Camping on North Manitou Island offers solitude and a wild beauty and nights listening to lapping waves.
The small Village Campground contains eight designated campsites, two fire rings and one outhouse. There is a limit of two tents and four people per site. Fires are permitted in the community fire rings at the Village Campground.
Camping is allowed in the wilderness area, but open fires are prohibited. Use gas or alcohol stoves i the wilderness.
Backcountry Camping Regulations are in effect on North Manitou Island. A backcountry permit and fee payment must be completed before camping. Permits are available on the island and on the mainland. Groups are limited to a maximum of 10 people.
N. Manitou Island is part of the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and is located in Lake Michigan and offers days of discovery to be had. To get to N. Manitou you will take a ferry in Leland, Michigan that will take you to the island. You can stay for a day trip, backcountry camp, or stay at the designated camp gound. You must take ALL needed supplies for your stay with you to the island, there are no stores there. Once on the island you can go many miles of hiking, where you will encounter beutiful forest, marsh, dunes, and the abandoned buildings, ruins, and orchards unused for over 100 years. If you pack your fishing pole to lake manitou, located in the center of the lake, you can experience amazing small mouth bass fishing. I spent my 3 days fishing, but plan on heading back to explore more.
Plenty of history and wilderness on this reclusive island of Sleeping Bear National Forest. NO ACCOMMODATIONS. NO FIRES PERMITTED. NO TRACE CAMPING. Do some research before hand. Rumor is there are iconic sites not on the maps provided. Great fishing on the inland lake. Southern portion near cemetery and cabin is desert like and debatable if it’s worth it. Island is 7 miles across but worth the truck. Ferry or boat required.
After taking a ferry for a few hours across 12 miles of Lake Michigan, you finally arrive on North Manitou Island! The crossing helps to really remove you from the mainland you left behind.
Even better, in addition to the official campsites, with a backpacking permit you can camp almost anywhere on the island. Camping near the beach (300 ft) was my choice, and the sunsets and cool breeze did not disappoint. I even got to watch a small rainstorm roll in across the lake, and hurry up the dune to my tent when it got close.
This island is a hidden gem 12 miles off the coast of the Sleeping Bear Dunes national Lakeshore, accessible by ferry..
I gave the island 4 stars because some of the rules are a little too stringent in my opinion. Fires are only permitted in the Village Campsite at the island's entrance & you cannot camp within 300 ft of the beach. But if you're willing to forego the pyro effects & sleeping a stones throw away from the shore, then you're in for a camping experience unlike any other in MI. In the summer months, the island feels unquestionably tropical. The sparkling blue waters and sandy beaches make it feel like you're on an island at the equator, not halfway to the North Pole. The island is also sprinkled with uninhabited cottages that vacationers left behind at the end of a summer and never returned to. You can expect your stay here to include exploring historical ruins, marveling at beaches strewn with Petosky stones & reminding yourself that you're in Manitou, not Martinique.