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.
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.
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:
- Lake Gogebic State Park
- Indian Lake State Park near Manistique
- Union Bay campground at Porcupine Mountain State Park
- Marquette Tourist Park
- Munising Tourist Park near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
- Brimley State Park near Saulte Ste Marie
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?
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.