Camping in Michigan

If you’ve never been to Michigan before, you may be surprised by the state’s variety of scenery and topography. From thick forests and rugged cliffs along the Upper Peninsula to sunny lakeside resort communities in Lower Michigan, there are camping opportunities available in every type of setting. Most campers explore Michigan’s waterways and recreation areas in the summer, but you’ll find more solitude exploring the multitude of winter camping facilities in the Wolverine State.

Private Campgrounds

Michigan campers will find hundreds of privately owned campgrounds in settings ranging from beach dunes to ancient forests. Private campgrounds are ideal for the camper who prefers some comforts of home, such as electricity and piped running water. Wherever and however you prefer to camp, you can find hundreds of camping spots for your next adventure in the Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds of Michigan (ARVC Michigan) directory ( Participating ARVC Michigan campgrounds offer satisfaction-guaranteed promise for anyone who visits a participating campground. Should you find that you aren’t happy with an ARVC Michigan campground’s services or facilities within one hour of arrival, the campground will refund your money less any handling or reservation fees.

State Camping Facilities

If you’re looking for a place to camp no matter where you are in the state, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says you are “never more than half an hour from a state park, state forest campground, state recreation area or state trail system.” The DNR encourages all new campers to visit a public facility and even offers an economical First Time Campers Program that includes two nights of camping, outdoor gear rental, professional camping tips and wildlife skills instruction by experienced campers. The program is available at over 19 different parks throughout Michigan.

County Parks Camping

Michigan’s plentiful assortment of county and city parks with camping facilities is one of the best kept secrets in the state. These public facilities tend to have low nightly fees and fewer amenities, but many of their locations are in beautiful rustic areas with few visitors. On the shores of Lake Gogebic, the largest lake in the Upper Peninsula, Ontonagon County Park ( offers electrical hookups and dump station facilities for RVers. In the city of Gladwin, a shady riverfront campground has nightly tent and RV sites on grassy spots in addition to extra amenities such as a swimming beach, tennis courts and a playground.

Winter Camping

The state has an average yearly winter snowfall of 44.5 inches, so most people aren’t hardy enough to camp in Michigan during the coldest months of the year. But many *Michigan campgrounds are ready to accommodate those undeterred by cold temperatures. Traverse City, on the shores of Lake Michigan, has public and private camping facilities available including Timber Ridge RV and Recreation Resort (, a four-season destination campground with full and partial hookups for tenters and RVers who want to enjoy over 60 kilometers of skiing and snowmobiling trails.

*For a list of ARVC Michigan campgrounds opened year round click on “Campgrounds” at the top of the page, click your desired region and filter by “Open All Year”.

Author: Rene Agredano, Demand Media 


NOTE: The section on “Private Campgrounds” has been updated since the original article was published.