Observing site: Lake Hudson Recreation Area
Address: Route M-156
Zip Code: 49235
Contact person: Park Authorities at W.J. Hayes State Park, 1220 Wampler's Lake Rd, Onsted MI 49625
Telephone number: (517) 445-2265
Restrictions: Michigan State Park Permit - day pass or annual available at park entrance.
Directions: Take M-34 east of Hudson, Michigan, six miles and go one mile south on M-156 to the park entrance. Click here to create a map using Google Maps.
How are the sky conditions? For South-Eastern Michigan, this is as good as it gets. The Milky Way is visible and pronounced. There is minimal sky glow from Detroit to the North East, Jackson to the North, and Toledo to the East, but all faint and localized. Lake Hudson has been designated Michigan's first dark-sky preserve.
Best horizon: Good horizons in all directions, depending on where you set up.
Comments from contributor: Observers usually set up in the picnic area parking lot. Camping is also permitted in the park and observing is possible from the less used treeless campsites away from the lake. This area is very good for how close it is to several urban areas, making dark skies readily accessible to city dwelling observers.
Town: East Tawas
Observing Site: Tawas Point State Park
Address: 686 Tawas Beach Road
Phone: (989) 362-5041
Restrictions: The site can only be used after dark by those who have rented a campsite in the campground.
Directions: Take US-23 N. through East Tawas and go E. on Tawas Beach Rd. 2.5 miles. From North: US-23 to Baldwin Resort Rd., left at stop sign on Tawas Beach Rd. Click here to create a map using Google Maps.
How are the sky conditions? There is a bit of skyglow to the west from a couple of nearby small towns, but the skies are very nice in all other directions.
Best Horizon: From northeast-northeast to south-southwest the skies are VERY good since you're looking over a minimum of 40 miles of open water on Lake Huron.
Worst horizon: The small tourist towns of Tawas and East Tawas are immediately to the west. There is a small skyglow on the western horizon.
Comments from contributor: We observed from the beach (about 300 yards from the campground), which is shielded from the lighthouse light (a flasher, not a beam-type) on the point by the high sand dunes. The best place to observe from is about 125' from the nearest road access, so a walk will be required. This park is VERY busy during peak season. Observing from the campsites, in the otherwise very nice campground, is not nearly as good on the beach due to the lights of the restrooms and other campers. However, if you're taking the family, this is a place they'll really like too.
Observing site: Headlands International Dark Sky Park
Address: 15675 Headlands Road, Mackniaw City, MI 49701
Contact: Mary Stewart Adams
Phone: (231) 436-4051
Restrictions: no camping allowed
Directions: From downtown Mackinaw City, head west on Central Avenue — the main street through the downtown. Take it as far as it goes, to the T-intersection at Headlands Road. Turn left, or south, on Headlands Road. The Headlands will be a short ways down (about two blocks) on your right. Look for the sign at the entrance. Click here to create a map using Google Maps.
Best Horizon: West
Worst Horizon: Northeast
Comments from contributor: We were the 6th international dark sky park in the US and 9th in the world when designated by International Dark Sky Association in Spring 2011.
Town: Oscoda Township
Observing Site: Lumberman's Monument National Forest Svc. Campground & Park
Address: Huron-Manistee National Forests
Phone: (989) 362-8961
Restrictions: The park seems to be open all night long, but the expansive 19-space campground is terrific ... so stay there.
Directions: From East Tawas, head north on Monument Road for 13 miles to its end at River Road. Turn right at the T intersection and follow the signs to the park entrance. Click here to create a map using Google Maps.
How are the sky conditions? Excellent skies with only one tiny, unobtrusive horizon glow from a few small towns on and near a set of lakes about 40 miles to the west.
Best horizon: There are two observing spots near the camping area. The best horizons require a short hike to one of the most exotic observing spots I've ever been to. This is the top of a 400'-tall sand dune that has a 25' square level top that stands at the level of the surrounding forest's tree-tops...nice flat horizons.
Worst horizon: The small picnic field that is just 100' from the camping area. You can get 12º-15º horizons from this convenient field by moving around a bit on the field.
Comments from contributor: If you go to the dune-top site be aware that you'll have a rather dangerous climb along a narrow hogs-back trail to get to the 25' square flat dune-top. Watch your step, if you step off the hogs-back or get off the flat top of the dune the slope of the dune rapidly increases to about a 60º incline that will drop you either about 75' to the forest floor or down a 400' tumble into the lake below, either one could be deadly. However, this exotic, beautiful dune-top site is a great place to take a blanket and your binoculars or small grab-and-go scope....I don't think I'd try taking a much bigger scope there. This is fabulous semi-primitive campsite. The sites are huge and shady, clean pit toilets are nearby and the visitors center has flush toilet and running water (though no showers) facilities available during daytime hours. How can you beat a place this nice for $15 a night.
Observing site: Fox Park Public Observatory
Address: 3979 E. Gresham Hwy
Contact: Jason Blaschka
Restrictions: The park can only be used when the observatory is occupied. Call or email Jason Blaschka to find out.
Directions: Take Route M100 exit off from Interstate 69. Take M100 north through Potterville about 2 miles to Gresham Highway (There is a sign that point the directions to Fox Park) and turn left. The park is about a mile or so on the right. Click here to create a map using Google Maps.
Best Horizon: South and West
Worst Horizon: East (city of Lansing is in this direction)
Comments from contributor: There are no visible street lights, as the observatory is off the road about 1,000 ft and surrounded by park and trees. The observatory's schedule is not posted on the web yet, but anybody that is in the area is welcome to contact me (Jason Blaschka).