The 10 Best Lake Camping Destinations In Michigan
Michigan touches four of Americas largest freshwater lakes and boasts 10,000 more beyond that, so you dont have to look far for fantastic lake camping in the Wolverine State.
Aptly named The Great Lakes State, the majority of Michigans borders are carved out by the impressive waters of Lake Michigan, Superior, Huron, and Erie. Believe it or not, the state has so much coast that it boasts the second-longest coastline in the U.S.
With access to so much water, its no wonder top attractions in Michigan include kayaking, boating, fishing, and visiting the beach. But the Great Lakes arent all there are to see and enjoy in Michigan. Throughout the state, nature lovers can set up camp to enjoy the states forests, miles of hiking trails, and wind-swept dunes.
Michigan has over 100 state campgrounds to choose from, but this top list shares the best lake camping in Michigan for your next waterfront adventure.
Up Campgrounds In Michigan State Parks With Views: Great Lakes Camping In The Upper Peninsula Michigan Travel Blog
This means there are plenty of lake views to be seen, on the way to the campground, near the campground, and AT the campground!
Camping: Dh Day Campground
Located within walking distance of the dunes, youll find the D.H. Day Campground. Youll also find yourself well placed to access the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, museums in Glen Haven and the beautiful village of Glen Arbor. There are 81 private sites with ample amenities. The campground is both tent and RV friendly, but there are no hookups. In the campground, youll find the scenic Sleeping Bear Heritage trail, which includes more than 20 miles of trails for hiking and biking.
This park has the most wonderful setting! I live only 30 minutes away and it is my very favorite place to camp. Campsite number 62 is just steps from Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Bay and fabulous sunrises and sunsets! It is pure bliss to camp here. Spacious and quiet while attached to the Heritage Trail, which connects Empire to Sleeping Bear Bay. The Dyrt camper
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Port Crescent State Park
Why you should camp here: A designated dark-sky preserve with views of Lake Huron.
- Reservations accepted: Yes
- Campsite type: Tents/RVs
- RV hookups: Yes
Just north of Detroit on the tip of Michigans thumb is Port Crescent State Park. Campers come from all over the state to marvel at the clear and bright stargazing opportunities and relax on miles of sandy beaches. Visitors can take advantage of Lake Hurons excellent fishing, canoeing, bird watching, and colorful sunsets.
There are a few different camping options to choose from at Port Crescent. Camp out at the modern campground or reserve a stay in the unique lodgings that include geodesic domes, cabins, and mini-cabins. Reservations for the vacation rentals are possible up to a year in advance and up to six months for campsites. Pets are also welcome, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
Sleepy Hollow State Park
If you have little ones and you are concerned with the giant lakes washing them away from the shore, consider camping more inland.
Sleepy Hollow is located twenty minutes north of Lansing, on a much smaller lake.
Here, you can still swim, fish, water ski, jet ski, boat, etc., without worrying about the riptides of the bigger lakes. Like Lakeport, there are plenty of sandy beaches to play, excavate beach treasures, and picnic.
Perhaps the most enticing feature of this campsite are the mobility aids provided for people with physical challenges. You can rent these aids in advance to arriving at the park, and with your campsite reservation.
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What People Are Saying About White River Rv Park & Campground
This was my first time camping at White River and it was an unbelievable experience! The staff was so friendly and eager to help. Bathrooms and all facilities were very clean. I really felt at home and very comfortable. Laura, Testimonial
- White River RV Park & Campground
- 735 Fruitvale Rd
Learn more on the locationswebsite!
- Daily/Weekly/Monthly Rates: From $44/$295/none # of RV Sites: 250 Full Hookups: Yes 30/50 Amp: Both Back-in/Pull-through Sites: Both Pool/Hot tub: Pool Showers: Yes Pets Allowed: Yes Cell Reception: Yes Wi-Fi: Yes Discounts: N/A
Taquemonon Falls State Park
This state park is a jewel in Michigans U.P. crown. Known for its amazing and scenic waterfalls, thousands of tourists flock here every year just to see the falls and thousands more stay to camp near the falls.
The state park boasts over forty miles of hiking trails and wooden trestle-style trails built into the landscape for easier foot travel.
If you stay in one of the four campsites in this massive state park, you can choose to stay near one of the Great Lakes, or perch yourself closer to one of the thirteen inland lakes belonging to the park.
Tent camping is standard, but there are a few RV and pop-up camper sites available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reservations are highly recommended, especially during the summer when camping is the most popular.
Here are the four campsites within Taquemonon Park:
- Hemlock Campground, which is well-suited to RVs because it has a sanitation dump station.
- Portage Campground, which offers tow-behind camper and tent sites.
- Riversmouth Campground
- Camp 33, which is near the upper falls.
Camp offices are in two of the four locations, depending on whether you will stay near the upper falls or the lower falls.
A diner and brewery are located near camp 33, if you dont have enough camp provisions and you dont feel like traveling far to get camp groceries or food for the night.
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Fayette Historic State Park Camping
And now heading back east along the southern side of the peninsula to make it a loop of the Upper Peninsula drive, there is the option of staying at Fayette Historic State Park.
I dont think there are campsites with lake views here.
This historic state park is preserving the history of the old town of Fayette. Once again, learn about Michigan history! You can take a walk to learn about history of the area with views of Lake Michigan .
Boat camping is also available at Fayette State Parks Snail Shell Harbor!
You can complete the loop by heading back to the Mackinac Bridge! On the way there is one of the top attractions of the UP, Kitch-iti-kipi aka the bubbling big spring which is a part of Palms Book State Park.
This is the official website to make Michigan state park campground reservations.
If you know the campground you want to stay at, you can select that specific state park. Otherwise, you can keep the default and search by using the map too.
You can also click on any campsite and there will be a description of that specific campsite if theres anything to note. This can include if there are lake views from that spot.
And thats a bit about camping in the UP near the Great Lakes and staying at Michigan state park campgrounds!
The quick list of the best Upper Peninsula campgrounds for your circle the UP Michigan road trip:
Free Camping In The Lower Peninsula
In the lower peninsula, the Huron-Manistee National Forest is a great place to start. With close to 1 million acres and hundreds of miles of rivers and streams, there are many inexpensive campsites to be found in addition to the countless dispersed campsites within the forests.
Among those that are free – on the Manistee side closest to Lake Michigan – look for Cooper Creek Road and Green Road near the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area. The Nordhouse Dunes are a great place to explore as well as camp. The National Forest Service has a helpful map and brochure that explains all the details. A great hike can be had from several approaches to the Big Sable Point Light House.
Despite the area having a remote feel, the Upper Hamlin Grocery Store on Nurnberg Road is a conveniently located stop for fresh water, a dump station, and supplies. The Lake Michigan National Recreation Area is just to the north and Ludington State Park to the south.
Further into the Manistee National Forest are a half dozen free campsites. In the north section, east of the town of Manistee, is the and Government Landing Campground on the Manistee River just upstream from the Tippy Dam. There are another half dozen mostly lakeside rustic camping areas further south in the forest.
Heading to the north end of the lower peninsula just before the Mackinaw Bridge is French Farm Lake Campground. While some reviewers didnt find it worked for them, most found it worthy of 4-5 stars.
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Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat
Address: 5807 Ridge Rd, Pentwater, MI 49449
About Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat: According to the campgrounds website, this is One of Gods special places, with cool green woods, warm sand dunes, and a beautiful shoreline. What more could you want for camping on Lake Michigan?
In fact, at Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat, youll have half a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline to explore. Not to mention, youll be a short drive from Pentwaters quaint village, if shopping and dining are your pleasures.
There are 100 sites for tent campers and RVers. The RV sites have water hookups and 30 amp electric service but no sewer hookups. However, there is a new and improved dump station at the campground. RVs under 35 feet are welcome at a rate of $36 per night.
If youre looking for a unique camping experience, Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat also offers platform tent rentals. Each tent rental includes four sleeping cots with mattresses for your comfort. Platform tents are $56 per night.
Bay City State Park In Bay City Mi
Camping in Michigan at Detroit/Ann Arbor KOA:Ideally located between Detroit and Ann Arbor, with quick access to the University of Michigan, the US/Canadian border, great lakes, as well as the metro areas of Toledo, Flint, and Grand Rapids, the Detroit / Ann Arbor KOA surrounds a private lake for the enjoyment of guests and provides endless opportunities for fishing, swimming, and non-motorized water activities. Onsite amenities include mini-golf, a playground, sand volleyball, horseshoes, a game room, watercraft rentals, numerous scheduled activities, and themed weekends. The campground provides guests access to full facilities including laundry, shower/restrooms, an outdoor dishwashing station, a propane refill station, a dump station, and a fully stocked store/gift shop for groceries, essential items, and souvenirs.
6680 Bunton Road, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
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Oak Grove Campground/chippewa Landing
This private campground is located in the Northwestern region of the lower peninsula. Two big sites exist to which you can paddle up in a canoe up to your chosen spot, or you can drive in and hook up to electricity and plumbing.
There is WiFi, and they do allow pets in the park, something a lot of state parks refrain from doing. Essentially whatever you can do on the nearby river, including tubing and fishing, are the available activities.
Its a very quiet and peaceful spot, and loud noises are discouraged so that all campers can enjoy the sounds of the surrounding woods and the bubbling sounds of the river.
Camping is typically by membership only, so you do have to purchase a season pass or membership to camp here.
Yogi Bears Jellystone Camp And Resort
Named for the famous cartoon bear, this franchise of campsites boasts a lot of modern conveniences for campers, including plenty of RV sites and hookups.
If the kids get bored, dont worry. There is a pool, water park, game room, mini-golf, and much more.
Really the only thing that makes this camping is where you sleep at night and whether or not you spend any time on the nearby lakes.
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White River Rv Park & Campground
The White River RV Park & Campground is located in west Michigan in the scenic Muskegon County. Its just minutes away from some of the sandy beaches that Lake Michigan is known for, plus youll find popular tourist attractions within the local area, including Michigans Adventure Amusement Park, Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Pere Marquette Park, the USS Silversides Submarine Museum, and Hackley and Hume Historic Site.
Free Camping In The Upper Peninsula
Camping in the upper peninsula of Michigan is amazing – with only a few major roads cutting east/west, north/south, it is surprisingly easy to move around to find a campsite to your liking. State Parks anchor the 5 corners of the UP but within that area are the two units of the Hiawatha National Forest and the Ottawa National Forest to the west.
Raco Airfield, a former airplane landing strip and proving ground, is a curious start. To the north is Shelldrake Dam. While users report the campground is closed, there are still sites worth exploring and free camping to be had.
Moving to the center of the UP, this unit of the Hiawatha NF has two free camping areas. Hovey Lake Campground has gotten consistent 5-star reviews from Campendium users. Brownstone Boat Launch on the Lake Superior shore offers water access and great views. These have the advantage of being reasonably close to the Pictured Rocks National Seashore.
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Best Time Of Year To Visit Lake Michigan
The best time of year to hit the campgrounds on Lake Michigan is from the end of May to the beginning of October. Since the states surrounding the lake experience all four seasons, this sweet spot of time is when youll get the best weather for enjoying the lake.
Accordingly, water temperatures are warmest from mid-July through September. State Park campgrounds around the lake vary in their open dates, but most allow campers between April and October.
On the other hand, if you prefer a quiet stay with fewer people, visit Lake Michigan in October. You may even get a beach all to yourself!
Moreover, this is a great time of year for a color tour around the lake because leaves typically change colors from late-September to mid-October.
Why Youll Love Lake Shore Rv Resort & Campground By Outdoor Adventures
Not only is this one of the most beautiful RV resort settings youll find in the state, but the facility also offers a bounty of incredible amenities and activities that visitors of all ages are sure to enjoy. Just some of these include a beach area, swimming pools, water park, putt-putt golf course, hot tub, and sauna. Now thats camping in style!
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Camp Lord Willing Rv Park
This family-favorite RV park is open year-round, so youll never have to miss out on enjoying all that this facility has to offer! Its located in Monroe, in the south-east of the state, and offers waterfront sites. Its also just a stones throw from popular attractions including River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Monroe County Michigan Historical Museum, and Sterling State Park. Its less than an hours drive from the major city of Detroit, making it very easy to get to some of the best RV dealerships in Michigan if youre a local camper.
Fishermans Island State Park
Why you should camp here: Wooded campsites with easy access to sandy dunes, beaches, and wildflowers.
- Reservations accepted: Yes
- Best season: Spring, Summer, Fall
- Campsite type: Tents/RVs
- RV hookups: No
If youre looking for rustic lake camping in Michigan, look to Fishermans Island State Park. There are 80 sites each furnished with a fire ring and a picnic table. Most of the campgrounds sites are in the woods away from the water, but there are 15 along the sandy dunes of Lake Michigans shoreline. Vault toilets are nearby, but thats about it there arent any modern facilities, showers, or electrical sites.
The park was named after an island that previously existed, but declining water levels have since turned into a peninsula. As winter changes to spring, wildflowers native to the midwest begin to spring up along the shore of Lake Michigan, adding a touch of color to the landscape and creating a great destination for landscape photographers.
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Lake Superior Camping: 15+ Michigan Campgrounds Near Lake Superior In The Upper Peninsula Michigan Travel Blog
So you want to go camping along the Great Lakes near Lake Superior!
Its possible to camp near Lake Superior in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario .
This list below will cover the Michigan side of Lake Superior.
Camping along Lake Superior in Michigan means a trip to the Upper Peninsula. This is the part of Michigan that touches Lake Superior.
The list below includes campgrounds that are a part of state parks, state forests, a national park, a national lakeshore park, and a national forest. There is tent camping and RV camping available. And for backpackers , you can even go for some island camping near Lake Superior!
This list will basically take you from east to west along Lake Superior. You can make it a great Upper Peninsula road trip just by sticking mostly to the shoreline!
There are great scenic places to be seen all along Lake Superior!
Pioneer County Park Muskegon Michigan
Pioneer Park is the most popular park in Muskegon County. Here, visitors can enjoy an array of activities, including swimming, beachcombing, picnicking, camping, volleyball, baseball, basketball, and tennis. Pioneer Park is located directly on the scenic Lake Michigan, and has several lodges for public use.
There are 235 sites available from late May until late September, each with water and either 30 amp or 50 amp electric. There are no sewer hook-ups at campsites, but there is a dump station available to all campers.
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