Summertime means camping time and here in Michigan thousands of people are going to make their way to one of the hundreds of camping sites located in this beautiful state. The Harry’s staff is full of avid campers and we’ve put together a list of campgrounds that we highly recommend for your next camping trip. We’ve got something for everyone and these state park campgrounds are so awesome that even you out of staters are going to want to make the trek to Michigan!
1. Ludington State Park- Ludington, MI
Located on the western side of the state on the coast of Lake Michigan, the campgrounds at Ludington State Park may offer the best camping experience available in the state. Within the park are different campgrounds to accommodate different types of camping ranging from super rustic (no electricity and rustic toilets) to modern sites with showers, bathrooms, and electricity. They even have some cabins. What really sets Ludington apart from other camping spots is the variety of activities available to campers. For those of you who love the beach, Ludington offers several miles of beaches for you to relax on. There is a boat launch and if you feel like paddling into the lake there are boats you can rent. Catch some fish or go for a hike to the local lighthouses in your down time. There are 21.5 miles of hiking trails, a 4 mile canoe trail, a 2 mile bike trail, and a 10 mile cross country skiing trail if you happen to be there in the winter. This is the perfect camping spot for the whole family, whether you are a busy body or just looking for some relaxation time.
2. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park- Ontonagon, MI
The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is located on the northern coast of the Upper Peninsula and is 60,000 acres making it on of the few large wilderness areas remaining in the Midwest. This state park offers a variety of camp sites from the rustic to sites with modern bathroom and shower facilities. If tent camping isn’t really your thing, cabins, lodges, and even yurts are available. If you are not familiar with what a yurt is, a yurt is a circular domed tent that sits on a platform. The activities are endless in this state park. If you are looking for some adventure try mountain biking through the mountains. It’s really the only way to get to the most remote (aka most beautiful) parts of the park. This state park also has more than 90 waterfalls surrounded by lush green forests. One thing to be aware of is that there are black bears in this park so there are certain rules that you will need to follow in regards to your food and gear. The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is truly an outdoor playground and perfect for anyone wanting to do more than just camp.
3. Tahquamenon Falls State Park- Paradise, MI
Staying up north in the Upper Peninsula, our number three pick is camping at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. This park has different sites to suit whatever type of camping you prefer ranging from rustic sites to cabins. The obvious attraction to this state park is being able to see the Upper Falls, which is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. This waterfall is 200 feet across and has a 50 foot drop. It is truly something to see. Four miles down the Tahquamenon River is the Lower Falls. The Lower Falls consists of a series of five smaller falls cascading down around an island. Not quite as exciting as the Upper Falls, but still beautiful. There are several different hiking trails to explore during the day and there are plenty of good fishing opportunities along the riverbank. Boat rentals for canoes and row boats are available at the Lower Falls. Black bear, fox, deer, coyotes, otter, beaver, and mink can all be seen in the park along with many different types of birds including the bald eagle. Moose can often be seen in the wet areas of the park as well. The scenic landscape cannot be beat and if your looking to see some wildlife this is the place for you.
4. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore- Empire, MI
If you are looking for a family friendly camping area the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the one for you! Different camp sites are available depending on if you want electricity hook ups and there is also backcountry camping if you want the full on rustic experience. On the coast of Lake Michigan, there are beaches perfect for sun bathing and building sand castles. Your visit would not be complete without climbing the Dunes. Climb up to get exercise and a great view of Glen Lake. There are about 100 miles of hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty, so there is an option for everyone. Each evening the park has a free Ranger program which can keep the kids busy. Other water activities like tubing, kayaking, and canoeing are also available. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is really great option for families with children due to the vast amount of activities available that the kids would enjoy.
5. Hoffmaster State Park- Muskegon, MI
Last, but not least is Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon, MI. WE recommend this campgrounds for those with smaller children looking for a peaceful camping experience. Firstly this campgrounds has alcohol restrictions, so you aren’t going to encounter any wild parties going on all night. The campground offers a private beach and there is a larger beach in the park, both are pristine. Many of the camping sites are spacious and heavily shaded so you can get away from the sun. Children’s activities are hosted each and the Gillette Visitor Center offers other nature activities. The main attraction at Hoffmaster is the Dune Climb Stairway which leads you to the top of a dune with an observation deck looking over the dunes and Lake Michigan. The camp sites have electrical hook ups and the bathroom facilities are modern. This campground and state park is a great alternative for those who don’t want to drive all the way to the Upper Peninsula.
Whatever campgrounds or state park you choose to visit in Michigan, we know you won’t really be disappointed. Our state has so many outdoor sights and experiences to offer. Lakes, forests, sand dunes, and mountains, we’ve got it all! The only thing left to do is evaluate your camping gear situation. Make Harry’s your camping headquarters this year. Stop by the store to check out our camping gear selection and get valuable camping tips or shop with us online to make sure you’ve got what you need. Happy Camping!