Nestled in a pine grove approximately 3 miles east of downtown Traverse City is Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park and Campground. This parcel of land sits across U.S. 31 from the east arm of the Grand Traverse Bay and boasts a sizable beach (accessed via pedestrian bridge) facing north to enjoy sunrises and sunsets in the pinky of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
The campground services a large number of campsites, and it has water and electric hookups at all sites. There are various sites for all camper sizes and larger capacity electrical holdings at a select few sites (20 and 30 amp hookups). Additionally, the campground has it's own dump station with about 30 water spigots placed throughout and three bathhouses spaced evenly through the middle of the camp. Pulling into the campground, a cottage for rent (fully furnished and with linens) can be viewed to the right of the entrance as well as two rustic cabins for rent; additionally, the state park offers a pop-up camper for rent seasonally.
This campground has 480 marked campsites, so it can be quite busy and loud; it is best suited for families and people who do not mind a little noise at night. Of special interest is the the beach that is accessed via the pedestrian bridge at the mid-northern end of the campground as well as a direct path connecting to the TART trail, which affords campers bike access to downtown Traverse City as well as the many wineries in the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. With these points of interest, the campground is better served as a central staging ground to visit attractions in the area, but it is less suited for the proverbial "great outdoors" experience. Keeping this in mind, for lovers of camping who still want to have small town access, the park is well suited for this.
Traverse City State Park hosts the Michigan Department of Natural Resources "Harvest and Haunts" festival on the first weekend of October. During this weekend the campground hosts a multitude of events including, but not limited to, nightly concerts, a free pumpkin carving contest (one pumpkin per campsite), a pancake breakfast, costume contests (human and pet friendly), campsite decoration contests, and, of course, trick or treating.