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On Friday afternoon, we began our first adventure in the new camper and headed northwest to Pentwater, Michigan.

We  spent the morning packing up the camper as it always takes longer than you expect. Even though I spent the majority of Thursday preparing for our trip; I still found myself doing last minute improvements to the camper that morning such as adding contact paper to cupboards to avoid dishes sliding around in route. Being new campers, I must stress the importance of lists. Lists of things to bring and lists of things to buy. Whether you use a phone app or old fashioned pen and paper–be prepared to add things during your trip for the next time.

2016-06-17 13.52.34Our trip included our furkids, my brother in law (Ian) and sister in law (Jamie) and our nephews (Ethan and Nolan). In caravan style, we headed out to Hill and Hollow Campground and even utilized walkie talkies in the trucks to communicate during the trip for fun. Speaking of trucks, our Tundra is still being built so we were fortunate to be able to borrow my brother, Mike’s, truck and not have to delay our trip.

2016-06-17 18.05.23We arrived at the the campground around four o’clock in the afternoon and promptly set up camp with lots next to each other. The furkids, Gucci & Tucker, were excited to arrive and quickly went for a walk to explore the area after the car trip.

pentwaterPhoto courtesy of The Ball Camp

Hill and Hollow Campground is located just two miles from the village of Pentwater and has been in operation for thirty two years. Ian and Jamie often visit this campground and I can understand why it is one of their favorites. The grounds are a beautiful wooded area with many trees to enjoy. There are two hundred sites at the park with modern showers and restrooms. I made it a point to confirm the facilities were clean even though we opted for a full hook-up site and utilized our camper shower during our stay. Amenities at the campground include, two heated pools, a cafe serving breakfast & lunch, ice cream shop, arcade, go karts, miniature golf, basketball & volleyball courts, playgrounds and even a campground store.

GLB_201606180728_9915Each site includes a picnic table, firepit, free WIFI access and assorted hookup choices. We had a corner lot with a gorgeous wooded forest behind us. Most of the roads are gravel which is probably easy for the park to maintain however not as nice to walk on much to Gucci and Tucker’s dismay. They did surprisingly well though and still enjoyed walking the grounds. Pets are not allowed in the pool, cafe or restroom areas though.

GLB_201606180727_9906-HDRThe weather was sunny and warm during our trip so we were able to enjoy preparing food on the grill and eating together around the picnic table outside. Gucci & Tucker had a great view from inside their Dogger while we ate.

IMG_2095We enjoyed brats, hotdogs, burgers with shared sides of fruit salad, chips, pasta salad and taco salad.


Breakfast featured delicious pancakes, bacon and eggs.


We traded off who hosted the evening campfire and enjoyed chatting until bedtime each night.

GLB_201606180948_9925Of course, we did not miss out on roasting marshmallows and making s’mores.

GLB_201606180908_9920On Saturday, Garrin & I ventured to the town of Pentwater to check out the area while Ian, Jamie & the kids went kayaking on the lake with the kayaks they brought. Gucci and Tucker also came with us so we decided to skip lunch in town. There were several restaurants available though and outdoor seating was offered at certain locations so we are likely to try dining on a return trip.

GLB_201606181218_9877Pentwater is a charming village on the western shore of Lake Michigan. It is considered an old fashioned historical town with a laid back community. The area surrounds a five hundred acre inland lake fed by a river.

GLB_201606181217_9875The local Chamber of Commerce is located downtown and was open to pick up informational brochures and maps.

The downtown is delightful and features many whimsical and appealing shops to browse. There is  Fudge & Frosting; a fudge & bakery shop, Cosmic Candy Store; a flavored popcorn store or Beach Nut offering gourmet coffee, nuts and sweets if you are looking for a treat. Beach Nut also specializes in great gift baskets to bring home.

GLB_201606181227_9883One of my favorite stores was The Glove specializing in fun and unique apparel featuring Michigan. I bought souvenir shirts and found the staff friendly and welcoming. They also own the Little Mittens store next door showcasing cute children’s Michigan apparel & home goods.

GLB_201606181223_9882I also discovered treasures at West On Monroe boutique and purchased two cute signs to decorate the camper. My flip flops decided to fall apart during this trip and reminded me that I should also pack a second pair in the future. Luckily, Pentwater is a beach town and I found shops selling flip flops. I purchased a great pair at 108 Threads.

GLB_201606181228_9884Families are also bound to enjoy walking downtown as there are cute boutiques for kids.  The Lemonade Stand Children’s Boutique is a fun and quirky puppet toy store. Storybook Village & Starlight Theatre is a quaint children’s book store with the atmosphere of small village right out of a fairy tale.  Storybook Village is considered one of the fourteen best children book stores and kids may come to enjoy story-time and assorted activities.

GLB_201606181219_9879The town has a large lawn or park area referred to as the Village Green. Many community events such as summer concerts and art fairs are enjoyed here. The Spring Arts & Crafts Festival was June 18 and 19th so we were able to explore it. This was a small town art fair which you could walk in less than an hour.

GLB_201606180132_9891Pentwater tends to have art fairs on the Village Green every month during the summer. It was fun to see the different crafts and explore. There were also a couple food vendors including a Hawaiian Shave Ice stand that I just couldn’t resist enjoying on a hot day.

In town, we saw a community Bicycle Sharing Center where you could borrow equipment to use for the day for free. What a neat idea!

GLB_201606180203_9893After we were finished walking the downtown area, we decided to drive to the beach.  Charles Mears State Park is just a couple miles away and is simply beautiful.

GLB_201606180246_9897It is located along Lake Michigan’s shoreline and there are even campsites for rental surrounded by sand and water. Dogs are allowed in certain areas of this beach and may even swim in the water. Gucci and Tucker enjoyed the sand on their feet and seeing all the people.

GLB_201606180246_9896It was fairly hot and crowded though so after strolling the beach and pier, we decided to head back to camp.


GLB_201606180247_9901There are a lot of campgrounds and bed and breakfast inns to stay at in the area if you want to check it out. Our first adventure in the camper was a lot of fun; we all enjoyed visiting Pentwater and I am sure we will come back.




Liz Ball

About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.