So you’re planning a camping trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!
What’s a perfect way to spend your time in the UP?!
Camping with views of Lake Superior!
There are campsites at the McLain State Park campground from which you can get views of Lake Superior.
First, some quick things to know about the FJ McLain State Park campground.
Then, a bit on how to make camping reservations.
Things to know about camping at FJ McLain State Park
1. McLain State Park is located in the western part of the UP
Houghton is the “big city” of the Keweenaw Peninsula (it’s not that big), and it’s about a 20 minutes drive from McLain State Park to Houghton.
Copper Harbor is the town at the northern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula (and also the northern tip of “mainland” Michigan!), and it’s about a 1 hour drive from McLain State Park to Copper Harbor.
From McLain State Park to the Porcupine Mountains is about a 2 hour drive.
2. You can get views of Lake Superior from the campground area
3. It’s possible to get a campsite right on Lake Superior for some Great Lakes lakefront camping!
4. There is tent camping and RV camping at McLain State Park
…and other types of camping!
5. There are picnic tables with views of Lake Superior
Even if you don’t get a campsite right along Lake Superior, you can take a short walk to the “community” picnic tables so you can eat with up close views of Lake Superior!
6. There are spots near the campground where you can see erosion along the shoreline
All across the the Great Lakes, there are areas of shoreline where you can see quite dramatically the effect of erosion.
And you can see some erosion along the shores of Lake Superior right from the McLain State Park campground. It appears as though a spot where a tree was standing basically fell off the “cliff” due to erosion.
Pictures from July 2020.
7. There’s a small sandy beach area right near the campground.
Directly from the campground, you can access a small sandy area to wade in Lake Superior… or if you want to go swimming! Lake Superior water does tend to be cold, even in summer, but people do still swim.
Water levels and erosion can affect how much of a sandy shoreline there is in front of the campground.
8. You can watch a Lake Superior sunset from the campground area!
9. You can wake up to a sunrise on the lake
It may not be as dramatic, but you can enjoy a Lake Superior sunrise too.
10. The McLain State Park campground is a “modern” campground.
As opposed to a “rustic” campground.
11. There are paved campsite areas
12. There are campsites with extra parking spaces out front
13. There are regular bathrooms along with hot water showers.
14. You can get electricity at your campsite.
15. There are faucets around the campground for drinking water.
16. There’s a garbage dumpster for campers.
17. There’s an RV dump station.
18. There are cabins at McLain State Park.
Similar to camping, except shelter is provided! Bring your own everything. See more about mini-cabins in Michigan state parks.
19. Summer days are long!
In June, there are days where sunrise is before 6am and the sunset isn’t until after 9:45pm in Houghton MI, the nearest “big city” to McLain State Park.
That means time for lots of outdoor activities!
Read the reviews of the McLain State Park campground.
Top Michigan vacation spots:
- Best of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
- Best of Tahquamenon Falls State Park
- Best of Porcupine Mountains State Park
- Lake Superior road trip
- Michigan waterfalls road trip
- Lake Superior lighthouse road trip
- Best of Lake Superior camping in Michigan
- Best of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Save the Upper Peninsula Michigan video playlist to watch on youtube later!
How to make McLain State Park camping reservations
This is the official website for making Michigan State Parks camping reservation.
You can choose McLain State Park, and then go from there.
You’ll be able to find an updated campground map too that shows current availability of individual campsites for your dates. This can give you an indication of how soon you may want to book.
If you click on an individual campsite, it will also give you any noteworthy description of the site, including mentions of lake view campsites.
You can reserve the cabins the same way you do the campsites, but you’ll want to select the “lodging” part. These are called mini-cabins.
Cost of camping at McLain State Park campground
In 2020, the cost of camping at McLain State Park was around $30 per night. There is an additional reservation fee. See here for updated camping fees.
The cost of McLain State Park cabins are around $68 per night.
Also, as a Michigan state park, a Michigan recreation passport is required for entry.
If you’re a Michigan resident, hopefully you already have the annual recreation passport, in which case there’s no additional fee.
If you don’t have the recreation passport, or you’re from out of state, for Michigan residents the annual pass is around $17 when purchased at a state park and for out-of-state residents it’s around $34. See current fees here.
Checking in to your campsite
Then, once you arrive at McLain State Park, you’ll stop by the campground office to check in and get your camping permit!
Then off you go to find your campsite!
And that’s a bit about camping at McLain State Park!
See some things to do as a day trip from McLain State Park when you’re in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Looking for more camping near the Great Lakes in the UP?
You can make it a Lake Superior camping trip.
And more Great Lakes camping spots on the list of best Michigan state park campgrounds in the UP.
HAPPY CAMPING AT MCLAIN STATE PARK!
Watch the videos to see Michigan in action!
Find more amazing things to do in the UP: Watch my Upper Peninsula videos on youtubeIf you see an activity you like, look in the description below the youtube video for the individual blog post about that specific activity!
Turn your Michigan road trip into a national park road trip out west?! Take a look to get ideas for your road trip across America!
- Road trip to North Dakota national park
- Road trip to South Dakota (with 2 SD national parks)
- Road trip to Wyoming (with 2 WY national parks)
- Road trip to Idaho (with 1 ID national monument to see lava fields and caves!)
- See more: Chicago to Yellowstone road trip
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