Turtle Lake

Fall colors over Turtle Lake Campground. Credit: Turtle Lake Campground

Most commercial campgrounds in Michigan have closed for the season each year a month before family-friendly Halloween rolls around on the final day of October, according to the Traverse City Record Eagle.

So campgrounds don’t wait for a chance to colorfully decorate and send costumed children trick-or-treating from site to site.

Turtle Lake Campground in Beulah holds its Halloween a month early, scheduled this year for Sept. 16-18. Timber Ridge Resort southeast of Traverse City gets an even earlier jump, holding its Halloween party Aug. 19-21.

If you’re looking to reserve a spot for these festive Halloween events, you might want to take the same approach facilities do: Don’t wait.

“Before we closed (for the 2021 season), Fourth of July and Halloween weekend were booked,” said Heidi Alt, who runs Turtle Lake Campground along with her sister, Sara Boylan.

Located at 854 Miller Road in Beulah, Turtle Lake Campground has been operated since 2011 by Alt and Boylan’s family, headed by their father, businessman Keith Bonney. A little more than half of the campground’s 307 sites are for transient use. Alt said there’s about a two-year waiting list for seasonal spots.

Timber Ridge is reporting reservations for the 2022 camping season for its approximately 300 sites and 50 cabin spaces — which includes yurts, park models and basic cabins — are also brisk. Timber Ridge Resort is located at 4050 E. Hammond Road.

“Right now we have limited availability for certain weekends between June and August,” Timber Ridge manager Meranda Lambert said. “July is nuts and August is pretty full. Reservations are looking excellent.”

A similar tale is being told across the region, like at Lake Leelanau RV Park at 3101 S. Lake Shore Drive. The 196-site park is on the west side of South Lake Leelanau.

Lake Leelanau RV Park Manager Jennifer Rhodes said the campground has been filled up during July and August for about the last decade. Rhodes said May and June early in the year and September and October at the end of the season could be a little more unpredictable, depending on the weather.

Not any more.

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