Tin Can Tourists to tour northern Michigan beginning today

History buffs, camping enthusiasts and the public are invited to a unique opportunity to explore and learn about 30 vintage campers during the Tin Can Tourists’ northern Michigan state vintage camper tour, July 24-Aug. 8.

The Tin Can Tourists, a vintage trailer and motor coach club that’s open to all makes and models of campers at least 25 years old, has planned a caravan with stops at nine Michigan State Parks, many of which are in the Upper Peninsula.

“We have members coming from as far away as Georgia and California, and we’ll have everything from vintage Airstreams to Spartans to Shastas and more. We have a very wide variety and they’re all done up very nice,” said Bryan Quinn, a member of the Tin Can Tourists and one of the caravan organizers.

Quinn, who has a 1945 Starcraft Starcruiser motor home, said the caravan would be a bit different than the typical Tin Can Tourist rallies. Participants will have to be ready to travel nearly every day, so most won’t have the elaborate campsite setups many Tin Can Tourist rallies are known for. On travel days, Quinn added, RVers will need to arrive at the next stop on the tour before 5 p.m. That’s when Aaron Hudson and Rita Noble, the Nomad Food Travelers, will have their catered meals ready for the participants.

A number of the trailers have been meticulously renovated, and people are invited to stop at the state park campgrounds to see and tour the campers during the event (please note that for the safety of campers, non-camping visitors may not be able to drive or park in the campground). Tin Can Tourists are happy to talk about these unique and historical trailers and share their photos and fond camping memories.

Below is a schedule of the tour. The campers will arrive at the parks at various times before 5 p.m. and spend the evening at the park. Campers leave at varying times on travel days for the next park on the tour:

  • July 24-27: Port Crescent State Park (Huron County) tours July 25 noon-4 p.m.
  • July 30: Straits State Park (Mackinac County)
  • July 31-Aug. 1: Grand Marais Woodland Park (Burt Township Park; not a state park)
  • Aug. 2: Baraga State Park (Baraga County)
  • Aug. 3-4: Fort Wilkins State Park (Keweenaw County)
  • Aug. 5: Porcupine Mountains State Park (Ontonagon County)
  • Aug. 6: Bewabic State Park (Iron County)
  • Aug. 7: Indian Lake State Park (Schoolcraft County)
  • Aug. 8: Burt Lake State Park (Cheboygan County)

“The Tin Can Tourists devote so much time and energy into reviving their campers,” said Port Crescent State Park Supervisor Betsy Kish. “It’s a really fun and heartwarming event, seeing people of all ages connect with the owners and learn about the history behind their campers.”

The Tin Can Tourists club was organized in 1919 with the objective of uniting fraternally all autocampers. By the mid-1980s, the group was no longer in existence; however, Forrest and Jeri Bone re-established the club in 1998. The organization is open to all who share a desire to preserve and promote vintage trailers and motor coaches through social gatherings and information exchange.

Visitors come from around the state to see the campers. A convenient way to enjoy the vintage campers and spend time with the owners is by reserving a campsite at a participating park and staying for the weekend. To check state park camping availability and make a reservation, visit www.midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757).

There is no charge to attend the vintage camper tour, but a Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry to all participating state parks.

Recreation Passport

A Recreation Passport grants vehicle access to any Michigan state park, boat launch, state forest campground or nonmotorized state trailhead parking. Residents can purchase the Passport for just $11 ($5 for motorcycles) at the time of Michigan license plate renewal through Secretary of State. Forgot to check “YES” during renewal? Residents and nonresidents can purchase a Recreation Passport window sticker during regular business hours at state parks. Learn more about how the Recreation Passport supports state parks, local outdoor recreation opportunities, historic and cultural sites at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.