Harrisville State Park is a public recreation area located on the shores of Lake Huron, six miles (9.7km) northwest of Harrisville in Alcona County, Michigan. The state park encompasses 1,300 acres (530ha), and contains two separate units that are each listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Harrisville State Recreation Area: One unit includes the historic Harrisville Inn; the other unit features the 1875 Harrisville Cemetery. The state park was among 13 parks established in 1920 following the creation of the Michigan State Parks Commission a year earlier.
It originally covered only 300 acres (120ha). In 1923, local citizens lobbied to have the park expanded, which resulted in an additional 700 acres (280ha) being added in 1926. A further expansion increased the size to nearly 900 acres (360ha) by 1930. Further land purchases in the years since have brought the total acreage to over 1,400 acres (570ha). The park offers swimming, picnicking facilities, boat launch, playgrounds, trails, and lodge with 150 overnight rooms. There is also a campground with tent and trailer sites, cabins, 96-room Conference Center, cottages, and 100-site Campcraft campsite.
The park has four golf courses including the Championship course. Golf carts are available for rent all year long. The park’s restaurant serves traditional Southern cuisine. Other amenities include a food concession stand, gift shop, bait & tackle shop, scenic beach, picnic areas, and nature trail. The park grounds were used as filming locations for several movies and television shows, most recently as Hellhole High School in the 1997 film Eve’s Bay. Scenes from Twilight were shot at the school in 2008. The park was previously featured in an episode of Little House on the Prairie as the location of the Caledonia settlement. The show aired in 1960, but the original airing date was November 11, 1959. This marks the first time that any TV series has filmed in the park.
The cemetery unit of the park contains the graves of many early settlers as well as some Native Americans. Among those buried there are William Whittingham, Nancy Wheeler, John Weeden, and his wife Mary. The park also hosts the annual Harrisville Halloween Festival. On Labor Day weekend, September 4 – 6, 2020, Harrisville State Park hosted more than 20,000 runners and walkers in the inaugural Running Wild 5K race. The five-kilometer course began and ended near the park entrance and passed through town, winding its way past farms, forests, lakes, and wetlands along the way. Entrants could choose between three different entry options: $35 via PayPal or credit card, $40 via check, or free if you registered before July 31, 2020. Registration opened August 28, 2020, and closed October 10, 2020.
Other activities include:
- cross-country skiing