Michigan State Parks Camping Sites in Southern Michigan

Want to go overnight camping in Michigan?

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 $12 (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!

Wondering 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. 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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available.

Located just under an hour outside of Detroit, this approximately 1,500-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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Two rustic cabins with vault toilets with wood furnaces
  • Reservations: Can be reserved one year in advance

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. Check out Bald Mountain’s Water Park, “Water Warrior Island” this summer or travel in the winter for snowmobiling or cross-country skiing.

Bay City State Recreation Area

  • Address: 3582 State Park Drive, Bay City
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available

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. Alcohol is prohibited.

Brighton Recreation Area

  • Address: 6360 Chilson Road, Howell
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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.

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. Check out the floating inflatable water park, Jump Island, but be sure to purchase tickets ahead of time. Alcohol prohibited.

Charles Mears State Park

  • Address: 400 W. Lowell St., Pentwater
  • Type of overnight lodging: Beach house and 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

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites: 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

Features three lakes, forests and trails used by mountain bikers, equestrians, hikers and dog sledders. 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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites and ranch house
  • Reservations: Campsites can be made as early as six months in advance (same day if a site is available). Lodge can be reserved one year in advance (has a one-week minimum stay)

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. The park’s track chair is available for visitors with mobility challenges.

Highland Recreation Area

  • Address: 5200 Highland Road, White Lake
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites, one lodge and 10 yurt style camping tents available
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance. Lodge books up fast; can be reserved one year in advance.

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.

Hoffmaster State Park

  • Address: 6585 Lake Harbor Road, Muskegon
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available.

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Camper sites and a cabin
  • Reservations: Campsites can be made as early as six months in advance (same day if a site is available). Cabin can be reserved one year in advance

Sink your feet into a sugar sand beach along Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. Known for its sailboats and sunsets, two-sandy beaches and the “Big Red” lighthouse.

Holly Recreation Area

  • Address: 8100 Grange Hall Road, Holly
  • Type of overnight lodging: Various size cabins and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

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 or Holly’s Water Park, “WhoaZone.”

Ionia Recreation Area

  • Address: 2880 W. David Highway, Ionia
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins or campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

Rolling hills and lots of animal attractions 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, and promotes fishing and metal detecting on its beautiful beach.

Island Lake Recreation Area

  • Address: 6301 Kensington Road, Brighton
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and paddle-in campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

Boasts one of the nation’s safest shooting ranges. This park also has canoeing, volleyball courts, picnic shelters, swimming and fishing. A track chair is available to help visitors with mobility challenges through the sand.

J. Hayes State Park

  • Address: 1220 Wamplers Lake Road, Onsted
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

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.

Lake Hudson Recreation Area

  • Address: 5505 Morey Highway, Clayton
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites and cabin
  • Reservations: Campsites can be made as early as six months in advance (same day if a site is available). Cabin can be reserved one year in advance

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! The camp is home to a Designated Dark Sky Preserve, too.

Lakeport State Park

  • Address: 7605 Lakeshore Road, Lakeport
  • Type of overnight lodging: Various size cabins and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

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 paddle boat.

Muskegon State Park

  • Address: 3560 Memorial Drive, North Muskegon
  • Type of overnight lodging: Yurts and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites can be made as early as six months in advance (same day if a site is available). Yurts can be reserved one year in advance

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Rustic campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: One large cabin and campsites
  • Reservations: First come first served basis (no reservations) for campsites; the cabin can be booked one year in advance.

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins, yurts and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites can be made as early as six months in advance (same day if a site is available). Cabins and yurts can be reserved one year in advance

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 the watchable wildlife. Find yurt options here, too.

Pontiac Lake Recreation Area

  • Address: 7800 Gale Road, Waterford
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

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. The 11-mile hiking trail ranked as one of the “Top 100 Trails” in the United States.

Proud Lake Recreation Area

  • Address: 3500 N. Wixom Road, Commerce Township
  • Type of overnight lodging: Various size cabins and campsites, one lodge
  • Reservations: Campsites can be made as early as six months in advance (same day if a site is available). Cabins and lodge can be reserved one year in advance

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites and cottages
  • Reservations: Campsites can be made as early as six months in advance (same day if a site is available). Cottages can be reserved one year in advance

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
  • Type of overnight lodging: Campsites
  • Reservations: Can be made as early as six months in advance; same day if a site is available

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. Closed until July 1, 2022 for renovations.

Warren Dunes State Park

  • Address: 12032 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

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. Alcohol is prohibited.

Waterloo Recreation Area

  • Address: 16345 McClure Road, Chelsea
  • Type of overnight lodging: Various size cabins, yurts and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

Find beaches, picnic areas, 11 fishing lakes, as well as nature, hiking and equestrian trails at this expansive park totaling 20,000 acres (the largest in the lower peninsula!). The park’s track chair is available for visitors with mobility challenges. On site is the Eddy Discovery Center where visitors can learn about geology.

Yankee Springs Recreation Area

  • Address: 2104 S. Briggs Road, Middleville
  • Type of overnight lodging: Cabins and campsites
  • Reservations: Campsites 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

Find ten 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 two public beaches and plenty of fishing and watersport spots, the park is a great place any time of year.

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


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