops from the trail so we weren't repeating the scenery, but this is a small quibble for such a pleasant, well-maintained trail.
We had a wonderful campfire in the large fire ring and stared at the stars, enjoying the cooling air, recalling our previous adventures over the summer and planning future ones.
It was one of those magical immersions in nature that reminds one of how lucky we are to live in Michigan when the weather, the natural beauty and the people seem to come together in a perfect celebration of living.
Although our pour-over coffee and hot teas were wonderful at the camp site in the morning, we did stop at Zou Zou's Cafe in Chelsea for coffee and hot chocolate. This charming cafe in downtown Chelsea was the perfect re-entry into civilization- charming and down to earth and filled with folks enjoying good conversation in a warm, welcoming atmosphere. We're definitely going back when we are in the area.