A Thousand Trails Resort
Address: 4085 Bear Cave Rd., Buchanan, MI 49107
Phone: (269) 695-3050
# of sites: 135
Full hookup price: From $54/night
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Warnings: mosquitos, first-come-first served
Sitting on the St. Joseph River, this campground is lush. There are several areas in this park to camp and the first section we stayed in had full hookups, including sewer. We actually left this park in the middle of our stay to travel to Mackinac Island for a few days, then returned to continue our stay. On the grounds is the only naturally-formed cave in Michigan. This cave has a lot of history, with its connection as a stop on the Underground Railroad and having the silent film, "The Great Train Robbery," shot here.
Michigan has many, many lakes and there were probably a hundred or so within 2 hours' drive. We were also a half-hour from Lake Michigan and several tourist stops and eateries on the shore.
If you are a motocross fan, this is a perfect RV park for you as the world off-road racing championships and other major races are held at the nearby Red Bud racing complex. They were getting ready for the championships while we were there.
This is one of the few "first-come-first served" campgrounds we've used, meaning that you can reserve space in their resort but no site is assigned. It was disappointing that there were no full-hookup spots our first night or during our stay after we returned from the U.P. We were able to find 50-amp sites (most have only 30-amp in these areas) but we did not have sewer hookups. When you spend all that money with Thousand Trails, it's upsetting that you aren't even guaranteed a full-hookup site when reserving months ahead.
Another con was the mosquito problem, something they face all over Michigan because of all the lakes and standing water in the region. I had 5 bites just walking the dog one evening, and that was after using Off!
The famous cave was closed due to flooding, so no opinions about that attraction, and the heavy rain caused there to be no swimming or fishing in the river as well.
Overall, this is a decent park and we really enjoyed our neighbor's fully-stocked bar one Saturday night. Evidently they own their space and have a permanent trailer set there and decked out for weekend use. This is basically a buyer-beware park. I would make sure to start any camping stay on Sunday afternoon to make sure premium spots are available and bring lots of DEET.
Jack Huber is a novelist with 6 mysteries published, along with several books of poetry and photography. Now retired, he and his wife, Nadyne, are free to travel the country in their 32' 5th wheel and 1-ton Ford pickup.