This means there are plenty of lake views to be seen, on the way to the campground, near the campground, and AT the campground!
Tent camping and RV camping is available
Or other types of camping!
Modern campgrounds vs rustic campgrounds in Michigan
In general, there are modern campgrounds and rustic campgrounds in Michigan state parks.
You can expect modern campgrounds to have “modern” bathrooms and facilities (aka flush toilets), and they generally have hot water showers too. They tend to have electricity, but there also might be some campsites that don’t. (For example, Straits State Park has a modern campground, but there are lakefront campsites that are without electricity.)
Rustic campgrounds tend to only have no-flush toilets, and there are no showers, and there is no electricity.
Most of the campgrounds listed below are modern, but a couple are rustic. Be sure to always look for the details of each campgrounds so you know what to expect and there are no surprises! This information can be found when you do a search for available campsites on the Michigan state park camping reservation website.
You can usually expect there to be drinking water available whether it’s modern or rustic, but it can always be a good idea to have several gallon jugs of water in your trunk anyway when you’re going on a road trip! You can buy such jugs for like $1-3 each at your local grocery store.
Prevent wildfires when you are camping in Michigan!
And also, as a safety note, wildfires are a thing in the UP.
One way you can help to prevent this is to not leave your campfire unattended!
Especially make sure the fire is completely out before you go to bed for the night, or leave your campsite for good. All it takes is a few embers to start a fire, like what happened to this camper here.
This camper story is not from Michigan, but it can similarly happen anywhere.
In case you are not able to view the story, it is about a camper going to sleep without fully putting out their campfire, and it turns into a blaze overnight while campers around the campground are presumably sleeping. In this case, it seems there were no injuries, although a professional fire team was necessary to put the fire out.
Cost of Michigan state park campgrounds
The exact cost to book a campsite might vary from campground to campground, but generally it will cost around $25-35 per night. There is also around an $8 reservation/booking fee added on to your reservation (total, not per night).
The other possible additional cost is the state park entry fee. If you’re coming from out of state, then you’ll need to buy a state park pass. In 2020, this annual pass for non-Michigan residents is around $34.
If you’re a Michigan resident, hopefully you have a Michigan recreation passport! If you don’t you can purchase it at a state park for around $17.
More below on individual Michigan state park campgrounds and things to do nearby!
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
Campgrounds in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Some of which are among the best Great Lakes campgrounds in Michigan state parks!
This list will focus on Michigan state park campgrounds.
The parks on this list aren’t the only UP Michigan state parks with campgrounds. But location wise, these are among the best to choose when you’re going for a road trip around the Upper Peninsula!
If you’re looking for campgrounds that are spaced out around the UP, here’s the visual on a map of the general locations of the campgrounds you’ll find on the list!
Explore the map.
As you can see, you can select Michigan state park campgrounds to make a loop around the UP for a perfect Upper Peninsula road trip, Michigan state park style!
For more campgrounds in the UP aside from state parks, there are also:
For those Michigan state park campgrounds!
Lakefront camping in the UP! Lake Huron campground with Mackinac Bridge views (aka Great Lakes camping!)
Straits State Park is right along Lake Huron, and you can get a campsite with views of the Mackinac Bridge!
There’s also a small beach at the campground that will be a short walk away, also with views of the Mackinac Bridge.
Straits State Park: See more about this UP campground
Camping with a Lake Superior beach (and sunset spot) that can be a less than 1 minute walk away
There are no campsites with views of Lake Superior at the Brimley State Park campground, but it’s a short walk to the Lake Superior beach! This can be a great sunset spot.
The Brimley State Park campground is a campground that’s near Sault St Marie and the Soo Locks.
Brimley State Park: See more about this UP campground
This is possibly the most popular state park in the UP because of the waterfalls to see here. Within the Tahquamenon Falls State Park, there’s the Lower Falls and the Upper Falls, as well as the Tahquamenon River that you can experience here.
The waterfalls will be a short drive from the Lower Falls campgrounds which are modern campgrounds. There’s also a campground near the mouth of the river that empties into Lake Superior, the Rivermouth campground, and this is a rustic campground.
See more about Tahquamenon Falls State Park:
Now when driving from Tahquamenon Falls State Park to the next state park on the list, stick to the numbered roads (county/state/government roads) so you don’t unintentionally end up on the backroads of the UP!
Lakefront camping in the UP! This is an inland lake.
It’s possible to get a campsite with lake views of an inland lake, Muskallonge Lake. At the campground, there’s a small beach too.
Many people bring along kayaks for kayaking at this lake too.
Lake Superior is a short drive across the main road. It’s reasonable to walk to it too. There is a long stretch of shoreline beach at this part of Lake Superior. It’s also a Lake Superior beach that you can search for the colorful rocks and agate stones. This is another good sunset spot on Lake Superior.
Muskallonge Lake State Park: See more about this UP campground
Along the way…
There are campgrounds in Pictured Rocks, both backcountry aka hike-in and frontcountry aka drive-in. Twelvemile Beach campground is a MUST if you’re after camping with Lake Superior views! Aside from that, there is the Hurricane River campground and the Little Beaver Lake campground.
And there are also campgrounds in Hiawatha National Forest near Pictured Rocks. You can try the Bay Furnace campground that has campsites right on Lake Superior, or the Au Train Lake campground that’s a little more inland.
There is also another state park that you may consider staying at that you can make a detour to along the way, located inland (away from Lake Superior) between Marquette and the Keweenaw Peninsula. That’s Craig Lake State Park. The people at Michigan State Parks call this the “most remote state park” in the Michigan state park system. Also listed as saying, “Vehicles with high-ground clearance are recommended due to the rocky conditions of the road”…! Sounds like it could be a perfect part of a UP adventure?!
5. Baraga State Park camping
Lake view camping in the UP! Lake Superior is just across the street.
See Lake Superior in the back?! Better views when you’re actually there!
This is in the southern part of the Keweenaw Peninsula.
It’s possible to reserve a campsite in which you can see Lake Superior, although the campsites are not directly on the lake. There’s a main road (US-41) separating the campground and Lake Superior.
This Lake Superior view will be the Keweenaw Bay or L’anse Bay. (It seems the bay in its entirety can be called the Keweenaw Bay, and L’anse Bay is specifically the southern part of the bay.)
You can also stay in a teepee at Baraga State Park!
Lake view camping in the UP! This is an inland lake.
See the lake in the back?! Better views when you’re actually there!
Now you can head all the way to the northern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, which will bring you to Copper Harbor. This is also the northern tip of “mainland” Michigan. (See great scenic spots to visit near Copper Harbor.)
As a “historic” state park, it’s preserving the history of Fort Wilkins, which was used as a military outpost. Learn about Michigan history!
It’s possible to get a campsite with lake views of an inland lake, Lake Fanny Hooe. At the campground, you can take a lakeside walk! There is also a small “beach” here. (Pack your water shoes for the slightly rocky beach! This is a good thing to pack for a Michigan road trip in general when you’ll be going to some Great Lakes beaches!)
Many people bring their kayaks for this lake too.
Lake Superior views are basically just across the main road (US-41) at John Jacob Astor Shipwreck Park, so it’s not very far away! It can also be reasonable to walk there if you’re looking for an excuse to go hiking.
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park: See more about this UP campground
Lakefront camping in the UP! Lake Superior campground (aka Great Lakes camping!)
Now this is heading back south, and it’s possible to get a campsite with views of Lake Superior at McLain State Park!
This is another great sunset spot.
McLain State Park: See more about this UP campground
Lakefront camping in the UP! Lake Superior campground (aka Great Lakes camping!)
Now this is in the far western part of the Upper Peninsula, and you’re getting closer to Wisconsin.
It’s possible to get a campsite pretty much directly on the lake at Union Bay campground. You can fall asleep to lake waves… that really can sound like ocean waves!
This can be a great Lake Superior sunset spot.
I have seen many sunsets on the water (I was based in the Caribbean for about a year), and to be a bit dramatic… when I saw the sunset at Union Bay, I thought it was EPIC! In the distance was an orange sky and a thunderstorm, and you could actually see the lightning against the backdrop of the orange sky! It was pretty amazing.
And on the other side of Porcupine Mountains State Park is the Presque Isle campground that is near the Porcupine Mountains waterfalls. (No swimming in the river or near the waterfalls.) It’s possible to get a campsite with Lake Superior views, although the lake views are a little obstructed because of the trees.
This is by far the quieter campground of the 2 at this state park.
There is a small Lake Superior beach that you can get to by taking a bunch of stairs. (You might be the only one there!)
The best day hike in the Porcupine Mountains might be the Escarpment Trail.
See more about Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park:
- Union Bay modern campground
- Presque Isle rustic campground
- List of camping spots in the Porcupine Mountains
- The best of the Porcupine Mountains
And now heading back east along the southern side of the peninsula to make it a loop of the Upper Peninsula drive, there is the option of staying at Fayette Historic State Park.
I don’t think there are campsites with lake views here.
This historic state park is preserving the history of the old town of Fayette. Once again, learn about Michigan history! You can take a walk to learn about history of the area with views of Lake Michigan (or more specifically a harbor/bay of Lake Michigan).
Boat camping is also available at Fayette State Park’s Snail Shell Harbor!
You can complete the loop by heading back to the Mackinac Bridge! On the way there is one of the top attractions of the UP, Kitch-iti-kipi aka the bubbling big spring which is a part of Palms Book State Park. (There is no camping at Kitch-iti-kipi.)
How to make Michigan state park camping reservations for your UP campground
This is the official website to make Michigan state park campground reservations.
If you know the campground you want to stay at, you can select that specific state park. Otherwise, you can keep the default and search by using the map too.
You can also click on any campsite and there will be a description of that specific campsite if there’s anything to note. This can include if there are lake views from that spot.
And that’s a bit about camping in the UP near the Great Lakes and staying at Michigan state park campgrounds!
The quick list (and more pictures!) of the best Upper Peninsula campgrounds for your circle the UP Michigan road trip:
- Straits State Park campground (Lake Huron)
- Brimley State Park campground (Lake Superior)
- Andrus Lake State Forest campground
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park campground
- Muskallonge Lake State Park campground (Lake Superior)
- Lake Superior State Forest campground (Lake Superior, along the Grand Marais Truck Trail)
- Hurricane River campground (Pictured Rocks)
- Twelvemile Beach campground (Pictured Rocks)
- Little Beaver Lake campground (Pictured Rocks)
- Bay Furnace campground (Hiawatha National Forest)
- Autrain Lake campground (Hiawatha National Forest)
- Baraga State Park camping (Lake Superior)
- Fort Wilkins Historic State Park campground (Lake Superior)
- McLain State Park campground (Lake Superior)
- Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park campgrounds (Lake Superior)
- Fayette Historic State Park campground (Lake Michigan)
In the order that you can make a loop around the U.P. when coming from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan aka starting at the Mackinac Bridge!
Also see about making it an Upper Peninsula Michigan waterfalls road trip alongside your camping trip!
Or make it an Upper Peninsula Lake Superior lighthouse road trip!
HAPPY CAMPING IN THE UPPER PENINSULA OF MICHIGAN!