An expansive 26 miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline are hugged by 10,000 acres of wild forested landscapes at Wilderness State Park. A a great place for camping near Ann Arbor you will find opportunity to observe nature via numerous trails and plentiful campsites. A huge benefit to the park is its year-round recreational activities and camping opportunities.
In fact, you can look forward to well equipped, modern campsites, as well as full hook-up and tent-only campsites. Moreover, Six rustic cabins and three rustic bunkhouses serve as additional lodging accommodations within the park. You’ll rarely find difficulty locating a spot to stay, as the park consists of 250 campsites that are divided into two units (Lakeshore and Pines), as well as 18 sites in the full hook-up campground and nine sites in the tent-only campground.
When looking for something to do, make sure to check out the multitude of local trails. More than 16 miles of traversable paths wind through the cycle-friendly East Boundary, South Boundary, Nebo, Sturgeon Bay, Swamp Line and Big Stone trails. Furthermore, ten miles of The North Country Trail reside within the state park, as well as the Ride Pine Trail. This national scenic trail hiking route from North Dakota to New York includes more than 1,500 miles of historic foot trails throughout the midwest region.
Kids (and adults) will love the Wilderness State Park geocaching trail. 16 individual geocaches are included in the trail, with four caches in the park for those just starting out. For the creative types, the region is well known for Metal Detecting. Metal detecting is encouraged by the park’s officers and enforcement, however it must be safe and away from any natural resources or otherwise preserved land. Therefore, it’s essential to check in with rangers before taking any finds home, as well as to hunt only in the permitted areas.
Throughout the region outdoor enthusiasts flock to take part in seasonal hunting. This park is known for its excellent deer and snowshoe hare hunting. There are also fowl opportunities thanks to the grouse, duck, and goose. Amazingly, even bear hunting is common, and legal with the appropriate license; although that doesn’t mean you must try it.
As far as other recreational activities, the 26 miles of sandy beach shores and large boat launch draw many in the summer. The shores also have a popular fishing pier, with a populated swim hole nearby.
Due to the large campground size, camping here is relatively comfortable as well. There are widely accessible electrical services, shower houses, RV dump stations, and camper-friendly amenities throughout the campground.
One of the best state campgrounds. This is a very large park and can be hard to get into. It has wonderful trails around it, good sized sites, an active ranger program for kids. There is the upper campground (Pines), which does not have direct views or water access, but is a great campground. The lower section is on the water. There is beach access for all campers along the water and gorgeous views of the Mackinaw Bridge. It's a great hub for all the activities in the area: the dark sky park, Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, etc.
We stayed at Wilderness in October this fall. The fall colors were just about fully turned and it was just gorgeous. This park is geared towards the RV camper and they have sites for just about any size rig. The sites along the lake are geared more toward the sorter rigs. Ours is a short 5'er and we fit just fine.
The only downside to this trip was the very high lake levels. On the west side of the park with the more scenic beaches were just not accessible. Actually, they didn't exist. The water level completely inundated them. Even the shore trees were in the water. That prevented us from hiking where we had hoped to hike. That really limited us.
The park was clean and the dump station clean and plenty of room We would camp here again.
Wilderness was great, not what you are looking for if you are tent camping more of an RV park. Beautiful views though
This state park is one of the best. The campsites have amazing water views and are nicely spaced out. Bathrooms are clean. Highly recommend!
This very popular state park is a real winner due to its gorgeous remote location, sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters along the shores of Lake Michigan-- located just southwest of the iconic Mackinac Bridge. The sunrises and sunsets alone are worth the price of admission! And, we lucked out to be camping during a meteor shower, one of the best we’ve ever seen. We laid out on the beach and watch the night sky for hours.
All of the sites have electric hookups and are rather packed together, so there is literally no privacy between them if it’s a busy time of the season. The sites along the lakeshore are the best, and have direct beach access, but you need to be the early bird and make a reservation the morning that they open up. The campground hosts do a great job of keeping this park very clean.
Because of all the cool things to do and see at this park, we honestly didn’t sit around much during the day. We hiked, biked, swam, snorkeled, and paddled our hearts out. We made it out to the most remote islands that are part of the park and even found Petoskey stones along the shores. Some of the finest Lake Michigan paddling we've done!
We can’t comment on the bathrooms and there were simply too many people at this campground for us to feel comfortable using them during a pandemic, so we set up our own portable shower and toilet tent and it worked just fine. We would highly recommend this option to others who don’t have a bathroom in their camper or are tent camping.
The closest “real” grocery store is in Mackinaw City, about 30 minutes away. But, Mackinaw City is a total tourist trap, so I’d avoid going there unless that is your thing. There is a small general store for snacks, ice cream, ice, and adult beverages about 4 miles outside of the park.
Pretty secluded campsites with trees surrounding each site. Private little sandy trail from the site down to Lake Michigan allows for good distancing from others. Can’t beat the sunsets. Definitely will be back.
I only wish I lived closer. We traveled all the way from NY to visit this campground and it has still been my favorite to date. We stayed in the loop with the full hook-ups and had a beach view. Every night we had a beautiful sunset to watch. When the water was still, it was crystal clear and beautiful. It reminded me of some place tropical. The kids enjoyed playing on the sandy beaches. While we were here, we also visited Mackinac Island. We rented some bikes and toured the island. Visited many attractions including a winery, ate some famous fudge and climbed up to an overlook of the lake. We had so much fun here and I hope to one day visit it again.
This is our favorite rustic campground, Surrounded by woods and on the water edge.
Tent camping - rustic waterfront, fire pit
RV camping - electric/ water, fire pit
Open your door and you are on the water!
Great park right on lake Michigan. Level sites, clean and modern facilities. 3 bays for sanitation station. Quality state park… Very large, but not much for privacy.
We kicked off our family camping trip at Wilderness State Park and it was just what we needed: A well maintained campground with long lovely beaches, gorgeous lake-view sunsets, and clean bathrooms. After a long drive from 90+ temps to the south, the refreshing swim in crystal clear water was simply exquisite.
The only minor thing keeping this from 5 stars is how tightly packed together the sites are, but the entire experience was so clean and comfortable we would happily come here again.