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“Beautiful Camprgound, Poorly Managed, Loud, Loud, Loud”

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Platte River Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 30, 2006

We just returned from a camping trip to the Platte River Campground. I was anxious to see what the campground was like since the last time I visited there as a child, I was there for 3 weeks & loved the heavily wooded sites & the beautiful area. We were happy to see that not much had changed with the exception of pads to park your camper on..not able to be in the back of your site unless in a tent but all in all still secluded. Unforntunately, there is little oversight into what is allowed to go on in the campground. Their rules state that noise is to kept at a level that would not disturb other campers. What a joke. We were across from a family with a rottweiler who barked constinately at every person or animal that went by. Everyone got to know this dogs name very well. The family was extremely loud & brought plenty of sports equipment to play with in the street and in others camp sites. They finally quieted down at about 1:30 a.m. There were several sites down from us who had children screaming & playing hide n seek in the woods around the campground all evening. Needless to say, it was a zoo. No ranger or camp host ever drove around to do anything about it.
On day two, a family with relatives in the sites from the previous night, pitched a tent in the site next to ours. They all decided to gather there and proceeded to put on a musical play in the woods on top of our site. They sang at the top of their lungs for well over an hour, it was so loud that we couldn't talk to each other while we were trying to eat our dinner. (Mind you, we have four children ourselves, who were not allowed to disturb other campers). After sitting there listening to this over and over again, my husband yelled out to be quiet. Next thing we knew, the camp host approached out site and said he had gotten a complaint that we had yelled at other campers kids and that we were not allowed to do that. He said that he was in a site down the road and didn't hear a thing either night. What was he doing...sitting there in his RV with his t.v. & headphones on? We tried to explain that we did not confront anyone...we yelled out from our screen tent in our own site. He wouldn't listen and told my husband that he would get the ranger if we couldn't come to some agreement. My husband said fine and let it go. Quite honestly, why couldn't we yell out whatever we wanted since everyone else was free to do so? After he left, the family started right in again. We packed up and were out of there by 10:30 p.m. We ended up driving all night to get home. My husband went up to the ranger station and told them we were leaving out of principle. Why were we repremanded when we did nothing wrong? He did get an I'm sorry from them but then was told that neither the rangers or camp hosts knew what was going on in the campground. They should know whats happening by making rounds and overseeing it.
After speaking with other people we know who have camped there, we found out that it's common at this campground. If you are looking for a relaxing escape in the woods, this is not for you. If you are looking to camp around others who respect other campers, don't go here. We spent time in both Ludington State park & Hoffmaster State park this summer and can honestly say that as jammed as these parks get, you can hear a pin drop at 9 p.m. and rangers or staff make constant rounds overseeing the park. You won't get the seclusion you do at Platte River but then you have to weigh that against the draw backs.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled with family
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
13  Thank camper123456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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82 - 88 of 93 reviews

Reviewed July 23, 2006

Okay, the good parts about this campground are that it's beautiful. The campsites are decent sized for a single or even 2 tents, and the bathrooms are pretty clean. Lake michigan is a short hike away, or drive down the road. The downsides to this campground are many however when camping with a group of people. Every single rule they tell you about is STRICTLY enforced. They have rectangles in the ground that you MUST stay within with your tents. 3 tents or 2 big tents is a very tight fit. They will make you move them if they see you have them outside the lines. They also strictly enforce parking on the pavement. I was woken up my first morning to find a ticket saying I had to move my vehicle because one tire was a few inches off the pavement. Yes, literally only a few inches. The worst part is the noise enforcement. The quiet hours at this campground are 10pm-6am and are also strictly enforced. If you like staying up by a campfire and talking in anything above a wisper, then this isn't the campground for you. The sound travels pretty well through the woods and you'll hear SHHHHH from nearby campers quite regularly if it's past 10. The other part was that the camp rangers are not very friendly if any of their rules are broken. Even though we were quiet by 10pm if you had made noise earlier apparently they have the right to issue noise violations (a 120$ fine) which one of our campers received in our group. Even though they were perfectly quiet after the quiet hours began, simply because of an irked nearby camper who complained about noise at 8:50 pm. Two other drawbacks to this campground are that you have to pay for showers, a decent one being 3 tokens which amounts to 1.50$. The second one is having to get up at the crack of dawn and wait in a line for a site since this campground is generally very busy during the summertime. If you plan on using this campground, also make sure you get to the campground and unpacked before the quiet hours start as the noise will definitely be too much for their strict noise rules. All in all, a nice campground with unprofessional rangers (at least the 1 we met who was very rude to us) and campers who like a noiseless campground. have fun!

Stayed: July 2006
5  Thank jmjohnst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Troy, Michigan
Reviewed October 5, 2005

My friend and I were out there for 6 nights and 7 days. We really enjoyed the camping it is quite peaceful out there. The hunting on the other hand sucks. We started out on the 1st of Oct. with our hunt for deer and didn't see a single deer out there. We moved our stands around a couple of times and only saw 3 deer which would not come in to take a shot at them. We came home empty handed, but the whole camping experence is well worth the trip. The showers and bathrooms are bar none to the rest of the places I have stayed...clean and well maintained. Overall it was great time out there.

Stayed: October 2005
6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed October 17, 2004

This campground was awesome! We got back today (10-17-04) after spending three days and two nights at site 306. It was GREAT! My girlfriend and I like going camping and we like to be near the restrooms, 306 was perfect for us. These sites were big and very private. The bathrooms were extremely clean and the showers were great!
The hiking trails were perfect and the beach was awesome, as were the sand dunes. There was a ton to see and do, and nothing was very far from the campground.
It rained the whole time that we were there and it was really windy and cold. (32-50 degrees to be exact) We still had a great time. I know that when we go back when it is warm out we are going to have an even better time.
We can't wait to go back to the Platte River Campground and stay at site 306. It is the only campground that I want to go to from now on!
Feel free to email me with any questions. I know that when I was reading these before we went I had some questions and would have liked to have talked to someone who had been there brfore, so feel free to drop me an email at cwaldmeir@comcast.net.
Thanks, and have a great time!!!!!!

19  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2004

We were extremely disappointed with the Platte River Cabins. Upon arrival we found the grounds to be somewhat unkept. The cabin was nice and the view was great. Unfourtunately, late in the evening as we sat quietly listening to the river we were visited by rodents. A mouse actually was millimeters from my 9 year old daughters leg. Of course she was extremely frightened and unable to sleep. We decided to leave that night. The stay was an extreme disappointment.

7  Thank Travelresearcher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2004

We just returned from Platte River. This was the first time we camped and we had a wonderful time and can't wait to go back. The Rangers were great and the place was clean. Nice big sites with a pad for the tent, picnic table and fire pit. Restrooms and showers were clean and they had an area to clean your dishes, HOT water. Nice hiking trails to Lake MI and the dunes were about 15 mins. You can't take your bike on the trails but you can ride all around the campgrounds. Firewood for sale right at the site for the same price you pay anywhere else around. Great place to relax for a few days

12  Thank c611a807
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2004

Our family has just returned from a wonderful camping vacation in NW Michigan. We had not settled on a destination for our annual vacation until just a few weeks ago. We decided to return to NW Michigan and tent camp. I spent hours, even days on the internet getting information and checking for available accomodations in the area that we would be staying. Hmmm, it seems that summer is a busy season in Michigan. Who would have thought? My wife and I are used to taking trips "off season" to enjoy easier traffic and smaller crowds but our children are getting older now and that requires us to take our trip while they're out of school. We had hoped to stay at the Platte River Campground located in the southern area of The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shore but reservations were out of the question. The campground has about 170 sites but only 44 are reservable. I suppose that's a good thing. Otherwise you'd never get in to the place. We decided to book a campsite at Manistee State Park which is about 1 hour south of Platte River. Then I planned to get an early start and drive up to the Platte River campground and hopefully get a "1st come, 1st served" site. When we pulled into Manistee State Park campground we payed for our site (about $30 when the daily State Park fee is included) and we pulled around to our spot. Yuck!
This campground was basically offering us a gravel driveway between two bushes and about 10 feet of grass and weeds between us and the next campers. We didn't even unload the car. We used the facilities (2 young kids) and decided to head north to Platte River and try our luck. A quick phone call discovered that Platte River was out of electric sites but still had 7 non-electric sites available. We weren't planning on an electric site anyway so we were in luck. We arrived at Platte River and were thrilled to learn that they had a site available that would indeed fit our 17 X 15 foot tent. (it took some looking) The site was perfect. Complete tree coverage and shade. A small pathway leads from your car to a smooth pad area for the tent. There are picnic tables and fire rings at each site. Each site is separated from the neighboring site by trees and forest growth. The campground has four site loops and a loop of walk-in tent camping sites. I'm not certain but it appeared that only 2 of the loops offered electric hook-ups. The remaining sites were all non-electric. My wife and I had stayed at this campsite before we had children and had a smaller tent at that time. We stayed in one of the walk-in sites then. Our current tent was too large for the standard 18X12 walk-in pads. I can tell you though that the walk-in sites are just as nice. They do afford you more space between your neighbors. There is also a restroom with flush toilets and showers located within the walk-in loop. There is a machine located at the Ranger Station that will give you 2 three minute tokens for $1 for the showers. This seemed like a drawback at first but what we found was that if people had to pay for their showers they didn't lounge in the shower too long. Once the token is done, it's time to get out. Or pay for more time. Our loop had 2 restroom/shower buildings within it. The campground is very clean and well kept. I was amazed at the courteousy of the park rangers who were cleaning the restrooms. Rather than rushing about trying to clean the restrooms they did so in a quick but very efficient manner which resulted in the restrooms not having to be "closed for cleaning". The campground also offers nightly programs given by the rangers. We listened to a program about bats. At other locations in the National Park we watched a demonstration of a shipwreck rescue as it would have happened in the 1800s. We also toured several old barns that are still in existence within the Park and listened to the Ranger program about the original farms and different barns.
Near the entrance to the Campground is a canoe and tube rental which also handles all of your necessary camping supplies. Such as marshmallows and chocolate bars for smores. They also have your lantern mantles and small propane containers. But the gear is pricey. A propane canister was $4.95 and was the same that I paid $1.75 for at home. The groceries were reasonably priced.
The Platte River runs along the entrance road to the campground and empties into Lake Michigan about 1.5 miles from the campground entrance. There is a nice park at the river mouth and you can do tubing or swimming here also.
The Platte River campground is perfectly located for day trips within the Sleeping Bear Dunes Park. About 10 minutes to the south is Frankfort, Mi. There you can tour Point Betsie Lighthouse. We were even able to climb up into the light tower. This is a nice stop if you're interested in the old lighthouses. About 20 minutes north of the campground is the giant "Dune Climb". This is a mountain of sand that just keeps going, and going, and going. Our seven year old boy was 1/2 way up the first slope before I could get the four year old sister out of the car. be warned, this climb is exhausting. It's high, hot, and never ending. We made it to the top of the third level where there are some small trees and a couple benches to rest on. From this spot there is also a beautiful view of Glen Lake. About 45 minutes NE of the campground is Traverse City. We arrived 10 minutes late for the weekly (wednesday) Farmer's Market but we were still in time to quickly purchase some sweet cherries. These were delicious. Fresh picked, washed, large and sweet. We later purchased some from a roadside stand that were not as good but later found another stand that was excellent. So you may want to sample a couple cherries before purchasing. At Traverse City you can drive north onto the Old Mission Penninsula and wade into the cold waters of Lake Michigan at Old Mission Point. There is also a small lighthouse there.
This was the second time that my wife and I have stayed at this campground and I believe it must be about the best in the country. We've stayed at dozens of campgrounds and this place is far and away the champion. Go and enjoy!

41  Thank gilesdad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Platte River Campground

Address: Sleeping Bear Dunes, Traverse City, MI
Location: United States > Michigan > Grand Traverse County > Traverse City
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 9 Specialty Lodging in Traverse City
Number of rooms: 179
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This campground offers 179 campsites with a dump station and electrical hookups. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Platte River Campground Hotel Traverse City
Platte River Campground Michigan

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