Exploring the great outdoors

Big Rapids is full of great places to camp and hike

Graphic by: Sarah Massey | Production Manager

As students return home for summer and Big Rapids grows a lot quieter, there is one area that becomes significantly busier — campgrounds.

Big Rapids and the surrounding areas have more than a dozen unique campgrounds for those who want to pitch a tent or park a camper. Students staying in Big Rapids for the summer who want to enjoy the great outdoors don’t even have to own their own camping equipment. The Student Recreation Centre (Rec) has equipment that they will rent to students, including tents, sleeping bags, hammocks and more.

With multiple campsites available for $20 or less and equipment rentals at the Rec ranging between $1 and $16, students have a lot of opportunities to camp this summer without breaking the bank.


Paris Park

Location: 22090 Northland Dr., Paris

Distance from campus: 7.4 miles

Cost: $20 – $30

Campsites: 66

Haymarsh State Game Area Campground

Location: 20500 140th Ave., Big Rapids

Distance from campus: 8.5 miles

Cost: $13

Campsites: 19

Brower Park

Location: 23056 Polk Road, Stanwood

Distance from campus: 11 miles

Cost: $25 – $30

Campsites: 230

Bluegill Lake Family Camping Resort

Location: 15854 Pretty Lake Dr., Mecosta

Distance from campus: 15.7 miles

Cost: $26.50 – $42

Campsites: 99

School Section Lake Park Campground

Location: 9003 90th Ave., Mecosta

Distance from campus: 18.2 miles

Cost: $25 – $40

Campsites: 167

Sandy Beach County Park

Location: 6926 E. 30th St., White Cloud

Distance from campus: 23.6 miles

Cost: $16 – $36

Campsites: 225

Whispering Oaks Campground

Location: 8586 S. M-37, Baldwin

Distance from campus: 29.8 miles

Cost: $20 – $23

Campsites: 32

Necessary equipment

Almost everything you need to go camping can be rented at the Rec, but there are a few items they don’t supply that you’ll want to bring along. Some items, such as a cooler with ice, might not be completely necessary, but if you want to bring perishable food or keep your drinks cold, it’s an important addition to your gear.

You’ll also want to check ahead to see if your campsite has electricity or water. If it doesn’t, you’ll probably want to bring a portable charger for your cellphone and extra water for drinking and putting out your fire.

All rental prices listed are per day.

Rec rentals

Tent: $8 – $16

Sleeping bag: $4

Camping chair: $1

Hammock and straps: $3

Headlamp: $1

Other items to bring

Food and drinks


Cooler with ice

Warm clothes


Bug spray


Extra water