White Pines Campground is a backcountry campground, with a restroom and a fire ring. This 60 acre greenspace is mostly undeveloped, offering only parking at the main entrance and a single trail through the forest. When the original 20 acres of the park were acquired in 1927, they contained one of the few remaining pure stands of white pines in the county. The park has since been managed with the goal of preserving this stand and enhancing it with plantings of new white pine seedlings.
After a short mile or so hike over a mostly level sandy trail you'll reach to the campground. It's located in a part of the forest with lots of ridges. While there is only a couple sites, and the trail on isn't that exciting, the camp is secluded, has a out house and bear food locker. Most impressive though is the short walk from camp to the amazing Lake Michigan beach shore. Even during the busy season of the National lakeshore, I had the whole beach to myself!
Short backpacking walk to this no-reservations rustic campsite. You need a backcountry permit and there’s usually a small fee. Lovely forested secluded tent sites. There’s only one or two fire pits, but going there is a nice way to meet your neighbors (only 2 other groups when I was there in April). Sites aren’t too sandy and are pretty shady. Follow bear rules!!
This is the only backcountry spot in the Sleeping Bear Dunes on the mainland. I gave it a 3 star rating because this place hardly classifies as "the wilderness". The hike in is a quick, flat terrain hike through somewhat anticlimactic scenery. Once you're at the the campground, the sites are pretty close together (which might be a good thing for groups) and there is a communal fire ring. If your preferred version of the backcountry is a short walking distance from the car and less secluded, more social sites, then this just might be your 5 star site. The beach was about 1/2 a mile from the campsite and was completely empty. Although this beach does not have the characteristic dunes of the surrounding lakeshore, it is beautiful in that it's completely yours. I would recommend this site as an ideal spot if you wanted to take a larger group and reserve multiple sites or as a way to ease first time backpackers into the backcountry. Visited July 2016.