Upper Peninsula Camping From a Pro
We went searching for the best Upper Peninsula campgrounds, and so we turned to a UP camping expert, Natalie Hardy of travelovermiway.com.
From hiking the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to exploring the High Banks Trail along the AuSable and beyond, Natalie’s Michigan outdoors experiences inspire us all year long. If you’re looking for an amazing trip idea, she’s sharing some of her favorite campgrounds with us here to help you plan your camping trip to the U.P! Be sure to scroll to the bottom for an interactive map of Natalie’s favorite camping spots!
Best Upper Peninsula Campgrounds
Happy Camping Season! Though I like to think of camping season all year long, summer is by far one of my favorites, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has no shortage of gorgeous camping sites.
From national forests to inland lakes, rustic campgrounds, national lakeshores, and camping along the Lake Superior shoreline, anyone can find the perfect camping spot in the upper peninsula. From summer to winter camping, read on for your ultimate guide to camping at some of the best Michigan state parks.
PRO-TIP: You’ll need a Recreation Passport to get into the state parks. You can purchase them the visitor center when you pull into the park. Find more information from the State of Michigan.
Eastern Upper Peninsula Campgrounds
Straits State Park
720 Church Street, Saint Ignace, MI 49781
Just over the Mackinac Bridge in St. Ignace, you’ll find a Michigan State Park with arguably one of the best views in the state of Michigan.
Straits State Park sits on the Lake Huron side of the Upper Peninsula, numerous campsites sit right along the shore with a picture-perfect view of the Mackinac Bridge. 274 sites in total can be found at this State Park with three main areas.
The Upper Loop, with no views of the bridge, is a perfect spot for campers and trailers, with electrical hookup and 145 uniform sites. The East Loop houses 56-sites, West Loop 73-sites, majority featuring electrical hookup. The sites along the shoreline are rustic only with no electrical hookup, but this slight inconvenience is well worth the view!
There are three modern bathhouses, one in each loop, with vault toilets located throughout the park. There are also two mini cabins located in the East Loop featuring electricity and bunk beds.
A few hiking trails in the park can lead to even better views (if that’s possible?!). Head up the Mackinac Bridge Overlook trail, a short 1-mile loop hike that takes you to the Instagram worthy shot of the Mackinac Bridge.
TO DO: Explore downtown St. Ignace, jump on a ferry to head to Mackinac Island, and make sure to check out Castle Rock nearby!
To KNOW: Camping is available at Straits State Park from May 16th – October 16th.
41382 W M-123, Paradise, MI 49768
Head to the famous Tahquamenon Falls State Park and camp near Tahquamenon Falls, the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi! With two campgrounds in this state park, there is plenty of space to enjoy this gorgeous area of the Upper Peninsula.
The Rivermouth Campground is located on the east end of the state park and features the Rivermouth Pines area and Rivermouth Modern. In the Pines, you can enjoy camping on one of the 36-rustic sites or in the modern camper cabin. There are vault toilets and water pumps throughout this portion of the campground. For a bit more amenities, head to the Modern section for electricity hookup and modern bathhouses.
For an even closer access to the falls, you can head to the Lower Falls Campground, located within walking distance to the Lower Falls. All sites have electricity hookup and modern restrooms. These campsites are also available for winter camping, which I highly recommend checking out! When you book in advance, the DNR will snowplow your site for you!
Numerous hiking trails are in the area, including the 4-mile trek from the Lower Falls to the Upper Falls along the Tahquamenon River.
TO DO: Be sure to grab a delicious bite to eat and a refreshing beer from the Tahquamenon Brewing Company, open year-round at the Upper Falls trail head.
To KNOW: Camping is available year-round at the Lower Falls Hemlock sites. Rivermouth and Lower Falls Portage are available from April 22 – October 8. The camper cabin located in Rivermouth is available April 21 – November 29.
Muskallonge Lake State Park
29881 Co Rd 407, Newberry, MI 49868
North of Tahquamenon Falls, along the shores of Lake Superior and Muskallonge Lake (one of the Upper Peninsula’s largest inland lakes) you’ll find this gem of a campground.
With 159 sites all featuring electricity, access to water pumps, vault toilets, fire rings, and modern restrooms anyone who enjoys tent or trailer camping will enjoy their stay! Available right in the campground is a boat launch into Muskallonge Lake and located across the campground are hiking trails leading right down to Lake Superior.
In a short 40-minute drive you can head to Grand Marais and hike on the eastern end of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore! There are also numerous ORV trails in the area.
TO DO: In just a 45-minute drive you can head to Tahquamenon Falls! Hike the numerous hiking trails or enjoy food and a beer at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery. Located just 30 minutes from Newberry, head into town to grab a bite to eat at some great local places like Timer Charlie’s, Sedder’s Pizza, Zellar’s Restaurant, or Johnny’s Tavern.
TO KNOW: Muskallonge Lake State Park is available for camping from April 15th-Sun October 30th
Western Upper Peninsula Camping
Indian Lake State Park
8970 Co Hwy 442, Manistique, MI 49854
Head to Manistique to enjoy camping along one of the largest inland lakes in the Upper Peninsula (4th largest)!
Indian Lake State Park features two campgrounds, one along the west shore with 70 sites, for both tents and trailers, all featuring electricity, water pumps, and vault toilets. At the main campground there are 143 sites all featuring electricity, water pumps, and modern bathhouses. At the main campground a boat launch and swimming beach are available along Indian Lake.
There are a few hiking trails throughout the state park and state forest for any length and skill level! Hike the almost 5-mile Indian Lake Pathways loop, or for a shorter hike head out on the Dufour Creek Trail for a short 1.4-mile hike.
TO DO: You are also a stone’s throw away from the famous Kitch-iti-Kipi, also known as Palms Book State Park, a must visit for those crystal clear, natural spring waters. Head into downtown Manistique on the shores of Lake Michigan and enjoy a delicious breakfast and coffee at Cedar Street Café and Coffee House, grab a burger at Clyde’s Drive In or The “40” Bar and Grill. Make sure to walk down Cedar Street and browse the local shops!
TO KNOW: Indian Lake State Park is available for camping from April 21 – November 6.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
33303 Headquarters Road, Ontonagon, MI 49953
One of the most iconic places in Michigan will have you wondering if you’re even still in the Great Lake State: it’s Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
With a variety of camping opportunities, Porcupine Mountains in Wilderness State Park will have a spot for any level of outdoor enthusiast. Head to the Union Bay camping area on the east end of the park for 100 modern-electric sites, some right on the shores of Lake Superior.
These sites feature water, vault toilets, and modern bathhouses. Another large campground is located at the west end of the park, Presque Isle. These 49 sites are rustic only with no generators allowed, there is water and vault toilets available. There are numerous backcountry hike-in sites/cabins, along with rustic drive-in sites with vault toilets.
This is no ordinary tourist park. With over 60,000 acres of land there’s no shortage of outdoor recreation available. From fishing and hunting to mountain biking, backpacking, and hiking, everyone will find something they love! This park is open 365 days a year to enjoy this serene landscape in the green summers and snow-covered winters. It’s also a fabulous spot to enjoy Michigan’s amazing fall colors, and for wildlife viewing, too.
TO DO: Head 15 miles east to the town of Ontonagon where you can grab a bit to eat at the UP North Café, then sit on the shore of Lake Superior. Or head 30 miles west to Ironwood and grab a cup of coffee from Contrast Coffee Company, one of my absolute favorite local Michigan coffee shops!
TO KNOW: Union Bay Campground is reservable from May 27 – September 29. Presque Isle and other backcountry drive in and hike in sites are available May 15 – October 30. Backcountry cabins and Yurts are reservable year-round.
Upper Peninsula Campgrounds in the Keweenaw Peninsula
Baraga State Park
1300 US Hwy 41, Baraga, MI 49908
At the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula you’ll find this quaint state park with 95 sites, all including electricity, water pumps, vault toilets, and modern restrooms. Additionally, there is one mini cabin located in the campground which features a bunk bed, electricity, mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee pot.
With its beautiful location on the L’Anse Bay, this is the perfect spot to enjoy fishing, swimming, and boating. This is one of the unique state parks which allows ORV access from the park to nearby ORV trails! Hike the nearby trails to Bond Falls, a short 1-mile loop with gorgeous falls along the Ontonagon River.
TO DO: Explore downtown Baraga, a quaint UP town, and grab a bite to eat at the Baraga Drive In! For a bit more action you can head just an hour east along US-41 to Marquette!
TO KNOW: Camping is available at Baraga State Park from April 29th-October 30th.
McLain State Park
18350 M-203, Hancock, MI 49930
Smack dab in the middle of the Keweenaw Peninsula you’ll find one of my favorite state parks to winter camp, with loads of fun winter activities! There are 135 sites located at McLain for tent and trailer camping. All have electrical hookup, there are water pumps located throughout, vault toilets, and modern restrooms.
There are additionally 7 mini cabins, all featuring electricity, microwave, mini fridge, and hot plate. With 2 miles of sandy shore on Lake Superior there are spectacular views throughout McLain State Park. In the summer months there are beach shelters for rent, a beach concession stand, fishing pier, and lighthouse. tis is a great spot to try and catch a glimpse of the northern lights.
TO DO: Easily head into the twin towns of Houghton and Hancock to grab a bite to eat, drink, and explore! Some of my personal favorites are: The Library Restaurant and Brew Pub, La Cantina Mexican Restaurant, and Keweenaw Brewing Company. Grab a cup of coffee at 5th & Elm Coffee House in Houghton, and a must visit is Keweenaw Coffee Works in Calumet.
TO KNOW: Camping is available at McLain State Park for trailers and tents from May 6th-October 30th
Camping in mini-cabins is available year-round (however, only vault toilets are available in the winter months).
Fort Wilkins State Park
15223 US Hwy 41, Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Located at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Copper Harbor, this 159-site campground features electrical hookup for every site. This is the perfect campground for trailer and tent camping alike! With two modern bath houses, vault toilets, pump water spigots, day shelters, boat launch and fishing pier into Lake Fanny Hooe.
Additionally, there two cabins available for rent. One cabin contains two bunk beds and a queen-sized futon, electric heat, dining table, couch, full sized fridge and freezer, hot plates, microwave, and coffee pot. The other cabin is a mini cabin with a bunk bed, two cots, electricity, refrigerator, and WiFi is available. Group sites are also reservable for this campground.
In the State Park, you can visit the restored 1844 army military outpost, an educational and interesting Northern Michigan Greenfield Village!
TO DO: Nearby, drive through Brockway Mountain Scenic drive, a picturesque drive that will have you wondering if you’re still in Michigan. Take day trip to Isle Royale via the Isle Royale Line which leaves from Copper Harbor. Explore the nearby waterfalls like Montreal Falls, Haven Falls, and Silver River Falls!
TO KNOW: Camping is available at Fort Wilkins State Park for trailers and tents from May 6th-October 30th. Camping in mini-cabins is available year-round (however, only vault toilets are available in the winter months).
PRO-TIP: Make sure to plan a stop at Keweenaw National Historic Park, one of the seven national parks in Michigan. Here, you can explore the rich copper mining and cultural heritage of this unique area in Michigan. Visit 21 different sites throughout the park to learn about the important role that Michigan’s copper mining industry played in world history following the industrial revolution
More Upper Peninsula Campgrounds to Explore
- Soo Locks Campground
1001 E Portage Ave, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
- Aune Osborne Campground
1225 Riverside Dr, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Central Upper Peninsula Campgrounds
- Munising Tourist Park Campground
E8518 M-28, Munising, MI 49862
- Bay Furnace Campground
E7900 W, M-28, Munising, MI 49862
- Twelvemile Beach Campground
Grand Marais, MI 49839
- Roads End Campsite on Grand Island
Munising, MI 49862
Western UP Campgrounds
- City of Houghton RV Park
- 1100 W Lakeshore Dr, Houghton, MI 49931
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About the Author-
Natalie Hardy is a writer and photographer living in Northern Michigan. She has been an avid camper and hiker for over 5 years and is the owner of Travel Over MI Way; a website focused on travel, hiking, and many other outdoor activities throughout Michigan and beyond. She is also a photo ambassador for the Michigan DNR State Parks.