Michigan State Parks Camping: Sites in Southern Michigan

Want to go overnight camping in Michigan? Make Michigan State Park camping reservations in the south part of the Lower Peninsula with our 2018 guide.

Enjoy a weekend away that’s not too far away. Pack up the kids for some Michigan State Parks camping! The southern half of the state offers many state parks packed with fun for families looking to go camping in Michigan. All parks require a Michigan Recreation Passport, which you can buy for $11 (it’s good for a full year and earns you entry into all state parks).

Pick a park – any park – from our list. Each has a plethora of activities for the family, such horseback riding, educational nature programs and disc golf. They also offer unmatched Pure Michigan scenery with beaches, lighthouses, miles of nature and bike trails. So stake out your tent (or “rough it” in a cabin) and slip in some Michigan State Parks camping while this beautiful weather lasts!

Costs are listed per night unless otherwise noted. To make reservations at any park, you can call 1-800-447-2757 (800-44PARKS) or go online.

Note: Wonder what some of the camping terms mean, like “modern campsite” or “rustic cabin”? Visit the Michigan DNR website for definitions. Also, some of the lower prices may apply to non-summer off-season months; best to check ahead. Prices are per night unless noted.  To make reservations at any park, you can call 800-447-2757 (800-44PARKS) or go online.

Algonac State Park

  • Address: 8732 River Road, Marine City
  • Distance from Detroit: 54 minutes or 52.6 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Season: Riverfront open year round; spring-fall for Wagon Wheel
  • 2018 costs: $20-$22/modern campsite at Wagon Wheel, $20-$32/modern campsite Riverfront
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available.
  • Phone: 810-765-5605

Located just under an hour outside of Detroit, this approximately 1,450-acre park is a great spot for popping up a tent and observing nature. The grounds feature rare habitats and great spots to spy plants, birds, butterflies and even freighters making their way along the St. Clair River. Activities vary throughout the year and include cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, hunting and more.

Bald Mountain Recreation Area

  • Address: 1330 E. Greenshield Road, Lake Orion
  • Distance from Detroit: 39 minutes or 36.9 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Two rustic cabins with vault toilets with wood furnaces
  • Season: Year round
  • 2018 costs: $86/night rustic cabins
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available.
  • Phone: 248-693-6767

These 4,637 acres have everything from cross-country skiing to fishing. Bald Mountain has some of the steepest hills and rugged terrain in southeast Michigan great for mountain biking and hiking. It also offers metal detecting, nature programs, hunting and picnic areas with playgrounds. Bring your R/C helicopters to fly on the beach this summer or travel in the winter for snowmobiling.

Bay City State Recreation Area

  • Address: 3582 State Park Drive, Bay City
  • Distance from Detroit: Two hours or 120 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Travel trailer camper and campsites
  • Season: Year round
  • 2018 costs: $55-$65/travel trailer, $20-$29/modern campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 989-684-3020

This spot is home to one of the largest remaining freshwater coastal wetlands on the Great Lakes. It has more than a thousand feet of sandy beach and 2,000 acres of woods with plenty of watchable wildlife. Offers electrical service, modern restrooms and amphitheaters. Alcohol is prohibited.

Brighton Recreation Area

  • Address: 6360 Chilson Road, Howell
  • Distance from Detroit: 55 minutes or 52 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Season: Year round
  • 2018 costs: $55-$86/rustic cabins, $25/modern campsites, $20/equestrian campsites, $17/rustic campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 810-229-6566

Explore this area’s high hill ranges and many lakes and do a little Michigan State Parks camping, too. It has several miles of trails for equestrian riding, mountain biking and hiking. Pet friendly and handicap accessible. Alcohol prohibited.

Charles Mears State Park

  • Address: 400 W. Lowell St., Pentwater
  • Distance from Detroit: Three hours and 40 minutes or 240 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Beach house and campsites
  • Season: Year round for beach house, summer only/campground (April-October)
  • 2018 costs: $110-$210 per night/beach houses (depending on season), $810-$1,290 per week/beach house (depending on season); $33/per night modern campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available. Beach house lodge can be rented up to a year in advance. Two-night minimum stay during off-season (October-April), and one-week minimum rental Memorial Day-Labor Day
  • Phone: 231-869-2051

Located along the Lake Michigan shoreline, this park, set in a quaint village, is pet-friendly and has a playground along its fine sand beach. Take a trip up the lighthouse and view an unforgettable sunset.

Fort Custer Recreation Area

  • Address: 5163 Fort Custer Drive, Augusta
  • Distance from Detroit: Two hours or 133 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Season: Year round
  • 2018 costs: $65-$86/cabins, $20-$25/modern campsites (costs range depending on season)
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available. Cabins can be reserved one year in advance.
  • Phone: 269-731-4200

Features three lakes, forests and trails used by mountain bikers, equestrians, hikers and dogsledders. Boat rentals are available on the beach in the summer along with paddles, water sports and disc golf.

Grand Haven State Park

  • Address: 1001 Harbor Ave., Grand Haven
  • Distance from Detroit: About three hours or 191 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites and ranch house
  • Season: Spring-fall (May-October)
  • 2018 costs: $120-$270/per night/ranch house $810-$1620 per week/ranch house; $21/rustic campsite, $33-$37/modern campsite
  • Reservations: Reservations highly recommended; can be made as early as six months in advance
  • Phone: 616-847-1309

This 48-acre park packs in beautiful views along the Lake Michigan shore. Looking for a beach getaway? This park is perfect because it’s entirely sand and complete with a pier and lighthouse.

Highland Recreation Area

  • Address: 5200 Highland Road, White Lake
  • Distance from Detroit: About 53 minutes or 45.4 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites (one lodge available)
  • Season: Year round
  • 2018 costs: $20/rustic and equestrian sites; $85-$100/lodge
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available. Lodge books up fast; can be reserved one year in advance.
  • Phone: 248-889-3750

This spot not too far from home boasts 5,900 acres of forest, marshes and more scenic beauty. Enjoy horseback riding, hiking, metal detecting, mountain biking, a beach, dog trails and much more at this spot.

Hoffmaster State Park

  • Address: 6585 Lake Harbor Road, Muskegon
  • Distance from Detroit: About three hours or 197 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall
  • 2018 costs: $25/semi-modern, $45-$37/modern
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available.
  • Phone: 231-798-3711

This park offers hiking, nature programs, swimming and more. While you’re visiting, climb the Dune Climb Stairway to reach the top of the sand dune, where you’ll find an observation deck that promises “a panoramic view of the dunes and lake Michigan.”

Holland State Park

  • Address: 2215 Ottawa Beach Road, Holland
  • Distance from Detroit: Three hours or 185 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Camper sites and cabins
  • Season: Summer
  • 2018 costs: $65-$86/cabins, $33-$45/modern campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available.
  • Phone: 616-399-9390

Sink your feet in a sandy beach along Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. Known for its sailboats and sunsets, this destination also lets you ride on the 25-mile bike trail and visit a tall lighthouse on the campgrounds. Alcohol is prohibited.

Holly Recreation Area

  • Address: 8100 Grange Hall Road, Holly
  • Distance from Detroit: 50 minutes or 52 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Various size cabins and campsites
  • Season: Spring/fall
  • 2018 costs: $90-$126/deluxe camper cabins, $41-$58/mini cabins, $20-$29/modern campsite, $20/semi-modern campsite
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 248-634-8811

This spot is predominantly woodlands and prairie, but also features many activities besides hunting and hiking – along with a wide variety of Michigan State Parks camping options. Try out the Holly Disc Golf Course and bring your R/C planes to fly on the beach.

Ionia Recreation Area

  • Address: 2880 W. David Highway, Ionia
  • Distance from Detroit: Two hours or 130 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins or campsites
  • Season: Beginning of April to beginning of December
  • 2018 costs: $96/camper cabin, $20-$22/modern campsite, $20/rustic campsite
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 616-527-3750

Rolling hills and lots of animal attraction are in store here. A reported 199 species of birds have been spotted in this park – take part in the Michigan State Park Explorer Program here to see them. Ionia is dog- and equestrian-friendly, promotes fishing and metal detecting on its beautiful beach.

Island Lake Recreation Area

  • Address: 6301 Kensington Road, Brighton
  • Distance from Detroit: 40 minutes or 40.7 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and paddle-in campsites
  • Season: April 1-Dec. 30
  • 2018 costs: $86/rustic cabins, $17/canoe campground sites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 810-229-7067

Boasts one of the nation’s safest shooting ranges. This park also has canoeing, volleyball courts, picnic shelters, swimming and fishing.

Lake Hudson Recreation Area

  • Address: 5505 Morey Highway, Clayton
  • Distance from Detroit: About one hour and 35 minutes or 87.1 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall
  • 2018 costs: $20/semi-modern campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 517-445-2265

Lake Hudson Recreation Area is a great spot to camp if you want to fish for muskie and go game hunting. The park also offers swimming and a beach area. For those who love wildlife, you may catch some great sights here!

Lakeport State Park

  • Address: 7605 Lakeshore Road, Lakeport
  • Distance from Detroit: One hour and 18 minutes or 73 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Various size cabins and campsites
  • Season: Summer-fall
  • 2017 costs: $86/camper cabins, $30-$34/modern campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 810-327-6224

Located on Lake Huron with 250 sites divided into two compounds. Try activities like metal detecting, swimming on the beautiful beach, its Michigan State Park Explorer Program and a concession store on site.

Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area

  • Address: 3871 Herd Road, Metamora
  • Distance from Detroit: One hour or 54 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: cabins and campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall
  • 2018 costs: $86/camper cabins, $20-$25 modern campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 810-797-4439

Stay at one of 214 campsites along Lake Minnewanna for some prime Michigan State Parks camping. This area’s 723 acres are prime for boaters, campers, hikers, hunters and cross-country skiers. The park has fishing piers accessible via paddleboat.

Muskegon State Park

  • Address: 3560 Memorial Drive, North Muskegon
  • Distance from Detroit: Three hours and 14 minutes or 204 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Yurts and campsites
  • Season: Year round
  • 2017 costs: $68/yurts, $25-$38/campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 231-744-3480

This spot offers yurts – sturdy, tent-like structures with insulated canvas exteriors – for a hybrid tent/cabin experience (standard campsites, too!). While here, enjoy the shores of Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake in the summer. When it’s cold, this area also has a luge run available for winter park visitors and a winter sports complex, too.

Newaygo State Park

  • Address: 2793 Beech St., Newaygo
  • Distance from Detroit: About three hours or 204 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Rustic campsites
  • Season: Mainly open May 1-end of October (flexible after that)
  • 2017 costs: $17/campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 231-856-4452

This park boasts 99 rustic campsites and views of the Hardy Dam Pond. Set up at a picnic spot with your family for a nice meal, enjoy the scenic forest, or take a dip at the beach.

Ortonville Recreation Area

  • Address: 5779 Hadley Road, Ortonville
  • Distance from Detroit: 56 minutes or 54 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Season: Year round (cabin), spring-fall (equestrian campsites)
  • 2018 costs: $86/rustic cabins, $20/equestrian campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 810-797-4439

High wooded hills and lots of activities like hunting, horseback riding, fishing and educational nature programs are waiting at this 5,400-acre haven.

Pinckney State Recreation Area

  • Address: 8555 Silver Hill Road, Pinckney
  • Distance from Detroit: One hour or 57 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins, yurts and campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall/campsites, year round/camper cabin, yurts and hike-in rustic site
  • 2018 costs: $65-$86/camper cabin, $65/yurts, $28-$32/modern, $20/semi-modern, $17/rustic campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 734-426-4913

A paradise for backpackers, mountain bikers and recreational enthusiasts, this sprawling 11,000-acre locale is known for its many trails – including a 35-mile one – and its watchable wildlife. Find yurt options here too.

Pontiac Lake Recreation Area

  • Address: 7800 Gale Road, Waterford
  • Distance from Detroit: About 52 minutes from Detroit or 41.1 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall
  • 2018 costs: $22/modern campsites, $20/equestrian campsites (rustic, must have a horse)
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 248-666-1020

This park stretches 3,745 acres and includes everything from marshes and ponds to forests and fields. Enjoy horseback riding, fishing, hunting and hiking here – or take a dip at the beach area.

Proud Lake Recreation Area

  • Address: 3500 N. Wixom Road, Commerce Township
  • Distance from Detroit: 40 minutes or 37 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Various size cabins and campsites, one lodge
  • Season: Year round
  • 2018 costs: $65-$85/camper cabins, $25-$29/modern campsites, $215 per night/lodge
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 248-685-2433

Proud Lake has 4,700 acres and its Huron River locale offers cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, paddle sports and hunting. When it comes to Michigan State Parks camping, this spot offers a nice variety.

Seven Lakes State Park

  • Address: 14390 Fish Lake Road, Holly
  • Distance from Detroit: About 55 minutes or 57 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall
  • 2018 costs: $25/modern campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 248-634-7271

It’s rolling hills, forests and farmland at this state park. Activities include fishing, hiking, hunting, mountain biking, paddling and more. There’s a beach and a concession/store on site, too.

Silver Lake State Park

  • Address: 9679 W. State Park Road, Mears
  • Distance from Detroit: Three hours and 44 minutes or 238 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall
  • 2018 costs: $25-$33/modern campsites (depending on the season)
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 231-873-3083

Check out the views along the Lake Michigan shoreline and go hiking or even off-roading on the sand dunes (special rules apply). Swim on the sandy beach, too.

Sleepy Hollow State Park

  • Address: 7835 E. Price Road, Laingsburg
  • Distance from Detroit: One hour and 40 minutes or 107 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Season: Year round/cabins, spring-fall/campsites
  • 2018 costs: $96/modern cabins, $65/rustic cabins, $25/modern campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 517-651-6217

Explore over 2,600 acres including rivers, fields, woods and trails. Sleepy Hollow has everything from hunting to horseback riding to disc golf – and much of it is handicap accessible.

Sterling State Park

  • Address: 2800 State Park Road, Monroe
  • Distance from Detroit: About 38 minutes or 38.4 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall
  • 2017 costs: $28-$40/modern campsite
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 734-289-2715

Sterling State Park – the only state park on Lake Erie – isn’t too far from home and is sure to be a nice getaway for the family. Enjoy swimming on the beach, boating, fishing and trails, too.

Van Buren State Park

  • Address: 23960 Ruggles Road, South Haven
  • Distance from Detroit: About three hours or 183 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall (reduced rates in early spring and late fall)
  • 2017 costs: $20-$32/modern campsite
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 269-637-2788

A beautiful park along the Lake Michigan shoreline, Van Buren State Park has 220 modern campsites available to rent out by the night. Enjoy a picnic with your family, swim at the beach and get in touch with the beauty of the great outdoors here.

Warren Dunes State Park

  • Address: 12032 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer
  • Distance from Detroit: Three hours and 12 minutes or 202 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall
  • 2018 costs: $33-$45/modern, $25/semi modern
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 269-426-4013

The park is nearly 2,000 acres, three miles of shoreline and six miles of hiking trails. Locale is pet friendly and has concession stores on site. Camping sites include electrical amp service.

Waterloo Recreation Area

  • Address: 16345 McClure Road, Chelsea
  • Distance from Detroit: One hour or 64 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Various size cabins, yurts and campsites
  • Season: Open year round
  • 2018 costs: $17/rustic campsites, $20/rustic equestrian campsites, $20-$32/modern campsites, $65/yurt, $65-$86/cabin
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 734-475-8307

Find beaches, picnic areas, 11 fishing lakes, nature trail and 47 miles of hiking and equestrian trails. On site is the Eddy Discovery Center where visitors can learn about geology.

W. J. Hayes State Park

  • Address: 1220 Wamplers Lake Road, Onsted
  • Distance from Detroit: One hour and 15 minutes or 67 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Season: Spring-fall
  • 2018 costs: $28-$32/modern campsites
  • Reservations: Up to three months in advance
  • Phone: 517-467-7401

Hayes is located on Wamplers Lake, which is great for fishing and boating, and set in the heart of Irish Hills. Enjoy metal detecting on the beach and even go geocaching before settling into a bit of Michigan State Parks camping.

Yankee Springs Recreation Area

  • Address: 2104 S. Briggs Road, Middleville
  • Distance from Detroit: Two hours and 30 minutes or 150 miles
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Season: April 1-Dec. 1
  • 2018 costs: $49-$70/cabins, $28/modern campsites, $20/equestrian and semi-modern campsites, $17/rustic campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available
  • Phone: 269-795-9081

Find nine miles of equestrian trails at this spot that’s famous for ice fishing and also offers cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in cold weather. With their explorer program and fine sand beach, the park is a great place anytime of year.

This post was originally published in 2015 and is updated recently.

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