Looking for a family-friendly recreation area within short driving distance of the Detroit metropolitan area? If so, look no further than Holly Recreation Area. Located in Holly, Michigan, Holly Recreation Area is a year-round state-run facility that provides RV campers and recreational lovers with fun activities during every season. The park is located between Pontiac and Flint so it is easily accessible from larger cities, such the Detroit metropolitan area (which is only an hour away).
The park rests among four lakes. Heron Lake, the largest of the lakes, consists of 132 acres that is open to kayakers, canoers, and boats with quiet electric motors. Because Heron Lake is a popular fishing destination, observing the natural serenity of the water is essential. Visitors can play and swim along the shores of Heron Lake, as well as rent canoes, rowboats, and paddle boats from the park store. Anglers using boats should keep sounds and speeds below a disruptive level. The other lakes, Lake McGinnis, Valley Lake, and Wildwood Lake, are smaller lakes also perfect for fishing and light recreation. Should you want a quieter, more peaceful water experience, plan on using one of these three, wake-less lakes.
The park is also home to many different types of special events intended to educate and entertain guests and the surrounding communities. Races, tournaments, seasonal festivals, and educational programs take place year-round. Visit the park’s event page to see what’s happening during your visit.
Whether this is your first time RV camping or you are an expert, there are so many choices for you at Holly Recreation Area. There are 144 RV friendly campsites available for you to enjoy in your own or rented RV, including some sites that have 50 amp electrical hookups. Peak season at Holly Recreation Area is from April to October.
RV Rentals in Holly Recreation Area
Transportation in Holly Recreation Area
Getting to and from Holly Recreation Area is quite easy thanks to its location near highly populated areas of Michigan. The park is located 52 miles northwest of Detroit, and 19 miles southeast of Flint, Michigan. It is a popular place for residents of these cities to explore on the weekends due to the short distance and easy drive. If you are looking to get some supplies before your trip to Holly Recreation Area we recommend that you stop into one of the two cities if they are on the way.
Campers should use the campground access when entering the park to set up your RVs for the night. The addresses to the main park and the campground area are different. Avoid taking the wrong turn and use the 5300 McGinnis Road address instead of the primary address listed on the park’s page. Pass the main entrance and proceed about a mile until you come to a fork in the road. Turn left at the signs that say McGinnis Lake Campground, as turning right will take you to the Holly Recreation Area beach. The campground is known to be kept in great condition so you shouldn't have any accessibility troubles during your stay.
Michigan State campgrounds require a recreation passport to gain entry into the park's facilities, both for daily use and overnight camping. Please note that this daily fee is an additional cost added to the overnight camping fee. Daily fees vary depending on the visitor’s state of residence.
There are plenty of parking spots available at Holly Recreation Area.
Campgrounds and parking in Holly Recreation Area
Campsites in Holly Recreation Area
The Holly-McGinnis Lake Campground
The Holly-McGinnis Lake Campground is the only RV-friendly campground available for visitors to the Holly Recreation Area. The campground is one large facility separated into an East and West Campground. Each area has multiple loops, but all campers will enter the campground from the same location. The campground is a seasonally operated that offers full facility use during peak season, and primitive camping with no water or restroom facilities during the shoulder seasons.
The Maple, Hickory, Oak, and Trillium loops are more modern spaces that are equipped with 30 or 50 amp electrical hookups, with hydrants scattered throughout each loop. Campers will need to go to another section of the campground to use the facilities. Each site allows leashed pets, and depending on the location, many of the spaces are partially shaded or fully wooded. Many of the gravel and dirt back-in spaces are 50 feet, and allow rigs up to 45 feet in length. Each area has a fire ring and a picnic table. Generators are allowed but must not create excessive noise.
The campground connects to hiking trails and provides camping guests access to three playgrounds, a horseshoe pit, a basketball court, disc golf, dumpsters, water hydrants, pit toilets, restrooms with showers, and a dump station. The campground office is conveniently located at the entrance to the campground.
Please note when reserving your site that the Aspen Loop is a primitive-style loop with no electric, water, or quick access to restrooms or showers. Campers will need to go to another loop to use the facilities.
Auburn Hills / Holly KOA
If you are looking for a campground located outside of Holly Recreation Area, you can't beat Auburn Hills / Holly KOA. Located only one and a half miles from Holly Recreation Area, Auburn Hills / Holly KOA has amenities suitable for visitors of all ages.
The campground has 146 RV friendly sites that vary from being full hookup to electric only. The sites are quite large and are suitable for RV's up to 85 feet in length thanks to the pull-through sites. Visitors also have the option of residing in a deluxe cabin or tent site.
The campground has some great amenities, including Wi-Fi, mini-golf, swimming pool, cable TV, snack bar, skate park, outdoor bowling alley, showers, toilets, laundry facilities, and a dump station. Reservations are recommended at Auburn Hills / Holly KOA, and the campground is open from April until November.
For visitors looking for a more luxurious stay, there are two deluxe cabins available for rental at Holly Recreation Area. The cabins are suitable for up to six adults, feature nearly 450 square feet in living space, and have a gorgeous 32-foot long front porch. Inside you will find two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and living area. These cabins were the first of their kind to have indoor plumbing at a Michigan State Park and they also will give you private access to Wildwood Lake.
Reservations for the Deluxe Cabins are highly recommended and can be made online prior to your arrival. The cost per night depends on what days of the week you are staying.
Seasonal activities in Holly Recreation Area
If you love to bird you will love your visit to Holly Recreation Area. The various rolling hills, forest, prairies, and lakes provide many different habitats for the birds that call the area home. On the lakes, you will see various migrating waterfowl while if you stick to the wooded areas you may get the chance to see some local songbirds singing until their heart's content. Hot tip: If you see a park ranger during your stay, ask them for any recommended birding areas.
Holly Recreation area is one of three Michigan State Parks with a water park on-site. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be an American Ninja Warrior, now is your chance to find out! The Whoa Zone is a water obstacle course that provides participants a fun, safe, and challenging experience. Try out the semi-circle step, the gigantic springboard, the wiggle bridge, the half-pipe and more, and experience what fun feels like!
The Holly Recreation Area has many day-use facilities for the visitors who enjoy relaxing outside in the warm weather. The Sunset Ridge Picnic Shelter, located next to the disc golf course, is a reservable shelter offering picnic tables and a large grill. Visitors can rent horseshoes, volleyballs, and disc golf discs and play all day outside. This shelter is close to modern restrooms and water. The Oak Flats Picnic Shelter is set up in a wooded area and is close to some of the hiking trails. It offers a grill, picnic tables, and access to modern restrooms, electricity, and water as well as a volleyball net and a basketball area. If you want an elevated view of the park, picnic at the Overlook Picnic Shelter. This shelter is close to the Wilderness and Lakeshore trails and has a grill, picnic tables, water, campfire rings, and access to water.
The Holly Woods Disc Golf course is a place where the entire family can have a fun time. The rolling woodland course allows both nine and 18-hole games. Beginners to disc golf enthusiasts will have fun on the course because it challenges people of all abilities. Visitors can borrow discs at the park for no additional cost. Because this course is a PDGA sanctioned course, tournaments take place here often. On tournament days, park guests become spectators instead of players. Come and see what disc golf is all about!
Visitors interested in hunting can do so at Holly Recreation Area during the designated season. Most of the park is open to hunting, but pay attention to signs warning where hunting is not allowed. Common species hunted at Holly Recreation Area include deer, turkey, waterfowl, rabbit, and squirrel. For more information about licenses, deer check stations, and season times, call the park office.
Take advantage of cooler temperatures and bike or hike the trails in and around Holly Recreation Area during the spring and fall. Using the paths during the off-season allows hikers and mountain bikers to see the changing colors that occur during off-season months. The park has over 25 miles of multi-use trails that accommodate hikers and bikers of all skill levels. The trails are all one-direction, single-track trails, so hikers are encouraged to walk in the opposite direction of traffic to avoid encounters with mountain bikes. See a park map for more information on the mileage and skill levels of all of the park's trails.
Anglers can fish year-round at Holly Recreation Area. Aside from skilled anglers, kids can learn to fish with the "Fishing in the Parks" program, presented by the Explorer Ranger nature specialist. This public program is offered to the public as a free experience intended to educate kids about fishing. Fishing poles and tackle are provided for the kids participating in the program, which takes place at Heron Lake. More experienced anglers will also enjoy fishing on the lake and should contact the park or Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources for detailed fishing information. All anglers over the age of 17 must possess a valid fishing license.
Because the majority of the park is open year-round, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to experience winter activities, such as ice fishing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and snowmobile riding within the park. When visiting in the winter, please be aware that not all of the entry gates are open. Prospective winter guests should contact the park to get detailed information about winter weather activities as well as information about the weather and trail and conditions. Park entry permits are required year-round.