Camping in Michigan

      An all-in-one guide to Michigan camping experiences.

      Your Michigan Camping Guide

      Calling all nature lovers! Michigan beckons with its endless opportunities for camping adventures. From the sandy shores of Lake Michigan to the lush forests of the Upper Peninsula, Michigan offers a diverse landscape to suit every camping style.

      Imagine waking up to the sound of waves lapping at your tent, or cozying up by a campfire under a canopy of stars. Hike through towering pines, kayak on crystal-clear lakes, or simply relax and soak in the fresh air. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a newbie looking for a taste of the outdoors, Michigan has something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your tent, and get ready to experience the magic of camping in the Mitten State!

      Best Places To Camp In Michigan

      Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

      Encompassing over 35 miles of stunning shoreline along Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Campers can choose from various campgrounds, including campgrounds nestled amidst towering sand dunes, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Hiking, swimming, kayaking, and exploring the unique dune formations are popular activities enjoyed by visitors.

      Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Michigan

      Tahquamenon Falls State Park

      Home to the majestic Tahquamenon Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River, Tahquamenon Falls State Park offers a diverse camping experience. Campers can choose from campgrounds nestled amidst towering pines, providing access to hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic overlooks. Additionally, visitors can embark on scenic boat tours and explore the surrounding forests.

      Tahquamenon Falls State Park Michigan

      Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

      Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, renowned for its dramatic sandstone cliffs, multicolored rock formations, and cascading waterfalls, provides a unique camping experience. Campgrounds are strategically located, offering access to hiking trails, boat launches, and scenic overlooks. Kayaking along the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and exploring the captivating rock formations are popular activities.

      Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan

      Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

      Encompassing over 60,000 acres of rugged wilderness, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is a paradise for backpackers and experienced campers. Hikers can explore a network of challenging trails, offering stunning views of Lake Superior and the surrounding forests. Additionally, visitors can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and fishing in the numerous lakes and rivers within the park.

      Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Michigan

      South Higgins Lake State Park

      Nestled on the shores of Higgins Lake, Michigan’s largest inland lake, South Higgins Lake State Park provides a serene and scenic camping experience. Campers can choose from various campgrounds, offering lakefront access, sandy beaches, and opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing. Additionally, the park features hiking trails, a playground, and a boat launch, making it a popular destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

      South Higgins Lake State Park Michigan

      Things To Do In Michigan

      Mackinac Island

      A car-free haven in the Straits of Mackinac, Mackinac Island transports visitors back in time with its Victorian-era architecture, horse-drawn carriages, and leisurely pace. Explore the charming downtown filled with shops, restaurants, and fudge shops. Rent a bicycle to circumnavigate the island, stopping at historic landmarks like Fort Mackinac and Grand Hotel.

      Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

      Encompassing a dramatic coastline along the shores of Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is renowned for its colorful sandstone cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and hidden beaches. Hike along the cliff-top trails for breathtaking views of the turquoise waters and colorful rock formations. Kayak or boat through the emerald bays and coves, marveling at the natural beauty of the shoreline.

      Traverse City

      Nestled along the shores of Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City is a vibrant city renowned for its cherry orchards, wineries, and breweries. Explore the scenic countryside on a self-guided driving tour, stopping at farm stands, wineries, and roadside attractions. Visit the historic downtown filled with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.


      The Motor City boasts a rich history in the automotive industry, vibrant culture, and diverse neighborhoods. Explore the iconic Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, showcasing the evolution of transportation and innovation. Delve into the city's musical heritage at the Motown Museum, commemorating the legendary record label and its impact on American music. Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts, housing an impressive collection of art from around the world.

      Tahquamenon Falls State Park

      Located in the Upper Peninsula, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to the breathtaking Lower and Upper Tahquamenon Falls. The Lower Falls, cascading over 50 feet, is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the Midwest. Hike the trails along the Upper Falls River, offering scenic views and opportunities to spot wildlife. In the winter, the Upper Falls transforms into a mesmerizing ice castle, attracting visitors from all over.

      Grand Rapids

      Michigan's second-largest city, Grand Rapids, offers a vibrant mix of culture, art, and outdoor recreation. Explore the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, featuring stunning gardens, sculptures, and art installations. Visit the Grand Rapids Art Museum, housing a diverse collection of art from around the world. Take a stroll along the scenic Grand Riverwalk, offering restaurants, shops, and scenic views.


      Nestled on the shores of Little Traverse Bay, Petoskey is a popular resort town known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor activities. Explore the charming downtown filled with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Hike or bike on the scenic trails, or take a boat cruise on the bay to spot lighthouses and enjoy panoramic views.

      Holland, Michigan

      A haven for Dutch heritage and culture, Holland celebrates its unique history through its architecture, festivals, and attractions. Visit Windmill Island, home to authentic working windmills and historical exhibits. Explore the shops and restaurants in downtown Holland, offering a taste of Dutch cuisine and local specialties.


      Situated along the shores of Lake Michigan, Saugatuck is a charming village known for its art galleries, boutiques, and outdoor activities. Explore the unique shops and restaurants lining the streets, or stroll along the scenic boardwalk overlooking the beach. Kayak or paddleboard on the calm waters of Kalamazoo Lake, or rent a boat to explore the nearby harbor.

      Isle Royale National Park

      A remote archipelago in Lake Superior, Isle Royale National Park offers a true wilderness experience. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the island boasts pristine forests, a rugged coastline, and abundant wildlife. Hike the challenging trails, kayak in the sheltered bays, or go on a boat tour to explore the shipwreck-strewn waters.

      Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Campground

      For a truly immersive experience in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, consider camping at one of the park's campgrounds. Several campgrounds are located throughout the park, offering a variety of amenities and stunning natural settings. Camping allows visitors to explore the park at their own pace, hike the trails, kayak the lakeshore, and enjoy the starry night sky.

      Soo Locks

      Located in Sault Ste. Marie, the Soo Locks are a marvel of engineering and a popular tourist destination. Watch massive ships navigate the complex system of locks that connect Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. Visitors can take a guided tour of the lock system, learn about its history and operation, and observe the impressive feats of engineering.

      Featured Michigan Parks

      Inspiration From Our Nearby States

      Book an RV in Michigan

      Cruise Michigan's breathtaking shores, lush forests, and charming towns in style and comfort with an RV rental. Explore the Great Lakes, hike scenic trails, or discover hidden gems at your own pace. Forget hotel restrictions and rigid itineraries - your RV becomes your home away from home, offering ultimate flexibility and freedom on your Michigan adventure.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Michigan offers diverse camping experiences throughout the year. Spring (May-June) is pleasant with wildflowers and fewer crowds. Summer (July-August) is the peak season with warm weather and many activities, but expect higher prices and campsite availability challenges.

      Fall (September-October) boasts stunning foliage and comfortable temperatures, while winter (November-April) provides opportunities for ice fishing and snowy adventures (with proper preparation).

      Michigan offers various campsites to suit your preferences. State parks and national forests provide traditional tent and RV sites, some with amenities like electricity and hookups.

      Rustic backcountry camping allows for a more secluded experience, often requiring permits and longer hikes to reach. Private campgrounds offer diverse options, from basic camping to glamping and cabin rentals.

      Many state parks and recreation areas in Michigan use the Michigan State Parks Reservation System. You can also find reservable campsites on national forest websites and through private campground booking platforms.

      Essentials include a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, appropriate clothing for the season, insect repellent, sunscreen, headlamp, first-aid kit, camp stove and fuel (if needed), cookware, and toiletries. Pack based on your planned activities and campsite amenities.

      Fire restrictions vary depending on location and time of year. Always check with the park or forest for current regulations before using campfires. Never leave a fire unattended, and extinguish it properly before leaving your campsite.

      Black bears are present in some parts of Michigan. Be aware of bear safety practices, such as storing food properly and using bear canisters in designated areas.

      Popular destinations include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and numerous state parks around the Great Lakes.

      Dispersed camping opportunities exist in national forests, but regulations and permit requirements vary. It's crucial to research specific locations and obtain necessary permits before setting up camp. Free dispersed camping is generally not available in state parks.

      Costs vary depending on several factors:

      • Campground type: State park campsites typically range from $15-$30 per night, while private campgrounds can be more expensive.
      • Amenities: Campsites with electricity, hookups, or other amenities often have higher fees.
      • Season: Peak season (summer) generally comes with higher prices.
      • Length of stay: Longer stays may involve additional fees.

      No, camping is only allowed in designated campsites within Michigan state parks. Backcountry camping requires permits and adherence to specific regulations. Always check park maps and regulations before setting up camp.

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