Happy Campers at Hog Island Point

 Happy Campers at Hog Island Point

Like there’s more to a book than the cover, there’s more to a name than you might think. Such it is with the Hog Island Point State Forest Campground  in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

hogis1We tried this ingloriously named little campground on the Fourth of July weekend, when most campgrounds are filled to capacity.

It's only $11 a night. 17 of the 59 sites are on the water.

Not this charming but little known hideaway campground, nestled into the cedars and hardwoods of a small peninsula that juts into a pretty little Lake Michigan bay just US-2, about 35 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge. There are 59 rustic sites and because of the name, perhaps, and the lack of hookups, we found almost 20 of them vacant.

The one we took, site 43, was right on the rocky shoreline and we slept with the sounds of gentle waves lapping out our back window.

Maybe Hog Island should be called Seagull Island

This was Tai’s first trip of the year and he was able to run free on the beach, plunging in and out of the water, taking huge gulps of it, rolling in the sand. I rubbed him down afterwards and brushed his double coat and he slept hard and happy.

We haven’t brought him on our other trips this season because the places we went were just not very dog friendly. The UP of Michigan, though, is laid back, less crowded and pretty much pup paradise.

The temperature below the bridge was 87 degrees. Up here on Hog Island Point, it’s 74. And there were no hogs. The little spit of an island that apparently gave the place its name is a couple hundred yards off our campsite and covered with squawking seagulls.

Beautiful sunsets are free

At sunset, we walked the beach and enjoyed the bug free air. All the rain we’ve had this summer has made for lots of mosquitos. There were a few at the campsite, but not many. On the beach, the breeze blew them into the woods.

There are vault toilets, hand pumps for fresh water and surprisingly flat sites.  Seventeen sites are directly on the water.

Tai loved running free on the beach

On the weekend we visited, there were a few trailers and pop ups, a small Class A that barely managed to squeeze into one of off the shoreline sites, and lots of tents. We were the only Class B but every site would work well for a B.

A small picnic area on the east end of the Hog Island peninsula is mostly rock free and has a sandy bottom for swimming. The rest of the peninsula is rocky. You can walk around it and down the shoreline to the west for miles.

The camping fee is $11 a night. There is no cell service here. Zero bars.

To get here, just drive 35 miles west from St. Ignace and the Mackinac Bridge until you see the sign for the campground.

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland 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 at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.


  • Sounds like a great spot for Roadtreks to go or any other class B, that is my kinda place.

  • i must have gone right by there in may – don’t even remember seeing the sign. tai sure looks happy. it’s amazing how many possibilities open up when you don’t need hookups anymore.

  • We’ll be checking this one out. Have you stayed at Fisherman’s Island State Park…just outside of Charlevoix? It’s a rustic campground on Lake Michigan, too… lots of open spaces when we were there… of course it cost a dollar more than Hog Island. Great sunsets, great rocky beach, lots of petosky stones. In a word: marvelous!

  • Hi Mike, when it’s time for me to join the RV’ing life, I’m heading North!
    I’ve got a little suggestion for you, head up to Copper Harbor! 3 points of interest: The Northern terminus of Us Hwy 41, a Monastery that bakes awesome bread and a ferry that takes you to Isle Royale. There is a State Park for camping, no info on that.


  • The state park at Copper Harbor is very nice but also very busy. They have showers but if you prefer rustic camping one night will be enough. They also have a bit of a bear problem there and you must keep food put away…and not in your tent. We were still tent camping when we were there and one bear dragged a cooler down the road before breaking into it. No harm to people, just after the food. Copper country is beautiful!

  • We have also camped at Hog Island in our pop-up and have always enjoyed it. Quiet and nice sites.

  • Our family camped at Hog Island at the same time out on the beach enjoying the magnificent sunset – only we didn’t have dogs running and jumping in the sand and water, we had boys. Lots of them.
    We have been camping annually at Hog Island Point since our oldest was a toddler and I have been coming since I was a young girl. This place has ingrained itself into the hearts of our children; of which I am thrilled.
    Note of point: The island you are referring to is not, in fact, the actual Hog Island. The named island is some miles off the shore that you can faintly see on a very clear day. The small sandbar you refer to our family has always known as seagull island (as do many others) but the locals call it gravel island.
    Glad you enjoyed this treasure!

  • An update on cell service….you can now get Verizon 3G within the campground. And if you have a cell phone booster, you can get 4G. Even my husband’s Tracfone worked! The fee is now $15 a night. We enjoyed the stay!

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