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.
Camping here even in the summer requires warm clothes. The wind coming in from Lake Superior is cold. Watching the 1000 foot lake freighters come in the St. Mary’s River makes up for it though. Enough can’t be said for the wilderness found in the UP either.
I have stayed in this park camping as an adult as well as a child. There was a store and a mini golf course as a child, not sure about now. The park also provides nature activities during the summer, along with some educational opportunities. There are rivers close by for canoeing, tubing and fishing.
I have been going to this park since I was little. This was the place we would go to the beach with my parents. This is the place we would go for summer parties with friends in high school. I lost my virginity staying in this park after my sophomore year of high school. This is a great place!!!
After a few days here we decided that we would try to come back every year. Meticulously clean campground. Wonderful pool. Lots of shade. There is plenty of activities for young and old alike. Mini golf, go carts, nice bike riding. The spaces are big enough and level. Pull throughs as well back in. There are seasonal resident here that keep very nice spaces. Lots of trees and reasonable privacy. I witnessed a crew cleaning a vacated camp site before the camper got out of the gate, time and time again. The little town of Pentwater is close by. It is a neat place with shops and treats as well as art and a fancy grocery store. Plan to spend a day strolling the sidewalks there. All in all we are very impressed with this family operation. We truly look forward to coming back.
Ranger Review: INNO INH120 Tire Hold Bike Rack at Blind Lake Campground, MI
Blind Lake rustic campground is located off of the very popular Potawatomi Trail, making this campground accessible only by hiking or biking in. Blind Lake campground is part of the Pinckney Recreation area which is located just about 30 minutes outside of Ann Arbor, MI.
Most hikers and bikers start their trek at the Silver Lake day use area where the main hiking and biking trailhead is located. From this trailhead the Blind Lake campground is about 7 miles in on the 17.5 mile Potawatomi Trail. A vehicle permit ($6) or annual Michigan State Parks permit ($10) is required to enter. The Area Headquarters (734-426-4913) is located at the Silver Lake day use area where campers must purchase their campsite before heading out on the trail ($17). The headquarters is also where you can purchase a vehicle permit or annual Michigan State Parks permit. The park is open all year, making the Blind Lake campground a popular stop for hikers in the winter.
Blind Lake campground has a total of 10 sites, all very close to the water. There is one vault toilet and a trash bin. There is a hand pump well in the campground for clean drinking water. Each site has a large picnic table and a modern fire ring. Firewood can be scarce as the nearby woods have been picked pretty clean and carrying firewood into the campground is a lot of extra weight!
All of the sites at Blind Lake campground have lots of shade and are large enough for a couple of tents on each site. During the nice summer days there will be lots of hiking and biking traffic through the campground as the Potawatomi Trail runs directly through it. Many stop to take a break at the campground and have a look at the beautiful lake.
Serious hikers can connect the Potawatomi Trail to the Waterloo-Pinckney Hiking trail to bring their total trip to over 35 miles of back country hiking. The Potawatomi Trail features numerous loops for any skill level. The shortest loop is the Silver Lake Trail at 1.9 miles. Next, the Crooked Lake Trail at 5.1 miles. Or the full Potawatomi Trail at 17.5 miles.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay here at Blind Lake campground and I would return. I was only one of two campers there and it was quiet at night. During the day you do hear the hikers and bikers going by on the trail so it isn’t completely isolated from the “real world”. The Dyrt campground review is available on YouTube at the following LINK.
As a Ranger for the Dyrt, I sometimes get to test and evaluate new products. At Blind Lake campground I tested the INNO INH120 Tire Hold Bike Rack. This bike rack holds up to two bikes and plugs into your vehicle’s receiver hitch.
The INNO INH120 is a tray style bike rack, making it ideal for expensive carbon bikes. The rack uses arms to hold down the wheels and not the frame of the bike, keeping your paint from getting scratched up. The bike rack works with either a 1-¼” or 2” receiver. My truck is a heavy-duty and comes with the 2-½: receiver. I used an adapter and the bike rack worked just fine.
The INH120 bike rack can hold two bikes with a maximum total weight of 120 lbs. The bike rack fits bikes with wheel bases from 34” to 48”, so it works with kids and adult sized bikes. The bike needs to have a minimum of 20” wheels to a maximum of 29” wheels to be held down properly. Tires sizes from 18c to 3” wide fit in the trays. This covers almost all bikes and makes it very handy to use with the family.
The rack comes neatly packed and requires some assembly. The assembly is straightforward and only took about 30 minutes, even while trying to film the process for a video. Spare parts are available from INNO if something were to break. The rack felt very sturdy and well built and felt comparable to other racks I’ve used from Thule and Yakima.
Once put together I tested out the INH120 bike rack with my fatbike that is running 29+ sized tires. The 29” wheels are 3” wide and fit nicely into the tray of the rack. I did remove the plastic adjustable wheel clamps on the arm of the rack. This allowed me to have the arms more vertical and provided a better hold on my large tires. These plastic wheel clamps are what you move inside the arms to adjust for different size bike wheels. It only takes a second to unclip the clamps are adjust for different bikes.
What is also nice is the bike rack has 4 different positions it can tilt, allowing easy access into the back of your vehicle. One of the positions is vertical so you can keep it on the vehicle while not in use, but not have it hanging off the back and making your vehicle longer.
The INH120 bike rack also included a cable to lock the rack to your vehicle. This cable can be used to loop through the frame of your bike to lock it to the rack as well. I require this feature on a bike rack because all too often bikes are stolen when you make a quick stop for food or to run into a store.
An unboxing and assembly video for the INH120 bike rack is available to view HERE.
A quick video demonstrating how easy it is to load and unload your bikes from the INH120 bike rack is available to view HERE.
MMichigan State park with large sites and lots of privacy. $25per night with electric. Several no wake lakes for kayaking, canoeing and fishing. One lake with swimming beach. Lots of trails for hiking, horses and mountain bikes. Roads quiet and could easily ride your road bike to nearby bike paths. I loved the lack of lights in the park at night making for a beautiful night sky.
Tent sites with water acces. Very nice caretaker!!
I have stayed here quite often. The park is a typical state campground. The campsites have good space and isolation from other sites. The electrical was updated so alls it’s have their own hook up but some of the older boxes can have issues. The site I was on had the 30 amp plug that was not working.
There is a lot to do here; fishing, horseback riding. Mountain bike trails, lake with beach so if you get board it’s your fault. The mountain bike trails are challenging and will provide a good workout.
I will stay here again and again.
Wow! Three lakes, hiking, biking and horse trails, showers, camp host and super quiet this past week while there. Not many campers, but everyone there seemed pleasant and were quiet. Deep sites, electric if you so desire, firepit and tables. I use a tent. Driving from the west through Augusta is a treat…so pretty. Civilization not far at all. Fishing, beach, play areas and an amusement park for mountain bikers! No alcohol. Will return!
Driving in to the campground, wear your blinders as there's a concrete plant right next door. I camped this past week and there were signs the park hadn't been used by many at all just yet. On the sites just a few yards away from Lake Michigan, the fall leaves and winter branch droppings remained on most of the sites, which seemed decent sized, but remember I am a tent camper. Pit toilets and water available. I did not meet or see camp host. There are two campgrounds, north and south, and both have a handful of sites right on Lake Michigan. North lakeside sites you can pull into, South lakeside sites some you park on the road. Not to worry, it's maybe 20 steps to the middle of your site, so really isn't an issue. Loved my Lakeside site and had some neighbors, but the low shrubs made for good privacy. Those with small kiddos may want to opt for interior site as lake sites are RIGHT ON THE WATER. Good time, some noise during the day from the cement plant, stores nearby. I will return.
Nice campground with a footpath from each loop to the beach! Excited to stay at the primitive campsites this summer, they look super nice and further away from all the noise of the regular campsites. Also LOVE the disc golf course here! Not very many parks have them.
We just visited this campground this past weekend and it was beautiful! I loved the clear blue water down the big dropoff hill and how heavily wooded this entire park was. Made it perfect for hammock camping! Will definitely be staying here again in the near future.
I love this park. We come here all the time for kayaking, hiking, biking and swimming. However, the campground is horribly set up. The entire thing is wide open and there is little to no space between sites. No trees either to break up space between neighbors.
Really. Really. Quiet. Quiet hours all day and night. So nice not to hear everybody's musical selections. This park is, after all, right across the road from Interlochen Arts Center, so there's a whole lotta class that just rubs off geographically. Nice lake, good beach.
It doesn't get prettier than Wilderness SP. New sites are full hook-up; others are electric only. Cold water on these beaches - bring a warm blanket to wrap up in if you plan to go swimming. Beaches are not dog-friendly (as is the case throughout Michigan, although dog beaches are starting to make headway). There is a dark sky park nearby - don't bother. It gets plenty dark here, and star-gazing is phenomenal. Close to Mackinac City and ferry to the island; close to Big Mack Bridge.
This one is worth a visit. beautiful wooded sites, sandy creek runs through for wading and playing. The White River runs through the campground. Canoe landing at campground. BYOBoat or rent from Happy Mohawk, about a mile down the road (a nice hour or so float downstream from HM to WRCG landing). Fishing's good, too. Sweet pool, good store, Great facilities, laundry, and all that Western Michigan has to offer. You won't be sorry.
GRAND PRIZE $100 to GCI Outdoor
4 RUNNERS UP WIN $50 to Grub Stick