Michigan is a state that is perfect for camping enthusiasts, with many options available in both its peninsulas. While camping in the upper peninsula is popular, camping in the lower peninsula should not be overlooked.
Michigan is surrounded by three of the five Great Lakes, making it an ideal place for camping.
The state shares its borders with Indiana and Ohio, which are less populated with campgrounds, but the border the U.P. shares with Northern Wisconsin is dotted with campsites.
Michigan offers a plethora of camping options and it is important to become acquainted with some of the best spots.
North Port Huron Jellystone Park
North Port Huron Jellystone Park is situated across from Lake Huron in the middle of Michigan’s Thumb area, encompassing over 90 acres.
It has more than 400 campsites that accommodate all kinds of camping styles from tents to pop-ups to large RVs. The park offers a new Water Zone swimming pool complex with mini-slides, an activity pool, and a kiddie pool with spray features.
Other new features added recently include pedal carts, walking bridges and nature trails, miniature golf, a gem mining station, and jumping pillows. The park also has 38 cabins available for rent.
Dunes Harbor Family Camp is situated along the beautiful Silver Lake, a mile from the Sand Dune ORV entrance. The campground has 128 full hook-up sites, 55 of which face the waterfront. There are also 36 water and electricity hook-up sites as well as rustic cabins.
Extra-large and group camping spots are available. The campground has all sorts of family activities, such as horseback riding, archery, movie nights, or arts and crafts activities.
Water lovers will enjoy the heated swimming pool with a slide and kayak rentals.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Sleeping Bear Dunes-Platte River Campground is a spot for those who’d like to spend a peaceful weekend or vacation in nature.
The campground is open year-round and features both back-in and pull-thru sites with electric hook-ups. There are also walk-in tent sites and hike-in group sites.
Amenities include flush and vault toilets, hot showers, a dump station, and firewood. There are over 100 miles of hiking trails that can be skied or snowshoed in winter.
While the mainland Lake Michigan beaches are a great spot to swim and sunbathe in summer, adventurers can float the Platte and Crystal rivers.
Mackinaw Mill Creek
Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping is a favorite spot for locals and vacationers alike for more than 50 years. It sits on 200 wooded acres along a mile of shoreline, with views of the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac.
It offers more than 600 campsites and cabins to suit every camper’s needs.
These include budget sites for tents and campers, RV sites with 50-amp electric, water, and sewer services, and cabins ranging from one room to two-story three bedrooms with indoor plumbing. The campground has well-maintained bathrooms with flush toilets conveniently placed throughout the campground.
Indoor amenities include an arcade and game room as well as a park store. A full-sized basketball court, heated pool, and three separate playgrounds allow for outdoor fun.
Harbortown RV Resort is conveniently located on Lake Erie in Southeast Michigan between Detroit and Toledo. It is a great home base for exploring the area that shines with history, recreation, and much more.
The RV park features 80 large pull-thru sites with full hook-up and 20/30/50 amp service, which can accommodate even the biggest RV coaches. Cozy log cabins are also available.
The campground boasts abundant resort-like amenities, such as a pool, arcade games, mini-golf, batting cages, and others, making it a great choice for families.
Warren Dunes State Park
Warren Dunes State Park is a remarkable natural beauty located in Michigan, offering visitors an extraordinary adventure.
Spanning over 1,952 acres of land and boasting 3 miles of shoreline, this state park has numerous campgrounds to accommodate visitors. Its campgrounds consist of 185 modern campsites, 24 rustic campsites, and 3 mini-cabins to rent.
Warren Dunes State Park is an all-season attraction, with activities that visitors can enjoy all year round. In the summer, visitors can sandboard, hike, paddle, go birdwatching or swim in the salt-free water. During winter, visitors can go sledding, sandboarding, cross-country skiing, and view amazing ice formations.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is another breathtaking attraction in Michigan, with nearly 40 miles of hiking trails, 13 inland lakes, and 20,000 acres of natural beauty.
The park is divided into two campgrounds: the Lower Falls Campground and the Tahquamenon Falls Rivermouth Unit. The Lower Falls Campground has two modern campgrounds with a total of 90 campsites ideal for nature enthusiasts who want to enjoy nature without worrying about everyday chores.
These campsites have amenities such as electricity, a fire pit, a table, hot showers, and flush toilets. There is also a picnic area with a shelter, a playground, and an in-situ eatery.
The Tahquamenon Falls Rivermouth Unit is more private than the Lower Falls Campground, with 136 modern and rustic campsites that feature a boat launch along the Tahquamenon River. These campsites do not have electricity but provide a picnic table and fire pit, while showers are available at the Modern Unit for a fee.
Visitors can go fishing along the riverbank or stroll over to Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior and walk along the sandy beach.
Tent camping is standard, but there are a few RV and pop-up camper sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations are highly recommended, especially during the summer when camping is the most popular.
The four campsites within Taquemonon Park are the Hemlock Campground, Portage Campground, Riversmouth Campground, and Camp 33. The park has a diner and brewery located near Camp 33 for visitors to access camp provisions
Ludington State Park
Ludington State Park and Campground is a magnificent attraction that spans over 5,300 acres of land comprising forests, marshlands, wetlands, sand dunes, and sandy beaches located between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake.
Visitors have access to several miles of shoreline along both lakes, with 360 campsites and 3 one-room cabins within its three modern campgrounds – Beechwood, Cedar, and Pines. The Cedar campground also has eight tent sites that do not have electricity but are within walking distance to showers and restrooms.
The park offers a rustic camping experience with the Jack Pine Hike-In Only Campground that has ten tent sites accessible only by hiking or bicycling. Visitors can also enjoy tubing, paddling, and fishing opportunities at the stretch of the Big Sable River that offers campers.
The park has over 21 miles of marked trails that traverse wetlands, forests, and dunes, making it an excellent spot for hiking. Visitors can also participate in guided snowshoe hikes during the winter months.
Wa-Wen Camp Resort
Wa-Wen Camp Resort is a luxurious camping experience located on Drummond Island in Michigan. To get there, you must first drive your vehicle onto a ferry from the mainland and then continue driving into the resort from the landing point.
While the resort caters mostly to RVs and other camping vehicles, there is the option to set up a tent on your site. The resort offers numerous amenities for its visitors including shuffleboard, a heated pool, wireless internet, satellite TV, a basketball court, and the option to bring pets for an additional fee.
The resort also offers scuba diving for shipwrecks, a popular activity due to the hundreds of ships resting on the lake floors in the Great Lakes region. Additionally, there are cabins to rent for those who prefer not to bring their own camping vehicles.
Porcupine Mountains State Park
Porcupine Mountains State Park is referred to by Michiganders as “the Porkies.” The park offers tens of thousands of Lake Superior coastline and scenic mountain views with most tent campsites nestled high in the mountains.
The park also offers 63 backcountry campsites that are located off the beaten trail, and visitors should download a park map to navigate the park as the park ranger stations are few and far between.
Holland State Park
Holland State Park is one of the most visited state parks in Michigan due to its proximity to Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa.
The park boasts swimming and fishing opportunities, paddle rentals, a boat launch, volleyball courts, a playground, two large campgrounds with over 200 paved, grassy, and wooded sites and cabins for rent.
There are also picnic tables, grills, restrooms, changing areas, and a beach shop. Visitors should arrive early, especially during the summer months, as the park can get busy.
Wilderness State Park
Wilderness State Park in Michigan offers mixed campsites for tents, campers, and RVs. There are even tent-only campsites and a campsite with nineteen hookup sites for RVs.
This Lake Michigan shoreline park is a hot spot for summertime camping and is likely to be most crowded during Independence Day weekend and at the end of summer.
Visitors are encouraged to book far in advance to secure a spot.
Lakeport State Park
Lakeport State Park is a unique camping experience that combines camping with beach life. Situated on the banks of Lake Huron, it offers sandy beaches for swimming, fishing, sunbathing, and boating.
The park contains cozy cabins for rent, modern conveniences including plumbing and electricity, and a camp store for snacks and sunscreen.
Sleepy Hollow State Park
Sleepy Hollow State Park is located twenty minutes north of Lansing, on a smaller lake, making it a great option for those with little ones who are concerned with the bigger lakes’ riptides.
Visitors can still enjoy swimming, fishing, water skiing, jet skiing, boating, and picnicking. The park also offers mobility aids for people with physical challenges, which can be rented in advance of the visit.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp and Resort is a franchise of campsites named after the famous cartoon bear. The site offers modern conveniences for campers, including plenty of RV sites and hookups, a pool, water park, game room, mini-golf, and much more.
Lighthouse Village is one of Michigan’s southernmost private campgrounds, and it is a popular camping site for visitors. The campground offers modern amenities such as full hookups, picnic tables, fire rings, and showers.
Additionally, the park offers cabins for rent, and visitors can enjoy activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, and picnicking.
Oak Grove Campground
Oak Grove Campground/Chippewa Landing is a serene and private campground nestled in the Northwestern region of Michigan’s lower peninsula. You have the option to arrive by canoe, paddle up to your preferred spot, or you can drive in and connect to electricity and plumbing at one of the two large sites.
The campground offers WiFi and allows pets, which is a rarity in many state parks. Activities like tubing and fishing are available on the nearby river, and the serene surroundings of the woods and river are emphasized by discouraging loud noises.
To camp here, you must purchase a season pass or membership as camping is usually by membership only.
Camp Dearborn is a centrally-located lower peninsula campground with a unique history that may or may not interest kids. The campground boasts 191 mixed RV/tent campsites and a short drive to the nearby museum filled with Michigan’s automotive history. It is a quiet, out-of-the-way, and off-the-highway type of campground with plenty of activities to enjoy nearby if the kids don’t want to hike or play outdoors.
Plenty to choose from
With over a thousand campgrounds in Michigan, there are many resources available to learn more about camping in the state, such as the Pure Michigan Board of Tourism, individual city/region travel sites, the State Department of Parks and Recreation, federal park listings for national parks in Michigan, private park listings, automobile club guides to camping in Michigan, and trip planning sites that offer camping information.
Private campgrounds usually open earlier than state or federal parks, which may give you an advantage when booking a campsite.
Largest State Park in Michigan
Michigan’s largest state park is the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, which spans a massive 60,000 acres, with over half of it being old-growth forest, making it the wildest area in the Great Lakes State.
RV camping rates range from USD$ 30 to USD$ 80 per night, depending on the park’s amenities, location, and season. In the Upper Peninsula, free camping options include several national forests, Hovey Lake Dispersed Campground, or Gratiot River County Park.
State forests are a good starting point for those who want to camp for free in the Lower Peninsula.
Camping season in Michigan typically begins in early May and ends in late September, although some campgrounds are open year-round.