Don't judge. It's a Michigan blogger talking about a Spencer, Indiana retreat. An hour south of Indianapolis is the Indiana University college town of Bloomington. Hang a turn west for twenty minutes and you hit the great town of Spencer, Indiana. I have been to this park many times and recently stayed there in a cabin when all the hotels were sold out or going for $300 when IU had their commencement. Yet, this is the location that's worth the money.
Except for the geography, Michigan can't compete with the accommodations. The state park has a hotel, camping spots, and cabins to assist the level of hardship that your party would like to endure. Inside the hotel is a nice restaurant that has many windows with bird feeders right outside. You will find that it is a quaint place that is reminiscent of a by-gone day. The cabins are the best value. They offer a full-size fridge (We brought a 5 gallon tub of Hudsonville ice cream for those warm nights), an oven, and sink for your stay. It also has a full bathroom, a small bedroom with two bunk beds, a living/dining area, a deck, and a screened in porch. The pictures on their website cannot do justice. As you enter, you are enveloped with a vintage 1940s cabin feel with more modern amenities. Cracker-Barrel style rocking chairs are stacked up in the corner, two wood tables are parked against the side as well as more dining chairs. The couch is opposite the door with a pullout queen bed. Overall, you are only allowed a max of 6 people. There is also a gas stove for heating, an overhead fan, and no air conditioning. As part of the serenity of this place, there is no television but you do have electricity. The hotel has internet Wi-Fi I believe. The best part of these cabins are that they are only $55 a night. I would have stayed here more often had I known how great this place is.
Keep a few things in mind besides your normal camping necessities like towels, sleeping bags, and toiletries. There is no microwave or firepit so you will have to be creative. We brought a waffle maker so it was a great morning. Be prepared for the summer months. It is heavily tree covered and there is a trail next to the cabin. However, you are at the mercy of the high humidity and you do not have AC. I would heavily suggest bringing a good fan in the summer to keep air moving. I was able to keep the windows open at night in the spring and didn't use a blanket. It's best if you stay at least two nights because of the work of bringing gear. You will have to pay an entrance fee but your key will be your gate pass for the remainder of your stay. Bring some bug spray and utilize your screened in porch. Each cabin has a single parking spot and some have an extra one. I would heavily suggest a cabin number with double digits. It's on the cul-de-sac end and it's near the trail.
You will see plenty of critters here. On the way back from a late night run to town, you will see raccoons everywhere with their glowing eyes. I was woken up at 4 AM by the hooting of a great horned owl somewhere in the dark outside my window. You may also see some people bring their horses.
To prepare for the rest of the park, hit the stairmaster and try for the Empire State Building goal. The park has many ravines with gravel paths. The waterfall is by the trail across from the inn and is a great visit. There are stone steps that lead down to the water. About half-way down, you will see a ledge that leads to a small cave. You probably aren't supposed to walk out there but it will get you a fun photo-op for the selfie-stick junkies.
If you continue down the stairs, there is a small cement patio that ends at the water. Carefully, you can hop across the rocks to the other side and traverse to the waterfall. There is a small, dry trail on the side that will take you right to the 10ft high waterfall. The water cascades over flat rocks. While I would advise caution and could slip, I believe it is relatively safe and think some have swam in the water. Above and along the water, you can see the wall of layers of the rock. It's an inspiring sight.
If you happen to be traveling in the area, stay for a couple days and explore the local trails. The solitude and family time is a wonderful treat that makes it a relaxing vacation. You can always take a day trip down to the caverns on those hot days. For more info, visit their website. I wish I could have stayed longer and you will not regret staying in this tranquil place.