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.
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Spent 4 nights and 5 days camping with my husband and 2 kids. We had fun and the kids had a blast. They rode bikes around the loop and loved swimming and the the playground. Facilities were nice and clean and many sites had trees to give shade at certain times of day.
Growing up camping in the area, I’ve never seen so many campers! I’m assuming it’s due to the pandemic and people coming up to The UP. We meant to camp at Lake Superior State Campground but it was packed every single day even MIDWEEK! We drove over to Blindsucker 1 but the sites where very close to others without much privacy. We found site 19 at Blindsucker 2 and loved it! The toilets and well water are a short walk away. Our site had a little trail to the water but many other sites had great water view right from their tents! You’ll hear tons of water fowl at dusk! Bring your kayaks and paddle boards to float. Many trees to hang hammocks!
While you technically don’t need a reservation, we made our reservations through the DNR website about a month in advance. The campsite was listed as ‘full’ when we arrived, so I was glad we took the extra step.
The sites are generously sized, with room to stretch out. There isn’t much privacy between sites, with a few exceptions, but this campsite is so quiet and well-behaved that it didn’t end up mattering much. The lack of cover between sites gave everyone a nice view of the lake from our tents on our inland sites, which was beautiful.
We had access to 3 different vault toilets, which was a generous amount for the capacity of the campground. We arrived on a Thursday & they were about as clean & tidy as you can ask a vault to be. Generously sized buildings that seemed regularly checked on. Hand sanitizer pumps were installed and full, and toilet paper was always available.
I took one star off for the dense population of ground bees that were in front of all 3 vault toilets, and along the main path to the yurt and water pump. Bees are part of the natural outdoors, but there were dozens of active entrances dug into walking & driving paths. It seemed like a bad combo for both the bees and the campers, cars were often driving over their nests and leaving them agitated. They don’t travel far from their holes though, so we kept a respectful distance and danced around them when they seemed upset.
Overall, we’d absolutely visit this site again. It was a beautiful place to spend our vacation & we enjoyed ourselves a lot over our 4 day stay.
Stayed here for one night. My family enjoyed walking on the bridge over the Cheboygan River. This campground has boat access to the Cheboygan river and access to what I am told is 40+ miles of biking trails. There are small apple trees around the campground and it is all well kept. This campground has a homey feel and will remind you of your grandparents backyard.
Downside, you have your grandpa nagging you.
The one thing this campground has going for it is the location: Right on Lake Huron. We reserved (after trying so many times) a spot right on the lakeshore with its own private trail to the beach. We were very excited. Sadly, lake levels are at historically high levels and thus there was no beach. The waves did, however, sound amazing while sitting by the fire and when laying down in the tent at the end of the night. Lastly, in my opinion, most of the camp sites are way too small and therefore seem way too close together. Without the beach the entire appeal of this campground is gone. If you are looking to camp on or near a beach on one of the Great Lakes I would look elsewhere.
Picture Description: The picture of the tent shows that most of the site was an asphalt pad leaving very little space for anything else.
The other picture shows the absence of the beach. This was about 15 feet from the back of our campsite. It did make for great ambient noise (as mentioned above).