If you like watching Great Lakes freighters, Algonac State Park is the place to go. Located on the west shore of the St. Clair River just north of the town of Algonac, the park has a great view of the river. On the other side of the river is Canada, although the only way across is either the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron or the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit.
While the park has a great view of the river, it is not directly on the river. Instead, it sits across from it on M-29/River Road, a main north-south road that runs along the coast. While the road makes the park convenient to reach, it does mean at times the traffic noise will carry into the park.
Upon entering the Algonac State Park, you’re greeted by a fairly large day-use area right past the contact station. It includes multiple picnic tables and grills, horseshoe pits, and a volleyball net. Since the day-use area is along the front of the park this is a good place to sit and watch the freighters go by.
If you want to camp, two modern campgrounds are available. The first campground is located in the front of the park right next to the day-use area. The front campground sites are mostly grassy or gravel with a few trees for shade.
The front campground sites have been upgraded to 50 AMP and approximately a dozen sites have a river view so you can set your chairs out and not miss any freighters. The only downside is these sites are right along that main road, meaning no privacy from the passing public and a decent amount of road noise. But that’s a trade-off many are willing to take for the view.
For a bit more seclusion and quiet during your stay, the second campground might be your style. It is located further back in the park and tucked into the woods in a wagon-wheel style layout. These sites are only 30 AMP, but are paved and offer a bit more privacy from each other, as well as being away from the traffic so the noise is minimal to non-existent.
If watching freighters isn’t your thing or you’re looking for other activities, Algonac State Park has a target practice range for both archery and guns. A number of trails also run through the park where you can see the remnants of the savannah and prairie environment that used to cover the area. Restoration efforts are ongoing to restore the original ecological system and habitats that were wiped out from centuries of farming.
Speaking of trails, running through the park is the Bridge to Bay Trail, a 45-mile paved trail connecting the Blue Water Bridge to Lake St. Clair. It’s a great trail for biking, walking or running.
Algonac State Park is a nice park to spend a weekend or a week. With 1,450 acres of land and its convenient location only 50 miles from Detroit, it makes a great little getaway.
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