Fall is one of the best times of year to camp in Michigan. The weather is quite favorable and pleasant, the crowds and pesky bugs have mostly come and gone. Additionally, the fall colors are nothing short of amazing. These reasons and more are why you should spend a weekend camping this fall. Here are some of the top spots to consider camping in fall in Michigan.
Ludington State Park
Located on the Northwest part of the state, Ludington State Park is arguably one of the most popular state campgrounds. The campground is consistently at capacity in the spring and summer. While it is still busy in the fall, it is much easier to secure a spot.
This state park has a lot to offer. While the weather may be cooler, experiencing the Lake Michigan shoreline with fewer people has its advantages. Fall colors are excellent through the season, and they mix in tremendously well with the expansive sand dunes through the 5,300 park. Looking for an adventure? Take a half-day hike to Big Sable Point Lighthouse, which is 1.8 miles north of the parking area of the park. The lighthouse is open from 10 AM to 5 PM until November 5th.
The fall also brings excellent fishing opportunities within the park at the mouth of the Sable River. Salmon gather and run up the river as they begin their spawning ritual. Fisherman have the chance to catch very large king salmon from the river.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Few places in Michigan can boast the fall foliage opportunities that Tahquamenon Falls offers. There are two campgrounds within the 46,179-acre park. One of the campgrounds is located at the river mouth of the Tahquamenon River as it empties into Whitefish Bay. The other campground is located at the site of the Lower Falls of the Tahquamenon River. Both sites provide incredible scenic views of tree foliage, especially over the water. Additionally, there are several hiking trails throughout the park to experience the wilderness of the U.P and additional color.
North and South Higgins Lake State Parks
If you are looking for fall foliage and color over an inland lake, try either North or South Higgins State Parks. Both parks are consistently busy during the summer months. But come mid-September, the parks see fewer campers. The result is a very fun and quiet camping experience in the heart of Northern Michigan. Higgins Lake is one of the most pristine lakes in Michigan. Seeing it’s blue hue contrast against fall colors on the shoreline is a must see. Plus, there are many trails throughout the park to hike and enjoy the leaves falling.
Fall Harvest Festivals
Looking for some family fun while camping? Many of the Michigan DNR state parks host fall harvest festivals throughout September and October. Some activities include hayrides, pumpkin carving, and education sessions. Additionally, there are trick or treating events within the campgrounds for kids. A full list of Fall Harvest Festivals is listed here at the DNR.