3 of the best camping spots in Isabella County

With the wild weather swings we’ve seen lately, it’s hard to believe summer camping is right around the corner.

But the staff at Isabella County Parks & Recreation (ICPR) Department is already gearing up for a great year of outdoor adventures at its three county-owned campgrounds.

Coldwater Lake Family Park“Since COVID began, so many people have discovered the wonder of the outdoors and the world of camping,” said Sue Ann Kopmeyer, ICPR director. “We’re already full almost every single weekend starting in mid-June through Labor Day weekend.”

Isabella County is home to some of the most picturesque campgrounds in the region, she said.

Whether you prefer relaxing RV camping, tent camping, or rustic cabins, it’s easy to find the right campsite at one of Isabella County’s campgrounds: Coldwater Lake Family Park, Deerfield Nature Park, and Herrick Recreation Area.

“With fishing, swimming, hiking, picnicking, canoeing, boating, and many more fun activities available, you and your family or friends can easily find the perfect campsite for your vacation,” she said.

Given Isabella County’s central location, most of the county campsites are traditionally filled with Michiganders – and nearly 60% are local residents, Kopmeyer said.

Seasonal and monthly reservations are booming, too, requiring lottery drawings for the 30 available slots. More than 50 families remain on a waiting list.

“It really shows you camping has taken off as a form of recreation for many, many people across the nation, in Michigan and right here in Isabella County,” Kopmeyer said.

Here’s a quick look at each of the three county campgrounds:

Coldwater Lake Family Park

1703 N. Littlefield Road, Weidman
Open April 29 through mid-October

Reservations: Online or (989) 317-4083
Campground map
Camping Amenities:
  • 98 modern campsites
  • 5 rustic cabins
  • 17 pull-through sites
  • Electric hook-ups
  • Modern bathhouse
Coldwater Lake Family Park is the county’s oldest campground and now includes stays in 98 modern campsites or five rustic cabins.

“Many people who camp at Coldwater are grandparents who used to bring their own kids there years ago,” Kopmeyer said. “It’s a really neat thing to see.”

While at the 28-acre park, campers are encouraged to take advantage of the all-sports lake, lounge on the sandy swimming beach, and enjoy fishing, boating, kayaking, volleyball, horseshoes, and basketball.

Herrick Recreation Area

6320 E. Herrick Road, Clare
Open April 29 through early October
Reservations: Online or (989) 317-4083
Campground map

Camping amenities:
  • 73 modern campsites
  • 5 rustic cabins
  • Community water spigot
  • Electrical hook-up
  • Modern bathhouse
Relax at Herrick Recreation Area on one of the 73 campsites or stay in a rustic cabin overlooking one of the three ponds at the 113-acre park. Bring your fishing poles and take your shot at catching the big one. Then catch some rays at the sandy beach while enjoying a picnic with family and friends.

Deerfield Nature Park
Deerfield Nature Park
2425 W. Remus Road, Mt. Pleasant
Open all year
Reservations: Online or (989) 317-4083
Campground map

Camping amenities:
  • All rustic campsites are a mile hike from the parking lot
  • 10 remote campsites
  • Accessible by hiking or canoeing
  • Hand water pump
Explore Deerfield Nature Park while hiking eight miles of beautiful. This Isabella County Park has trails perfect for hiking and biking on over 591 acres of land. Some of the trails run along the Chippewa River, with crossings at four bridges which include two swinging bridges, Lewis Pontiac Bridge, and the Fisher Annex Covered Bridge. 

All reservations require a two-night minimum stay and a three-night minimum is required for holiday weekends.

Visit Isabella County’s camping website for more information.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.