Where to Camp in the Great Lakes State
Since Michigan borders four of the five Great Lakes, it’s no surprise that there is plenty of great fishing and camping to be had in this state.
While winters in Michigan are chilly and not for the faint of heart, winter travelers will be able to feast their eyes on a winter wonderland unlike any other, and maybe even try their hand at ice fishing. For those who prefer warmer weather when camping, summer and early fall are particularly temperate and lovely in Michigan.
Here are our picks for the best places to camp in Michigan.
1. Ludington State Park – Ludington
Ludington State Park is comprised of nearly 5,300 acres of scenic sand dunes, shoreline vista, ponds, marshlands and forests. It is situated between Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan with several miles of shoreline and beaches on both bodies of water. Learn more.
2. Newaygo State Park – Newaygo
Newaygo State Park is a 99-site rustic campground, which sits atop 20-foot embankments overlooking the Hardy Dam Pond, a six-mile flooding of the Muskegon River. The park caters primarily to campers, anglers and recreational boaters. There are several picnic sites overlooking the reservoir for day users. The campground is nestled in oak and poplar forests and is noted for its large, private sites and scenic beauty. There is a 20-30 foot forested buffer between sites, and each site is provided with a picnic table and a fire ring. Learn more.
3. Hartwick Pines State Park – Grayling
With an area of 9,672 acres, Hartwick Pines is one of the largest state parks in the Lower Peninsula. The park’s rolling hills, which are built of ancient glacial deposit, overlook the valley of the East Branch of the AuSable River, four small lakes and unique timber lands. The principal feature of this park is the 49-acre forest of Old Growth Pines which gives the park its name. Learn more.
4. Chain-O-Lakes Campground – Bellaire
Dappled woods, shining lakes, and fabulous family activities are just a park of what makes Chain O’ Lakes Campground so very special. Join us at our RV park in Bellaire, Michigan for fishing, boating, golfing, hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, and much more! With our excellent facilities and family-friendly atmosphere, you’re sure to enjoy Michigan camping with us. Learn more.
5. Porcupine Mountains State Park – Silver City
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is 15 miles west of Ontonagon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The park’s 60,000 acres are one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. Towering virgin timber, secluded lakes and miles of wild rivers and streams make a visit to the “Porkies” a trip to remember. Learn more.
6. Natalie State Forest Campground – Newberry
12 sites for tent and small trailer use located on the Dallarville Flooding Backwaters. Boating and fishing opportunities at campground and hiking access on Canada Lake Pathway. Rustic campground includes vault toilets and potable water from well hand pump. Sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis. No reservations. Check with State Forest Campground Manager for seasonal availability. Learn more.
7. Oxbow – Big Praire Township
Ox Bow Park is located on the east side of the Hardy Dam backwaters. There are 17 miles of waterway from Hardy Dam to Rogers Dam for recreational waterskiing, swimming, fishing or boating. This is a great area for camping, hiking and a brilliant view of the fall colors with the blue waters and the white sandy beaches. Learn more.
8. Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Paradise
Tahquamenon Falls State Park encompasses close to 50,000 acres stretching over 13 miles. Most of this is undeveloped woodland without roads, buildings or power lines. The centerpiece of the park, and the very reason for its existence, is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls. The Upper Falls is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over these falls. Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. Although not as dramatic as the Upper Falls, they are equally magnificent. The falls can be viewed from the river bank or from the island, which can be reached by rowboat rented from a park concession. The island walk affords a view of the falls in the south channel. Learn more.
9. Bewabic State Park – Crystal Falls
A 137-site campground is situated in a shady, wooded site. Most of the sites have buffer strips between them to allow for privacy and most sites have electricity, a fire ring and a picnic table. Picnic areas, a hiking trail, two playgrounds, an excellent beach and a boat launch to Fortune Lake are among the additional amenities at this park. Bewabic State Park is site #9 of the Iron County Heritage Trail System. Learn more.
10. Warren Dunes State Park – Sawyer
Warren Dunes State Park provides 1,952 acres of recreational opportunities along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan in southwestern Michigan. The rugged dune formation rises 260 feet above the lake and offers spectacular views and excellent for hang gliding. The park has three miles of shoreline, six miles of hiking trails and is open year-round. Learn more.
Do you have a favorite camping spot in Michigan that wasn’t included on this list? Let us know in the comments!
And be sure to check out the rest of our Best Campgrounds in the US series.
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