Camping without mosquitoes in MichiganI'd like to take my family camping in Michigan. The only time we get up there is in August, however. Are mosquitoes going to ruin the trip? How big a problem are they? Would it be better to try to rent a cabin instead? I've camped with mosquito swarms, and it's no fun. - Steve, Asheville, N.C.
August actually is the best time to camp in Michigan because it tends to be drier, and many bugs have died off. In June, black flies can make camping miserable, especially in the Upper Peninsula.
I've hiked through deep forest in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on the Upper Peninsula in late July and didn't encounter many mosquitos, nor did I see any along the Lake Superior or Lake Michigan shorelines in late June. I called Cheryl Greaney of Michigan's DNR, and she thinks you must have hit the state after a hatch.
Greaney suggests state parks on Lake Huron — Harrisville, Lakeport, Tawas Point (which has a cool lighthouse and a nice beach), Port Crescent — partly because you'll have a lake breeze that drives away mosquitoes and partly because they're less crowded than the Lake Michigan beach parks, which are 100 percent reservable and already booked for weekends (state parks book six months in advance; state forests are first come, first served).
I love Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Upper Peninsula, which tends to have a problem with flies (see Afoot in the Porkies), but it's usually drier in August and thus relatively bug-free. The last two weeks especially are a great time to camp, because campgrounds are less busy.
Michigan does have a great variety of cabins, if you want to go that route; 37 state parks include 63 mini-cabins that sleep four and cost $45. Reserve up to a year in advance at 800-447-2757, www.midnrreservations.com. The Porkies have 19 wood-heated cabins (three of them include boats) and three yurts, $60; call the park at 906-885-5275.
You really ought to be fine, especially if you stick to campgrounds on the Great Lakes. Good luck!