15 Scenic Places to Go Camping in Michigan

Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Tahquamenon Falls State Park | © LadyDragonflyCC - >;< / Flickr
Photo of Tim Marklew
6 February 2018

Michigan is a perfect state for an active summer vacation, and what better way to enjoy the outdoors than by camping? With beautiful coastlines, inland lakes, and dense forests, there’s scenery for all to enjoy and endless options for pitching your tent.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Natural Feature
Map View
The "Dune climb" at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore | © Paul Wilkinson/Flickr
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore | © Paul Wilkinson / Flickr
Undoubtedly among the most beautiful spots in the state, the sandy dunes of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are a hive of activity in the summer months and remain breathtaking throughout the year. Climbing up and down the giant dunes provides not only wonderful vistas but a physical challenge as well.

Saugatuck/Douglas

On the coast of Lake Michigan, the twin towns of Saugatuck and Douglas have a reputation as some of the state’s most picturesque tourists towns. Ride the only hand-cranked chain ferry in the country across the Kalamazoo River and discover Oval Beach. Also, eat in some fantastic restaurants, and enjoy browsing in many shops and art galleries.

Saugatuck/Douglas, MI, USA

Saugatuck Chain Ferry | © ClatieK/Flickr

Saugatuck Chain Ferry | © ClatieK / Flickr | © ClatieK / Flickr

Warren Dunes State Park

In the southwest corner of Michigan, Warren Dunes State Park is just under 2,000 acres in size, with three miles (4.8 kilometers) of coastline and over six miles (9.6 kilometers) of trails. Its main attraction is its dune formation that rises 260 feet (79.2 meters) above the lake, which provides spectacular views and recreational opportunities. There are three campgrounds in the state park.

Warren Dunes State Park | © Jacob Vanderheyden/Flickr

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  • Newberry State Forest Area

    Moving to the Upper Peninsula now and the Newberry State Forest Area, which has over 30 miles (48.2 kilometers) of coastline on Lake Superior and two small state parks within its boundaries. It’s also the designated “Moose Capital of Michigan,” and there are many options for fishing, hiking and winter recreation due to its large snowfall each year. There are 18 state forest campgrounds from which to choose.

    Newberry State Forest Area, Falls Rd, Newberry, MI, USA

    A post shared by 隆咚锵 (@vichanlong) on

    Tahquamenon Falls State Park

    Staying in the Upper Peninsula, if waterfalls are your thing, then the Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a great choice. The Upper Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, is nearly 50 feet (15.2 meters) high and more than 200 feet (60.9 meters) across. It’s the centerpiece of almost 50,000 acres stretching over 13 miles (20.9 kilometers).

    Tahquamenon Falls State Park | © LadyDragonflyCC - >;

    The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

    On the western side of the Upper Peninsula lies the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Michigan’s largest state park and one of the largest wilderness areas in the Midwest. Largely untouched by humanity, alongside the many popular natural attractions, there’s even an 18-hole disc golf course and skiing.

    A post shared by Pure Michigan (@puremichigan) on

    Ludington State Park

    Natural Feature, Park
    Map View
    If sandy beaches and scenic sand dunes sound like your kind of camping, then yet another option on the west coast of Michigan is Ludington State Park. Sitting between Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan, the park features a number of hiking trails and even a four-mile (6.4-kilometer) canoe trail, as well as the popular Big Sable Point Lighthouse. The park is home to three modern campgrounds.

    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

    On the shore of Lake Superior, the main attraction of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is its dramatic, multi-colored sandstone cliffs, which reach up to 200 feet (60.7 meters) above the lake and account for 15 of the 42 miles (40.2 kilometers) of shoreline within the park. That’s not all though; there are also more than 12 miles (19.3 kilometers) of beautiful beaches and nearly five miles (eight kilometers) of huge sand dunes to check out.

    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore | © Wayne Silver / Flickr

    Fayette Historic State Park

    Mixing the historic with the more beautiful Lake Michigan coastline, Fayette Historic State Park features more than 20 restored buildings on the site of a historic community, centered around Snail Shell Harbor. There’s a lot to do, from learning about life in a 19th-century industrial town to hiking along the coast or getting out onto the water.

    Fayette Historic State Park, 4785 II Rd, Garden, MI, USA

    Traverse City State Park

    Camping
    Map View
    Near one of Michigan’s favorite tourist towns, the Traverse City State Park is a great place to camp for access to both nature and the city. The small park is just two miles (3.2 kilometers) from downtown Traverse City and features a quarter-mile-long beautiful beach, while the nearby Traverse City State Forest offers plenty of rugged outdoors.

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