Can’t recommend

It was an odd experience. The staff and many campers were very friendly, but we were told there was a recent staffing change that made our reservation process more ambiguous than we were led to believe. When we arrived, the lakeside site we reserved over the phone wasn’t available and instead we were placed in an overflow site next to the dumpster. Because it was a fishing campground (which we didn’t know when we booked), the dumpster was full of aromatic sun-baked fish parts. Then we learned the camp bathroom was an unmarked passcode door with “old fashioned” plumbing standards. Admittedly, we never checked to see what the bathroom was like inside.

In short, it wasn’t a comfortable vibe and rather than stick it out, we took a short walk upwind to consider our options. As luck would have it, we found a site at another campground in Manistee. The Hopkins staff seemed to appreciate our decision and offered a refund. Nice people with a pretty view of Bear Lake, but I’d pass on this campground for now.

Shady, woodsy, quiet

A thick forest of Hemlocks and pines fill the interior of the Hemlock campground giving it a shady, woodsy feel. Tahquamenon (rhymes with “phenomenon”) has tightly compact sites at the Henlock campground with many roving kids on bikes yet somehow maintains a peaceful atmosphere. Alas, if you’re hoping for a dark campsite, try to avoid anywhere near the bath house - it provides a LOT of light. But with all the trees, Hemlock isn’t an ideal area for stargazing anyway.

The main draw is the beautiful old growth forest hikes to the upper and lower falls. While you’re at the upper falls, stop by the Tahquamenon Brewery for a pint, check out the food truck options, or swing by the gift shop! A fun, beautiful place.

Love it

Things I love about this campground: sites with easy access to private lakeside swimming, clean restrooms with Wifi and laundry, the fort is an interesting piece of history to explore, and the conglomerate formation rock beaches of Lake Superior are just a picturesque 5-minute hike through old pine forests. The sites are pretty compact in the east campground (though definitely not the toughest I’ve seen), but the west is more spread out.

Side note for those with sturdy shocks and off-road tires on their car, the nearby road to Horseshoe Harbor offer a short hike to a blissfully private and peaceful beach. Worth checking out!

This is the campground we’ve been looking for

The sites are overly spacious and well disbursed. Everything is super clean. Over a mile of beach gives every camper enough room to feel like the entire lake is there‘s to enjoy alone. I couldn’t be much happier with this campground. The best state campground I’ve been to in Michigan so far. It’s a gem.

Decent stop on our way

Another clean Michigan campground. While some sites are tightly packed together and the road noise nearby is slightly discernible, there’s still room for double-family camping and most sites seem to have partial shade. Scenic trails with views of the Mackinac Bridge make this a distinctively notable park and it served our trip well as the first stop on a UP tour.

Nice, but a little behind on trash pickup

Wrapping up our recent tour of Michigan campgrounds, we caught some sun at the beach after a quick sprint up the dunes (actually just the 8-year old climbed to the top - the parents were too hot and tired). Alas, the beach showed heavy use with sand that was just a bit grittier than shores we visited in the northern mitten.

We found a quiet site (168) near a small playground with clean bathrooms and a camp store with a woodsy fun feel selling souvenirs, shirts, snacks, and scooter rentals. Minor concerns were the heavy trash that backed up at the dumpster after a busy weekend and the thick cloud of campfire smoke that lingers at bedtime when the land breeze shifts in. But hey, it’s camping.

Crowded camping

The bathrooms are clean, the staff is friendly, and the lake views are spectacular. Plus, the cute town of Manistee is nearby with three gorgeous public beaches, tasty restaurants, and ample shopping. Unfortunately, the sites are as compact and close together as possible. I usually enjoy the aroma of a campfire, but in the evening if all the sites are full, a smogtacular smoke cloud hovers over this campground - if you have breathing sensitivities then sleep will be difficult. Due to erosion, the stairs to the beach have been closed which forces campers to conglomerate even more closely together.

Totally worth it

The private well-spaced sites just a stone’s throw from 75 ft. dunes overlooking Lake Superior’s colored rock shoreline made this campground a family favorite. Sullen video-weary kids were transformed into naturalists in mere seconds once we set foot on the beach. Even with no running water or electric, and (surprisingly clean) pit toilets, this campground was totally worth the extra steps to make our visit a lifelong memory. The private lake view was just what we were looking for and the colorful beach rocks kept us combing the shores for hours even as sunset twilight still lingered after 10:00 PM. If the beauty of nature in a non-crowded setting is your goal, then this is a great campground to visit. Wife said, “I can feel myself unwinding on this beach. I could stay here all week.” We’ll be back.

Beautiful respite

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.