So you’re planning a camping trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!
What’s a perfect way to camp in the UP?!
Camping with views of Lake Superior!
Union Bay is a bay of Lake Superior.
This is one of the Porcupine Mountains campgrounds.
More for your trip to the UP beyond Union Bay campground
If you’re interested in camping at Union Bay campground in the Porcupine Mountains, then you may also be interested in these things around the UP:
- Tahquamenon Falls (map)
- Kitch-iti-kipi (the bubbling big spring of Michigan!) (map)
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (map)
- Presque Isle Park (map)
- Crisp Point Lighthouse (map)
- Bond Falls (map)
- Best Upper Peninsula campgrounds (views!)
- Best Lake Superior campgrounds (views!)
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore campgrounds
- Things to do in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
- Best places to visit in the Upper Peninsula (for VIEWS!)
First, some quick things to know about the Union Bay campground that’s located in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Then, a bit on how to make camping reservations.
Things to know about camping at Union Bay Campground in Porcupine Mountains State Park
1. You’ll drive along Union Bay (Lake Superior) to get to the Union Bay campground.
2. There are spots near the campground where you can get views of Lake Superior.
3. It’s possible to get a campsite right on Lake Superior for some Great Lakes lakefront camping in Michigan!
You can fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore! In the morning my camp neighbor asked me how I slept the night before. I responded it was great hearing the ocean waves… and then I realized what I said… it’s not ocean waves… it’s lake waves!! But Lake Superior can truly feel like an ocean at times!
4. This means you can eat with lake views from your campsite!
5. There are some campsites that can feel like they are in an open field
Well… to a point. There are campers still all around you. 😜 Also note this means there’s no shade.
6. The campground is for tent camping and RV camping
…and other types of camping!
7. The edge of the campground is lined with flat shale rock and you can walk across it on the edge of Lake Superior.
And you can also set up a camp chair on the rocks to take in the views of Lake Superior!
Even if you aren’t staying directly at a lakefront campsite, there’s a trail that will take you to the shoreline.
8. Beware of “biting flies” around the campground.
If you’ll be heading to the shoreline to hang out in the evening, you may want to be sure to wear long sleeves and/or pants. While I did not have any problems with biting flies here, I did hear someone making a complaint about it. I did however, have a MAJOR issue with the biting flies when hiking the Escarpment Trail in the Porcupine Mountains. In general, it’s a thing that’s said to be a problem across the UP in the summer. I never really had any notable problem myself anywhere in the UP until hiking in the forest on the Escarpment Trail. So, it will be best to be prepared for these biting flies for a trip to the Porcupine Mountains!
9. You can watch a Lake Superior sunset from edge of the campground!
10. There is no sandy beach directly at the Union Bay campground.
People still do get in the water from near the campground though, with access from the rocks.
If you are looking for a sandy beach, there is sand at another part of Union Bay. Driving into the state park from the main east entrance, you’ll pass by a set of stairs that will take you to a sandy beach.
Lake Superior is generally considered cold by most people even in the summer, but people will still get in the water.
11. Union Bay Campground is the only “modern” campground in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
There are multiple campgrounds in Porcupine Mountains State Park.
There are 2 standard campgrounds. There is one “modern” campground (Union Bay), and there is also one “rustic” campground on the other side of the park (Presque Isle).
There are also a number of backcountry campgrounds and backcountry cabins, meaning you hike in to your campsite or cabin. The Porcupine Mountains are known as a backpacking destination.
12. You can get electricity at your Union Bay campsite.
13. There are regular bathrooms along with hot water showers.
14. There are faucets throughout the campground for drinking water.
15. There’s a garbage dumpster for campers.
16. There are bears in the Porcupine Mountains
According to Michigan State Parks:
Black bear are frequently encountered in the park.
Never feed wild animals as this damages their health, alters natural behaviors, exposes them to predators and causes them to lose their natural fear of humans.
This also makes it even more important that everyone does their part to pick up after themselves!
17. There’s an RV dump station.
18. You can kayak Lake Superior from the campground!
There is a more official boat launch spot to take your kayak into the water that’s near the campground office.
But there are also people who launch their kayaks from the rocks closer to the campsites directly from the rocks.
Bring your own kayak!
Or you can rent a kayak at the Porcupine Mountain Outpost when you get there.
Kayak into the sunset!
But be sure to be back before dark for your own safety! 😜
19. It’s a 10 minute drive to Lake of the Clouds.
This is possibly the most popular spot in Porcupine Mountains State Park. There’s a short trail to the Lake of the Clouds overlook.
From Lake of the Clouds is also where you can access the Escarpment Trail, possibly the best hike in the Porcupine Mountains.
For more activities, see the best of the Porcupine Mountains.
20. Summer days are long!
Ontonagon MI is the city where the Porcupine Mountains State Park is located. In June and July, there are days when sunrise is just past 6am and sunset isn’t until nearly 10pm in Ontonagon!
That means time for lots of outdoor activities!
Read the reviews of the Union Bay 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 make camping reservations at Union Bay campground
This is the official website for making Michigan State Parks camping reservation.
You can choose Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and then go from there to choose Union Bay campground.
You’ll be able to find an updated campground map too.
You can also see the individual campsites that are available. If you click on an individual campsite, it will also give you any noteworthy description of the site, including whether it comes with a view of Lake Superior.
Union Bay campground map
Cost of camping at Union Bay campground
In 2020, the cost of camping in Porcupine Mountains State Park at the Union Bay campground was around $28 per night. There is an additional reservation fee. See here for updated camping fees.
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 Porcupine Mountains 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 Porcupine Mountains camping at Union Bay campground!
Learn more about the rustic Presque Isle campground in the Porcupine Mountains, near the Presque Isle River and Lake Superior.
And then there are more camping spots in the Porcupine Mountains.
See more about how to spend your time in the Porcupine Mountains:
- Lake of the Clouds overlook
- Hiking the Escarpment Trail
- Hiking the river trail to see the waterfalls of the Porcupine Mountains
- More things to do in Porcupine Mountains State Park
More in the western UP:
- Union Bay to Bond Falls is around a 1 hour drive
- Union Bay to Copper Harbor in the Keweenaw Peninsula is around a 2.5 hour drive
The rest of the UP:
- Union Bay to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is around a 3.5 hour drive
- Union Bay to Tahquamenon Falls is around a 4.5 hour drive
For more campgrounds directly on Lake Superior:
And see more Great Lakes camping spots on the list of best Michigan state park campgrounds in the UP.
HAPPY CAMPING AT UNION BAY CAMPGROUND WITH LAKE SUPERIOR VIEWS!