Where to Go Camping in Michigan, USA

Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Tahquamenon Falls State Park | © LadyDragonflyCC - >;< / Flickr
Photo of Lynn Houghton
30 July 2021

Michigan, USA, is probably best known for the city of Detroit, which spawned the sensation that was Motown Records in the 1960s. Campers come to the 1,000-plus campgrounds in the state to be surrounded by natural wonders, such as Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie, and a wealth of woodland, including the Hiawatha and Ottawa National Forests on the Upper Peninsula, known for its wild camping and stunning fall colors.

Sleeper State Park

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River walk out into the Saginaw River in Bay City, Michigan
© Joel Bigalke / Alamy Stock Photo
A straight drive of two and a half hours up from Detroit will take you to the entrance of this state park on Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron. Made up of forest, wetlands, sandy beaches and dunes, it opened as a county park in 1925. Two years later it was named Huron State Park after being acquired by the state of Michigan, and in 1944 it was renamed in honor of Albert E Sleeper, a former governor of the state and creator of the state park system.

Sleeper State Park Beach Side Campsite G

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Within a few feet of waves lapping on the beach, this rustic campsite in Sleeper State Park gets five stars for its nature-loving location. There are also 2,200 acres (890ha) to hike at nearby Rush Lake State Game Area, where you’ll also find boat charters, horse riding, and canoe and kayak rentals. Within a few miles is the small town of Caseville with restaurants and shopping. The site has no electricity, but there are bathrooms with toilets and sinks at the public beach half a mile away. The site does have some creature comforts, however, in the form of pre-pitched tents on wooden decks, furnished with queen-size beds, although you still need to bring your own bedding.

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  • Epsilon

    Architectural Landmark
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    Boyne City Farmer's Market
    © Laurent Fady / Alamy Stock Photo
    Epsilon is a small community in northern Michigan noted for its surrounding meadows and vast forests. These natural open spaces are rich in plant species and local history. There are also attractions in nearby Boyne City, Boyne Falls and Petoskey, including mountain biking, hunting, birding and zip lining. There are great hiking trails and, of course, there are the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan to explore. The Bear River Valley Recreation Area has a white-water rafting course with a variety of walking paths and spectacular lookouts.

    Over the Hill and Through the Woods, North Hill

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    Michigan Autumn Scenic Panorama. Vibrant autumn color in the northern Michigan forest with the vast blue waters of Lake Superior in the background.
    © ehrlif / Alamy Stock Photo
    Imagine the riot of color during fall from trees in this forested part of northern Michigan. With sugar maple, red maple, American sycamore, butternut, sassafras, American basswood, box elder and walnut, there will be the whole spectrum of autumnal color. Because of all that woodland, no fires of any kind are allowed. This primitive site near Epsilon is set in a large area, so you are unlikely to see other campers, yet it’s close to the nearest town if you forget to bring your own water (there’s no supply on site). There is no destination as such – simply find the area you like the most, and that’s your place.

    This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Tim Marklew.

    These recommendations were updated on July 30, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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