Getting the season started right:Campers don’t have to stray far from home |

Getting the season started right:Campers don’t have to stray far from home

Growing up in Michigan, Memorial Day always signaled the start of summer, but more importantly, it meant that camping season had begun.

As far back as I can remember, my family spent every weekend of every summer in Northern Michigan on Lake Leelanau in a little town called Cedar.

I remember climbing into our 1979 Chevy van first thing after school on Friday. We would always pack the night before. I can remember sitting in our van for two hours and 45 minutes as I sat waiting to see the sign, “10 miles to Leelanau Pines Campground,” like it was yesterday.

The moment we pulled into the campground and my father shut off the engine I was out the door running with our dog Winston down to the stream.

I can practically smell the cedar trees as I write. I can definitely hear my parents call after me, “Put some shoes on and hurry back to help unpack the van.”

But I was gone, off in my own little world. In the woods, away from the city and ready to begin a long summer.

Each year Memorial Day weekend was the big kick off to the summer. A shotgun start, if you will.

Maybe it was the extra day off of school, or that in Michigan the weather was just starting to warm up.

Whatever the case, it was always the first weekend I jumped into Lake Michigan, or took a hike in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park.

It was also the first weekend of rediscovering bike trails and climbing trees, sitting around crowded campfires or searching for constellations in the stars.

Since the weather in Tahoe has finally come around, it looks like Memorial Day weekend will be the perfect start to a great camping season.

There are quite a few options when it comes to camping in the Tahoe region.

Donner Memorial State Park will open the creek loop for camping. This loop offers 57 campsites, but the park plans to open more loops if necessary. There are no reservations, so the sites are strictly first come first serve. The cost is $15 a night.

For those campers who want to spend a fair share of their weekend on the water, the Boca Stampede Area offers a number of options.

Boca, Boca Rest, Boca Spring, and Boyington Mill campground are all located in the Boca Stampede Area. The cost of all of these campgrounds is $12 dollars a night.

Boca has 20 sites available, Boca Rest has 25 sites, Boca Spring has 17 sites, and Boyington Mill has 12 sites.

Logger Campground has 252 sites available; the cost is $15 a night.

Emigrant Group Campground is reservation only, call for information on rates and site availability.

Call 1(877) 444-6777 to make reservations for Logger Campground and Emigrant Group Campground.

Davies Creek is a free campground with seven campsites.

Boating, skiing, wakeboarding, fishing and swimming are allowed in the Boca and Stampede reservoirs.

Highway 89 also offers a few more campground options.

Lakeside Campground has 30 sites available for $12 a night.

Prosser Campground has 29 sites available for $12 a night. Prosser Ranch Group has only one campsite available by reservation only. The cost is $86.25 a night.

Granite Flat is probably the best bet for large RV’s and trailers. With 75 campsites available, the cost in $14 a night.

All of these campgrounds have toilets.

“We’re expecting a really big Memorial Day weekend turn out. Anytime were we have a really late wet spring people are really wanting to get out of the cities and come up to the National parks and forest,” said Ann Westling of the National Forest Service.

For directions to any of these campgrounds call the Tahoe National Forest office at 265-4531 or visit For reservations call 1(877) 444-6777 or visit

For backcountry camping, Desolation Wilderness is a great choice. Desolation Wilderness is 63,960 acres.

Wilderness permits are required for day and overnight trips into Desolation. For information on permits call 644-6048, 573-2674, or 573-2694.

These are just a few choices to kick off the camping season. For more information visit and follow the links to camping. This Web site provides phone numbers for all of the campgrounds, as well as directions.

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