September 26, 2023
Camp on the Beach

Top 5 Best Spots For Lake Michigan Camping – 2023 Guide

Lake Michigan is famous for its gorgeous beach towns, towering lighthouses, and exquisite surfing spots, and is one of the largest lakes in the world. There are numerous spots for Lake Michigan camping for casual tourists and experienced campers alike, and today we’ll talk about some of the ones that you should add to your bucket list, so let’s begin from the top:

1. Sandy Shores Campground

Camping Near Lake Michigan
Camping Near Lake Michigan

Sandy Shores Campground is located in the eastern part of Lake Michigan, south of Ludington. The place was named after its clean sandy beaches encompassing Silver Lake, where the camp sits. Numerous grassy sites, well-maintained and paved roads, secured entrances, and various grocery stores nearby exist.

Aside from public beaches, several private beaches offer various commodities and luxury services. People who avoid crowded beaches during pandemic times should invest a few dollars and go to private beaches instead.

Although Lake Michigan is right around the corner, Sandy Shores Campgrounds sits away from the big lake beside its much smaller counterpart – Silver Lake. The camp is across from Silver Lake State Park, which has direct beach access to Lake Michigan, so you can add variety to your camping experience.

Map And Weather At Sandy Shores Campground

2. Weko Beach

Lake Michigan Camping
Lake Michigan Camping by Brahmsee from Pixabay

Weko Beach Campground is on the southeast side of Lake Michigan, right beside the Red Arrow Highway and North of the famous Warren Dunes State Park. This campground is fairly isolated, given that most big box stores and hotels are at least an hour’s drive away.

The Weko Beach campground is west of Bridgman, where you can stock up on supplies and visit some of the local attractions, such as the Transient Artisan Ales and The Haymarket breweries as the Himalaya Textiles specialty gift shop.

Camping families with children can visit Captain Mike’s Fun Park Center, which offers numerous entertainment facilities and engaging activities for youngsters and adults alike.

One of the most popular activities campers partake in a while camping at Weko Beach is paddleboarding, right next to surfing. Waikiki Jack is the closest shop to rent surfing and kayaking gear cheaply.

The campgrounds are right beside Tanner Town Park, which you should visit if you want a more traditional wood camping experience when camping near Lake Michigan.

Map And Weather of Weko Beach Campground

3. St. Ignace Campgrounds

Straits of Mackinac
Straits of Mackinac by T Gill from Pixabay

St. Ignace Campgrounds sits at the Straits of Mackinac, the crossroads between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It’s a lively place populated by roughly 2,500 locals, and it’s famous for its exceptional lodging options, such as the Voyager Inn, Aurora Borealis Motel, and Quality Inn Lakefront. However, the Bavarian Haus Lakefront Inn offers the best view.

Numerous campgrounds surround St. Ignace, including the Straits State Park, the Tiki RV Park, and Lakeshore RV Park Campground. RV camping on Lake Michigan is a favorite way to enjoy the Great Lakes. If you don’t mind driving a bit further down the road, Castle Rock Lakefront Camp is definitely worth a visit. The famous Mackinac Trail is a hiker’s favorite, mainly due to the beautiful vegetation and plenty of shade.

Most areas west of the Chain Lake are almost completely covered by trees and grassland, so more traditional campers may also want to visit the Just Show Up Campground off the US Route 2 Highway. 

Tourists and campers who want more privacy and seclusion can take the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry to Mackinac Island (also accessible via plane). The Mackinac Island State Park is a massive campground in itself, and you’ll be able to visit quite a few historical landmarks, such as the Skull Cave burial site, the Dwightwood Spring, Arch Rock, and more.

Map And Weather Near St. Ignace Campgrounds

4. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Trap Hills Porcupine Mountains
Trap Hills Porcupine Mountains David Sieberg from Pixabay

Unlike most Lake Michigan camping spots, the ones surrounding the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness Area (aka The Porkies) in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are not for the faint of heart. Extreme camping enthusiasts can endeavor to brave the infamous Summit Peak, which offers a gorgeous view of the countryside and an isolated fortress of branches and leaves.

Although these mountains are closer to Lake Superior than to Lake Michigan, the Porcupine Campgrounds are fairly close to both. The Porcupine Campgrounds feature multiple camping locations. These include the Langford Lake campground, Pomeroy Lake campground, and numerous smaller campgrounds. Balsam, Maple, Perch, Pine, Beaver, Mink, Bear, Wolf, Racoon, and Bobcat campgrounds are choice small footprint camps.

The landscape of the Porcupine Mountains foothills is riddled with numerous lakes. It also has a very diverse topographical picture.

It’s almost certain that you’ll need a 4×4 off-road vehicle to traverse the harsh terrain of the Porcupine Campgrounds. It would be wise to stock up on supplies beforehand. The only place where you can get some is the Sylvania Wilderness Cabins, which isn’t exactly that close to the campgrounds.

Map And Weather of the Porcupine Mountains

5. Leelanau State Park

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Grand Traverse Lighthouse at Leelanau State Park Leelanau State Park

Leelanau State Park is a beautiful and scenic park located on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan. It spans over 1,300 acres and offers a variety of recreational activities and camping opportunities for visitors. The park is known for its stunning views of Lake Michigan, diverse wildlife, and picturesque landscapes.

Camping at Leelanau State Park:

There are two main camping options at Leelanau State Park: the rustic campground and the group-use area.

Rustic Campground: This campground has 51 rustic campsites, including some that are ADA accessible. The campsites are equipped with fire pits, picnic tables, and vault toilets, but no electrical or water hookups. Drinking water is available at designated locations within the campground. The rustic campground is open from mid-May through mid-October, and reservations can be made up to six months in advance.

Group-Use Area: The group-use area is perfect for larger gatherings and is designed for groups of 20 or more. It features a large, open field with picnic tables, a fire ring, and vault toilets. The group-use area is available by reservation only.

Activities and Attractions at Leelanau State Park:

In addition to camping, the park offers a variety of recreational activities, including:

Hiking: There are over 8 miles of hiking trails that wind through the park’s diverse landscapes, including forests, meadows, and sand dunes. The trails offer stunning views of Lake Michigan and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

Beach Access: Visitors can access the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline for swimming, sunbathing, or beachcombing.

Fishing: Anglers can enjoy fishing in Lake Michigan, with opportunities to catch salmon, trout, and other species.

Wildlife Viewing: The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and numerous bird species. Birdwatching is especially popular due to the park’s location along a major migratory route.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse: The historic Grand Traverse Lighthouse is located within the park and is open for tours seasonally. The lighthouse features a museum, gift shop, and spectacular views of Lake Michigan.

Picnicking: The park offers several picnic areas with tables and grills for visitors to enjoy.

Winter Activities: In the winter months, visitors can take advantage of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the park’s trails.

Leelanau State Park is a true gem in Michigan’s park system, offering a variety of outdoor experiences and stunning natural beauty. Its serene atmosphere and diverse recreational options make it a perfect destination for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors.

Map and Weather at Leelanau State Park

Final Thoughts on Lake Michigan Camping

We hope this rundown of camping on Lake Michigan was useful to you and that you’ve learned something new today on the amazing camping spots to be found in and around one of the Great Lakes. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through, and have a good one, guys!

The shores of Lake Michigan are picturesque and serene. It’s a great moment to write about your camping experiences. Love stickers as much as we do? Keep memories of your superb travel in Michigan by decorating your journal with custom stickers. It’s a quick and fun way to bring some spark to your travel journal, all without being super artistic. There is no better time to plan your next camping trip on the shore of this beautiful lake than now!


Camping Resources For Lake Camping in Michigan

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Video: Driving Along Lake Michigan Shoreline

Indiana Dunes National Shoreline
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Katie Pierce

Katie is a freelance writer and researcher. She graduated from the University of North Carolina and resides in Billings, Montana. You can find her riding the fenceline on her ranch when she is not writing. She also contributes to OutdoorSkillz.com. about her experiences.

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One thought on “Top 5 Best Spots For Lake Michigan Camping – 2023 Guide

  1. The sound of the wind and waves on the video made me feel like I was there. I’m always looking for new things to see in Michigan and a few of those I haven’t been to yet. Thanks for the info!

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