If you’re looking for a campground to stay at that will give you Lake Superior views, you might want to consider staying at Bay Furnace campground!
This campground is located right on Lake Superior. It is one of the many Lake Superior camping spots!
First, some quick things to know about the Bay Furnace campground.
Then, a bit on how to make reservations, along with how to register and pay for your campsite if you’re arriving without reservations.
And then, a few things to do near Bay Furnace campground.
Things to know about Bay Furnace campground
1. Right near the Bay Furnace campground, you can check out the Bay Furnace ruins!
According to the Hiawatha National Forest:
Pioneer iron-makers built here because the curving shoreline and offshore islands create a protected harbor for ships.
The logs you see along the beach remain from a dock that was once 1,200 feet long.
Bay Furnace is all that remains of Onota, an iron-making settlement destroyed by fire in 1877.
It is one of the last remaining structures of its kind in the Upper Peninsula.
2. The Bay Furnace campground is a part of Hiawatha National Forest.
Hiawatha National Forest covers a big part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As you are driving through the UP, you are likely to come across several national forest signs.
There are also a number of Hiawatha National Forest campgrounds, and Bay Furnace campground is one of them.
3. You can get Lake Superior views all around!
4. It’s possible to get a campsite with Lake Superior views!
5. There’s a small beach and you can swim at the lake.
Lake Superior tends to be cold, but there are people who do swim in the lake.
6. This is a rustic campground. There is no electricity. There are no “modern” bathrooms or showers.
7. There are vault toilets.
8. There is a water faucet for drinking water
9. There’s firewood available for purchase on-site
Depending on how much firewood you want, the cost of a bundle will be $5 or $10.
10. The campground is for tent camping and RV camping
11. There’s a trash dumpster spot for campers.
12. There is an RV dump station.
Free for Bay Furnace campers. $5 fee otherwise.
13. You can make reservations online
This is the official website to make your national forest campsite reservation.
14. There may be campsites available if you just show up. This would be for the campsites that are on a first-come first-serve basis. You show up, claim your campsite, and make payment on-site.
More on the procedure for this below.
15. Camping is $20 per night.
2020 fees. Check here for current cost.
16. The Bay Furnace campground is located off a main road
You can read the reviews for Bay Furnace Campground.
Here are some ideas for an Upper Peninsula road trip!
The most important places in the UP to know about are Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and the bubbling Big Spring of Kitch-iti-kipi.
Make it a Michigan camping trip to remember by going camping near Lake Superior.
Lighthouses are also a thing, so stop by one of the Lake Superior lighthouses (or many more!), like Whitefish Point and/or Crisp Point. You can also go to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum to explore why Lake Superior has a reputation for being Shipwreck Coast and the Graveyard of the Great Lakes.
Many people don't make it over to the western part of the Upper Peninsula. But if you want to, you will want to know about Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Then, on your way back down south, you can make a detour to go to Mackinac Island (ferry required) or Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. (Or, you can do these things on your way up north!)
Read the details: Best places to visit in the Upper Peninsula
Save the Upper Peninsula Michigan video playlist to watch on youtube later!
How to register and pay for your campsite at Bay Furnace campground
When you drive into the campground, if you keep driving, you’ll come across a registration station. There is no person at the entry, and it’s self-registration.
You can pull up to the registration station and read over the instructions and updated information.
You can grab a registration envelope from the small box.
And then you can go drive through the campground in search of your perfect camping spot in the national forest!
Because there are some campsites that are possible to be reserved in advance, some of these campsites might have a paper clipped to it indicating that the campsite is reserved.
If there’s a paper clipped but you don’t see the campsite occupied, you might look to check the check-in or check-out date on the paper to see if it’ll be available for that night. The check-in date might be 2-3 days from the day you arrive, so if you’re only staying one night it would be available to you. Or maybe the person just checked out, and the paper just hasn’t been removed yet.
Once you’ve found the campsite you want to stay at, you can fill out the form with payment, and then deposit it into the small green post that’s next to the registration station.
And then once you’ve officially selected your campsite, you can clip your registration form to the campsite post!
If you don’t find any available campsites, you might see if there’s a national forest service worker around to see if there might be any known check-outs.
Otherwise, you might try another Hiawatha National Forest campground that’s about a 20 minute drive away, the Au Train Lake campground.
Things to do near Bay Furnace campground
1. Grand Island
You will be able to see Grand Island from the campground, and you can go and visit it to. Many people make a day trip to Grand Island. (Others stay overnight at the backcountry campsites.)
Grand Island is also a part of Hiawatha National Forest as the Grand Island National Recreation Area. You take a ferry to get there. Or you can kayak to get there.
The Bay Furnace campground to the spot where you catch the Grand Island ferry is around a 5-10 minute drive.
2. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
On the Munising side of Pictured Rocks is where you’ll find the famous Pictured Rocks cliffs. Boat tours and kayak tours are popular.
For activities on your own, you may be interested in Miners Castle (famous overlook), Miners Falls, Munising Falls, and the Chapel trail area (waterfalls, beach, famous rock, cliffs).
The Bay Furnace campground to the Pictured Rocks Munising Visitor Center is around a 10-15 minute drive.
See about Pictured Rocks camping and the best of Pictured Rocks.
3. Roadside waterfalls
There are a few roadside waterfalls nearby. These are right off the side of the road, and you can even see them from the road if you are looking out for it. There is also a pullover area in case you want to stop and get closer.
The Bay Furnace campground to Scott Falls is a 10 minute drive. You can walk behind these waterfalls.
The Bay Furnace campground to Alger Falls is around a 20 minute drive. Nearby these waterfalls is Wagner Falls that requires a short trail to get to.
And that’s a bit about camping at a Hiawatha national forest campground!
See the list of best Michigan state park campgrounds in the UP for more lake view campsites.
More for your UP drive:
- Rustic campground in a state forest on an inland lake near Whitefish Point
- Places to stop on your UP road trip
- Places to stop between Munising and Marquette
HAPPY CAMPING ON LAKE SUPERIOR AT BAY FURNACE CAMPGROUND!