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Holly Recreation Area

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Great Blue Heron statuesque at swamp's edge
Copyright: Patty Elton - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Great Blue Heron statuesque at swamp's edge
Description - Holly Recreation Area is comprised of 7,800 acres featuring undeveloped natural areas of dense woodlands, open fields, numerous lakes, and several wetlands. The State of Michigan first acquired the land in 1943 officially designated it a recreation land in 1948. The original tract had 3,466 acres. More acreage was obtained in 1952 doubling the tract to 6,017 acres. The park has evolved over the years. In 1956 it saw the inclusion of Mt. Holly Ski Area, which remained on state property for only 10 years. Today, Mt. Holly along with historic Battle Alley and the Annual Renaissance Festival are favorite attractions outside the park. By 1968, Heron Lake was being constructed. In 1971 it opened for public use and by 1980 the lakeside campground moved to McGinnis Lake. Today, that campground offers modern facilities on over 160 sites.

Attractions - Holly Recreation Area's rolling hills and numerous lakes make it one of Michigan's most popular recreation destinations; over 350,000 visitors each year. The smorgasbord of outdoor activities offer something for everyone.

The campground is located at McGinnis Lake offering 161 modern and semi-modern sites. Electric and water hookups, and modern bathhouses are available. The campground facilities are open April 1 to November 1. Two-mini-cabins are located within the McGinnis Lake Campground.

A rustic log cabin, built by Bill Rolston in 1938, makes the perfect forest getaway. The cabin was once the site of many "turkey shoots" and the gathering of friends including Chief Ohiyesa. The Rolston Cabin is located near the park's main facilities but removed enough as to provide a secluded break from everyday life. This beautiful picturesque cabin has its original logs and a lovely huge stone fireplace. It is nestled amid an old growth hardwood forest dappled with stately spruce trees. Alongside the cabin sits a small reflecting pond. The pond is not recommended for fishing but it's a great place for kids to discover the wonder of aquatic pond life. It's also a great place for winter ice skating. The cabin is equipped with electric stove, refrigerator, table and benches, and living and sleeping areas. Visitors should bring their own dining ware, cookware, linens, and wood. A rustic bunk bed is in the sleeping area and an outhouse is 20 yards from the cabin. The swimming beach and campgrounds are within walking distance.

The park is a favorite with local hunters. Numerous game species thrive throughout the nearly 8,000-acres of land. Canada Geese, white-tailed deer, rabbit and squirrel are plentiful. Pheasant and ruffed grouse numbers vary. Hunting is allowed at the HRA in the campground and the day use areas. State regulations apply.

Anglers will find a choice of 13 accessible lakes typically gravitating to Heron Lake, Valley Lake, Wildwood Lake, Minnie Lake, Holdridge Lake, Little Lake and Crotched Lake. Campers typically fish McGinnis Lake. The species found in most lakes and ponds are bluegill and sunfish. Some of the larger bodies of water have a greater number of species. Heron Lake supports largemouth bass, walleye, musky, northern pike, crappie and perch. Holdridge and McGinnis lakes have largemouth bass, perch and crappie. Little Lake has populations of northern pike and bass while Crotched Lake has some bass, perch and a few catfish. Boat and canoe rental is available in season.

Other park recreations include four reservable picnic shelters, perfect for group gatherings. Individual tables and grills are offered as well. Bird watchers enjoy glimpses of over 200 resident and migratory species. Ten miles of scenic trail are available to hikers and cross-country skiers. Mountain bikers have 25 miles of designated trail. Nature photography, mushroom and berry picking, sunbathing, swimming, waterskiing, and much more is available to the visitor. Another recreation highlight is the Adventure Program series where young and old alike enjoy activities such as guided nature hikes, campfire programs, and campground events.

Recreation - Recreations abound: camping, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, sunbathing, hunting, fishing, boating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, cabin lodging, nature programs, and more.

Holly-McGinnis Lake-Modern Campground - (800) 447-2757, 144 site(s), $19
Holly-Group Use Area - (248) 634-8811, 4 site(s), Contact the park
Holly-Mini-Cabins - (800) 447-2757, 2 site(s), $45
Holly-Rolston Rustic Cabin - (248) 634-8811, 1 site(s), $80/$50
Holly-McGinnis Lake-Semi-Modern Campground - (800) 447-2757, 15 site(s), $16

Holly-Wilderness Trail - 6.4 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Holly-Whispering Pines Nature Trail - 1 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski
Holly-Lakeshore Trail - 2.4 (Miles), Fishing, Picnic Area, Picnic Shelter, Hiking, Cross Country Ski, Toilets
Holly-Holdridge Mountain Bike Trail - 23.4 (Miles), Hiking, Mountain Biking, Cross Country Ski
Holly-McGinnis Lake Nature Trail - 0.25 (Miles), Hiking, Cross Country Ski

Climate - Southeast Michigan is the warmest region in the state with summer temperatures averaging 70 degrees F (above 21 degrees C) but it is not infrequent for days to reach the high 80s. Winter temperatures are warmer as well with averages hovering just below freezing. Yearly moisture amounts range between 18 - 32 inches.

Location - Located immediately northeast of Holly, travel Interstate 75 to exit 101. Head east on Grange Hall Road and proceed one mile to McGinnis Road. Take McGinnis Road less than a mile to reach the park entrance.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My children/grandchildren and I have been camping at Holly Rec for 5 years. Now my brother and sister and their families camp with us. Holly Rec is a great place for families. The Rangers are extremely polite and helpful (my grand-daughter thinks they know EVERYTHING). The sites are always clean and the beach area with canoe rentals are a great way to spend the day. This is definately one of the nicest parks in Michigan.

Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: nice park for weekend camping. campground host is useless, providing no activities for the young ones. park staff has been rigid in enforcement of rules. not much to do within the campground. poor roads and bathrooms are very outdated

More Information

Contact Information:
Holly Recreation Area, 8100 Grange Hall Road , Holly, MI, 48442, Phone: 248-634-8811, TTY: 517-335-4623

Additional Information:
Michigan Lakes and Rivers - Michigan is one of the most unique states in the nation boasting not only thousands of acres of interior natural lakes along with miles of waterways but also expansive shorelines that touch four of the five Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie.
Michigan State Parks and Forests - Everything that makes Michigan special is embodied in the 96 State Parks. Boasting sterling recreation, Michigan State Parks and Forests invite you to enjoy one of their 14,000 campsites, 170 winter-sport areas and infinite rivers, streams, and lakes.
Southeast Michigan - Southeast Michigan, teaming with people also teams with recreation opportunities. Glacial activity left this Great Lakes region lush with hundreds of lakes, ponds, and marshes.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources - Official agency website.


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