6760 West Empire Hwy. M-72
Empire, Michigan 49630
Indigo Bluffs is a unique RV park located in the Sleeping Bear Dunes region of Northwest Michigan (formerly known as Sleepy Bear Campground). The campground is divided into two sections. The western section is the motor coach resort dedicated only to those with class A motorhomes. It is an upscale version of campground. There are sites that can be rented nightly, weekly, and monthly. Additionally, there are sites which can be purchased as well. The eastern side of the park is the Indigo Bluffs RV Park, which allows for any type of camping. The website is a bit misleading as it says there is no tent camping. When I called they corrected that information. There are actually several very nice/shaded tent sites available. We camped in a popup and therefore stayed in the eastern section. This review will be based on that portion of the campground. The Indigo Bluffs RV Park consists of 132 sites, 18 of which are 30 amp full hook ups and 8 pull thru full hookups. The campground also includes rustic cabins (some of which resemble converted sheds) and at the time of our visit, they were building a number of cottages. We stayed at site #108. Indigo Bluffs has a decent-sized camp store that offered food, RV supplies, and souvenirs. Firewood can be purchased for $6 per bundle and it is delivered to your site. The staff was quite friendly and helpful. Ike was especially helpful giving us advice on local restaurants and such. There is free Wi-Fi but there are areas where the signal is weak. there is a laundry room adjacent to the camp office and additional bath/showers.
The campground was well maintained with paved roads and gravel/dirt camp sites. The landscaping around the camp store and pool was well maintained with many areas of pretty native wildflowers. There were a number of camp hosts that worked throughout the day to keep the place looking good. Campers could place their trash bags at the front of their site by 10:00 a.m. and the hosts would drive around to pick them up.
Rating: (One to five lanterns with five being the highest)
There are many great things to do within a 30 minutes radius of Indigo Bluffs. First and foremost, there is Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan. In addition, there are other beautiful lakes that offer crystal clear water with a blue tint one would find in the Caribbean. These include Little and Big Glen Lake, Little Traverse, Leelanau, and others. Most of the beaches do not allow dogs, however we found two spots to bring our dogs to swim one was at the end of Esch Road just three miles south of Empire. This was a nice area of beach to walk the dogs and it was not very crowded with people. Another spot where dogs are allowed is at the Settler’s park on Glen Lake. This is a small park with a small area of shoreline and a very long community dock. Dogs are not allowed in the picnic or playground areas but they are allowed in other areas and pick up bags are provided.. The famous highway, M22, offers beautiful views of the lake and scenery of Northwest Michigan.
There a variety of great restaurants near Indigo Bluffs. In the small town of Empire (3 miles away), Joe’s Friendly Tavern is a great place to get a burger. They are a bit pricey but well worth it. Glen Arbor is about a 15 minute drive and offers great places to eat like Art’s Tavern or Boone Docks. If you do eat at Art’s, know that they do not accept credit cards, only cash and checks. Top of your meal with a piece of cherry pie and ice cream at Cherry Republic or just load up on all of their delicious free samples of everything cherry you can imagine
The town of Glen Arbor has unique gift shops, outdoor outfitters, and others. The M22 store is a favorite of ours too with M22 shirts, stickers, and other souvenirs.
If you are wine connoisseur, this part of Michigan is the place to be. In this northwest region of Michigan, there are 25 different wineries in the Leelanau Peninsula offering wine tastings and tours. Our favorites include Bel Lago, Black Star Farms, and Boathouse Vineyards. For more information, click this link http://www.lpwines.com/.
There are tons of other activities, too much to describe in this campground review. There are places to rent canoes and kayaks or go tubing. Fishing is big in this area with Lake Michigan as well as the smaller inner lakes. Charter fishing is available. Horseback riding is nearby at HH Stables. Traverse City is only 20 miles away with great breweries, shopping, and galleries. Long story short, you will find plenty of things to do in this peninsula. Some of the activities may require 30-45 minute drive, however, there are some just down the street from Indigo Bluffs.
Indigo Bluffs has a variety of activities within the campground suitable for families. There is a playground centrally located in the campground that includes swing set, slides, sand play ground, and merry-go-round. It is located in a medium-sized field, great for toss a ball around a game of backyard football. Indigo Bluffs also has a basketball court, sand volleyball court, horseshoes, and pickleball. There is a decent sized pool located next to the camp store. They say it is heated but that may be a bit questionable. The water was ok but I would not say it was heated. Although there are nearby biking trails and hiking trails, we were bit disappointed that there were no hiking trails within the campground to walk the dogs. There was also no fenced in dog area. As we walked next door to the motorcoach resort, we noticed they did have a dog run. There are a few roads located within the campground that would equal about a mile of walking, however. There are several dog pick up bag /trashcan stations throughout which is a nice convenience.
Indigo Bluffs does a good job maintaining their modern bath houses and restrooms. Generally speaking, they were kept clean and well stocked. Showers offered enough space to hang your towel and clothes and room to move around. The water flow was good and the temperature was great. However, please note that in order to use the shower, you must insert a quarter. This usually lasts about 3 minutes or so. Two quarters per shower would be sufficient. Though this did not break the bank, in all of our camping, this is the first time we encountered pay showers. The toilet paper in the restroom was on a square bar as opposed to a round bar, therefore, making it pretty impossible to roll out a piece of toilet paper. This may seem nit-picky but when you are already “roughing it” camping, sometimes it is the little things like freely being able to roll TP that are much appreciated. 🙂