Campfire by Lake Michigan

Camping in Michigan

Camping in Michigan brings you to the heart of the North American continent, where the woods are deep and the lakes are many.

By Breana Johnson

Camping in Michigan brings you to the heart of the North American continent, where the woods are deep and the lakes are many. Whether you’re camping in Michigan’s wilderness or taking advantage of Michigan State Parks camping sites, you’re sure to find a camping experience that brings plenty of carefree fun to your summer. Where should you be camping in Michigan? Read on to find some of the best spots!

Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Four thousand acres of protected wilderness frame the beautiful Tahquamenon River. The waterfalls that the park is named for have a long cascade that ends in a splash of glistening bubbles. Camping in this park is like camping in Middle Earth—it’s so stunning that you can hardly believe it exists in the modern world. Once the hunting grounds of Ojibwa natives, the park is the dramatic backdrop of the epic poem “Hiawatha.” You can boat, hike, backpack and birdwatch here, or chose one of the other outdoor activities available in the park. There are many campsites with electricity, water, bathrooms, and other conveniences.

Ludington State Park. Just between Harmon Lake and Lake Michigan is nestled a campground with more biomes than you imagine would fit into this piece of land. Dunes, marshlands, forests, and more offer endless opportunities for hiking, wading, and climbing. This is a great place for kids, because they’ll never get bored or grow tired of all the interesting things to discover! Long walks down the trails are the first thing you should do once you get here. Pines, Beechwood, and Cedar are the three campsite options you have when you stay at Ludington State Park. Each site offers electricity, showers, and restrooms.

Newaygo State Park. One-hundred campsites dot Newaygo state park. This is a great place to go camping in Michigan, since it offers fishing, boating, and hiking opportunities to campers of all interest and ability levels. Each site has a picnic table, a fire ring, and at least 20 feet of uninterrupted forest between sites. You can’t camp here in the winter, but spring and summer and great times to enjoy the water. The most beautiful time of year is fall, when the air is crisp and the leaves are turning brilliant shades of red and orange.

Fort Custer Recreation Area. I don’t know about you, but the word “Custer” always makes me think of the wacky version of this historical character as featured in Night in the Museum II. While you certainly won’t find any golden-haired generals at this campsite, but you will find the ancient forest that served as a playground for this illustrious figure. Fort Custer Recreation Area is a fantastic place to play in all seasons: snow brings snowmobilers, cool weather brings equestrians, and summertime brings hikers and bikers. Whatever you like to do outside, you can do it here. The most popular activity is exploring the trails by foot, bike, horse, or dogsled. There are several Michigan State Parks camping options within the park.

Ossineke State Forest Campground. If you’re like Pa Ingalls and you like your space in the forest, Ossineke is a great Michigan camping place for you! The whole park only as 42 campsites, and there is ample space between them so that you can feel like the only one out in the woods. The more traditional, rustic setup of the sites means that primitive toilets and hand-pumped water are your most modern amenities. While camping here, you can enjoy solitude in the forest, play at the beach, or cookout at the grills.

Porcupine Mountains State Park. This is one of the few places where modern times have not altered the landscape. It’s easy to imagine that you’ve stepped back into pre-colonial times, when the elements ruled the continent and the people lived in harmony with nature. Here, you can follow a winding stream, climb an ancient tree, and get lost (with a GPS and a compass, of course!) in the endless woodlands. Seek out wildlife, but be careful not to feed the bears! They may get friendlier than you’d like. While you’re exploring, be sure to take advantage of the interpretive programs, go hiking, and try your hand at fishing. When it’s time to set up camp, pick from a rustic campsite, a back-country campsite, a rustic cabin, a modern campsite, or a yurt.

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