The calendar says January, but it’s not too early to think about the warm days ahead and where you’d like to pitch your tent or park your RV, as campsite reservations can be made up to six months in advance.

Summer always finds me camping in Michigan. Always. The variety of locations to enjoy our seasons are as immense as the fields of stars you’ll see, the experiences you’ll enjoy, and the memories you’ll make when you try it, too.

Here are five of my top spots. Book early; they can fill up quickly.

For more information and reservations at state parks go to; for Pictured Rocks go to

Hurricane River Campground, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising/Grand Marais

The 21 large, wooded sites at the Lake Superior shore go fast. Hike the North Country Trail to Au Sable Light Station and see shipwreck remains along the way, and enjoy a Superior sunset at the river mouth.

Tawas Point State Park, East Tawas

Its 195 campsites are a bit close, but the park more than makes up for it, with lighthouse tours, Lake Huron swimming, strolling, and birding. Bonus: one of the state’s best summer beach towns is a short bike trail ride away. Don’t have an RV or tent? Rent a camping cabin or yurt instead.

Keystone Landing, Grayling

Here’s a great example of one of Michigan’s great rustic state forest campgrounds, all of which are on water. This one is on the trout-rich Au Sable River, world famous for its fly-fishing. With just 18 sites, it has only the basics: pitcher pump and pit toilets. But the setting is fantastic.

Grand Haven State Park, Grand Haven

Love the beach? You’ll be camping in the sand here. It has 174 sites, and features include walking the pier, strolling or biking for lunch in town at spots like Butch’s Beach Burritos, and enjoying those sunsets that only Lake Michigan does so well.

Algonac State Park, Algonac

Watch giant freighters and ocean-going “salties” glide by on the St. Clair River from 220 riverfront sites. Be prepared for evening mosquitoes, though.

These are some of my faves. What are yours?

Photo by Matthew Clara


For more than 40 years, Bill Semion has been bringing Michigan to life for readers through his stories and photos in newspapers, magazines and the internet.

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