Nestled on six miles of immaculate Lake Michigan shoreline, Fisherman’s Island State Park is a 2,600+ acre camping haven, located just outside downtown Charlevoix, MI. Thanks to low lake levels the island from the park’s namesake no longer exists. Over the course of 25 years, water fluctuations lead to the natural formation of a tombolo which now connects the island to mainland Michigan.
The park itself consists of 80 homey campsites, 15 of which are nestled right on the dunes dotting the shoreline. Luckily, the campsites have lots of amenities. Many offer private, secluding camping right on the shore of Lake Michigan. Additionally, fires are allowed here, with firewood available as well. Furthermore, pets are permitted if on leash. Even better, full hookups are available for RVers. There are also showers, bathrooms, WiFi, public trash, and more.
As a result of its wet geography, this region is known for its lush wildflower population. Vibrant flocks of Cardinal Flower, Beach Pea, Broadleaf Arrowhead, and many more varieties can be found all over the park’s rolling dunes and under the aspen and birch trees found scattered throughout.
Even though there aren't specified recreation areas here, you really don’t need them. That’s because the campsites themselves are extremely well maintained, private, and perfect for anyone looking for a short trip away from urban life. Rustic camping is $16/night, and there is a 15 day consecutive night limit. That being said, MI residents can save money by purchasing a recreation passport during license plate renewal, which grants access to all MI state parks for free. Campsite reservations can be made 24/7 up to 6 months in advance on the Michigan State Park Website.
Not overly-loaded with campers. Long paved roads for kiddos with bikes, but still really woodsy. We got a site right on Lake Michigan and it was amazing. Rocky beach access, wave sounds lulling me to sleep, view of the lake sunset from my fire.
Fall camped here. First time and it lived up to all the good reviews! Absolutely beautiful fall colors throughout the campground! Got a pull through Lake MI-front site (34). Got to hear waves day and night. Hiked to closed south campground and beach. Colors even more spectacular there! Once south campground gets opened, most of those sites are in woods and not waterfront but very large. Each site with picnic table and fire pit. Bring your own grate as those aren’t provided. Potable water from hand pump and was unable (water bandit didn’t fit) to fill camper water tank which was my only complaint. Pit toilets clean. The summary of this campground is incorrect-there are not showers nor electricity. It is a rustic campground. Will definitely put this campground on my favorites list!!
Just to the south of the quaint tourist town of Charlevoix, Michigan lies the quiet and stunning lakeside campground of Fisherman’s Island State Park. Unlike many modern state parks this one harkens back to my childhood summers of camping next to the big lake, without any electricity, or indoor plumbing. If you’re looking for simple and beautiful, this is your spot.
There are two main loops for campsites and also a dozen or so lakeside spots, some back-in and some pull-through. Expect these to be reserved on busy summer weekends, because they are the reason to camp here for sure. The southern loop and lakeside sites were closed because of a washout along the shore road, so capacity within the park is running lower than usual, and who knows when repairs will be made. The road is still accessible on foot or on bike, so the fact that it’s closed makes for an amazing hike or ride, take advantage while you can.
The bathrooms are the typical stinky Michigan pit toilets, and the fresh water from the well pump leaves something to be desired but the sunsets and the swimming opportunities more than make that up– 200 times! The only distraction in the view department is the nearby cement plant along the shore,½ mile away, lending a distinctive industrial feel to the northern vista.
Charlevoix offers pretty much anything you might need and is less than 10 miles away, be sure to check out the world’s largest Cherry Pie pan on the way. Fudge, ice cream, and a chance to see the local“Mushroom Houses” brings people from Memorial Day through Halloween, so know that there’s likely to be a crowd and plan accordingly.
If you are wanting to camp right on the lake, this is your place. Our site 33 wasn't even the best one. Several sites sit right on the beach. Sites are semi private depending on how loud your neighbors are. We have t mobile and had cell service at our site. There is a cement factory to the right but it couldnt ruin our stay. Pit toilets are spaced out, there is wood for sale for $10 a tub and water is only available toward the front, but the site!!! Lake Michigan is unfortunately above its highest levels and this has resulted in a great deal of erosion. This means the Channel Campground is closed except to foot or bike traffic so if you are willing to hike or bike 2 miles each way, you have access to an empty beach. We loved our stay and will definitely get back here.
We were luck enough to snag the last waterfront site one weekend in August 2019 and oh my goodness what a wonderful experience. This is a relatively small camp ground where the sites are not right on top of one another and there is enough tree/brush growth that you have a decent amount of privacy. The lake shore sites are right on lake Michigan and you basically have your own private lake access. It is a more rocky area of shore but great for looking for Petoskey stones. Each site has a fire ring, there is a water pump up front as well as vault toilets throughout. We didn't explore the trails too much but we did drive back to the main sandy beach area and that was also lovely. Dogs are allowed on the beach and there was a little peninsula you could walk out to when the tide wasn't too high. We were planning to go back this year but our plans were cancelled because of COVID19. I am really hoping we can make it up there again this season although you need to book early if you want a beach site. I am hoping the South end of the park with the large beach didn't get totally washed out by the rising lake levels.
Amazing rustic park, DNR was called on us at 9pm for being too loud even thought it was before quiet hours. So if you’re going you can’t be too rowdy. Views are worth it though
Top three things that are best about this state camp ground are as listed:
Camp sites are huge. Plenty of room for multiple tents. Also all have trees for shade or a hammock.
Camp sites are NOT on top of each other. Usually you only get this in the backcountry. I was very impressed for rustic camping I had privacy and plenty of room.
The beach was fantastic. Lovely shoreline. Lots of cool beach rocks. The day use area is also very accessible.
The only major con is that it is next door to a cement facility. So yes you will sorta see if from the beach and you will see it when you drive up to go into the park. Other than that you won’t really know it’s there. I will say if you like airplanes the beaver island is nearby and A LOT of planes do fly by. So if you’re looking for library quite… this isn’t it but it pretty dang close.
The vaulted bathrooms were fine. There was water accessible as well. A great place and I would totally come back!
This park is so pretty! Some of the beach sites offer walk in wooded areas with their own private trails to the water. There is also drive around and pull up sites available for campers and tents. The sites are not overly close together either, which can sometimes be an issue at state parks. Picnic table, fire rings, and wooded areas at each site. Bathrooms available in the main parts. So many beautiful areas to explore around this park as well. I can’t get enough.
Huge selection of sites between 2 different campgrounds, from a huge RV to tents or hammocks, there are power and non-electric sites for fair prices. We made a last minute reservation, so didn't have a site next to the lake, but the walk from our spot (south campground, site 46) to the beach was easy enough. Once we got to the lake we found Petoskey stones and fossils like crazy! It's unbelievable how many there were. The sand was nice and the campground overall was clean and quiet. Rangers were very nice and test the water pumps every day. Beautiful views. Lots of deadfall for firewood for those who chose to gather. Sites are within viewing distance but not completely on top of each other. Would definitely stay again and spend more time on the hiking trails and looking for stones and fossils!
Fishermans is a rustic campground right on Lake Michigan and is very close to Charlevoix and all the town has to offer. Their rustic waterfront sites look gorgeous! If I had gotten one of those, this would be a 5 star review. As it was, the sites off the water are ok. We had a gravel pull through site, which made it hard to find a spot to pitch the tent. If I could get a waterfront site, I’d be back in a heartbeat!