a Blog About Adventure Travel for Kite-Surfing and Cycling with a Custom Built Van
KiteBikeVan in Frankfort
KiteBikeVan in Frankfort

KiteBikeVan in Frankfort

A Van Trip to Frankfort.

Kite and Van in Frankfort
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Andrew, Honey, and JoVanna at Point Betsie Lighthouse


Welcome to Frankfort, Michigan!

In Frankfort, one place to camp is at the Platt River Campground at the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. The campsites are relatively private with trees separating each site. There are a variety of sites to choose from (walk-in, standard no electric, and standard electric). On this trip, we stayed at a standard electric site. Air conditioning for a comfortable night’s sleep in the summer is one of JoVanna’s best qualities.

Van in Frankfort
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Relaxing at the Campsite

Platte River Campground

Our site was outfitted with a paved parking spot and an outlet for plugging in (both standard plug and shore power plug), as well as a picnic table and fire pit. Restrooms and showers at the Platt River Campground are really nice. They are cleaned daily and not over crowded. Bear proof dumpsters and recycling receptacles are outside each restroom area. Firewood can be purchased at two firewood vending machines near the loop 2 enrance. Bundles are $5 each. The machines only take $1 and $5. The credit card reader was out when we were there, so bring small bills just in case.

Van in Frankfort
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There is a 1-mile trail from the campground, over the dunes to the beach. It is beautiful, but come prepared with lots of bug spray. (Andrew swore he was being eaten alive).

After settling in to our site, we wanted to explore the entire campground. We headed out on our OneWheels. We rolled through our loop and a few more before being pulled over by the park rangers in a golf cart. Andrew wanted to out run them, but they asked us to nicely stop and Jade is a rule follower. I know boring, right? According to rule #13, bikes are allowed but skateboards, scooters and anything similar are prohibited in the campground. The rangers were nice enough to let use roll back to our campsite.

Van in Frankfort
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Van Chaos

What to Know about the Platte River Campground

  • Check in is at 1 PM and Check out is at 11 AM
  • Standard Electric Sites are $31 per night
  • You will need a National Park Pass
  • You can book online
  • Firewood can be purchased at the campground ($5 per bundle)
  • Restrooms and showers are clean
  • There are bears, so food must be left in cars
  • No OneWheeling in the campground

What to do?

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Frankfort

When in Frankfort, most of our time is taken up with kiteboarding and cycling. Jade heads out for a couple-hour ride in the morning while Andrew gets his beauty rest. Andrew then has a couple kiting sessions in the afternoon, when the wind picks up.

If we are not kiting or cycling, we like to explore nearby towns. Frankfort has a nice beach for swimming and a long pier to walk out on.

Van in Frankfort
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Checking out the Beach in Frankfort

Empire

In Empire, we always visit Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak. This cute surf shop has lots of sweet surf gear. On this trip, Jade scored a beautiful Sleeveless Longjohn Rip-Curl Wetsuit. There is also a great beach in Empire.

We grabbed some coffees from Tiffany’s Café and walked the beach with Honey to check the wind and waves for the day before heading to a kite spot for the afternoon.

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Exploring Empire

Bike in Frankfort

Betsie Valley Trail

There are many great places to cycle near Frankfort. Heading south out of of town, the Betsie Valley Trail is 27-miles long and can be accessed directly from the beach. The trail is paved from Lake Michigan until the southern shore of Crystal Lake.

The trail then turns to crushed limestone until you reach downtown Beulah. Beyond Beulah (10 miles) the trail becomes a little rough for road bikes.

Bike in Frankfort
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Getting Ready for a Morning Ride

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

Another great trail to check out in the Frankfort area is the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. This 27-mile trail begins in Empire and travels north along the Sleeping Bear National Lake Shore. The trail is mostly paved with a 3-mile section of crushed limestone near Glen Arbor.

M-22

If you are eager to explore, simply riding along M-22 is a very pleasant ride. The shoulder is wide and the traffic is limited, allowing for a very peaceful ride. Jade likes to ride from the Platt River Campground to the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. There are many hills along the way so be prepared for lots of climbing, especially traveling north. If you are out in the morning, you will likely see a lot of wildlife too.

Bike in Frankfort
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Relaxing after a Ride

Kite in Frankfort

Andrew prefers to kite at Point Betsie. This is a relatively quiet beach next to the Point Betsie Lighthouse. If you walk out onto the beach south of the light house and hike a little further the beach opens up a little bit (and becomes less crowded). Perfect for kiting.

Point Betsie Lighthouse

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When the wind blows here don’t forget to bring your surfboard for some small waist-high rollers. Just be careful of the current and the water depth (it gets deep quick!!!). On light-wind days make sure to bring the foilboard or a big door.

Kite in Frankfort
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Jade, Honey, and Kite at Point Betsie

Wind out of the Southwest or Northwest are best for Point Betsie. On this trip there was a Southwest 8-10 MPH wind on Sunday and a Northwest 8-10 MPH wind on Monday. Andrew pumped up the big kite (a 17M Ocean Rodeo “Flite”) and used a 150cm Liquid Force “Libre” (a large twin-tip board) for today.

Frankfort
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Getting some air at Point Betsie

Point Betsie Beach

Many people like to walk this beach looking for Petoskey Stones, but fewer people come here to swim for the day, so it is a relatively empty beach compared to Frankfort, Elberta, or Empire.

Another added bonus is that dogs are welcome at this beach, so “Honey” can join us for a day at the beach.

Kiteboarding at Point Betsie

What are your favorite things to do in Frankfort (Michigan)? Let us know in the comments below.

We will definitely be returning to Frankfort in the future. Thanks for reading. ~KiteBikeVan

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