Clear Lake State Park, summer, 2022. Photos taken by Tyler Leipprandt in cooperation with the MI DNR. Credit goes to Tyler Leiprandt and Michigan Sky Media LLC.

7 Best Camping Sites In Michigan – Must-Visit Destinations

When it comes to breathtaking landscapes and outdoor exploration, Michigan is your go-to destination. From rustic woods to luxurious amenities, the best camping sites in Michigan are sometimes off the beaten path.

Camping Is A Big Deal In Michigan

Michigan is a paradise for camping enthusiasts, with various campgrounds. Whether you’re looking for a rustic experience in the woods or a more luxurious stay with all the amenities, you’re sure to find a perfect campground.

Michigan has over 78 state parks, 6 forests, and 19 recreation areas. Where should you go camping in Michigan, with so many beautiful and diverse places to explore?

Photo by everett mcintire on Unsplash

In this article, we will unveil some of Michigan’s hidden gems that are bound to ignite your camping wanderlust, along with some tips on what gears and equipment you need for a remarkable camping experience. So, let’s delve into the hidden gems of Michigan’s camping sites-

Feature Image – Clear Lake State Park, summer, 2022. Photos taken by Tyler Leipprandt in cooperation with the MI DNR. Credit goes to Tyler Leiprandt and Michigan Sky Media LLC.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park 

Tahquamenon Fall Lookout – Thumbwind Publications

Nestled in the heart of the Eastern Upper Peninsula, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a haven for nature lovers. The centerpiece of this park is the majestic Tahquamenon Falls, renowned for its rust-colored waters that cascade over limestone cliffs. 

This park is famous for its stunning waterfalls, which are among the largest east of the Mississippi River. This feature alone makes it one of the best camping sites in Michigan.

The campground here offers a unique blend of tranquility and adventure, with hiking trails that lead you through dense forests and the opportunity to witness diverse wildlife.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Courtest National Parks Service

Dramatic dunes, lush forests, crystal-clear lakes, and unique flora and fauna define the allure of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Pitch your tent on the sandy shores and wake up to the gentle sound of waves lapping against the land. 

The dunes, formed over centuries, offer an otherworldly experience, and the starlit skies above make for a perfect backdrop for stargazing. 

You can hike, bike, kayak, or swim in this scenic area or take a drive along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to enjoy panoramic views of the lake and the dunes. 

North Manitou Island

Camping on North Manitou Island – National Park Service

This island is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore but offers a more primitive and secluded camping experience. For those seeking a more secluded camping escapade, This island is for you. 

Accessible only by ferry, this island is a true wilderness retreat. Pristine beaches, lush forests, and historic sites await the intrepid campers. 

You can explore the island’s natural beauty and history by hiking its trails, which pass through old-growth forests, bogs, lakes, and ghost towns. So, set up camp near the shores and relish feeling disconnected from the modern world.

Porcupine Mountains State Park

Porcupine Mountains State Park – Courtesy State of Michigan / Samantha Hagemen Gaina

This park is the largest state park in Michigan, spanning nearly 60,000 acres in the western Upper Peninsula. It is also one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest, with old-growth forests, roaring waterfalls, rivers, streams, and abundant wildlife.

The Porcupine Mountains offer a rugged camping experience with backcountry sites that provide a genuine sense of solitude. Embark on the adventure of hiking trails that lead to awe-inspiring vistas and serene lakes.

Huron-Manistee National Forest

Pere Marquette River in Autumn Manistee National Forest – en:User:YetiwriterCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Encompassing nearly a million acres of land, the Huron-Manistee National Forest is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you prefer hiking, fishing, or simply unwinding amidst nature’s bounty, this forest has it all. The campgrounds are well-equipped, providing a comfortable base to explore the sprawling wilderness.

Leelanau State Park

Leelanau State Park, Summer 2019 Photos taken by Tyler Leipprandt in cooperation with the MI DNR. Credit goes to Tyler Leipprandt and Michigan Sky Media LLC.

Situated on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, this state park offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty.  Its proximity to Traverse City and the wineries and vineyards of Old Mission Point make Leelanau State Park on the best camping sites in Michigan.

It has over 1,300 acres of land and water to explore, including Lake Michigan shoreline, dunes, wetlands, hardwood forests, and a historic lighthouse that offers guided tours and exhibits. This proximity to outdoor recreation makes it one of the best camping sites in Michigan.

You can camp at the park’s campground, which has 51 sites with electric hookups. You can also hike, bike, or snowshoe on the park’s trails, or enjoy fishing, swimming, or boating on Lake Michigan.

Fisherman’s Island State Park

Fisherman’s Island State Park, summer 2022. Photos taken by Tyler Leipprandt in cooperation with the MI DNR. Credit goes to Tyler Leiprandt and Michigan Sky Media LLC.

A hidden gem on Lake Michigan’s shore, Fisherman’s Island State Park is a paradise for beach-loving campers. 

You can camp at one of the park’s 80 rustic sites, some of which are right on the beach. You can also hike, bike, or cross-country ski on the park’s trails, or enjoy fishing, swimming, or kayaking on Lake Michigan.

Gears and Equipment for a Remarkable Camping Experience

Checking out the best camping sites in Michigan can be a fun and rewarding experience if you have the right equipment and preparation.

In addition to the basic equipment like a tent and sleeping bag, here are some other essential gear and equipment for a remarkable camping experience in Michigan:


Speaking of comfort, a 12v RV refrigerator is a must-have for any camping trip in Michigan. We recommend the BougeRV’s Refrigerator; as it is compact, lightweight, and has a large capacity. 

This innovative refrigerator keeps your food fresh and beverages chilled, enhancing your camping experience. Whether you’re savoring a cool drink on a sunny day or storing perishables for delicious campfire meals, BougeRV’s refrigerator is a reliable companion. 

Camp stove

for preparing delicious meals in the great outdoors. Choose a portable stove that runs on propane or other fuel sources. It’s a versatile addition to your camping setup, allowing you to cook everything from simple breakfasts to gourmet dinners.

A Flashlight

A reliable flashlight is also needed for nighttime activities, such as hiking or going to the bathroom. Also, consider a headlamp for hands-free illumination while you cook, set up your tent, or take a nighttime stroll.

Bug Repellent

Michigan’s lush landscapes are home to various insects, and bug repellent is your defense against unwanted bites. Opt for a repellent with DEET or other effective ingredients to keep mosquitos and ticks at bay.

Final Thoughts On The Best Camping Sites In Michigan

Michigan’s camping sites are more than destinations; they’re invitations to immerse yourself in the embrace of nature’s wonders. 

From the grandeur of waterfalls to the serenity of islands, every corner offers a unique experience for adventurers seeking a retreat into nature. 

And as you embark on your journey, let bougeRV’s refrigerator and all the other required gears be your companion, ensuring your culinary indulgences remain as refreshing as the memories you’ll create. 

So, pack your bags, set up your tent, and let the beauty of Michigan’s landscapes create an unforgettable chapter in your outdoor story that will last a lifetime.

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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 about her experiences.

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