An RV visit to Michigan’s UP

 An RV visit to Michigan’s UP

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a small motorhome owner’s delight, with little bays, promontories, nooks and wilderness crannies to explore in the up-close style that Class B RVers prefer.

up4We visit the UP in all seasons, several times a year. Our favorite was this past February when, on one of the 12 sites they plow at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, we camped in minus eight degree weather with 28 inches of level snow on the ground.

This last trip in early July reminded us that beauty comes with a price: Bugs. Biting flies along the Lake Superior coast and mosquitos big enough to barbeque in the interior woods.You can see the bug battle we had in this report and this video.

The flies peak usually by the second week of July. The mosquitos are worse when there’s been lots of rain.up1

But we just moved on and found relatively bug free spots.

For the best conditions, plan on late July through the end of October for maximum scenery without the need to be all lathered up with bug spray.

Jennifer and I generally avoid commercial campgrounds and most state parks.

To that end, our favorite spot this trip was the state forest campground at Hog Island Point, along Lake Michigan, and the primitive Presque Isle State Wilderness campground in the western UP. We also stayed tat the Lake Gogebic State Park, the Union Bay campground at Porcupine Mountain State Park, the Robbins Pond campground in the Ottawa National Forest, the Marquette Tourist Park, the Brimley State Park near Saulte Ste Marie and, on the way back home just across the Mackinac Bridge in the Lower Peninsula, the Mill Creek Campground in Mackinac City.

up3The latter facility is a mega campground with more than 600 sites along a mile of Lake Huron shoreline at the Straits of Mackinac. I was checking it out as a site for a potential rally some year. It is huge,offering with a pool, basketball sites and great beach access. It has full hookups and Wi-Fi and was very crowded and congested. It reminded me of a subdivision. With all those activities and its proximity to touristy things like Mackinac Island and a nearby Lumberjack Show, it is a great place for young families with kids. And it would be a perfect site for a big RV rally.

Other than Hog Island Point, Presque Isle and the Ottawa National Forest and the Marquette Turist Park – a surprisingly delightful and relaxed place built on a reservoir right on the western end of town –  I don't think we'd stay at any of those other facilities again. We chose them because they were relatively open and bug free.

What we did was day trip. We'd use the campgrounds as a base for sleeping and traveling the UP in our Roadtrek, finding great spots to claim as our own and then spend time there hiking, picnicking and exploring.

But in case the bug fighting video posted earlier give you a negative impression of the UP, we hope this little video shows you how beautiful a place it is.

Again, the bugs can be managed. If they're bad in one place, just move on.

Michigan's UP is an awesome place that draws us back again and again. Our next trip there will be in the fall. And, yes, we're planning another winter trip, too.



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 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.


  • I was there for the lasted RV.NET B-10 Rally. Beautiful area that needs further exploring next time I head that way. The Class B RV is the ONLY way to travel and explore.

  • i went through there a few weeks ago and was struck by the isolation and solitude, yet there were signs of a summer season to come – pasty shacks, tourist trap places, things like that. there’s so much shoreline that they can’t mess it up. you can always find a place to pull over and listen to the waves lapping the shore, and look across the big water.

  • Good article Mike very informative and helpful. We are headed that way in the Fall for our first visit to the UP and are looking forward to it.

  • Beautiful video Mike. I kinda liked the bug video. It;s really hard to share all of the beauty up here. One of our family goals was to boat around Lake Superior in chunks. We have one 25 mile chunk left and then it’s time to RV around the lake again. Thank you for sharing the beauty, Dave

  • We will be taking our brand new CS E-Trek to Marquette this weekend for the Hiawatha Music Festival. We combine our two loves, folk music and travel in this adventure and hope to have many more very soon.

  • Hubby and I visited the Upper Peninsula of Michigan last weekend and it is definitely God’s country. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a place everyone should put on their list to visit. Absolutely amazing and truly beautiful. We were only gone two nights, but since we don’t live that far (Green Bay, WI) we can make many more trips to see more of the U.P.

Comments are closed.

Join the RV Lifestyle community!

Subscribe to the newsletter and get a free Packing List for your next trip + free perks, discounts, and exclusive RV travel tips!