The Best Camping in Michigan
Michiganders and hordes of travelers from the Midwest love to camp. Entire villages of RVs are erected during spring break, summer vacation, and even into fall if the weather keeps up. While the state has absolutely no shortage of places to camp, all of this outdoor fervor makes for some stiff competition.
Don’t get lost in the crowds! Start here for some of the best (and some of the least traveled) RV parks and campgrounds around the Great State of Michigan.
National Forest Camping in Michigan
As much as campers in the state love to get out and rough it, that typically means a trip to an RV park or other location with hookups. If you’re looking to get lonely and lost, there’s no better place to start than the state’s national forest lands.
RV Camping in Hiawatha National Forest
Deep in the less traveled Upper Peninsula, Hiawatha takes the wide-open spaces of “the UP” and covers them in shade. Places like Autrain Lake Campground and Camp Seven Lake offer large, wooded sites full of privacy and that “real camping” flair. Just don’t forget the bug spray (that’s going to be a recurring theme in Michigan, by the way).
RV Camping in Ottawa National Forest
Further west, Ottawa brings another option for travelers making their way through the Upper Peninsula. Make it a lazy weekend grilling out and swimming at the quaint Norway Lake or kick around in the river via Sparrow Rapids Campground.
RV Camping in Michigan’s State Parks
With 84 state parks scattered across the UP, “the Mitten” (i.e., the Lower Peninsula), and even into “the Thumb” (look at a map of the Mitten and you’ll figure it out), any given RV is never much farther than a pack-her-up and a short drive down a scenic back road.
There are a few things you should know about Michigan’s state parks though. They’re often incredibly fun to pronounce (Cheboygan!), and for some reason, they typically have electric hookups but no water directly at your site, so be sure to stop by the hose and fill up those tanks on your way in.
If you’re still up in the UP but looking for somewhere with a few more amenities than the national forests can afford, give Lake Gogebic’s shores a shot. Fire up the boat, reel in a walleye and enjoy the stars.
When you’re ready to cross over to the Mitten, you’ll need to set your sites on Michigan’s infamous Mackinac Bridge. At five miles long and suspended two hundred feet in the air, you may just want to set up camp and mentally prepare for the journey before making the crossing. Straits State Park has you covered, complete with a wide-open view of the bridge itself.
Whether you want a more natural setting to call home after exploring Detroit’s burgeoning new downtown scene (Pontiac Lake State Recreation Area), are looking to cruise the scenic M-22 (Leelanau State Park), or headed to Caseville for the Cheeseburger Festival (Sleeper State Park), there’s going to be a state park ready and waiting. Just don’t forget the reservations while that long summer sun casts its shadow.
The Best Free Camping in Michigan
You know the old saying, the best campsites in life are free, and the Great Lake State not only participates in said methodology, it offers up some of it’s best campsites period, 100% sans price tag.
Take French Farm Lake, for example, one of the most popular spots in the entire state. Along with other wild areas like Hovey Lake and Green Road, Michigan continues to prove to be one of the most scenic and accessible states east of the Mississippi for those campers who like the raw camping on the house.
Getting lost back some country road isn’t your only option though. If you’ve come for college football or big city dining, there are plenty of parking lots to call home for a night or two, including casino camping and sporting goods store parking lots.
RV Camping in Michigan’s National Parks
Michigan is home to two national lakeshores, and we cover Sleeping Bear Dunes in depth here. When it comes to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, near charming Munising, MI, Twelvemile Beach Campground is by far your best bet.
RV Parks & Resorts in Michigan
Looking for that perfect RV park, the type where you don’t have to or even necessarily want to leave the park with all it has to offer?
From dinner theater delights at Camp Turkeyville to the Airstream-centric (but not exclusive) Holiday Park, Michigan RV park owners often know how to build rather impressive campgrounds that keep folks coming back year after year.
Whether you lean more toward the free or full hookups, lavish or lonely, RV camping in Michigan lives up to the hype!