Sunday, April 26, 2009

North Shore campsites already full

This great sign was up for about a week last May just east of Tettegouche on Highway 61. It has a lesson well worth learning.

If you have a favorite Lake Superior North Shore campsite, in a favorite North Shore campground, you should be making plans NOW to ensure you get that campsite again this summer. With the state parks replacing a 90-day advance reservation with 365-day advance registration, people are already reserving well into the fall.

A quick browse of for weekend openings at North Shore state park campgrounds reveals that about 90% of the campsites that can be reserved are already reserved for weekends, all through August. Ouch.

Even the Superior National Forest campgrounds take reservations. Since our book Camping the North Shore came out a year ago, at least three of the campgrounds featured there are now taking reservations. Plan ahead if you're headed to Sawbill Lake, Crescent Lake, or Temperance River campgrounds.

If at all possible, make a reservation for your North Shore camping experience. It will let you slow down, as the sign suggest, but you are the one who "already took your campsite."

If you just can't shed that need to be spontaneous, try to be spontaneous on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning, when there are the most vacancies in the campgrounds.

If you show up on the Shore on a Friday evening and still don't have a reservation, there are a few places you could try. No promises, but Ninemile Lake campground up the Cramer Road from Finland and Two Island Lake campground north and west from Grand Marais almost always have some sites open. Also, it seems like Lambs Resort in Schroeder nearly always has someplace they can fit another camper, especially if you're in a tent.

Plan your day and your vacation just enough, and you can fully enjoy your North Shore vacation.


jmcc said...

so, how does the 365 advance reservation work for cancellations? I guess I foresee a handful of empty campsites of people who made other plans. Is there a standby policy? thankfully I have a good handful of midweek days off this summer, so I'll try my hand at spontanaeity for now!

Blogging the North Shore said...

Great question. Actually, cancellations are the best hope many people have to get a prime weekend campsite. Here's some details from the DNR:

There is a $10 cancellation fee. plus your original $8.50 reservation fee is non-refundable.

If you cancel more than 14 days ahead, you get all your actual campsite fees back (typically $18). But within 14 days, you lose your first night's campsite fee .

I think if someone doesn't cancel their reservation, after the first night the site and reservation are released. Some spontaneous person gets lucky.