Are you planning to go camping in Upper Peninsula Michigan? We have camped in this part of the state and have put together this Michigan UP Itinerary for you.
Michigan is one of our favorite places to camp. The entire state is beautiful, but the Upper Peninsula seems to be the most loved. This section of the state is sandwiched between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, although parts also touch Lake Huron.
This remote unspoiled wilderness, well north of the 45th parallel, is a great camping destination. Whether federal, state, or municipal, you are certain to find the best Campgrounds in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that your family will love.
We are dividing this list into east and west segments. If you only have a week or so, pick one of these Michigan camping itineraries. If you have more time to explore the UP, then hit both.
Michigan State Park reservation window opens at 8 am EST six months in advance. A Michigan Recreation Passport is required for entry on all Michigan state parks and harbors.
Eastern Camping in the Upper Peninsula Michigan
This camping itinerary starts with crossing the Mackinac Bridge. If you will be entering the UP via Wisconsin, then just reverse this list.
|Destination||Recommended Stay||Don’t Miss This|
|Straights State Park||2||Mackinac Island|
|Aune-Osborne Campground||2||Soo Locks|
|Tahquamenon State Park||2||the falls, Shipwreck Museum|
|Munising Tourist Park||2||Pictured Rocks Lakeshore by boat|
|Fayette State Park||1||Kitch-iti-kipi Spring|
Straights State Park, St. Ignace
Straights State Park is located at the northern base of the Mackinac Bridge and offers amazing views of the Mighty Mac (the bridge) and the Straights of Mackinac. There is a small beach along Lake Huron.
The campground has 270 campsites spread out over three areas. The standard fire ring, picnic table, and electrical hookups are available at these sites. A group campground and mini cabins are also available for reservation.
We recommend 2 nights at Straights.
Things to do near Straights SP
A visit to Mackinac Island is a must! The ferry terminal for Mackinaw Island is less than a mile from the park. This charming island, that does not allow cars, is home to great shopping, beautiful sights and views, and great restaurants and fudge.
Biking around the island is a popular activity. Bring your own bikes on the ferry or rent when you arrive. We rode our own bikes clockwise and enjoyed many great views. Our favorite was Arch Rock.
Other area activities include visits to the Father Marquette National Memorial, Bay View Park, Wooden Observation Tower, or Castle Rock. We recommend eating pasties at Lehto’s or Bessie’s.
Aune-Osborn Campground, Sault Ste. Marie
What this campground lacks in shade, it makes up for views. The big attraction of Aune-Osborn is watching the great lakes freighters go up and down the St. Mary’s River. Some sites are quite close together, but it is all about the views.
Check out our full review of Aune-Osborn.
If you are not lucky enough to get a waterfront site, do not worry. There is a wide grassy area and benches along the river that give you a full view of the freighters going by.
We recommend 2 nights at Aune-Osborn.
Things to do near Aune-Osborn
The Soo Locks are the most popular attraction in the area. We posted about the Soo Locks Boat Tour that we went on. Going through these locks that have a 21-foot difference of water height between the lakes was cool. You can also watch the boats go through.
Other area attractions include the Valley Camp, the Tower of History, and the Cloverland Electric Cooperative Hydroelectric Plant.
Tahquamenon State Park, Paradise
Tahquamenon is the most popular state park in the UP. It is home to the second-largest waterfall east of the Mississippi.
There are 350 campsites spread out over five campgrounds in this large state park. Portage modern campground is the closest to the falls.
Get details about the campground and learn why the water over the falls is brown in our review of Tahquamenon SP.
While you can see the falls in 1 day, we recommend 2 nights at Tahquamenon, particularly if you are exploring the area or visiting the shipwreck museum.
Things to do in and around Tahquamenon
Since the park is so remote, there is not much in the way of commercial attractions. We find this a bonus! Within the park you can hike, canoe, fish, look for wildlife, or attend a ranger walk.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point is very cool. On a clear day, you can see miles from the lighthouse.
Munising Tourist Park Campground
Munising Tourist Park is a municipal campground located 3 miles west of the town of Munising. This modern campground is on the shores of Lake Superior and offers many waterfront sites. Walk-in rustic tent sites are available along the water.
There is a shower house, laundry facilities, and wifi available.
Two nights is recommended for Munising.
Optional Camping near Munising
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has 67 campsites over three campgrounds. There are no water, electric, or sewer sites in the lakeshore. We opted to stay at Munising campground because campsites at Pictured Rocks were first come first serve at that time. Now you can reserve sites to make sure you have a place to stay. This is particularly important during July and August.
Things to do in Munising
Seeing the amazing Pictured Rocks shoreline is a must! You can take a guided tour boat or rent kayaks.
Take a ferry to Grant Island. Explore by foot or bike or take the 3 hour Grand Island Interpretive Bus Tour.
Area shipwrecks can be seen by diving or boat tour. Other area activities include hiking, mountain biking, and seeing waterfalls.
Fayette Historic State Park
Located on a peninsula on Lake Michigan, Fayette has a campground with 61 electric sites. A historic town with guided or self-guided tours are available. The park has hiking and views of Lake Michigan.
Only one night is necessary at Fayette. I could even be skipped if you are short on time, but Kitch-iti-kipi should not be missed.
Northeast of Fayette is Kitch-iti-kipi. It is located in Palms Book State Park and is Michigan’s largest freshwater spring.
This beautiful emerald-green spring has a floating platform that operates by pull cable. Kids will get a kick out of operating the pulley. Open windows in the middle of the raft offer views into the crystal clear spring.
Western Campgrounds in the UP
The western portion of the Upper Peninsula is more remote than the eastern side. This Upper Peninsula Michigan Camping itinerary starts from the east.
|Destination||Recommended Stay||Don’t Miss This|
|Marquette Tourist Park||2||Presque Isle Park|
|Fort Wilkins Historic State Park||1-2||Copper Harbor Lighthouse|
|McLain State Park||1||sunset over Lake Superior|
|Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park||2||Lake of the Clouds|
Marquette Tourist Park
The draw of this municipal campground is the proximity to all the town has to offer. Pitch your tent or park your RV in one of the 110 campsites and get out and explore the area.
The campground is a mile from the Lake Superior beaches. Walk or bike around town on the city bike path. Hike or mountain bike on the Noquemanon Trail.
Enjoy views from Presque Isle Park, explore the Marquette Maritime Museum, or shop or dine in town.
Two full nights in Marquette is recommended.
Camping Keweenaw Peninsula
There are several options for Keweenaw Peninsula camping, but we choose to focus on two state parks located on Lake Superior.
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park
Fort Wilkins kept the area’s law and order during the Copper Rush. Now 12 structures from as far back as the 1840s remain, exhibiting a living history of frontier military life.
The campground has 161 sites, some of which are waterfront on Lake Fanny Hooe.
Explore the town of Copper Harbor, take a short boat trip to see the lighthouse, see waterfalls, or and take in beautiful views of Lake Superior.
McLain State Park
Travel along MI-26 or on the Brockway Mountain Drive as you leave Copper Harbor. Stop along the way and check in a view at a park or scenic outlook.
McLain is a great place to hit the beach, hike, or pick berries. The campground has 98 modern campsites
The top reason for visiting McLain is the spectacular sunsets over Lake Superior.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
This beautiful wilderness is Michigan’s largest state park. With over 90 miles of hiking trails, you will see waterfalls, rivers, and amazing views of Lake Superior.
225 campsites are located throughout the park. Yurts and cabins can also be reserved.
Lake of the Clouds is a must and can be reached by ADA access trail. You will also enjoy the Summit Peak Observation tower.
Two nights are recommended to be able to see this huge park.
Returning Trip Options
At this point, you have several options for your return trip.
If you are heading back toward Green Bay or the lower peninsula of Michigan, enjoy some white water rafting in Norway, MI.
If you are going to head west toward the Apostle Islands, check out one or all of the five waterfalls in Ironwood.
Whichever path you take, you are sure to find plenty to do when you go camping in Upper Peninsula Michigan.