Best Camping Spots at Michigan State Parks

Michigan is known for its natural beauty, and there are few better ways to take in Michigan’s nature than by camping at its wonderful state parks.

There are literally thousands of campgrounds and camp sites to choose from in the state of Michigan. So this is by no means a complete list of camping spots in Michigan. This is just a list of some of our favorite locations for camping at Michigan state parks, listed in no particular order.

Ludington State Park

With 360 campsites and more than 5,000 acres, Ludington State Park has plenty of great camping options for any age and camping experience level. With an extensive trail network, access to Hamlin Lake, beautiful sandy beaches, and Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Ludington State Park is frequently rated as the number one State Park in the state of Michigan. So this state park should be high on your bucket list if you have not camped here already.

Ludington State Park has three campgrounds to choose from: Pines, Cedar, and Beachwood. All three are very close to each other and are sandwiched between Ludington State Park Beach and Hamlin Lake. They also have Mini Cabins and a Walk-in Tent site known as Jack Pine. Visit the Ludington State Park page for up to date information on camping here.

Waterloo Recreation Area

Located near Chelsea, MI, Waterloo Recreation area is a great place to go camping with your kids without venturing too far away from home. The 20,000 acre recreation area is the largest state park located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Waterloo has a fantastic trail system (including an extensive horseback riding trail system), 11 inland lakes, beaches, a discovery center, and fishing and hunting opportunities.

It’s important to note that campers are not permitted to camp at Waterloo Recreation Area for more than 15 consecutive nights, two vehicles are allowed per campsite, and any visitors must leave by 10pm. You can make reservations by visiting or by calling 1-800-44-PARKS.

Straits State Park

Located just beyond the North side of the Mackinac Bridge, this is a fantastic camping spot for those looking to explore the areas of Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, St. Ignace, and beyond.

The state park is relatively small in size when compared to other parks on this list at just 181 acres. However the park has plenty of great features including designated picnic areas, waterfront areas, overnight lodging facilities, fantastic views of Mackinac Bridge, and a playground. The North Country Trail, a 4,700 mile trail system, also passes through the park, making Straits State Park a great destination or starting point for those who use the trail.

Leelanau State Park

Located on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, the Leelanau State Park is a great camping spot for anyone who is exploring the Leelanau Peninsula, traveling near Traverse City, or just looking for a quiet camping spot near Lake Michigan.

The Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum is a must-visit while you’re at the state park, and the park has many other amenities including 1,550 acres, a playground, miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, and a picnic area with a pavilion.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

Located West of Paradise in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a great camping location for those interested in visiting the famous Tahquamenon Falls and exploring the surrounding area.

A popular activity for campers is to rent row boats and take them to the Lower Tahquamenon Falls where you can spend time fishing, taking pictures, or just enjoying the water. The state park also has almost 50,000 acres, snowmobile trails, hiking trails, and plenty of hunting and fishing opportunities.

Image Credit:

Camping, Campsite with Tent by Jean Beaufort. License: CC0 Public Domain