When you think about camping in Michigan, it’s the water that draws most to the Great Lakes State. Michigan has 3,288 miles of shoreline, the second longest of any state, including 1,056 miles of island coast. Plus, you’re never more than six miles from a natural water source, or more than 85 miles away from a Great Lake.
There are plenty of opportunities for coastal and island camping in Michigan, but it’s more than just water. Michigan has the largest state park and state forest system of any state, with over 100 state parks, recreation areas, and state forests. There are also several national parks, forests, and lakeshores to pitch a tent or park the adventure rig. Needless to say, you have some options, so stick with The Dyrt to help you narrow it down. Consider these main Michigan attractions when deciding on where to go camping in Michigan.
For most campers, the epicenter of natural beauty and outdoor recreation in Michigan is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Mountainous dunes slope from high peaks and plateaus down to meet with the clear blue waters of Lake Michigan. Hiking, biking, hang gliding, off-roading, kiteboarding, paddle boarding, or just simply sandy beach lounging can all be found in and around Sleeping Bear Dunes. Also, when you take a camping trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes, the nearby quaint towns and rolling inland hills speckled with fruit orchards provide the perfect bonus excursions.
Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state in the country. Michigan waterways have been essential to the growth of the nation, but they’ve also been treacherous for mariners for centuries, and continue to demand respect. When camping in Michigan, touring some of the iconic Michigan lighthouses can be a great way to learn about the history of the region, while also taking in stellar views of natural landscapes and architectural achievement. Check in with The Dyrt for information on camping near some great Michigan lighthouses.
Finally, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is an entire playground of its own for outdoor recreation and exploration. Discover some of the many waterfalls like the impressive Tahquamenon Falls, or kayak on Lake Superior for a memorable view of the famous Pictured Rocks. The power of Lake Superior can be seen across the northern shore with unique rock formations, and remnants of the prominent mining and shipping industry still exist throughout. If you’re thinking about more remote or wild camping options in Michigan, the Upper Peninsula is for you. Whatever your camping style, stay tuned to The Dyrt for inside information on the best camping in Michigan.
Friendliest people. Amazing staff. Beautiful little campground. Honestly everyone is so friendly. Bathrooms are always clean as are the showers. There's wood and ice on the property. A great little cafet. A small general store. We have so much fun here. Tge owners are amazing. Honestly I hate writing such a great review simply because I don't want to loose my camping site. Lol people find a great place like this it'll always be booked. But honestly you can't go wrong here. The place is sandwiched between the betsie river and a paved bike path. Your 2 mile from a great beach and lake michigan. 20 min from the dunes. 35 or 40 min from Traverse city and it's gorgeous views and fun stuuf to do. Did I mention wine. Wineries are plentiful in this region too. Plus some micro brew. Just awesome. There's a small playground for the kids in this park. It's so safe the kids ride bikes and walk all over the campground with out much concern.
As a Ranger the Dyrt sends me products to test. This trip my husband and I tested hats from Banner and Oak. https://bannerandoak.com/collections/hats-ladies/products/pathfinder-blue I found the pathfinder soft comfortable and it stayed secure on my head on a blustery rainy day. Even with a buff on underneath for keeping my ears warm. I did find the brim to be a little large for my face and I had to turn my head up at odd angles to take a selfie or as you can see in the video below. My Husband Steve found the Sierra did not fit his head well He felt it looked too tall from the front, and the band was itchy.
The park at Swains Lake is really nice. There is lake access to fish, playgrounds for the kids, and a nice pavilion. The campground sites are pretty close together. It's a nice place to camp during the week, but it did get really crowded on summer weekends. I will say the shower house is GREAT! Individual showers with locking doors for complete privacy.
The location is great to day trip around the area. We enjoyed a day in Kalamazoo. Jackson isn't far with major grocery stores and shopping.
Beautiful family campground on the North ashore of Lake Superior. It has RV, tent and back country sites as well as cabins and yurts for rent. Many amazing hiking trails and beautiful waterfalls to explore near by. Campground has large clean bathrooms and showers and a nice camp store. It is also pet friendly and has WiFi, but no playground. We stayed at site 82 which had a partial view of the lake and backed the tree line. It was a nice site. I gave this campground 4 out of 5 stars because some of the sites were a little too close together but overall a great campground and we will be back!
I really liked this campground. The lakeshore was so beautiful and we were literally right next to the water. The lake front sites weren’t super level but worth the trouble to have the view we had. Nice shower house and flushing toilets only a few yards down the road. My husband and I won’t hesitate to stay here again
This was a last-minute stop for us because we didn't want to stay at the campground we had originally intended. I found it here on The Dyrt, but bypassed it for another campground option. However, when we drove past the roadside sign, my husband said he wanted to check it out. And we're so glad we did!
When we pulled in, we were told to use the telephone to call the host and they would come and help us out. So when we did, somebody drove up and gave us our choice of spots. The campground was almost empty, so we had anything we wanted, and majority of the options were on the lake!
some of the spots are closer together so there's not a lot of privacy, but the side of the campground we were on had lots of buffers between the sites in the form of pine trees. each site had a gorgeous campfire ring made out of stones pulled off of the beach. It's a red Rock Beach! The bathroom was in a little house, but it had its own shower and looked like something from a log cabin. Not at all like a campground bathroom! there was another shower house at the opposite end of the campground which had similar decor. There was also dump station and fresh water easily available. not to mention the laundry house! Two washers, two dryers, and a sink for scrubbing plus all of the laundry soap and dryer sheets you needed. It was just payment on the honor system to use them. Very reasonable!
there was no electric hook-up at the site we were in, but we didn't need one. However, they were available.
Great little find in Michigan!
Pretty park with several well marked trails. We stayed in the Maple loop which had several semi-private sites screened from neighbors by trees. I think site #1 was one of the roomiest and prettiest. The bathrooms were clean. There were several playgrounds, bench swings, play fields and even a basketball court. The ADA sites had pavement surrounding the fire rings and space at the picnic tables for a wheel chair.
My husband and I grew up in Onekama. It was important for us to spend time with our kids near our favorite places and this park allowed us to do that. My favorite part is that we can see the sunset every night and go right across the street for some hiking! Our kids are grown up, but we have so many fond memories work time there and still enjoy camping there.
This campground is our home away from home in the summer! It is beautiful & very relaxing especially during the weekdays when it's not as full. The bathrooms are clean & the rangers keep up with mowing & other chores to keep the grounds clean. When it gets crowded the wifi doesn't work great & some of the campers are not very respectful; they cut through lots & don't abide by the rules (no pets on beach & no bikes or skateboards on boardwalk). The rangers get after them when they see it. Gets frustrating because it ruins it for others who care about the park. The only other downfall is there isn't much beach because of the high water table. I wish they could dredge & bring in more sand. Otherwise it's our favorite place to be!
Tubbs island was gorgeous! There is Tubbs mainland and Tubbs island and both you’re welcome to but I recommenced staying on the island. It’s more of a peninsula then an island but it’s wonderfully cut off. You take a narrow dirt road over a nearly flooded over land bridge to a remote circle plot of campsites. There are about 20 rustic sites on the island and all first come first serve so plan to get there early because it fills up.
This place is by far one of the greatest campgrounds we’ve been to that is family oriented! We stay memorial day weekend and the last weekend of the season which is the harvest festival. My grandchildren always have a blast as well as grandma and Papa! Lots of pull through sites lots of tree shaded lots gives you that rustic camping feel with all the amenities.
The Mouth of the Two Hearted River State Forest Campground is located on Lake Superior at the mouth of the Two Hearted River. There are 39 camp sites on a first come first serve basis. This campground is absolutely one of my favorite campgrounds in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. All of the sites are nice and decently level. They are separated into two sections, section #1 and section #2. The sites in section #1 are closer to the suspension bridge that connects the campground to Lake Superior. Section #2 is a little farther from the bridge, down a short dirt road. I picked site 21, which was in section #2 and across the road from one of the pit toilets. There are two well water hand pumps for drinkable water, plenty of trees for hammocks at all of the sites and more than enough to do. The North Country Trail runs right through the campground, there is a boat launch suitable for small boats and kayaks and some of the best sunsets anyone could ask for. The fishing opportunities here are equally amazing with brook trout and steelhead in the river and lake trout, steelhead and salmon in the lake, just to name a few, If I could give one warning before coming to this campground, it would be: DO NOT USE Google maps, Apple maps or GPS to get here. It will be worth every bit to invest in an actual map. There are numerous ORV trails here which come up as the actual roads and I can tell you it can be quite stressful. Even knowing this before coming here I thought I would be able to tell the difference, I can tell you I was absolutely wrong. It was certainly worth it in the end, but if I could go back and avoid that confusion I would. This is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and I would recommend the long trip here to anyone. Make sure to bring everything you need, there is nothing forever which is yet another bonus to this fantastic place.
This camp site is really cool and makes for a greta weekend escape from reality. There is a trail network that cuts through the forest of the campground, which is a nice plus and rests peacefully on the shores of Black Lake. There is a wide variety of tree species throughout the campsite, which is nice, including these towering conifers. The campsite also features a really nice beach, with a community campfire area, and good showers. Because of the size and the design/layout of the campsite it really takes you away from reality and puts you right into the wilderness where you can relax, unwind, and hangout with fellow campers. I would definitely recommend this place, especially in the fall because the trees changing colors really adds a nice element to this campground. The only thing to not was that our site, site 5, had a really rock ground beneath the dirt which made it difficult to stake our tent down.
This national forest campground is right along the river. A hiking trail goes right from camp. In fact there is also a day use parking area. Peterson bridge is big and crosses right outside camp.
The road in camp twists and turns providing a wonderful layout. Campsites are spread apart and are facing all different ways. There were a lot to choose from when we stopped in on a Thursday. It's nice to have paved campsites in a national forest camp. It wasn't raining when we were here but we still appreciated the pavement.
The Manistee River Trail is not far away either - perfect for day hiking or an a weekend backpack. This is a great spot to spend some time.
We were lucky and found an open site but they filled up by mid afternoon. Reservations might be the best way to go here.
Our site had nice distance between the next camp but others are closer together. We had lots of room- enough so that the dog didn’t even get disturbed by other campers. Our camping area was beyond the car- think a straight line back the opens up into a circular camping area. Some sites are right on the water and provide sunset beauty. Vault toilets and water are available. They had a sign advertising a local place offering showers for a small fee.
We walked over to the lighthouse. They give tours and have a camp store/gift shop. There aren’t really any trails there but you can get to the water in a bunch of places. 3 miles down the road is another part of the state park. There are some very nice hiking trails here. They are wide and go in loops giving options for distance. We went to the overlook and then down to the beach. Sadly dogs aren’t allowed on the beach so Dakota rolled in the sand at the edge and we continued hiking.
Make sure you visit the small towns and wineries/cideries. There is a lot to do on this peninsula.
I remember coming here when I was young but haven’t stayed here in decades. It was time to try it out again. We arrived around 5 or 6 and found lots of open sites on a Wednesday. They put us in a nicely wooded site with empty neighboring sites. We could see our neighbors and others walked by on the road so there were plenty of people in camp. There were water puddles in the road and some campsites. It rained during the night too. Our site is sandy with no grass which wasn’t as great with the wetness. However it’s camping at the dunes so it’s expected. The vault toilets are ok- one had standing water in the corner. Water is available a few sites down and a garbage bin is on the way out. We camped in the rustic loop- no electric or other hookups. There is a larger section with 2 loops that has these amenities. Showers are also located over there. It’s a longer walk or you can drive to the showers.
We tried hiking and found fallen trees blocking the path. There are other trails to choose from. Be sure to check out the beach and climb up the sand dunes.
This was a nice campground within a couple hours of Chicago.
It just so happened we were there on the very last night they were open for the season. And yet they still had over half the sure booked! It's a small campground, but very near the lake, and the coolest part is the old blast furnace (hence the name of the camp on the bay) on display. Mother Nature took it over, but you can feel the history!
A few spaces are actually on the water front with beach access, but one is taken by the camp host, the other two are reservable…. And they were reserved. But there were others, all within an easy walk of the sand. Ours was tucked in the woods, others more exposed, all with fire pits and grills and picnic tables. Even a hanging post of some sort. Drinking water was also a perk.
There is no electric and there are no showers, but vault toilets are centrally located. There is an adjacent park with more tables and grills. Even though there were a lot of RVs, we heard no generators the night we were there.
This is a forest service campground in the Hiawatha Forest. Sites are $20 each as of 2019.
The scenery was beautiful in the fall. The leaves really give it a gorgeous picturesque appeal. This trail/campground is very versatile. You are able to kayak to campsite directly on the river but also do through hikes or backpack, and camp in different atmospheres. Hike in and do a 2-3 day hike or hike in for the day and enjoy the beautiful scenery if you’re crunched for time. Though a very popular spot, going on the weekdays allows some solitude but also comraderie when seeing the fellow hiker.
I've been going to this campground for years, but mainly for the Halloween camping. It's a fun time of the year to go and the kids always have a blast. Most sites decorate and some site go all out with haunted houses. The campground puts on a lot of activities for the kids. Now for a little feedback: the shower and bathroom facilities need some updating. They look the same from when I was younger. With all of the money spent on sites (I tent camp), they should be a afford upgrades. The outdoor staff are always pleasant but they need cleaner outfits; the box sells the cereal. Lastly, the cost of this place is so expensive for tent campers. I get if you're actually using resources with a camper but tent sites don't use a lot. "free" pancakes are served every morning on the weekends (not sure about weekdays). Overall a nice place with a lot to do, but I only go for Halloween due to high cost. Don't let it deter you for Halloween!
We got lucky with our site right on the water and the temperature was nice and cool so we did not have to deal with any bugs. We hiked right in and setup camp. This place only allows camping for one night as it's considered a pass-through campground. There is a decently clean outhouse(it appears to be cleaned daily by DNR staff), and each site has its own fire pit. The views are wonderful and the surrounding sites appeared to be enjoying themselves as well. Our site, B6, was equipped with a table, bench, and a fire pit. From what I could tell no other sites had a bench; fire pit and table only. We found another place to park which allowed us to cut down on our hike time because I was not about that 4 miles+ life. Our hike was maybe 15, 20 minutes tops. If staying on the water is not your jam, there were places at a higher elevation to try. There is also a fresh water pump. No electricity. You must hunt for the wood you want to burn in the pit. No ground fires. A great time!
This campground is very nice and peaceful (especially during the day when most campers are off canoeing.) I think seeing it was in the middle of the National Forest, I assumed there would be a lot to do, but from what I can tell it’s mostly a campground for people who want to canoe in the area. We did not, so there wasn’t much to explore by foot other than the campground itself. We were able to walk to the river, but from what we saw (the office was closed our first full day there) there weren’t any other trails accessible from the campgrounds. I’d recommend planning your trip and daily activities ahead of time. Our cell service was non-existent which was a great way to disconnect, but difficult when not knowing the area well. We made the best of it, and still had fun walking around the site during the day and enjoying the view from our campsite.
We go here once a summer for the past 30-ish years. I love the rocky beaches, and the beach combing is the best. We have found may different color of beach glass along with fossils and many unknown oddities. The campground is clean and the campsites are large and shady. It's a bit of a hike from the campground to the beach, but if it's too long for you driving is an option. Many restaurants in nearby South Haven along with a maritime museum and tall ship rides. Weekends fill up fast, but you'll want to spend more than two days anyway!