Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Best Family Memory 2013

It is hard to believe that we started this journey five years ago!  As we celebrate our 5th Birthday, we decided to ask our campground family to submit their favorite family memory.

The following are the submissions that we received:


Birthday: 07-01-1983
2.  My favorite memory is camping there last memorial weekend for the first time with our 1 year old son who had never been camping before. He had a blast riding ( being pushed :) )on his bike, making s'mores, and sitting around the campfire for the first time. Love what you guys are doing in the park:)!!

3.  The Best memory that I have from South Haven Family Campground would have to be the summer of 2011.  We were celebrating my wife's 30th Birthday.  We had gathered up a huge group of family members, extended family, and close friends for the event.  We had 7 camp sites, 3 cabins, and many drive ins for the day.

It was great to get everyone together and out in nature for the weekend, we let everyone do there own thing, but many chose to hang out at the campground for the day and partake in the activities that were going on.  That Saturday evening we all gathered for a HUGE cookout and celebration all 50+ people...Many good times, great food, and memories were shared it was a blast.

Ever since we took that trip each time we come back we still talk about who camped where and how much fun we have.  People that attended tell us what a great time they had at the party and campground, and almost all of them have been back sense.  

To me that is a great memory when people continue to talk about it year after year.  We hope to have an even bigger 40th party for her and create more memories for that one.

December Birthday

4.  My favorite memory would have to be last summer. We brought our 5 children (yes, FIVE!) to your campground for the first time and they had a blast! Now, every time we ask the kids what they want to do, it's "go to South Haven!". I'm attaching a photo from our trip last summer taken by our cabin which tells the story all by itself! 

April 18th


5.   Dear South Haven Family Campground Staff,
            Me and my fiance are writing to you relating to your birthday contest of best memory at SHFCG. While there were many to choose from, I believe one stood out above all the others. We visited you guys for our second time in 2011, right around the time of our 2 year anniversary. We brought a couple friends along who we were trying to "match up" at the time, and we decided instead of staying in the cabins (which we knew were nice because we stayed in them the first year), we would camp out in tents. Unfortunately, we didn't check the weather forecast for the weekend, and we ended up paying for that one (it down-poured for about a half hour that Saturday while we were in town having a nice lunch at Maria's), and when we returned, our tent was literally under 3-4 inches of water. While the gals sat in the car, laughing at our despair, me and my friend grabbed everything we could save from the tent and then gathered up our soaked bedding and clothing and tossed it in garbage bags. Now, you might think that I seem to be telling you our worst story. However, here's what makes it the best. After getting everything out of the tent and draining it of all the water, the sun suddenly came out, burning nice and hot. I had to run into your offices and purchase a SHFCG T-shirt (the nice bright green one) because everything I had was drenched, and then we sat in the laundry area for about 3 hours cleaning all of our stuff. Once all that was done, we brought everything back to our now dry tent, remade everything up, and lay there with the windows open and the sun shining through. And then it happened. I don't know why I thought it was a good time, or why I went for it without full preparation, but it just felt right. That was the day I proposed to my now fiance. Right there in that very tent in your campground. Something about that time during that day in that very spot just seemed perfect. Not only did she say yes, but right afterwards we looked over to see our two friends hugging. When I asked what was going on, we were informed that he had just asked her out, and she had said yes. Something magical seems to have been in the air, and because of that trip, every year when we come to South Haven, we don't look anywhere but your campground. We were originally supposed to book a few cabins for this summer for our wedding, but a delightful little interruption came along (our little baby boy), and now I feel like the only proper thing to do is to carry on our tradition (going on 4 years strong and counting) with him. We would be beyond honored to be able to come and stay at your campground again this year, however, money has gotten tight and we're scrambling to find ways to do so. No matter what, if we're able to make the trip, we'll be staying at SHFC, but this would help us out a ton and allow us to continue this tradition and share that magical feeling with our son. Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and I wish the best to everyone entering the competition, as I'm sure there are many great stories. I just hope ours is the kind of fairytale that tops them all.

April 23rd

6.  My family LOVES your campground! Five years ago when you first opened, the Mom's group from my church stayed at your campground. We had about 10 families, some in tents, some in trailers, some in cabins, and some in the cabins with hot tubs. We had a potluck dinner where we set up picnic tables in a long line throughout the center of the campground. Everyone was laughing and having a great time, being together, and leaving their worries from work and home behind. We all loved the atmosphere South Haven campground offered for us to be together. Memories were made and cherished. The weekend was such a success, that we returned the next year for another fun filled camping trip.

July 2

7.  .  My best memory of our stay at South Haven Family Campground would be the weekend that my husband and I stayed and it didn't just rain the whole weekend; it stormed the whole weekend! It was nice the day we got there, so we set up out tent and put our canopy over the entrance and got all set up. That night, it started storming. There was thunder and lightning, so we moved out air mattress to the middle of the tent and everything was good. in the morning, it was still raining. so we moved the picnic table under out canopy and just watched it rain. we watched movies and read books. It was so relaxing! Luckily we stayed right across from the bathrooms (when that was still a tent spot). We went to the beach to watch it storm for a while. We would go to the office and get some coffee. Everybody in the office was so sympathetic! It was surprisingly a really fun weekend! Thank you for being great hosts!

October 6

8.  There are so many awesome memories at SH family campground, it was so hard to pick.

Last year, we rented to roadster and took our family around the campground on it. There was much laughter because it was harder to pedal then expected. The banana bikes and the roadster were a great memory.

 August 9

9.  We have been going to SHFCG for many years and enjoy every minute of it. We have so many favorite memories, like the time when we were watching this camper trying to start his fire in the pit and Cayden showed him how to use the fire starter. All the times we tie dyed, we love doing that and we do it each time we go. We enjoy every minute of our stay and feel so welcome. Susan and Kyle are super nice and very helpful. It is so hard to pick just one memory when we have so many. We are looking forward to this summer with the pool and all the new stuff Susan has planned and to making new memories.


10.  Every year we go in October to be a part of your Halloween contest, scary spooky haunted house (which always scares the bejesus out of me), you have the nicest, most polite people who work there and I just love this campground. Mike and I have traveled thru out almost all the states and we talk about this one the most. Have to say this campground around Halloween is the best EVER! Looking forward to this year, will be in sometime in the future to make our reservation.

March 21, 1941

11.  We first visited your campground when our daughter was transferring back home to Eastern Michigan University from Western 3 years ago.  She had never been to your area of Lake Michigan – only north to Petoskey and Harbor Springs and we thought we needed to explore the area before she left the south west part of the state.   We booked the hot tub cabin since we came in early May and knew that swimming in the lake was out of the question.  We were one of only a handful of campers that weekend.  It poured rain and the wind howled and occasional lightening would send us running for shelter.  But we had the best weekend ever!  We sat around the fire until the weather forced us back indoors and still managed to cook most of our meals outside.  We have great pictures of my husband in three layers of clothing cooking Saturday morning bacon and eggs on the grill!  We spent time in South Haven, shopping and walking along the water and took some great photos at the lighthouse!  We sat in the hot tub watching the clouds stream by in the wind – and eventually the weather cleared for our last day.  It was one of the most relaxing vacations we ever had, in spite of the questionable weather.  We have been camping all of our lives and have never found a friendlier, cleaner, more comfortable campground and one that is so dog friendly!  We’ve been back once since and are currently checking our calendars to plan a return visit in the month or so.  Keep up the great work and we’ll see you soon!

 May 23

12.  We love to camp at South Haven Family Campground any time of year.  From tent camping in summer to staying in the cabins with a hot tub in fall, we always make great memories!  But, I think our best camping memories are when we stay around Halloween.  

For a few years now we have rented cabins in late October.  Our family from Chicago tries to meet us there, and it is an forgettable time with loved ones.  
One year the kids all dressed up and trick or treated around the park.  Another year a few adults and the older kids went to a haunted corn maze nearby, and last year the kids enjoyed going through the haunted house at the campground.

The new cabins are fantastic.  Having the kitchen area makes cold weather camping even more relaxing.  We spent hours at the table playing board games and warming up after freezing at the 'Gold Mine'.

Our family loves staying at South Haven Family campground.  We look forward to staying there again soon and swimming in the pool for the first time!

June 17

13.  Best Memory was last July,bring all the Grandchildren and our oldest daughter,her Husband to the Campground.It was so hot,we put up a little wading pool for the kids,and us to put us feet in.We made a campfire,in the Heat, so the kids could have s’mores,but had the fan blowing on the Adults,we couldn't take more heat. Every time we have been to the Campground,we have a Great time,Thanks for having a Great Place,for families to stay and do activities,with their kids.We tell everyone about South Haven Family Campground! We love it there.Staying with the Novotny Family,will always be your best Memory!


14.     My favorite memory is Susan on a tractor pulling the little kids around the park in the little train made for the kids. I don't know who was having more fun.

15.  This is so easy.   Our Wakley family camps the 3rd weekend in July as a group.  We have done it for over 15 years.  There are 4 siblings and each year, a different sibling gets to pick where we go to camp for the weekend.  We have been all over the lower peninsula on our adventures.  In 2008, it was my turn to pick.  My brother was working at the Cook Nuclear Plant that year so we were trying to stay close by so he could participate.  I found you through an internet search.  I didn't realize it was your first year.  We pulled up to tiny trees and a campground in it's first year.  Well it's about family and not a huge amount of amenities because we are such Lake Michigan fans and we knew we would be at the beach most of the weekend.  Mother Nature did not cooperate.  A torrential rain started late Friday night and continued through all day Saturday.  We were in a collection together and through the ingenuity of my brothers and husband, we built a tarp community between the camp sites.  My one brother stayed in a brand new Cabala's tent that was almost 2" under water but the tent stayed dry!  The rain finally stopped late Saturday afternoon so we could have our cook out and enjoy being out from under the tarps.  The stars came out and we were able to have our family sing along around the campfire and enjoy Lake Michigan after we broke camp the next day.  

That camping outing is the most talked about of all of them.  When I suggested going there again in 2012, I did not hear one word of complaint.  I did hear the comment, "Well the trees should be bigger this time".  LOL.   We had a great family weekend in 2012 and we look forward to staying with you again in the future and watching you grow.

October 29

16.  Best Favorite Memory: My husband and I rented a cabin to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary. We also found out during our stay that we were pregnant with our first baby!!! That is a weekend I will never forget! Our daughter is now 1 year old and this summer will be her second visit to South Haven Family Campground. Her first trip was when she was 4 months old! Thank you for all the great memories! We love it there and we love the staff and can't wait for this summer!! 

December 8th

17.  Best memory was our first trip. We went for Halloween and we won best campsite, best costume, and guessed the candy jar exactly correct. Plus we had a memorable time with our friends

18.  Our best memory was pulling up to SHFCG last season and seeing all the improvements. We acted like proud family members. Not to mention, I burned my chin on melted cheese from our pie iron dinner.


19.  the 1st ever visit. we talked with you for a while & had a great visit. Then we discovered gingermans just around the corner. it is such a great place to camp & do so much stuff in such a short distance, or just stay play &visit.

20.  Best memory of SHFCG happened last summer. My son was riding his bike around the campground and somehow his foot slipped off the pedal and he gouged his shin on the spikes on the pedal. My husband and sons drove up before I had gotten out of work and I hadn't arrived yet. Thankfully the owner's wife is an RN and took a look at his wound and told my husband what to do for it. After I arrived I took him to South Haven's ER for his first ever stitches! I was VERY appreciative of such nice, caring people! It truly is a "family" campground!!

21.  Best memory was finding your campground on the internet and being completely blown away with your little campground and the hospitality that you have always backed up. Thank you Kyle and Susan our little Kaidance absolutely fell in love with you guys in fact it took her over a year to understand that Michigan was Michigan and not South Haven Family Campground:)
22.  Our best memory of SHFCG was actually getting ready for our second visit. My then 4 year old son commented that "SHFCG was his favorite cause the people were so nice."
23.  There are so many awesome memories at SH family campground, it was so hard to pick. 
Last year, we rented to roadster and took our family around the campground on it. There was much laughter because it was harder to pedal then expected. The banana bikes and the roadster were a great memory. 

August 9th

 “Best Favorite Memory” of our stay at South Haven Family Campground"

Almost two years ago to the day, four of my best friends from college and I gathered
together in the great city of Chicago. It was spring 2011, the weather was warm and it was
the first time in a long time that we had all been together at a place that was not a wedding
reception. The sunshine and promise of a long weekend together was making us giggly
with giddiness. At the time, we had made a tentative pact with each other—despite the
distance and time and cost, we would try to get together once a year, near Memorial Day, to
reconnect. This year was our first attempt at a reunion vacation and we were going on a
weekend road trip to Michigan.

Here we are getting ready to head toward Michigan’s sandy beaches, the quaint town of
tulips, Holland, and the picturesque South Haven Family Campground. Choosing to stay at
South Haven was a bit of a compromise. A cabin stay appeased the more nature‐loving
among us while at the same time the campground with indoor restroom facilities allowed
satisfying accommodation for the…less nature‐loving among us. Plus, South Haven was
very affordable for our post‐grad school, post‐wedding, entry‐level job budgets. For our
reunion trip, we had decided to keep a travel journal. As you can see from the very first
entry, we had very high expectations for our stay.



Meghan and Joyce still needed to go brush their teeth. We started to encourage them to go SOON because the sky did not look pretty—there was some lightning. They finally left and several minutes later the sky opened up and bucketful’s of rain began to pour from the sky as if it hadn't rained there in years. It was an intense downpour. Tracey, Julia, and I looked at each other with dread and fear in our eyes. Here is a script of what happened:

Julia: “Oh no! It’s raining so hard!”

Tracey: “Should we take them down umbrellas and jackets?!”

Me: “Why don’t we just drive and pick them up?! Where are the car keys?? I think I saw Joyce’s purse up in the loft.”

[Tracey runs up to the loft and starts rummaging through the purse.]

Tracey: “No! This is Meghan’s purse! Joyce’s purse is down there!!”

Me: “Oh! Yes, the wicker purse is Joyce’s.”

[Tracey and I both continue to look through the purses for a bit.]

Me: “I can’t find them! Did you find them up there??”

Tracey: “NO!”

Julia: “Oh! They’re right there!” [Julia points to the arm of the futon.]

[Tracey races back downstairs. We quickly put on flipflops and jackets and get ready to go

Julia: “Wait! I’m coming too. I don’t want to be left alone in the cabin by myself.”

[The three of us go outside and look up.]

Tracey: “Oh. It’s not really raining that hard anymore.”

[Tracey looks toward the bathroom. It is too dark to see anything….or anyone.]

Tracey (yelling into the darkness): “DON’T COME!!”

I get into the driver’s seat, but I hadn't driven this car before. It took a bit to find the headlights, but finally I slowly started to back out of the drive.

Julia: “It’s so dark. Wonder if they are coming back? Don’t run over them!

I realize that I can’t really see because there is so much rain on my glasses. I pause the backing up to wipe off my glasses quickly and then continue.

Tracey: “STOP! They’re right there.”

I look out the passenger side rearview mirror and see Meghan and Joyce bravely venturing back to the cabin on foot. They are almost to the drive. I really could’ve almost run them over.

I look out the passenger side rearview mirror and see Meghan and Joyce bravely venturing back to the cabin on foot. They are almost to the drive. I really could’ve almost run them over.
Although we stayed at South Haven Family Campground just one night, we made it a memorable one. The mere fact that such good friends were together once again was enough for us. The next morning, we had a very long “family” photo shoot all around our cabin. We too group photos inside near the welcome sign, up in our loft, outside on the porch and on our porch swing. In fact, one of those “family photos” is gracing the May 2013 calendar hanging on my fridge right now.

Our reunion vacation lives on in our warm memories even two years later. Thanks to you for making it such a great experience. Although we have not been able to keep up with our pact to meet up each May yet, we hope that some year soon we will be able to fulfill that promise. Who knows? Maybe we will end up someday again at South Haven Family Campground! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saturday, August 23, 2008


We are a new campground, opened in May 2008. We are building this campground in phases, currently in phase 1. We have 26 sites and 5 cabins; 7 of the sites are pull thru's with 50 amp service and sewer hook-up.

Whether you are an RV'er, a back-to-basics "tenter" or appreciate the convenience and comfort of cabins, South Haven Family Campground will provide the relaxing vacation setting. Our landscaped campground sits on 50 acres in South Haven, Michigan and is located ¼ mile from the Kal-Haven Trail.

This campground is owned and operated by the Novotny Family.