Northern Michigan Camping: Summer Camping on Lake Michigan

Northern Michigan Camping: Camp on Lake Michigan in Northern Michigan this summer! Explore the beauty of Northern Michigan's sandy beaches and blue waters on miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. From Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Upper Peninsula to Charlevoix and Leelanau County, find out where to relax and get rustic with our guide to camping on Lake Michigan.

Big Knob State Forest Campground

14 miles SW of Naubinway via US-2 and Big Knob Rd. Sault Ste Marie Field Office (906) 635-5281

Heading U.P. North this summer? Camp on Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula's Big Knob State Forest Campground and get rustic! Sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so plan on arriving early to stake a spot and pitch your tent before embarking on a bounty of outdoor activities. Hike among sand dunes, swim in pristine Lake Michigan waters, fish for Lake Trout and Steelhead on site, or get close to nature in Simmons Woods where you can spot bald eagles, deer, even black bear! 

Activities: Fishing, Mountain Biking, Watchable Wildlife, Hiking, Off-Road Vehicle Trails/Routes
Facilities: Boat Launch, Rustic Site
Camp Sites/Fees: 23, $13 

Wilderness State Park

903 Wilderness Park Drive, Carp Lake, (231) 436-5381

An impressive 10,000 acres and 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline await your exploration at Northern Michigan's Wilderness State Park, located in Carp Lake beside the Straits of Mackinac. Recreational activities abound for campers of all likes, including Lake Michigan swimming, wildlife observation, and access to twelve trails boasting more than 22 miles groomed for hiking and mountain biking. Choose from rustic cabins and modern campsites to craft your perfect Lake Michigan camping vacation this summer.

Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Swimming, Fishing, Michigan State Park Explorer Program, Watchable Wildlife
Facilities: Beach, Cabins, Group Use Area, Picnic Area, Sanitation Station, Boat Launch, Electrical Service, Modern Restrooms, Playground
Modern Camp Sites/Fees: 250, $27/$16
Rustic Cabin Camp Sites/Fees: 9, $60-$80

Fisherman's Island State Park

Bell's Bay Road, Charlevoix, (231) 547-6641

Experience six miles of unspoiled Lake Michigan shoreline at Fisherman's Island State Park, a 2,678-acre park in Charlevoix County, an hour north of Traverse City on US-31. Ramble down a 2.5 mile park road along Lake Michigan, then hike down Fisherman's Island's 3-mile long foot trail to explore the park's rolling dunes, speckles of maple, birch and aspen, and bogs of cedar and black spruce. Take a walk down a stretch of Lake Michigan beach to Fisherman's Island, now connected by a peninsula, for lush wildflowers and a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan. After, relax at one of 81 wooded campsites, 15 of which are nestled in Fisherman's Island State Park's dune area for the ultimate in Lake Michigan camping.

Activities: Hiking, Hunting, Swimming
Facilities: Beach, Rustic Site, Picnic Area
Camp Sites/Fees: 8, $12

Beaver Island

Managed by Peaine Township (231-448-2594)

What's better than camping on Lake Michigan? How about camping in Lake Michigan! Surround yourself with Lake Michigan at scenic Beaver Island, located 32 miles northwest of Charlevoix in Lake Michigan. The largest island in Lake Michigan, and the most remote inhabited island of the Great Lakes, this watery oasis provides 22 rustic campsites for tent and small trailer use on a first-come, first-serve basis. Fish, hike and admire migratory birds during a truly rustic Lake Michigan camping venture.

Activities: Fishing, Watchable Wildlife, Hiking
Facilities: Boat Launch, Rustic Site
Camp Sites/Fees: 22, $10

D.H. Day Campground

8000 W. Harbor Hwy, Glen Arbor, (231) 334-4634

Camp on Lake Michigan in the Most Beautiful Place in America! The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers rustic camping for the family at D.H. Day Campground. Get the kids up early to secure your campsite at this first-come, first-serve campground on Lake Michigan, then make the most of your day with some exercise at the popular Dune Climb, cruise down Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, learn about Sleeping Bear Dunes at one of the museums, then head back to camp for tall tales and local lore during the nightly ranger-led Evening Programs.

Contact a park ranger for more information.

Leelanau State Park

15310 N. Lighthouse Point Road, Northport, (231) 386-5422

Emmerse yourself in Lake Michigan's beauty at Leelanau State Park, located on the tip of the little finger on gorgeous Leelanau Peninsula, 36 miles north of Traverse City. Be one with nature at Leelanau State Park's wooded campsites overlooking Lake Michigan, or camp off the ground in one of two mini-cabins. The park boasts 1,350 acres filled with activities: Hike along 8.5 miles of Leelanau foot trails, beat the heat with a visit to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum, take a dip in Lake Michigan's cool waters or stay dry searching for Petoskey stones along the shoreline.

Activities: Hiking, Hunting, Swimming
Facilities: Beach, Mini Cabin, Picnic Shelter/Area, Rustic Site, Lighthouse, Playground
Camp Sites/Fees: 52, $15

Orchard Beach State Park

2064 N. Lakeshore Road, Manistee, (800) 447-2757

Head south of Traverse City on US-31 for an hour and twenty minutes and you'll find a modern camping experience at Orchard Beach State Park, a 201-acre park perched on a bluff offering up sweeping views of Lake Michigan. Get beach level via a stairway that leads from the campground to Lake Michigan's shore, or lead a self-guided hike along Orchard Beach Nature Trails or the Algonac Blazing Star trail, adjacent to the park.

Activities: Hiking, Paddling, Fishing, Swimming
Facilities: Beach, Electrical Service, Modern Restrooms, Picnic Shelter/Area, Sanitation Station, Cabins, Playground
Modern Camp Sites/Fees: 166, $24/$16
Camper Cabin Camp Sites/Fees: 1, $60-$80/Night

For more information on these Lake Michigan campgrounds, visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website.