Explore the breathtaking beauty of camping North Michigan’s spots, a nature lover’s paradise. Discover serene landscapes and outdoor adventures camping in Northern Michigan.
Some of Michigan’s most breathtaking views are in the northern parts of the state. It offers the finest camping areas and is a nature lover’s paradise. As an outdoor enthusiast, camping in Northern Michigan lets you enjoy the view of lakes, sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches, and dense forests. You’ll experience true RVing bliss in Northern Michigan.
North Michigan is a vast and beautiful region that covers both the upper and lower Peninsulas. It is frequently referred to as the “mitten state” because, if you look at the map of Northern Michigan, the Lower Peninsula has a mitten-like shape. Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan form the region’s borders.
Back to RV camping! As a seasoned RV camper with access to private and public campgrounds, I give you my top six recommendations. Other RVers suggested some choices, while I found others through research and reader reviews. In this piece, I’ll also share a few tips to make your camping in North Michigan a blast.
3 Best Rv Public Campgrounds In Northern Michigan
Camping in North Michigan is a fantastic opportunity to experience and learn about nature. There are numerous public and private campgrounds for RVs.Here are some differences between public and private campgrounds:
|Usually located on private property.
|Often operated by state and federal workers and is on public government land.
|Well maintained with superior amenities.
|Likely to be found near more prominent cities and easily accessible.
|Primarily geared toward families and may organize activities for the kids.
|Predominantly exist in remote areas.
|Usually have had few outdoor activities to offer.
|Offer a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, and fishing.
|More expensive than public campgrounds.
|Camping is mostly free, though sometimes you might have to pay a modest campground fee.
|They might not have the resources or staff to organize special events.
|Might not have the resources or staff to organize special events.
|Mostly have additional amenities for pets, like dog runs.
|Lack of amenities specifically for pets.
If you choose a public campground after weighing the differences between private and public campgrounds, I recommend three of Northern Michigan’s best.
- Hartwick Pines State Park
Karen Hartwick, who previously owned the land, donated the 8,000-acre parcel to the Government of Michigan. The park gets its name from the 49 acres covered in old-growth pines. There are 100 modern campsites in the park, including 36 premium pull-through sites.
Campground activities: It sits on one of Michigan’s biggest state parks.
You can do activities such as:
- Hiking and biking trails.
- Visit the logging museum or the chapel right at the center of the woods.
- Picnic near the AU Sable River.
- Boating on Glory and Bright Lakes, located within the park.
- Hunting and fishing.
The camp is pet friendly, but the pets must be on a leash and under owner control.
Rates: The park’s daily rates are between $18-$65.
Amenities: Include dump stations, shower houses, full RV hookups, and vault toilets. It doesn’t provide trash pickup. You can read our article on the 15 best RV trash can ideas so you can manage your trash.
Location: 3612 State Park, MI 49738.
The YouTube channel Chris Meier provides a vivid description of the part in the video below:
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Imagine a state park with a brewery! But more on that. The Tahquamenon Falls State Park has various hiking paths, magnificent waterfalls, and inland lakes across 50,000 acres. The Upper and Lower Falls, however, are the main attractions. A few miles separate the two different waterfalls.
Campground activities: The park, often called Root Beer Falls, offers a variety of activities. The waterfall’s water is a stunning coppery brown and foams like root beer. Hence the name Root Beer Falls.
The activities, however, will vary depending on whether you’re in the upper or lower fall regions. In the table below, I highlight the different activities.
|Upper Tahquamenon Falls is the second largest after Niagara, east of the Mississippi.
|0.5-mile hiking trail on the small island.
|View the falls from the brink viewing deck or down the river from the gorge viewpoint.
|Boardwalk to a viewing area next to the falls.
|No campgrounds located here.
|0.5 mile hiking trail on the small island.
|Enjoy a riverboat cruise to the falls.
|Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Restaurant.
Aside from canoeing or kayaking in the Tahquameron River, you can also hike to Clark Lake. In the winter, take advantage of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and walking on the frozen falls.
Rates: The cost of an annual pass for residents of the states ranges from $13 to $18. Non-residents can pay $11 daily fees or $39 for an annual pass. Prices are per vehicle, not per individual.
Amenities: Hot showers, flush toilets, electrical RV hookups,
Location: 3612 State Park, MI 49738.
- Platte River Campground
The Platte River Campground is in the center of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It has nine electric-only RV sites. The Platte River is nearby, and Lake Michigan is only a short drive from the Platte River Campground.
Pets are welcome in the campground but must be on a leash.
Campground activities: You and your family can undertake various activities, such as
- Viewing dunes
- Hiking on the 13 separate hiking trails
- Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing
- Enjoy the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive
- Explore the Manitou Islands
Rates: You and everyone in your private vehicle will have access to the Lakeshore for up to one week for a $25 entrance fee, $20 for a motorcycle, and $15 for anyone on foot or a bicycle. You can buy a pass for $45 if visiting more than a week.
Amenities: Seasonal dump stations, hot showers, potable water, cell phone reception throughout, trash collection, no laundry facilities, seasonal internet connectivity, and water spigots.
Location: 5685 Lake Michigan Rd, MI 49640
Check out the description of the Platte River Campground from the YouTube channel, The Woods Online below:
3 Best Private Campgrounds In Northern Michigan
Here are my three best private RV campgrounds if you’re more inclined to the luxurious side of camping.
1. Lake Leelanau RV Park
ALT: Two teenagers enjoying Jetskiing at the Lake. (photo from their gallery)
Since 1976, Don Wilson and his family have owned the park. The park is on one of Michigan’s major inland lakes, Lake Leelanau. Lake Leelanau Rv Park has 196 campsites. While some campgrounds are grassy, others feature large cement patios and pads.
The RV Park is near the beach, where you can enjoy various watersports. The Leelanau Peninsula Wineries and the Leelanau Sands Casino are some local attractions nearby.
- Swimming area for children and family fun
- Castle building and other fun activities at the beach
- Fishing and boating
- Various ball games
- A playground with playing sets
Rates: The campground website publishes various rental rates.
Amenities: Full RV hookups on all 196 campsites, wireless internet, cable TV, restroom, and laundry facilities.
Location: 3101 S. Lake Shore, MI 49653
2. Wild Cherry RV Resort
ALT: A photo of the Wild Cherry Resort from their gallery.
The RV resort is a full-service campground close to Sleeping Bear National Park. The 94 serene campsites at Wild Cherry Resort, located in the center of rural Leelanau County, have wide paved roads. James Spinniken owns the resort.
Twenty-four orchid gardens and tasting rooms are within 10 miles of the property. The resort boasts a 4-acre private lake.
If your RV is 15 years, you must send a photo to pass the visual test. The resort’s management welcomes pets. However, there is a two-dog limit and leash requirements.
Campground activities: Enjoy various activities such as
- Biking and hiking
- Boat ride to Manitou Island Light House
- Visiting the various vineyards for wine tasting
- Go shopping at the historic fishing village of Leland.
Rates: Their rates vary depending on the season and type of camping site. The camp offers free firewood, but there is a $50 clean-up fee if you use anything besides wood.
Amenities: Full RV hookups, trash pickup at a designated hour, free WiFi, firepits, free local daily paper(Wed-Sat).
Location: 8563 E Horn Rd, MI 49653.
3. Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping (Mackinaw City)
The park has a few lakefront campsites, 200 full-hookup campsites and 200 acres of wood, and a mile of shoreline. You can see the Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City, Bois Blanc Island, Round Island, St. Ignace, and Mackinac Island from its natural beaches.
The Rogala family founded Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping in 1964. The campground was recognized as one of the best Michigan Campgrounds by The Detroit News.
Izuga, a previous camper on the site, reviews: “Mill Creek is a great location to park your Family RV and let the kids safely enjoy the park.
It accommodates pets, and the campground is open from May to September.
Campground activities: You and your family enjoy various activities, such as
- Swimming(heated pool)
- Hiking trails
- Kids playing at their playground
- Play golf at their highly-rated golf course
- Nightly antique fire truck and hay rides.
Rates: Check their rates under reservations.
Amenities: Full RV hookups, clean washrooms, showers, camp store, gift shop, laundry facilities.
Location: Mackinaw City, MI 4970.
Here is a video from the YouTube channel How To Have Fun Outdoors with a more vivid description of the campground:
The Major Tips For RV Camping in Northern Michigan
Camping in Northern Michigan is enjoyable with its pleasant people, small towns, mild summer weather, and natural beauty. Here are a few tips to enjoy camping in North Michigan.
- Summer and early fall are the ideal seasons for camping in Northern Michigan. You can engage in more outdoor activities because the weather is neither hot nor cold.
- Remember to bring your bug repellant since the pests might irritate you in the hot weather (late June to August).
- If you want to see Northern Michigan in its colorful state, consider camping in the fall (mid-September through October). The temperature has dropped slightly, and the autumn foliage has changed to stunning gold, yellow, and red, creating unique landscapes.
- However, winter camping in North Michigan is also ideal if you are an introvert and don’t mind cold weather. The campsites are less populated.
- Additionally, camping in the spring offers fewer bugs and smaller crowds, off-season rates, and milder and more pleasant weather.
- Choose campgrounds with full RV hookups for a more convenient camping experience.
- Campendium features a comprehensive list of free campsites in Michigan that you can search on an interactive map. It’s important to remember that most free campsites are underdeveloped and may lack amenities.
- Make a plan because some campgrounds demand reservations in advance. Since most campgrounds are relatively large and have many options, list the activities you want to participate in.
- Be courteous with park rangers because they might have insider knowledge unavailable in guidebooks or online resources. They’ll let you in on the inside scoop and suggest the ideal times to visit particular sites in the park.
Camping in Northern Michigan promises an unforgettable camping experience. Public campgrounds provide more outdoor activities for less money. Private campgrounds cost more money yet provide greater comforts and luxurious camping.
Summer or the beginning of October are the ideal seasons for camping in Northern Michigan. You can engage in various outside activities because the weather is more favorable.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the top camping spots in Northern Michigan?
The best camping areas in Northern Michigan include Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Wild Cherry RV Resort, and Hartwick Pines State Park.
2. What are the best activities to do while camping in Northern Michigan?
Camping in Northern Michigan is a great time to enjoy boating and fishing, swimming, hiking, playing golf, castle building on the beach, and jet skiing on lakes.
3. What are the amenities available at campgrounds in Northern Michigan?
In Northern Michigan, most campgrounds offer full RV hookups, restrooms, laundry facilities, trash pickup, internet connections, and cable TV.
4. Are there any pet-friendly camping options in Northern Michigan?
Hartwick Pines State Park, Platte River Campground, Wild Cherry RV Resort, and Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping are just a few of the Northern Michigan campgrounds that are pet-friendly.