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.
Very nice campground, river us nice for swimming, mostly shallow, good for kids, canoeing and kayaking also.
We visited during the government shut down, and this site was perfect! Campsites are in national forest but (single) pit toilet was accessible because it’s on state property!! Was amazing to connect from the site directly to the North Country Trail and fishing access could not have been better.
This is the last Michigan State Park Campground as you are heading south and entering WI.
Beautiful views of the Lake looking east and south to Washington Island and Door County Peninsula. Nice stream and playground for kids to play in and on. Mostly grassy campsites so things get a little wet after heavy rains. Most sites have electricity and water.
This is a beautiful Campground with sites a few feet or a few yards from Lake Michigan. Fantastic south facing views. Close to town and lots to do in the area. Make sure you go to Jack's Market for pasties and pot pies. Eat in or carry out.
We were literally the only people in the camp ground. Showers were hot, but the wall heater was a little scary (propane). The owners were very nice. We came after dark and left early, so we didn’t see too much of the campground. Nice treed setting.
We loved camping here! We were so excited to explore the sleeping bear area and this is on the southern end and 40 minutes from Traverse City. You are near the Platte River which is perfect for kayaking and tubing! The campgrounds were clean and we were near a bath house that was nicely updated. There is a RR grade trail that leads to the beach but I recommend dribing up. Even after apply a ton of bug spray we felt like we were getting eaten alive on the trail.
This campground feels very secluded in the woods. You have many spots to choose from right on the lake or further into the woods. They have a few outhouses, picnic tables, large fire pits and ours even had a clothes line. That's about all the accommodations you will find. We had a great time here. We found a spot with our own little beach front and got to watch the fireflies at night. The only problem we had were the mosquito's! Bring your bug spray!
Connects to a walking and biking trail.
Members and guests only but you can contact the office for a day pass to check it out. Lots of amenities… Multiple pools, both indoor and outdoor. Splash pad. Cabins of multiple different sizes. Sites are a little sparse on trees in places, and the new build side is REALLY unshaded, but we like the older side better. Putt putt golf, shuffleboard, play park for kids, beach, boat/SUP/kayak/paddle boat rentalsv(free, just leave id with the rental guy). Camp store is well stocked. We love this place!
My boyfriend & I were passing through the area and stopped here for 2 days without reservations. They were very accommodating and since we arrived after 7:30 pm, the office was closed but they insured us to pick a spot and we could get checked in the next morning. Bath houses were very clean. Everything well kept up. We enjoyed our couple days here! Wifi on site.
This campground is cheap and easy to access. It has a fire pit, nearby bathrooms, WiFi, and was in short driving distance to the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Traverse City. They have a shop at the entrance where you check in and have food, ice, and firewood available. It’s definitely not remote (you’re close by to neighbors, and close to state routes), but is close to major attractions and trails and gets the job done :) Would definitely go again.
This was the second place on our stop while visiting Michigan. The first place we stayed was nice, but super busy because there was a beach and lake. This place wasn't very busy because it was a bit isolated from other campgrounds. This campground is the furthest from the dock area, so less people travel to here. There was probably about 5 other families while we were here, which is surprising because it was mid July. I guess there are only like 7-8 sites, so that makes sense. We reserved our site online. The island is beautiful, and the beach area was amazing! Very clean, and private. Felt like we were on our own little island. The campground was clean as well. The attendants/rangers were super helpful and nice. They directed us to our location as well as give us some ideas for great hiking in the area. Definitely bring lots of water or some sort of filtration system because there is no fresh water to drink. The nice thing about a smaller campground and less sites is that they were separated really well. There was quite a bit of space between the sites, so it didn't feel like you were right on top of each other. Did some beautiful hikes that overlooked the water! I would 100% come back and enjoy this private campground again!
My family and I took a 3 week vacation to visit Michigan. We stayed at a few different campgrounds, and did lots of hiking. We really like Michigamme Shores Campground (the name was really cool we thought!). The campground was really nice. We were able to get a spot by the little beach area they have- next to the Michigamme Lake. Being by the lake in the summertime was really nice! They have a cool trampoline type thing in the water that kids loved playing on. It was definitely busy, so the people in our group didn't get to jump off it. The beach area was clean, which we really appreciated. There are garbage cans and dumpsters within the park which helps with clean up. Lots of picnic tables, which we used during the times when we ate. The campground also has a playground area and beach volleyball. The campsites have hookups which is also really nice. The only downside to this campground was that because the lake and beach area is right there, it was pretty busy. Especially since it was in the summer- lots of partying/boating and people just being overly loud. Other than that, it was a great stay. Great hikes nearby, which we did every morning (3 different hikes). The views were amazing!
Beautiful area, and the campsites are “improved “ with firepit, picnic table, and nearby water… but quite close together and little privacy.
Nice shower and flush toilets, and decent camp store.
the dunes and lake are great!
If you're looking at getting into backpacking or unsure if backpacking is for you, Negwegon is a great place to start. First of all, each of the sites are only a mile or two away from the parking lot of the park. This gives newbies the chance to take a small hike in for that backcountry feel. Second, each site has a fire ring and picnic table… and a vault toilet. This means you get a few of the comforts of car camping but with beautiful views of Lake Huron and limited interaction with humans. Staying at Blue Bell, site #1, we were treated with Lake Huron just about 100 feet away from our campsite. We had the chance to check out site #3– for those that love sand, that is the spot for you.
As for the camping site overall, #1 is a great start. It is about 75 feet off of the trail, but in the fall, foot traffic was very limited. The wind provided us with plenty of fallen limbs and brush to start a fire. If you pack a hatchet, options are expanded to larger fallen branches. There are a few spots on the site to pitch your tent– with it being windy, we setup tucked in a flat area surrounded by thick evergreen trees that provided wind protection. Lake Huron is very clear and we filtered about 10 cups of water to drink throughout our stay.
Going in mid-fall, be prepared for that breeze blowing off of the lake, we came prepared for the cold, if you don't, you'll be miserable. Upsides of camping in the fall, limited to no bugs. We didn't have any issue with bugs and in fact, we saw no wildlife at all– even including a hike up past site #4.
This is my yearly spot. Cannot say enough good things about WB. It’s right on the shores of Lake Michigan. The beach, sand dunes, local wineries are all right there. Some sites have water. All have electric. The downside is there is no sewer hookups.
Baraga is an interesting place to visit - but don't plan to camp here. The campground is literally a few yards from Interstate 41 - the trucks and noise make it impossible to catch any shut eye from any site in the park.
Campsites are small and when we went, totally muddy (Mid July) There is a small hole in the wall casino nearby. We golfed at a course a little north and it was like golfing in a cow pasture, but prices were right up there. (Had to take motion sickness pills to survive the ride back to the club house after only 5 holes.) Lake Superior is beautiful and there was a good steak house within 15 minutes.
Fort Wilkin, at the northern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula is not worth the drive.
Rustic campground along the shores of Lake Michigan. 23 sites. Hand pump for water available. Beautiful spot on Lake Michigan with no signs of life for miles down the beach. Pets are welcome. Fire pits are available. Seven sights are along the lake. Six mile drive down a dirt road to access the campground. The road is usually in good condition. It is well worth it. An extremely peaceful and beautiful place.
As always Michigan State Parks are exceptionally well maintained. New construction going on here for 2020. Our campground is perfect. Close to the water not too close to neighbors and reasonably close to the restroom. We are camping late in the year and in spite of the fact it’s the restrooms now have been closed in preparation for freezing weather we have been very pleased with our site.
We had a blast on the dunes at Silver Lake. You can get an off road vehicle tag there. We took the Jeep but there were people there in all sorts of off-road capable vehicles. It is a nice way to get an adrenaline rush and beautiful views of the lake all at once.
This is a great spot to spend time with the family and visit others. It is definitely crowded and has lots of little ones running around, so I wouldn't suggest it for a quiet get away. But the pool is nice and there are lots of things going on to entertain the kids. The staff is nice and if you forget something you need not worry- there is a store at the campground. It is also located near Saint Joseph, MI where there are plenty of things to do. There are many wineries and u-pick fruit farms nearby.
This is a great place to camp with young children, as there are many activities around the camp. It is family owned and operated and you can tell- warm and friendly. If you want to explore, there are six Lake Michigan beaches within 15 minutes, and it's located between South Haven, MI and Saint Joseph, MI.