Otsego Lake State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Nestled under a cover of trees in Michigan, is Otsego Lake State Park. This 62-acre park is surrounded by large oak, maple, and pine trees. Established in 1920, the land was purchased by the state from a lumber company. The Civilian Conservation Corps later built many structures within the state park during the 1930s. Some of these buildings still stand today, including a pavilion in the north campground loop.

While the state park is open year-round for park visitors to enjoy, the campground is open seasonally each year from April to November. Large RVs can easily be accommodated at most campsites. Reservations can be made online to secure a spot prior to your stay. Amenities at the state park include a sandy beach, a playground, picnic area, and boat launch. Otsego Lake is pet-friendly though pets must remain on a leash at all times.

During your visit to Otsego Lake State Park, there are many activities to enjoy. Drop your boat into the lake to explore the many areas of the five-mile long lake. The lake is filled with many different types of fish including walleye and bass. Those who plan to fish won’t be disappointed. For hot summer days, the sandy beach is the perfect spot to relax whether you plan to lounge in the sand or splash around in the swimming area.

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Transportation in Otsego Lake State Park

Driving

Otsego Lake State Park is located near Gaylord, Michigan. It can be reached via I-75 and through Gaylord. The small city of Gaylord has much to offer in services and supplies and is just a short drive from the state park.

A Michigan Recreation Passport is required for both day-use and camping at the state park. Once inside the park, those with RVs will find it easy to navigate the roads in the camping and day-use areas. The campsites are mostly level and the parking pads are long and spacious.

There are many ways to get around to the numerous activities within the 62-acre state park. From the north campground, visitors can take the footpath which travels near the shoreline, to the beach and day-use area. You may also walk, bike, or drive on the roads within the park.

Parking

There is a parking lot near the day-use area.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Otsego Lake State Park

Campsites in Otsego Lake State Park

Reservations camping

Otsego Lake State Park Campground

There are 155 campsites at Otsego Lake State Park. These campsites can accommodate large RVs and travel trailers. Travelers will have no trouble parking their rig in these spacious campsites with the longest parking pad at 75 ft. Reservations can be made online. The campsites have 30 and 50-amp electric hookups. Other amenities at the campground include restrooms and water taps.

The campground is open from April to November each year. Though the park is open until November, water at the park is shut off during October due to the possibility of freezing night-time temperatures. Vault toilets remain open after water is shut off.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Otsego Lake State Park

In-Season

Picnic

In between activities at Otsego Lake State Park, enjoy lake views over a picnic. The picnic area at the state park is near the lake’s shoreline. There are many picnic tables as well as picnic shelters which are perfect for reunions, celebrations, and other gatherings.

Toss your food on the grill and enjoy the lake views and company of your group. Once finished eating, the beach and fishing pier are just steps away.

Beach

Otsego Lake State Park has a sandy beach which is perfect for enjoying on hot summer days. Lounge in the sand to soak up the sun or jump into the water. The designated swimming area keeps swimmers and boats that may be out on the lake separated. Bring along a floating lounger to drift about while you enjoy the cool, refreshing water. Water volleyball is also a popular activity on hot afternoons.

Restrooms and the picnic area are located next to the beach.

Boating

Bring your boat or other watercraft with you along for your visit to this state park. Otsego Lake provides plenty of opportunities for water recreation. The boat launch at the park provides quick access to drop your boat into the lake water. Spend the afternoon water skiing with a group of family or friends.

For something a little more peaceful, explore the shoreline by kayak or canoe. Whatever you choose to do, you'll enjoy the lake’s breeze and refreshing water as you paddle or drive up and down the lake.

Off-Season

Metal Detecting

Otsego Lake State Park is one of the many Michigan state parks where metal detecting is permitted. See what treasures or pieces of history you may find during your visit to the state park. Metal detectors are allowed in the camping loops in addition to the day-use area.

Be sure to share your findings with the park staff to make sure your treasures are something you can keep or something that needs to stay at the park.

Fishing

Otsego Lake provides anglers with a fantastic fishing opportunity. Utilize the park’s boat ramp to fish further out on the lake or instead from the floating fishing pier near the day-use area.

There are several types of fish that you may reel in. Walleye, northern pike, perch, and bass are likely to be caught while fishing on Otsego Lake. To fish on Michigan’s waters, a fishing license is required.

Trails

There are trail options here for biking, hiking, and even snowmobiling if visiting during the winter. The Iron Belle Trail extends through many counties and municipalities in northern Michigan. This trail runs through the park entrance. Iron Belle can be traveled by foot, bike, or snowmobile.

There is also a trail within the park that runs the length of the park near the shoreline. While out on the trail keep an eye out for many different types of birds and other wildlife that live or migrate through the park.

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