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Happy Campers at Hog Island Point

| Updated Jul 6, 2013

Don't get hung up on the name… Hog Island Point is a little-known but worthwhile RV destination in Michigan.

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.

We tried this ingloriously named little campground on a Fourth of July weekend when most campgrounds are filled to capacity. Not this charming but little-known hideaway campground.

Our dog on the rocky shore of Hog Island Point

Hog Island State Forest Campground

It is 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.

Hog Island State Forest Campground sign
It's very affordable and 17 of the 59 sites are on the water.

Very Dog Friendly!

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 afterward and brushed his double coat. He slept hard and happy.

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

Large flock of seagulls on Hog Island point
Maybe Hog Island should be called Seagull Island

The Scenery and Amenities

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 of hundred yards off our campsite and covered with squawking seagulls.

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.

beautiful sunset at the shore
Beautiful sunsets are free

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

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.

Our dog happily running down the beach
Tai loved running free on the beach

An Affordable Escape

The camping fee is on the low end, which makes it an even better escape. Speaking of escape… 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 and Jennifer's Great Lakes Shoreline Tour (U.S. Side)

Happy Campers at Hog Island Point 1

Instead of the usual 7 Days that some of our other guides can be done in, with this one, we’re suggesting that you budget more time. This is why we are calling it a “Tour” instead of a 7-Day Guide! There are 86 pages in this new ebook.

In this new Great Lakes Shoreline Tour we cover in detail:

  • Notable U.S. Cities/Towns along each Great Lake (US side) like Watertown, Grand Island, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Vermillion, Mackinaw City, and so many more!
  • What to See/Do Around EACH Lake: Ocqueoc Falls Scenic Site, Les Cheneaux Islands, Antique Boat Museum, and many, many more places, including BONUS side trips!
  • And good Campgrounds for each Lake (US side) – at least 4 or 5 for EACH Lake! With all the info you need to set up reservations.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2013-07-06

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

8 Responses to “Happy Campers at Hog Island Point”

July 23, 2015at11:28 am, Corinne said:

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!

July 18, 2013at10:05 am, Kristina said:

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!

July 15, 2013at3:05 pm, Ruth said:

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

July 15, 2013at3:03 pm, Ruth said:

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!

July 10, 2013at3:48 pm, Nick said:

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.


July 09, 2013at3:51 pm, Laura said:

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!

July 06, 2013at1:26 pm, Campskunk said:

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.

July 06, 2013at12:42 pm, Stu said:

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

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