Michigan State Parks: Hoeft

P.H. Hoeft State Park is considered by some to be one of the Michigan state park system’s hidden gems.

Tucked away in northeastern Michigan on the shore of Lake Huron, Hoeft State Park (pronounced “heft”) has the feel of a northern Michigan woodsy park but with the added bonus of sand dunes reminiscent of those you’d find along Lake Michigan.

Why is that special? Because if you know anything about the Lake Huron shoreline, you know that most of it is considerably rocky. So, to have a white sandy beach and good-sized dunes is a bit of an anomaly.

In recent years, many visitors have made this “discovery” and now are booking campsites at Hoeft when they can’t get into the state’s most popular west coast parks.

Who was PH Hoeft?

P.H. Hoeft was a big name in the Rogers City area. He ran the local department store, took over his father’s lumber business, and was the township supervisor for 40 years. He felt the land needed to be preserved so he donated it to the state where it became one of the original 15 parks created in 1920 under the Michigan State Parks Commission.

Activities at Hoeft State Park

At 300 acres, Hoeft State Park isn’t necessarily a large state park but it has a lot to offer. With one mile of shoreline, it provides a fantastic view of the sunrise over Lake Huron.

The Friends of Hoeft State Park have raised significant funds to help with improvements to the park. These include a new children’s playscape, activity pad, barrier-free pathway to the beach, AED machine, and benches. The non-profit group raises money through the sale of camping merchandise, returnable pop cans and donations.

Children's playground equipment

Explorer Guide programs led by park rangers are held weekly and include education about local wildlife, animal tracks, native plants and more. Or you can explore the park’s few miles of hiking trails on your own.

A historic stone pavilion near the beach is available to rent in advance or you can use it on a first-come, first-served basis.

Camping at Hoeft State Park

Hoeft State Park has a lovely wooded campground perfect for everything from small tents to large class A motorhomes. In 2019, the campground underwent two major improvements. First, the electrical system was upgraded to provide every site its own electrical box with some sites now having 50 amp. Second, the park strategically removed 20 campsites to create bigger pull-through sites that can accommodate larger RVs and vehicles.

If you don’t own an RV or tent you have the option of renting a mini-cabin with bunk beds, a futon, and a table. The cabin sleeps one to four people. There is no sink or bathroom and you’ll need to furnish your own linens and cookware and get water from the campground.

Sears & Roebuck Lodge

For larger groups, there is a special lodging option at Hoeft, the Sears & Roebuck Lodge. Originally built as the park superintendent’s house, the lodge was purchased from the Sears & Roebuck Company in the late 1920s.

At that time, the company sold ready-made kit houses for families to purchase, coming in a handful of floorplan options. The superintendents and their families lived here for many years until the state no longer required the superintendents to live in the parks.

At Hoeft, they have turned the house into a lodge that sleeps up to 12. It is fully furnished with linens, a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and board games. The park even provides cleaning in between rentals. The only thing you have to do is bring your own food to cook.

We were told it’s available to be booked a year in advance and it is booked solid almost every weekend. For $150 a night (minimum of 2 nights) it’s a great steal for families or a group of friends to split the costs – way nicer and cheaper than a hotel. Plus the beach is right outside the front door.

Looking for something to do outside the park?

Hop on your bike and take the paved path four miles from the park into Rogers City for shopping or dining. Or ride north two and a half miles to Lighthouse Park and Forty Mile Point Lighthouse, which is open for tours May to October. On your way, you’ll find a little roadside bakery full of delicious pastries and cookies – a must-stop!

Fourteen miles to the west, you’ll find Ocqueoc Falls, the Lower Peninsula’s only real waterfall. (Hint, it’s pronounced ahk-e-ahk. You can see the falls in this video from a trip Ari made there.) And just a few miles south of Rogers City is the world’s largest open-pit limestone mining operation. A public overlook provides an up-close view of the activities, including the large “Tonka” trucks hauling the limestone and the freighters waiting to get loaded up.

Final impressions of Hoeft State Park

Hoeft State Park is a fabulous state park for campers of all ages. Its secret sand dunes provide a great vantage point to enjoy a gorgeous sunrise over Lake Huron.

Whether you come for the weekend or spend a week, Hoeft State Park is the perfect place to relax around a fire in a wooded setting, get a suntan on the beach, watch the kids enjoy the new playscape, or check out the local area attractions.

We have plenty more adventures to come, so subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel. (We have a video about Hoeft State Park here.) You can follow us on Instagram, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, you can see our progress as we visit each park on this interactive Google Map. You also can keep track of our activities on social media with the hashtags #hikecampgo and #mistateparks100.

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