The Best Camping Spots in Upper Peninsula, Michigan

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View of upper peninsula michigan near multiple camping spots

Camping in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, is an experience everyone should embark on at least once. Commonly called the UP for short, this extreme northern region of the United States is connected to the lower 48 via the famous Mackinac Bridge. 

The UP has around 80% forest and approximately 1,700 miles of shoreline from the Great Lakes. Its rugged, untamed beauty draws many outdoor enthusiasts.

Additionally, its quaint lakeside towns offer any urban lover plenty of places to explore as well. Whichever you choose, camping in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan is a must, and we’ve got some of the best camping spots listed for you right here.

Why You Should Visit the Upper Peninsula

Why should you visit Upper Peninsula? For starters, it has unrivaled scenery. With over 300 waterfalls, 4,000 inland lakes, and three Great Lakes, the UP offers many landscapes to explore.

And you’ll find no shortage of activities to keep you busy, including hiking, biking, boating, camping, and so much more. 

But the UP isn’t just about nature. It’s also steeped in history. The region is home to several important Native American cultural sites and historical landmarks.

Of course, no visit to the UP would be complete without taking in a few of the area’s famous urban attractions. Everyone can find something to enjoy, from dining and shopping to wineries and distilleries.

When Is the Best Time for Camping in Upper Peninsula Michigan?

You can enjoy many outdoor activities and the beauty within the area year-round. Choosing just one time of year to camp in Upper Peninsula Michigan is almost next to impossible.

However, you can consider a few factors to help make your choice easier. You’ll find more campgrounds and amenities in the summer. But make reservations ahead of time. You’ll have warm weather and crowds.

If you don’t mind cooler temperatures and the possibility of fewer amenities and available campgrounds, try spring and fall. You’ll also have fewer people.

But beware, camping in the northern section of the Upper Peninsula, Michigan, can mean severe winter weather in April, May, and even into June. You can also have extreme conditions in October and November.

Still, you may prefer to enjoy winter sports. You can ski, snowboard, snowshoe, ice fish, and more. But because of the severity of the weather at times, even these can be difficult or impossible to do.

If we had to give specific months for the best time to camp in Upper Peninsula Michigan, then head north in June, July, or August. 

Do You Need a Recreation Passport to Camp in Michigan State Parks?

As a resident of Michigan, when you renew your license plate, you can also purchase a Recreation Passport for a discounted fee of $12, compared to buying it at a state park.

As a nonresident of Michigan, you’ll still need a Recreation Passport. An annual Recreation Passport costs $36 per vehicle, which you can purchase online.

You can also get daily passes for $10 at each state park. For all the details, including towed cars, motorcycles, exemptions, and more, visit Michigan’s official website for its Recreation Passport.

The Best Camping Spots in Upper Peninsula, Michigan

Finding a place to camp in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, can seem daunting. You have so many wonderful campgrounds to choose from. We’ve got some of the best camping listed for you. After knowing where you can rest after many fun-filled days, you can focus your efforts on what to do when you get there. 

1. City of Houghton RV Park

Address: 616 Shelden Ave., Houghton, MI
Rates: Nightly rates start at $50, with weekly and monthly rates available.

The City of Houghton RV Park offers a waterfront camping experience. The RV park sits alongside Portage Canal in Houghton, Michigan, and it provides a simple but beautiful swimming beach, a playground, and summer concerts.

In addition, you can get watersport rentals such as kayaks and paddleboards.

It has 25 paved sites with full hookups. Some of the campsites also have BBQ grills.

It’s important to note that the City of Houghton RV Park is self-contained only and has no bathroom or shower facilities.

Keep in Mind: Considering renting an RV while in Michigan? Here are the best RV rentals in Michigan to have the perfect trip!

City of Houghton RV Park, a camping spot in upper peninsula michigan
Source: City of Houghton RV Park

2. Rippling River Resort

Address: 4321 M-553, Marquette, MI
Rates: Start at $60

Rippling River Resort provides all the amenities and activities right in your backyard. Located 2 miles from downtown Marquette, you can stop in many stores and restaurants. You can also visit breweries to sample different brews.

You can take one of the 150 miles of single-track trails for mountain biking. And in the winter, you’ll have skiing and snowshoeing right at your doorstep. Plus, you’ll have 83 miles of shoreline nearby to play in.

And whether you prefer glamping, tent camping, or RV camping, this camping spot in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, has it all.

You’ll find full hookups, dry campsites, and electric hookups. It has bathroom and shower houses, laundry, a general store, and more.

Playing here isn’t an issue, either. Enjoy the onsite bar, heated pool, hot tub, and even mini-golf.

The Rippling River Resort sign, a camping spot in upper peninsula michigan
Source: Facebook

3. Farquar-Metsa Park & Campground

Address: 150 W. Iron St., Gwinn, MI
Rates: Full hookup RV sites start at $30 per night, with monthly and weekly rates available.

If you want a great camping spot in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, look no further than the Farquar-Metsa Park & Campground in Gwinn along the Escanaba River.

This campground offers 20 full hookup RV sites and 13 primitive campsites. Go fishing, swimming, hiking, or canoeing nearby. And with picnic tables and a pavilion on-site, you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors. 

It has showers and restrooms for your convenience. The campground is also a member of Passport America, so mention that when you make your reservation.

4. Bay Furnace Campground

Address: E7900 M-28, Munising, MI
Rates: Start at $22

This Upper Peninsula, Michigan, camping spot lies on the shores of Lake Superior near Munising. The U.S. Forest Service manages Bay Furnace Campground, which offers beautiful views of the Great Lake.

You’ll find many popular attractions nearby. Enjoy Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Alger Underwater Preserve, boat cruises, Miner’s Castle, waterfalls, and a rugged Lake Superior beachfront. 

The campground has 50 sites, and the standard non-electric site costs $22. It accepts Federal Recreation Passes such as the Golden and America the Beautiful.

This campground has few amenities, although you do have access to drinking water and vault toilets. 

Pro Tip: While you’re visiting Michigan, you need to visit these Michigan National Parks at least once!

5. Manistique Lakeshore Campground

Address: 320 Traders Point, Manistique, MI
Rates: Start at $55 per night

Manistique Lakeshore Campground sits on the shore of Lake Michigan. You’ll find several attractions nearby, many of which you can walk to.

Some of the attractions include Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, beaches, golfing, lighthouses, waterfalls, and wineries. You can also visit Kitch-iti-Kipi, Michigan’s largest natural freshwater spring, Manistique Boardwalk, and local shops. 

Manistique Lakeshore Campground will satisfy any camper’s needs with paved full hookup sites and rustic tent camping.

It also has showers, restrooms, laundry, a picnic pavilion, and a playground.

View of person hiking in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshort near camping spots in upper peninsula michigan

6. Twelvemile Beach Campground

Address: 1505 Sand Point Rd., Munising, MI
Rates: $25 per night

Camping in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, can’t get much better than Twelvemile Beach Campground located on Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

It lies 15 miles west of Grand Marais. Situated on a plateau above Twelvemile Beach, you’ll have fantastic views and peaceful days.

Two hiking trails go through the campground. And being on the National Lakeshore, you’ll have access to several beaches located along the beautiful Lake Superior. Some sandy, some rugged, but all simply gorgeous. 

The campground has 36 sites with a fee of $25 per night. While it has limited amenities, you can use the vault toilets and well water. Being on the shores of Lake Superior, the only comfort you’ll really need is a beach chair.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking to save money while visiting Michigan, here are 10 Free Camping Spots in Michigan to check out.

View of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshort near camping spots in upper peninsula michigan

Enjoy Camping in Upper Peninsula Michigan

If you want a great outdoor camping experience, look no further than Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It offers a rugged coastline, miles of forested areas, and many camping options.

Choose from town park campgrounds such as the City of Houghton RV Park or Twelvemile Beach Campground at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. 

And if you want to camp in luxury, stay in one of the many resorts, such as Rippling River Resort. No matter what type of camping experience you prefer, the UP has something to offer everyone in outdoor and urban settings.

So get out there and enjoy all that camping in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, offers!

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