Eight Parks, Forests, Lakes & Beaches for Summer Camping

The first day of summer is just around the corner, which means it’s officially camping season in Michigan. The state is scattered with amazing campgrounds that let you lose yourself in nature with your friends and family and leave the high-tech, high-stress world behind. Here are seven worth a visit, whether you like to go as rustic as possible or prefer a solid roof over your head:

  1. Silver Lake State Park (Mears, MI): Catch a ride in an ATV in what has been referred to as the ‘giant sandbox’ at Silver Lake State Park this summer. Located in the southwestern part of Michigan right along the lake, this park features 2,000 acres of sand dunes to explore on four wheels (and acres of mature forests to explore on two legs). Pitch a tent at the campground for $29.
  2. Barothy Lodge (Walhalla, MI): Love the idea of camping, but not the whole “sleeping on the ground” part? This destination is actually a cluster of separate buildings, ranging from a one-bedroom log cabin to a nine-bedroom lodge. But even though you’re sleeping indoors, you still have access to fishing, hiking, canoeing, climbing and more over 300 acres of wilderness in the Manistee National Forest. Rates average about $75 per person per night.
  3. Tee Pee Campground (Mackinaw City, MI): Pitch your tent or park your RV at this beach campground and you’ll be treated with gorgeous views of the Mackinac Bridge. There’s also a beach bonfire every night, so pack the graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars. Rates range from $30 for tents to $40 for 50-amp RVs.
  4. Lake of Dreams Campground (Merrill, MI): Camp however you want—in an RV, your own tent or one of the cabins here. With 77-acres of campground and 151 campsites, there’s lots of space and activities, including swimming in the lake, enjoying the beach, paddle boating, hiking, biking, hayrides and fishing. If you are camping in a tent, the fee is $29 per night. Cabins run $45 per night.
  5. Wilderness Campground (Dundee, MI): Located in southeastern Michigan, this park offers quiet and secluded waterfront camping (meaning you’ll feel rested and relaxed!). And during the day there’s lots to do, like swimming in the lake, fishing, volleyball, horseshoes, kayaking and more. In addition to the lake, beach and sports activities, this campground often hosts events such as concerts, parades, kids’ wagon rides and more. Rates range from $25 for a place to pitch a tent to $75 for a cabin.
  6. Sleeper State Park (Caseville, MI): The name may imply there’s not much to do but relax, but this camping spot is in the middle of 723 acres of forest, wetlands, sandy beaches and sand dunes you’re going to want to explore. Another reason not to sleep much here: You can see both sunrise and sunset from the shores of the Saginaw Bay. Camping spots for tents are $27 per night.
  7. Platte River Campground (Honor, MI): Camping often takes you away from the conveniences of daily life, but this campground offers amenities like hot showers and sinks for washing dishes. Even better than that is how close this campground is to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Forest, Platte River and Lake Michigan. One note: They don’t open for camping until July 1st this year. Fees range from $12 to $33 a night for most drive-in sites, but are as low as $5 a night for sites you have to backpack to get to.
  8. Lake Fanny Hooe Resort and Campground (Copper Harbor, MI): Located in the most northern part of Copper Harbor in the Upper Peninsula, this camping spot is on the banks of a trout stream, making it perfect for fishers. You’ll set up in the middle of 250,000 acres of wilderness where you can hike, swim, rent boats and more. The fee is $32 for two people to camp.

Camping isn’t the only great outdoor activity you can do with your family. Check out these other posts for even more ideas:


Photo credit: John VanderHaagen


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Read 7 Comments

  1. A wonderful place to go to get away from everything and to camp near a wonderful simple little fishing lake no frills only peace and quite camping go to Pine Lake near Walston Mi Have be going there for 50 years and love it every time. Manistee National Forest.

  2. Cheboygan State Park has a great campground and beach on Duncan Bay. This beautiful park is rarely crowded. Beautiful sandy beach with several miles of hiking trails. One of the best in the state!

  3. I can say the tee pee campground is a great place to camp. And yes the view from the beach is great. Been camping there for 31 years in the summer.

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