From the vast unspoiled forests of the Upper Peninsula to the rocky shores of Lake Huron, Michigan offers no shortage of outdoor recreation. Visitors can enjoy hundreds of miles of hiking trails and some of the best fishing in North America, while countless campgrounds provide a place to stay. Michigan's top campgrounds offer far more than a place to pitch a tent or park an RV; they are home to rich history, scenery that graces countless postcards and boundless opportunities to explore the natural world.
Sunrise to Sunset
Albert E. Sleeper State Park sits at the thumb, the peninsula in lower eastern Michigan, and campers can watch the sun rise over Lake Huron every morning and set every night over Saginaw Bay. As an added bonus, nearby Port Crescent State Park tends to draw a larger crowd, making Sleeper State Park perfect for campers looking for a more low-key camping experience. The park's modern campground includes more than 200 shady, secluded campsites surrounded by 725 acres of mostly undeveloped forest. Water is available in the campground, along with modern restrooms and hot showers, and many sites include electrical hookups. Tents and RVs are equally welcome, and campers can swim at the beach, launch a boat, catch a few fish, or explore the park on more than 4 miles of hiking trails. Many miles of additional trails are available right next door at the 2,200-acres Rush Lake State Game Area.
Lakes Among the Pines
Southwest Michigan's Yankee Springs Recreation Area offers a seemingly endless variety of variety outdoor recreation. Nine lakes provide a place to fish, swim, canoe and kayak, and the recreation area's 5,200 acres are riddled with trails, including the rugged 12-mile Yankee Springs Mountain Bike Trail and a section of the 4,600-mile North Country Trail. Yankee Springs Recreation Area includes two campgrounds with more than 300 campsites. The campgrounds are separated by more than 3 miles of dense pine forest, and they could not be more different from one another. The Gun Lake Modern Campground sits on the shore of its namesake lake, and includes spacious RV campsites with modern restrooms, hot showers and electrical hookups. In contrast, the Deep Lake Rustic Campground is a primitive tent camp with vault toilets, no hookups and forest so thick you can barely see your neighbor's tent.
Lake Michigan's Windy Shores
Ludington State Park encompasses nearly 5,300 acres, with several miles of sandy Lake Michigan coastline and access to 5,000-acre Hamlin Lake. Both lakes include swimming beaches and excellent bass and walleye fishing. You can rent a boat in the park or launch your own at the public ramp. Ludington State Park is also home to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, which guided ships across the waters of Lake Michigan when it was built in 1876 and is now open to self-guided tours. Overnight visitors to the park have a lot of options. Three modern campgrounds include more than 350 campsites, and each campground has modern restrooms, hot showers and some sites with electric hookups. Those in search of solitude can find it at one of the park's primitive walk-in tent campsites. These sites are separate from the main campgrounds and can be reached only on foot.
The Land of Hiawatha
The Tahquamenon River provided the setting for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem "The Song of Hiawatha," and the landscape that now comprises Tahquamenon State Park may prove equally inspirational to today's visitors. Nestled among the wild landscape of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the park is home to Tahquamenon Falls, one of the largest cascades east of the Mississippi. The falls plummet through a rugged gorge surrounded by a lush forest where campers can choose among hundreds of campsites at half a dozen campgrounds. Accommodations range from rustic to modern. Many sites provide room for RVs with modern facilities and electrical hookups, while others are tents-only, with no amenities other than drinking water and vault toilets. In addition to the falls itself, Tahquamenon State Park includes opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, river rafting and kayaking.