10 Spectacular Campgrounds in the UP [Michigan Upper Peninsula]

 10 Spectacular Campgrounds in the UP [Michigan Upper Peninsula]

Thinking about a visit to the Michigan Upper Peninsula? Here are 10 spectacular campgrounds in the UP.

Jennifer and I absolutely love the Michigans Upper Peninsula. Some people call it “God’s Country” and we have to agree. It’s that spectacular. The shores of three Great Lakes (Michigan, Huron, and Superior) encircle it and there are so many awesome campgrounds in the UP that we return again and again.

CLICK HERE to see the Top 5 Places to Visit in the Michigan Upper Peninsula

We visit in all seasons (even winter!) but we have to say autumn is always our favorite time. The nights are cool and crisp and the days are typically warm (but not hot) and the mosquitos and black flies that swarm early in the summer have pretty much disappeared. 

The trees are ablaze in color, the streams and rivers run at and clear and the majesty of the wilderness abounds.

CLICK HERE to read an article on the Upper Peninsula in Fall

It truly is one of the most serenely beautiful areas of the United States!

We love spending time up there, and we ahve done many articles, videos and photo essays about the UP over the years, and even one of or 7 Day Adventure guides.

CLICK HERE to learn about our 7 Day Adventure Guide to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

In this article, though, we want to share 10 of our favorite campgrounds in the UP. We’ll also link to many resources and articles to help you choose the perfect ones for camping in the UP. These are all convenient to popular attractions and are beautiful spots to park your RV – and man have hookups for the best camping experience.

Ready?

Our 10 Favorite Campgrounds in the UP

photo of view from Straits State Park, one of our favorite campgrounds in the UP
A bridge view from Straits State Park, one of our favorite campgrounds in the UP

1) Straits State Park – St. Ignace

Straits State Park. This is a great location in relation to Mackinac Island, just over the Mackinac Bridge on the edge of St. Ignace. It’s a popular spot for camping in the UP, with good, clean facilities and a nice home base for exploring the area. It’s got a nice viewing platform, with views of the bridge and the boats traveling to and from the island. There are 20, 30 and 50-amp, full hookups, with a fire ring, a picnic area, playground, recreation trail, and swimming beach. Shower and toilet facilities are available, and the campground does take pets. Rates are $30 – $42 per night.

2) Bay Furnace State park – Munising

Bay Furnace Campground. Located near Munising and with stunning views of Lake Superior, you can enjoy sunrises and sunsets on the water when you hang your hat here. You can fish, hike and picnic, and pets are allowed. This is a dry campground, so no hookups are available. Campsites are $20, with a dump station fee of $5. There is also firewood for sale, for the standard $5 fee.

3) Munising Tourist Park Campground – Munising

photo f munising tourist park campground in the UP
Our spot at the Munising Tourist Park Campground in the UP

 

Munising Tourist Park Campground. With great views of Lake Superior and a nice little beach, this is on the top of many a camper’s list. The campground has the usual amenities (picnic area, playground showers and toilets), and offer full hook-ups, with 20, 30, and 50-amp options. Free WiFi is available, and pets are welcome. Note: their website indicates that they are not opening back up for reservations until Sept. 26, 2020. Prices vary at $25-41 per site.

4) Soo Locks Campground – Sault Ste Marie

photo of us watching freighters from our campsite at the Soo Locks Campground
That’s Jen and me and the dog watching the big lake freighters from our campsite at the Soo Locks Campground in the Michigan UP

Soo Locks Campground. This one is in Sault Ste. Marie, near the Canadian border. It’s a quality campground, very near the water, with great views of the ships coming and going. It is about 1.5 miles to the Soo Locks visitor’s center, with convenient access to food and shopping. There are 20 and 30-amp, and water hook-ups available – and also WiFi. With a picnic area, game room, playground and rec hall, as well as laundry and showers, this is a great place to stay for several days as you plan your camping in the UP adventures.

CLICK HERE to see an article we did on this area near the Soo

5) Aune-Osborn Campground – Sault Ste. Marie

Aune-Osborn Campground. Another lovely campground near Sault Ste. Marie, along the water and some sites with great views. With nice restroom and shower facilities, there is a dump station – and free WiFi! There are 20 amp, partial hookup sites available, and they also accept pets. Bring your boat and go fishing! Rates are $30-32 per night.

6) Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Paradise

photo of tahquamenn falls in autumn
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is named after this awesome waterfall and is one of the best campgrounds in the UP

Tahquamenon Falls. Located in the Tahquamenon River halfway between Newberry and Paradise is a spectacular waterfall that drops nearly 50 feet! Most of the sites offer 20, 30 and 50-amp hookups, with your normal facilities such as picnic areas, a playground, shower/restrooms, and trails. Pets are allowed. Explore the upper and lower falls – each has its own appeal. Rates are $25-35 per night. This campground is also open in winter, unlike most campgrounds in the UP which close fr the season!

CLICK HERE to see photos of one of our annual winter campouts at the Tahquamenon Falls State Park campground

7) Twelvemile Beach Campground – Pictured Rocks area

Our campsite at Twelveemilebeach in the Michigan UP
This is our campsite at Twelvemile Beach Campground along Lake Superior in the Michigan UP

Twelvemile Beach Campground, at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Most notable about these awesome campsites is that they are generally further apart from each other, with trees in between. There is access to Lake Superior, and the campground tends to be on the quieter side. That said, there are no hookups, but campers will enjoy the picnic area, the trails, fishing, and a swimming beach. There are restrooms, but no showers. Pets are welcome. Rates are $15-20 per night. This is one of our favorite spots for camping in the UP.

CLICK HERE to read about camping along the Lake Superior Shoreline in the Michigan UP

8) Union River Big Bear Campground – Porcupine Mountains

photo pf lake of the clousd at porcumoine mountains wilderness area one of our favorite places to go camping in the UP
Overlook of Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains wilderness area – one of our favorite places to go camping in the UP

Union River Big Bear Campground. Just two miles west of Silver City, at the entrance of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park, by the sandy shores of Lake Superior, these campsites are spacious and in a relaxing area, surrounded by nature. All the normal amenities, with power and water hookups. There is free WiFi and pets are welcome. Perfect for the family! Rates are $38-$45 per night. The Porcuoine Mountains area has lots of other places for camping in the UP.

9) Indian Lake State Park Campground – Manistique

Indian Lake State Park. A popular place for couples and families, with sites right up along the water, near Manistique. The campground has picnic areas, trails, a playground, and a swimming beach. 20, 30 and 50 amp hookups, with several water pumps throughout the campground for use. There are restrooms and showers, but the facilities are currently being upgraded. Pets are welcome. Nightly rates are $25-$35.

10) Big Knob State Forest Campground – Lake Michigan

Big Knob State Forest Campground. This is a great wooded area along the shores of Lake Michigan. The campground has access to a small beach, with wonderful trails and wildlife viewing. It is a dry campground, so no hookups are available, but the beauty makes up for it! Pets are allowed. Nightly rates are $15-$25.

Monsters and Myths in the Michigan UP

There are lots of mysteries, myths, and even monster stories you may want to check out when you are camping in the UP. We had fun making this video that talks about some of the most bizarre:

The Michigan UP does have one thing to warn you about: Black Fly Season

The area around the Michigan UP is breathtaking. The black flies, not so much. If you plan on camping in the UP in early summer, you need to be aware of this.

Black fly season starts in early June and goes through mid-July. It’s only happens on some days, usually when the wind is blowing just so off Lake Superior. But the problem of biting flies is so bad that the Yoopers (local residents) do something they call “the black fly dance.”

Check out this video and see what some say is the “the curse of the UP.” 

 

To Get to the Michigan UP:

If you are coming from Wisconsin, find US 2 and drive east. From the south and Michigan’s lower peninsula (LP), take I-75 and the Mackinaw Bridge. Another thing to note: for entry into Michigan’s state parks, a Recreation Passport is required for entrance into parks, recreational areas, and state forest areas where you’ll be camping in the UP.

This is by no means an exhaustive list – it’s just the best ones we have found throughout our many wonderful travels around the UP, and is also based on other campers’ reviews. For us, it was a no brainer to write about these great campgrounds in the UP,  because we live only a couple hundred miles south in the lower peninsula.

Yoopers call those of us who live in the Lower Peninsula “Trolls,” because we live below the bridge… the Mackinac Bridge.

Speaking of which, here’s a short video of us driving into the UP across the bridge.

 

And we keep coming back to the Michigan UP! So come explore for yourself why Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is an outdoor lover’s dream.

Want more? Check out our 7 Day Adventure Guide to the Michigan UP!

We have SO MUCH MORE to say about camping in the UP that we had to write a book about it.

This ebook is a seven day guided exploration of the Michigan Upper Peninsula.

LEARN ABOUT  Camping in the UP and what to see up there

We provide a suggested Michigan UP route and itinerary, links to multiple campgrounds in the UP, as well as our favorite boondocking spots, and the best things to see along the way. You can hit everything in seven days, do a whirlwind weekend tour, or you can take your time and explore the area over a 2+ week period.

Mike Wendland

Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, kayaking, video editing, and all things dealing with technology and the outdoors. See and subscribe to his RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube, where he has hundreds of RV and travel related videos. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations.

8 Comments

  • We recently stayed a week At the Manistique campground. It was just lovely. The trip was two fold, one to get away to a new place and to visit my 2 times great aunts gravesite in Newberry MI. I’ve been doing ancestry for about three years now and I found that I had a 2 times great aunt who died at 2 months of age in 1892. So after we were settled at the campground we drove an hour north to Newberry. We found the cemetery and the old caretaker who pulled out the 3’ x 3’ book of it residents. We found Clara’s approximate resting place. We all walked over and no head or foot stone to be found. The old caretaker turned to me and said “ well, to the best of my understanding you are standing on her right there!” Afterwards my husband and I smiled to know we did find the general area where she was laid to rest, and the the honesty of the cemetery caretaker!

  • Is there a quarantine for Florida residents?

  • McLain State Park overlooks Lake Superior. Wonderful sunsets from most campsites. Great jumping off place for visiting the Keewenaw Peninsula and Porcupine Mountains.

  • […] 10 Spectacular Campgrounds in the UP [Michigan Upper Peninsula] […]

  • Marquette has a beautiful tourist park. Site 13 is the best.Very close to town can bike ride everywhere. Were their in August 2020 had great time.

  • Marquette has a beautiful tourist park. Site 13 is the best.Very close to town can bike ride everywhere. We’re there in August 2020 has a great time.

  • Brevoort Lake NF campground off of US 2 is a favorite of ours traveling between Troll Land and Wisconsin. No hookups or showers, but flush toilets.
    Also, Fayette State Park on the Garden Peninsula. You have to want to go there tho. It’s about 20 or so miles off of US 2. It’s an interesting “preserved ghost town” with a beautiful sheltered harbor and separate beach on Lake Michigan.

  • Quarantine in the UP? Nope. We’re visiting Sault St. Marie today (9/17) and life is about as normal as you can get. Federal and State visitor centers are closed, but campgrounds and tourist sights are open. There is a mask requirement for any sort of shop, market, or other place where people gather, but for the most part the UP back to normal. I have heard of trouble getting employees back to work due to the generous unemployment insurance benefits, so some hotels are operating at limited capacity due to lack of staff.

    Trees are just starting to turn with enough red and orange colors to excite everybody. Crowds are small in most places, but popular campgrounds tend to be almost full. Campgrounds just outside of towns or attractions have vacancies. If you are a boondocker, USFS no service campgrounds have plenty of room. Check the Michigan DNR website for info on modern water/sewer/electrical campgrounds. Were were able to get reservations at all the most popular campgrounds a week before we arrived.

    As we have found on our 5,000 mile loop from SoCal to Michigan, this is the best travel season we have ever experienced.

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