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Awesome camping in the UP: Michigan’s stunning Upper Peninsula

| Updated Jun 16, 2023

Camping in the UP – Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – is an RV owner’s delight, with little bays, promontories, nooks, and wilderness crannies to explore in the up-close style that RVers prefer.

up4We visit the UP in all seasons, several times a year.

Yes, we even visit in the winter, when heavy snow as deep as 3 feet blanket the area. Tahquamenon Falls State Park is the only state park in the UP that is open in the winter and each year, we head up for a long weekend. Michigan DNR rangers plow out the sites for those who reserve a spot

When is Bug Season in the UP: Mosquitos and Biting Flies?

Every season is awesome up there, but in June and July,  the beauty comes with a price: Bugs. Biting flies along the Lake Superior coast and mosquitos big enough to barbeque in the interior woods can be an issue if the wind is not blowing.

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.

But we still visit. We just move on and always have been able to find relatively bug-free spots.

Here's a video showing an RV visit we made a number of years ago when we had a Class B RV.

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.

Boondocking in the UP

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

To that end, one of our favorite spots is the state forest campground at Hog Island Point, along Lake Michigan, and the primitive Presque Isle campground in the Porcupine Mountains State Wilderness in the western UP.

Another great dispersed camping spot to boondock is the Robbins Pond campground in the Ottawa National Forest

Campsites with hookups in the UP

For campgrounds with hookups, here are six we can recommend:

Just before you get to the UP visit Mackinac Island

If you have never been to the UP, we also urge you to make a side trip to Mackinac Island.

It's located right between Michigan's Upper Peninsula. You can't take your RV – there are no motorized vehicles allowed  –  but it's a delightful place to visit. You have to take a ferry, either from Mackinaw City at the tip of the Lower Peninsula, or St. Ignace, right across the Mackinac Bridge.

Be sure to either bring your bicycle or rent one and drive around the island on the perimeter road. And of course, buy some fudge before you take the ferry back.

Where to camp in Mackinaw City

On the Lower OPeninsula side, we recommend staying at the Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground


Mill Creek is a mega campground with more than 600 sites along a mile of Lake Huron shoreline at the Straits of Mackinac.  It is huge, offering with a pool, basketball courts, and great beach access. 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.

Where to camp when you Cross the bridge to the UP

If you want to stay in the UP your first night, right after you cross the five-mile-long Mackinaw Bridge, we suggest the Straits State Park in St. Ignace.

This is always one of our favorite spots. It has great views of the bridge, the Straits and a nice nature hike.

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.

Want more info on Camping in the UP?

Awesome camping in the UP: Michigan's stunning Upper Peninsula 1

We love the UP so much we write a book about it. It's a 7 Day Adventure Guide, aimed strictly for RVers, showing you where to go, what roads to take, where to stay and what to explore. This eBook is available for an instant download. CLICK HERE for more info or to order.



Mike Wendland

Published on 2021-03-15

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.

7 Responses to “Awesome camping in the UP: Michigan’s stunning Upper Peninsula”

March 16, 2021at12:26 pm, Marge said:

You forgot my favorite campground in Grand Marais. Woodlands on lake Superior. If you have not been you should go.

July 26, 2013at3:24 pm, Mary Kay said:

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.

July 15, 2013at10:50 am, mikeyes said:

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.

July 14, 2013at8:24 am, Bigfoot Dave said:

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

July 14, 2013at7:58 am, Adirondack Jack & Niki said:

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.

July 13, 2013at11:10 am, Campskunk said:

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.

July 13, 2013at9:38 am, Karsten Askeland said:

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.

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