Michigan State Parks Details
Camping in Michigan is a one-of-a-kind experience and will undoubtedly inspire you to explore the Great Lakes even more. The 5,000-acre Ludington State Park, nestled between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake, features over 360 campsites equipped with the latest amenities, as well as mini cabins for rent. This park is a particular favorite among families looking for a great camping trip that has plenty of swimming thrown in!
The quaint and charming Sleepy Hollow State Park is another popular camping spot with both primitive and modern sites. The diverse flora and fauna found within this park are a treat to experience.
Those who prefer a peaceful and quiet camping trip will find the secluded Leelanau State Park to their liking. The rustic sites found within the park are perfect for campers who wish to go back to the simple joys of nature. Follow our camping checklist to help you get ready for your trip.
Wilderness State Park is also a great camping destination with over 250 well-equipped campsites separated into two areas. Amenities here will cater to every type of camper, whether they prefer a modern or rustic camping trip.
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Those who are after a leisurely and laid-back hike will love the 1.6-mile Warren Woods Trail at Warren Woods State Park, located a few hours southwest the city of Kalamazoo. This route takes hikers through the park’s lush forests and the Galien River Overlook where a breathtaking view of the river and its surrounding natural landscapes await.
The 5.8-mile hiking trail at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, on the other hand, is perfect for those who wish to explore the unique and rugged beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Take in the cascading Upper Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. Keep an eye out for the foxes, deers, moose, and beavers who have made their homes inside the park!
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At Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, a 21.2-mile trail is ideal for visitors who are up for an adventure. This is the largest state park in Michigan with over 60,000 acres, boasting of old-growth forest, a great many streams and rivers, and miles of shoreline along Lake Superior. Enjoy the stunning scenery from Lake of the Clouds and the Summit Peak Observation Tower.
On the other hand, Hoeft State Park is made for backpackers looking for a short yet sweet adventure. Traversing the 11-mile trail along the shoreline of Lake Huron is a great way to explore the incredible nature of Michigan and backpackers can complete their day by spending a night at the park’s well-kept camping sites.
Negwegon State Park is the ideal backpacking spot for those who want a rustic adventure along Michigan’s backcountry. Take in great views of Lake Huron and the natural landscapes of this region of The Great Lake State.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, situated on 20 miles of Lake Superior shoreline, is considered by many to be the best fishing hole in Michigan. Be advised, though, that Lake Superior tends to get crowded, especially during peak season, although many inland lakes and rivers inside the park also make for a great fishing spot.
For geocachers visiting Michigan, head on over to Bay City State Park, Cheboygan State Park, Holland State Park, and Baraga State Park, all of which boast of several caches concealed among their challenging hiking trails.
Day Use Areas
Michigan is one of the best springtime destinations in the United States with its sprawling landscapes and diverse nature, both of which make for great picnic spots. Grand Haven State Park, in particular, is a favorite among residents who love laying their blankets on the park’s sandy beaches. Be sure to bring an ice box, though, to protect your food from the crafty seagulls who frequent the area!
Silver Lake State Park is another incredible spot where picnic-goers can take in views of the stunning sunset over the water as they close off their meal. This park is an extremely popular recreational spot so don’t be surprised by the crowds that you’re sure to encounter here.
Within the town of Champion lies Van Riper State Park, a great spot for picnic-goers who love the outdoors! The beautiful scenic landscapes found in this park are simply breathtaking.
Grand Haven State Park features over 20 miles of paved bike trails, running from the north end of the park to Holland State Park in the south for cycling. This trail takes riders through stunning landmarks, such as the Rosy Mound Natural Area, a classic Great Lakes dune system that includes high wooded dunes, a beach, and a dune blowout.
Those who wish to take on a longer biking adventure should check out the 774-mile trail that runs from Detroit to Bay City, turning west to North Higgins Lake State Park before heading north through to Mackinaw City. This experience of a lifetime isn’t for the faint-hearted!
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Most Americans consider Michigan to be the national center of classic boating due to it being the home of the Great Lakes, as well as the country’s longest freshwater shoreline at over 3,300 miles. Thus, there are a great many incredible boating spots here, one of them being Mullett Lake at Aloha State Park. With over 26 miles of surface area, this lake is one of the largest in the state and many kayakers are obsessed with paddling its many inlets.
Additionally, Mullett Lake is part of the Inland Waterway, a series of connected rivers and lakes that will take boaters from one side of the state to the other.
As its name suggests, Warren Dunes State Park is renowned for its towering dunes that reach as high as 240 feet above the water. However, the park is also one of the finest birdwatching hotspots in Michigan with migratory boards following the lake’s shoreline and various species of raptors making an appearance every April. Here, avid Birders can catch glimpses through your binoculars of the Least Flycatcher, the Carolina Wren, the Prairie Warbler, and the Summer Tanager.
The 183-acre Tawas Point State Park situated on a narrow peninsula on Lake Huron is also home to various interesting bird species. The park boasts of an abundance of diverse habitats, such as marshes and mudflats, that attract over 280 species, some of which are rarities. Bald Eagles are observed year-round while the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler regularly appears within the area every May.
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Grand Haven State Park is a classic summer beach with a picturesque lighthouse, a scenic boardwalk, and plenty of recreational activities. The park’s beach is the most heavily used in the state due to its many modern amenities, which includes a multi-use trail that leads to Holland, one of the larger and busier lakeside cities in Michigan.
The beach at Hoeft State Park is Michigan’s best-kept secret – an oft-overlooked and lightly-used swimming spot situated in the state’s northeastern Lower Peninsula. Swim in the cool and clear waters of Lake Huron and relax on the comfortable sandy beach afterward. If you’re not in the mood to deal with the summer crowds, then this park is perfect for you!
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The massive Silver Lake Off-Road Vehicle area found at Silver Lake Dunes State Park is the largest one in Michigan, boasting of over 500 acres of diverse and challenging terrain that includes hilly sand dunes. A few minutes south of the town of Ludington, residents and tourists alike flock to this park for a day of hair-raising fun and to test their driving skills.
With over 12,000 equestrian trails and pathways, Michigan is a dream destination for many horseback riding enthusiasts! At Mackinac Island State Park, visitors can avail of a guided equestrian trail or opt to bring their own horses instead via the island’s ferry services. The park features several boarding options for equestrians, including Bed & Breakfasts, the Grand Hotel, and the recently-renovated Mission Point Resort. Nearly 80% of Mackinac Island is crisscrossed by well-kept and shady horse-friendly trails, making it the perfect spot for avid horseback riders.
Waterloo State Recreation Area, the third-largest park in Michigan, has over 50 miles of horseback riding trails that will take you through some of the most stunning scenery that you’ll ever encounter! This park is also famous for its world-class accommodations, which include cabins, yurts, and campsites that visitors can reserve.
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum is found inside Leelanau State Park, offering visitors a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan and the Grand Traverse Bay. Among the park’s many exhibits are the restored keepers’ dwelling, the Native American Settlements found within the area, the archaeological dig of the first Grand Traverse Lighthouse, and the Underwater Preserve found in Grand Traverse Bay. While the museum offers only self-guided tours, school and adult groups are free to reserve a guide beforehand.
Muskegon State Park is home to the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, which means that it offers more than just your run-of-the-mill winter activities. Here, visitors can ice skate through the woods, shoot down a hill on an Olympics-designed track, and even take on the Midwest’s longest lit cross-country ski trail. To cap off your winter adventure, spend a few nights inside one of the many yurts found within the park.
Those who prefer a more laid-back winter treat may opt for Hartwick Pines State Park, which offers full moon hikes and snowshoe hikes. These are perfect for those who wish to explore the snow-covered natural landscapes unique to Michigan! If you want to stay toasty warm while outside, you can always pick up a heated jacket.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
If you want to snorkel in one of the best freshwater diving spots in Michigan, then check out Burt Lake State Park. Beneath the waters of Burt Lake are large schools of trout and perch, which are easily seen due to the clear visibility of the lake. This is undoubtedly a snorkeling experience to remember!
Lake Charlevoix at Young State Park is also full of colorful freshwater fish and aquatic plants, making it another ideal spot for avid snorkelers visiting Michigan.