So you’re planning a camping trip in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore!
There are 3 regular campgrounds in Pictured Rocks, and the Twelvemile Beach campground near Twelvemile Beach and Lake Superior is one of them.
And if you think that camping with views of Lake Superior makes for a perfect camping trip… then the Twelvemile Beach Campground is the best campground in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore out of the 3 main Pictured Rocks campgrounds!
First, some quick things to know about the Twelvemile Beach campground that’s located in Pictured Rocks.
Then, a bit on how to make camping reservations.
Things to know about camping at Twelvemile Beach Campground in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
1. The Twelvemile Beach Campground is located on the Grand Marais side (eastern side) of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Grand Marais MI can be thought of as one of the gateway towns of Pictured Rocks.
2. The campground is right near Twelvemile Beach.
Lake Superior does tend to be cold for most people, but people do go swimming at Lake Superior beaches. And although it is a lake, in many ways Lake Superior can act like an ocean, so take care! (There is a reason there are areas of the Lake Superior shoreline that have been called shipwreck coast of the graveyard of Lake Superior.)
3. The campground is perched above the beach.
4. There are paths to the beach directly from the campground.
5. You can get a campsite with views of Lake Superior at Twelvemile Beach campground!
6. There is a trail that goes along the campground so you can go for a leisurely walk with views of Lake Superior!
👆 Spot the tent!
👆 Spot the tent!
7. You can watch a Lake Superior sunset right near your campsite!
8. The Twelvemile Beach campground is at the eastern end of Twelvemile Beach.
This eastern end of Twelvemile Beach is also the main public access for Twelvemile Beach.
And, being called Twelvemile Beach, this beach is something like 12 miles long!
There are also a number of backcountry campsites along Twelvemile Beach.
At the western end of Twelvemile Beach is also another regular (drive-in) campground, the Little Beaver Lake campground. This one isn’t directly along Lake Superior, and it’s requires a hike to get to Lake Superior from the campground.
9. You can search for colorful rocks at Twelvemile Beach.
You can look for the colorful rocks that Lake Superior is famous for. Just look, don’t take the rocks, though! As a national lakeshore, all nature, including the rocks are protected.
10. You can see dune grass around Twelvemile Beach.
Dune grass is said to be fragile and an important part of the coastal ecosystem. So take care not to step on it!
11. The North Country Trail goes through the Twelvemile Beach campground.
You can hike the North Country Trail to the east from Twelvemile Beach campground:
- The Benchmark backcountry campground is around 0.9 miles away.
- The Lake Superior overlook beach is around 2.1 miles away.
- The Hurricane River campground is around 3.1 miles away.
- The Au Sable Lighthouse is around 4.5 miles away.
- The Au Sable East backcountry campground is around 4.9 miles away.
- The Log Slide overlook is around 6.8 miles away.
You can hike the North Country Trail to the west from Twelvemile Beach campground:
- The Sevenmile backcountry campground is around 2.8 miles away.
- The Pine Bluff backcountry campground is around 7 miles away.
- The Beaver Creek backcountry campground is around 8.3 miles away.
- The Coves backcountry campground is around 9.8 miles away.
12. You can hike through a white birch forest on the White Birch Nature Trail directly from the campground.
A request from the National Park Service:
Please do not peel the birch bark.
It will not grow back and kills the tree.
13. The Twelvemile Beach campground is for tent camping and RV camping.
14. The campsites come with a tent pad.
This will be flat gravel ground to set up your tent.
15. Twelvemile Beach campground is a “rustic” campground.
16. There is no electricity at the campground.
There is no electricity at Twelvemile Beach Campground, or at any other campgrounds in the national lakeshore park.
17. There are no showers at the campground.
There are no showers at Twelvemile Beach Campground, or at any other campgrounds in the national lakeshore park.
18. There are basic no-flush toilets at the campground.
19. There is a faucet at the campground for drinking water.
20. There are bears in Pictured Rocks.
It’s said that a fed bear is a dead bear. This means that once bears start to see humans as a source of food, they can become a threat to humans, and that means a potential threat to you! If a bear is believed to think of humans as a source of food, that bear may be killed.
Currently, bears in Pictured Rocks are generally not seen as a threat to people. But it takes everyone, including all campers, to keep it like that and to keep everyone safe, while you’re camping, and to keep the campers that come after you safe!
Among the things that are noted are to be sure to take care to pick up after yourself after you eat. You want to avoid leaving food in your tent, and be sure to store all food in your car. This also means it would be better if you didn’t eat inside your tent at all.
Another thing is to also try not to keep scented items inside your tent. Scented items can even include things like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and sunscreen.
Before you go camping, you can read up on bears in Pictured Rocks (pdf), you can also read more about hiking and camping with bears in national parks.
21. There’s a bear-proof food storage box at the campground if you don’t have a car.
22. There are “bear-proof” trash cans at the campground.
You will see bear-proof trash cans at the Twelvemile Beach campground and all over the park.
23. Biting flies may be a problem in the area.
24. Mornings may be chilly!
Mid-July and wearing a beanie?!
Twelvemile Beach campground is open and exposed to the winds that come across Lake Superior so it can make it feel a bit cooler. Early mornings and late evenings may feel cold so be sure to pack some extra layers just in case! Check the low temperatures of Grand Marais MI and pack for cooler weather!
25. Summer days are long!
In June and July, there are days when sunrise is before 6am and sunset isn’t until after 9:30pm in Grand Marais MI!
That means time for lots of outdoor activities!
What to do as a day trip (or half day trip) from Twelvemile Beach Campground
How far is the Twelvemile Beach Campground from other Pictured Rocks activities?
- Log Slide overlook – 20 minute drive
- Trail to Chapel Falls / Chapel Rock / Chapel Beach / Chapel Mosquito loop (aka the cliffs hike) – 45 minute drive
- Miners Castle Point overlook – 50 minute drive
For more activities, see:
More around the UP:
- Twelvemile Beach to Grand Marais: 30 minutes
- Twelvemile Beach to Munising: 50 minutes
- Twelvemile Beach to Kitch-iti-kipi: 1.5 hours
- Twelvemile Beach to Tahquamenon Falls: 1 hour 45 minutes (see Lower Falls campground)
- Twelvemile Beach to Porcupine Mountains: 4 hours (see Union Bay campground)
- Twelvemile Beach to Keweenaw Peninsula: 4.5 hours
Read the reviews of the Twelvemile Beach campground.
Here's some info on Michigan vacation prep! Top Michigan vacation spots:
- Best of Michigan's national lakeshores
- Best of Tahquamenon Falls State Park
- Best of Porcupine Mountains State Park
- Michigan waterfalls road trip
- Lake Superior lighthouse road trip
- Best of hiking in Pictured Rocks
- Get a waterproof phone case if you'll be heading out on the water!
- The perfect type of shirt for swimming in Michigan
How to make camping reservations at Twelvemile Beach Campground
The official website for making a Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore camping reservation through the National Park Service is recreation.gov.
You can type in Twelvemile Beach Campground for the search, and then go from there.
You’ll be able to find an updated campground map too. (Check the photos section.)
You can also see the individual campsites that are available. If you click on an individual campsite, it will also give you the basics of the campsite. If you have flexible dates, you can also search the availability by date. This can also help you determine if you should book soon or not, based on the availability of the campsites. If you’re looking to camp in the summer, then book sooner rather than later!
There are also Twelvemile Beach Campground reviews you can read on the camping reservation website.
Cost of camping at Twelvemile Beach campground
The cost of camping at Twelvemile Beach campground is around $15 per night. See here for updated camping fees.
Checking in to your campsite
There is no official check-in for camping at the Twelvemile Beach campground. You’ll need to have your camping “permit” printed off before you go. This means printing off your camping reservation confirmation that was e-mailed to you. You’ll get instructions once you book your campsite. And then you’ll stick that on the campsite post when you get to your campsite.
So once you are in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore park and approaching the campground, you’ll start to see signs for the Twelvemile Beach campground. And then off you go to find your individual campsite!
And that’s a bit about camping at Twelvemile Beach campground!
More in Pictured Rocks:
- Camping at Hurricane River campground
- Camping at Little Beaver Lake campground
- The best of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The other national lakeshore in Michigan:
See more Michigan campgrounds near Lake Superior!
HAPPY CAMPING AT TWELVEMILE BEACH CAMPGROUND!