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.
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.
Rustic sites that are a fair ways apart, some sites have more privacy than others. A few spots offer your own trail to get to the somewhat rocky shoreline. This is probably my favorite place to camp at the moment.
This is a relatively low key park compared to most state parks in Michigan. It is tucked away down an industrial road where unfortunately a power plant of some kind is located, but when you are in the park and on the shores of Lake Michigan, you easily forget about the eyesore you passed to get there. We enjoyed walking the shore and looking for petoskey stones. Found a crab and crawfish while we were looking. The campground was spacious and shaded. Many of the sites were full but it felt mostly private. When we arrived at our site, the previous campers had left us a care package of kindling, newspaper and wood chips to get a fire started, as well as a few logs. We met a woman who was by herself and camping for her very first time. She asked us to teach her how to start a campfire because the YouTube videos she had watched on how to do it weren’t working for her. I hope you keep camping, Molly! The vault toilets were a little run down but clean. Firewood is for sale on the honor system. The wildlife is beyond tame. I know that feeding wildlife is frowned upon, but we had a chipmunk that was relentless. He was bound and determined to eat every Michigan cherry we had, which was a lot. I would return here to camp at any time.
Many sites right on the shoreline, and some of the best rock hunting on the beach.
There are plenty of sites all along the shore of Lake Michigan! it gave the illusion of our own private beach and even though we had a camper at the site next to ours it was still very private because of all the trees in between. Waking up to the sound of crashing waves was so relaxing. It even thunderstormed while we were there and it’s still one of my favorite camping trips ever! Plus nice hiking trails as well!
Minimal Accommodations, port-a-jon. Close to Charlevoix. $17/night. Walk-in sites. Lakeshore sites. HUGE sites. Most sites can easily fit a few tents. Firework for sale by independent supplier near office. Kayak to the island. Pretty quiet and peaceful. Large campground. Less people on the South end. Very tame wildlife.
Smaller beach areas but beautiful water and coastline! Not the most well kept vault toilets but the rest makes up for it
This is our favorite campground in Michigan. We don’t usually like camping at state parks because they get so crowded, but this one is different. There are several sites right on Lake Michigan. Many sites provide a great deal of privacy, and you get our own stretch of beachfront. It’s a perfect spot to find Petosky stones, or just enjoy the lake. Even if you’re not lucky enough to get a spot in the water, there is access to the lake in a few locations throughout the campground. The location is great- right outside of the cute town of Charelvoix, and not far from Petosky and Traverse City. Reserve your site early- all the good spots on the lake get booked right away.
This campground is amazing! If you want to stay on the water (Lake Michigan), which is highly recommended, be sure to book early. The sights go fast! There is an awesome spot just before you pull in to the park that is great for rock hunting and hanging on the beach. When you first arrive you stop at the main office to get your car passes and check in. Driving to your site you’ll follow Lake Michigan and it’s beautiful. Lots of places to stop to get out and take it all in. Our campsite had stairs down to the water and was perfect for us because of our little kids. We could block them off and didn’t have an issue with them going down to the water without us. A lot of the water sights are right on the beach and would love to try those out once my kids are older. At the end of the park there is a place to park with different hiking trails and a creek. We love to hike along the creek for a bit and then hike through the sand dunes. My kids loved running up and down the sand dunes. We finished off our hike walking along the shore looking for petoskey stones. Which we found a lot of. Their are lots of different hiking trails throughout the park as well and a lot of people where kayaking. If you want to check out Charlevoix, which is also highly recommended, it’s only a 10 min drive to get there. They fight to keep the town small so if you need something like a can opener the only place is k-mart for inexpensive things. That also is very close by. This campground is highly recommended by me and my family.
Sites are spacious, clean and right on the beach. It's lovely to star gaze at night and wake up to lapping water in the morning. The major downside that they do not broadcast is that there is a massive power plant up the beach that is quite the eye sore.