Residents of the Detroit Metro area have it better than you might think when it comes to outdoor recreation. Less than an hour northwest from busy and developed Detroit, there is one of the greatest opportunities for RV camping, swimming, and fishing in the whole region. Proud Lake State Recreation Area is more than 4,700 acres of dense oak forest and wildflower meadows surrounding Proud Lake on the Huron River. The park is a popular destination for RV camping, kayaking, paddle boarding, fly fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and cross country skiing. Another section of the park houses the Riverhawk Lodge, a conference center, a cafe, and other modern buildings that are available to rent for private parties and gatherings such as weddings and company outings. The twenty-mile trail system is well used year-round by hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers, and even cross-country skiers. The trails explore each section of the park and follow along both sides of the Huron River as it flows through the area. Many residents of local neighborhoods regularly walk the park, and it's also a popular spot for pet owners. The sweltering Detroit summers bring droves of people to Proud Lake for water fun. It's a nice size lake for floating and feeling safe with the kids exploring the shallows. While there isn't specifically a beach, there is a giant grassy bank on the edge of the lake by the campground, and it doesn't drop off quickly from the shallows. In the summer, this area is filled with colorful float toys and beach towels. With over 100 RV-friendly sites, the sheer size of the Proud Lake's campground draws campers to this area. Electric hookups, large parking pads, and the proximity to outdoor recreation opportunities make this campground even more enticing to those with big rigs.
Proud Lake Recreation Area is in a prime location, just under an hour away from Detroit, Michigan. The drive to the park should be a breeze, even for larger vehicles, as the surrounding area is paved with well-maintained roads. Winter can often put a chink in travel plans if there is heavy snowfall or ice, so always check the local weather and road conditions before setting out.
Once inside the park, the navigation shouldn't cause any problems, but the parking often proves difficult. The entire campground is on a hillside, which can make it difficult for larger RVs to level without extra blocking. All of the sites are back-in, but roomy and extra long. The power boxes are in the rear, which can require an extension for some designs.
There are 130 campsites with power and enough room for any size equipment. There are no full hook-up sites, but there is a dump station and water fill located nearby. There are full restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and fire rings. There is also a boat ramp, and volleyball and basketball courts. Campers will need a state park pass in addition to paying for the campsite.
The campground is incredibly inviting, with extra-wide grassy spaces, and electricity at each site. The main section of the lake with a swimming area and a boat launch is just a short walk from the campground. This section of the park is also utilized frequently for many kinds of major festivals and activities open to the public. Most of the events are specifically geared toward weekend entertainment for families like zip-lines, fishing derbies, canoe races, and harvest festivals.
If there is a music festival at Proud Lake Recreation Area on the weekend, you're trying to camp, or if there are no vacant spots available, you won't have to travel far to find a place to park the rig for the night. In just over 30 minutes, you can be setting up camp at Brighton Recreation Area to the west of the park, and to the north sits Holly Recreation Area. Both areas offer numerous reservable sites for RV camping along with electrical hookups.
You won't want to be without your fishing gear on your RV trip to Proud Lake Recreation Area. A wide variety of water features provide anglers of all kinds of chances to test their skills with hatchery brown and rainbow trout. Wading in the river areas and dry fly fishing is very popular here, and it can get pretty busy on weekends. Proud Lake has some of the largest fish because the hatchery releases broodstock fish, weighing up to five pounds into the lake. Simple lure and bobber fishing in the lake closer to the campground does fine as well if you're getting the kids into it. Before heading to the water, be sure you're up to date with current fishing licenses.
With nice shallow areas located throughout the park, the whole family will find relief from the hot Detroit summers by taking a dip, so don't forget to pack the bathing suits in the campervan. Proud Lake is a perfect place to simply float around on pool toys, or to take a cooler full of cold drinks and sit lakeside for the day. Several places in and near the park rent paddleboards and kayaks for slightly more ambitious water fun. There are showers and bathrooms to change in for day use swimmers.
The Proud Lake State Recreation Area is a prime location for large Detroit area festivals and live music events. Yoga gatherings, mushroom festivals, fall celebrations, and full-blown outdoor music festivals all happen at Proud Lake. Check with the State Park and the Detroit local papers for scheduled events coming up.
Both professional photographers and RV campers at Proud Lake State Recreation Area can appreciate the numerous picture-worthy sights to be seen at this scenic state park. The spring is the best time to visit, as this is when the wildflowers begin to bloom. Violets, hepatica, and marsh marigolds are just a few varieties that you can capture with a click. Other picturesque areas in the park include the Huron River, which can be photographed either from the wooded shoreline or on the river itself via kayak or canoe. If you tread lightly along the park's trail system, you may even be lucky enough to snap a picture of the local wildlife.
The unique geography is what brings so many people to the area. Proud Lake is one body of water in a chain of several smaller lakes linked by shallow river sections. There is no better way to explore this than with a kayak. You'll be able to whisk through each of the shallow sections with ease and see every part of the Huron River as it winds through the park. Having a GPS may be helpful, as it's surprisingly easy to get lost in all the bends and turns on the water. Kayaking may be your best chance to see wildlife in the park. Follow the signs for the boat launch, or use the launch right next to your pop-up in the campground.
With twenty miles of trails to explore in the areas surrounding the lake, the river, and the marshland, the hiking opportunities abound at Proud Lake State Recreation Area. The park has a surprising amount of wildlife and forested area for being so close to Detroit, so you are sure to see something spectacular along your walk. Hikers frequent the trails all year, and it is a popular place for walking on-leash dogs.
With over twenty miles of trails within the park, some of them running parallel to the Huron River, Proud Lake State Recreation Area has plenty of terrain to explore. Instead of staying indoors, why not park the Airstream and ski once the snow flies? There is a warming shack, and most of the trails are usually groomed for classic cross-country skiing.
Visiting Proud Lake State Recreation Area can be just as fun in the off-season as it is during the summer months. Get the whole family in the campervan and head to the park during various weekends throughout the fall and winter months to get your dose of nature. The park hosts several events after the crowds thin for the year, including night hikes, harvest weekends, trick-or-treating parties, and Easter egg hunts, to name just a few. Check-in with park rangers when you arrive to see if any fun events are happening during your stay.