If you’ve never spent time camping on Lake Michigan, you’ve been missing out on pristine beaches that rival the oceans’ beauty, gorgeous sand dunes, and unforgettable family fun. But it’s never too late to get out there and see for yourself!
After scoping out these beautiful spots, we know you’ll be adding Lake Michigan to your summer camping itinerary. Take a look!
Where Is Lake Michigan
Of the five Great Lakes of North America, Lake Michigan is the only one located entirely within the United States. Michigan borders the lake on its eastern and northern shores. Indiana is at the southern tip, and Illinois and Wisconsin make up the western coast of Lake Michigan.
State Parks on Lake Michigan
One of the best ways to experience Lake Michigan’s beauty is to camp at one of the surrounding state parks. There are plenty of campgrounds to choose from, so we’ve highlighted a few standouts below.
Grand Haven State Park
Address: 1001 Harbor Avenue, Grand Haven MI, 49417
About Grand Haven State Park: Grand Haven State Park is located in the vacation town of Grand Haven. It sits directly on west Michigan’s coastline, a mere five-minute drive from local shops and restaurants.
If sandy beaches are your happy place, you’ll love camping here. This 48-acre park is all beach! No matter which of the 174 campsites you choose, you’ll be steps away from the water and views of Grand Haven’s iconic red lighthouse.
If you prefer tent camping on Lake Michigan, Grand Haven State Park offers rustic campsites for $21 per night. RVers will pay $33 per night for 20 and 30 amp service or $37 per night for 50 amp service. The park also offers water hookups and a dump station.
Petoskey State Park
Address: 2475 M-119 Hwy., Petoskey MI, 49770
About Petoskey State Park: Don’t miss your chance to take home a famous Petoskey stone! When you camp at Petoskey State Park, you’ll be graced with one whole mile of Lake Michigan beach and ample opportunities to find your unique piece of fossilized coral.
This state park features two campgrounds, both with dump stations. Tent campers and those with compact RVs should consider the Petoskey-Dunes campground. This shaded campground has 80 small campsites with 20 and 30 amp service. While not directly on the water, a short trail will lead you out to the beach.
The second campground is Petoskey-Tannery Creek. Here you’ll find 100 large camping sites on Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. All of the sites offer 20 and 30 amp service and can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet long. Additionally, there are a handful of 50 amp sites.
Camping in Petoskey State Park costs $33 for 20 and 30 amp service or $37 for 50 amp service. If you plan to visit Grand Haven or Petoskey state parks, you’ll also need to purchase a Michigan Recreation Passport.
Are you staying only a few nights? The non-resident day pass is an economical choice at $9 per day. For extended stays, however, you’ll want to purchase an annual non-resident pass for $34. Michigan residents can renew their state park pass annually with their license plate renewal for only $12.
Harrington Beach State Park (Wisconsin)
Address: 531 Co Rd D, Belgium, WI 53004
About Harrington Beach State Park: When you think of states with swamps, you probably think of Louisiana or Florida – not Wisconsin! That’s why Harrington Beach State Park will surprise you.
Not only does this park share a mile of Lake Michigan’s coastline, but it also has a remarkable white cedar swamp. Of course, camping near a swamp means you’ll want to bring along some mosquito repellent. But don’t let a few swamp bugs stop you from enjoying the beautiful family campground!
With 69 campsites, you’ll have plenty of choices for parking your RV. Approximately half of the sites have 30 amp electric hookups, while the rest are non-electric. You will also find a picnic table and fire ring at each unit.
The family campground features a dump station, freshwater fill-up station, and laundry facilities as well. The camp cost varies, but you can expect to pay as much as $35 per night.
Kohler Andrae State Park (Wisconsin)
Address: 1020 Beach Park Ln, Sheboygan, WI 53081
About Kohler-Andrae State Park: One of the things that makes Lake Michigan unique are the many sand dunes that line its shores. At Kohler-Andrae, you can see some of these dunes firsthand. Nature lovers will also be interested in exploring the exhibits at the Sanderling Nature Center located at the park’s north end.
This state park has a campground with 137 sites, 52 of which have 30 and 50 amp electrical hookups. While there are no sewer or water hookups at the campsites, RVers will appreciate the park’s dump station and freshwater fill-up station. This campground is open year-round, and select sites are plowed for winter camping.
When the weather is warm, campers can use the onsite amenities, including showers, flush toilets, and laundry facilities. Rates vary seasonally from $15 to $40 per night.
While you’re camping on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan, you’ll need to get a state park vehicle admission sticker. In-state residents will pay $28 for an annual sticker or $8 for a daily sticker. Out of state visitors will pay $38 for a yearly sticker or $11 for a daily sticker.
Illinois Beach State Park (Illinois)
Address: 1 Lake Front Dr, Zion, IL 60099
About Illinois Beach State Park: Illinois Beach State Park (a.k.a. Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park) is located about an hour’s drive north of Chicago. And while a visit to the Windy City might be tempting, once you park your RV at this gorgeous state park, you won’t want to leave!
If hiking and biking are your pastimes, Illinois Beach has over six miles of hiking trails as well as a designated bike trail. The park also has 241 campsites, all with electric hookups. Nightly rates vary, but the average is $25.
It’s important to note that the campground is divided into three sections. The camping sites on the 100 block are the farthest from Lake Michigan but are first-come-first-served spaces. The reservable sites are on the 200 and 300 blocks and are closer to the water.
Indiana Dunes State Park (Indiana)
Address: 1600 N 25 E, Chesterton, IN 46304
About Indiana Dunes State Park: This state park is a must-visit for nature lovers. It’s an official stop on the Indiana Birding Trail and boasts 1,500 acres of nature preserve area and 16 miles of hiking trails.
The campground at Indiana Dunes State Park has 140 sites with asphalt pads and 50 amp hookups. Many of the spaces are partially or fully shaded, providing maximum comfort in the summer months. While the camping sites are not directly on the beach, a short trail will lead campers to Lake Michigan.
Restrooms, showers, a playground, and a dump station make this campground an excellent choice for RVing families. On average, camping at Indiana Dunes costs between $25 and $35 per night.
Private Campgrounds On Lake Michigan
In addition to state parks, you also have the option of staying at privately-owned campgrounds. The following campgrounds are perfect choices if you want more conveniences and family-friendly activities.
Dune Lake Campground
Address: 80855 Co Rd 376, Coloma, MI 49038
About Dune Lake Campground: Dune Lake is truly a family campground. Adults and children can enjoy a friendly game of volleyball, badminton, horseshoes, or basketball at one of their onsite courts. The campground even has a mini-golf course that costs just $2 per game.
Camping here means you’ll be about five minutes from Lake Michigan. But don’t worry! The campground has its own swimming beach on Dune Lake, where younger kids can enjoy a safe swim in the shallow area.
RVers will find 30 amp electric and water hookups at half of the 80 campsites, in addition to a dump station. Primitive sites are $30 per night, and modern RV sites are $35 per night.
Stony Haven Campground & Cabins
Address: 8079 W Stony Lake Rd, New Era, MI 49446
About Stony Haven Campground: This 8-acre wooded campground provides plenty of shade so that you can enjoy its amenities throughout the summer camping season. Stony Haven offers a playground, convenience store, fishing pond, river tube rentals, and more for your entertainment. Plus, you’ll only be 2 miles from Lake Michigan fun!
Park your rig at one of the 48 RV campsites with full and partial hookup options. 20, 30, and 50 amp sites are available, and a bathhouse and dump station will make taking care of personal business a breeze. Stony haven also has 16 rustic tent spaces and several tiny cabins for rent.
Rustic sites are $25 per night, and RV sites start at $35 and go up to $50 per night, depending on the hookups. Cabin rentals start at $80 per night. There is a two-night minimum stay for all reservations.
Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat
Address: 5807 Ridge Rd, Pentwater, MI 49449
About Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat: According to the campground’s website, this is “One of God’s special places, with cool green woods, warm sand dunes, and a beautiful shoreline.” What more could you want for camping on Lake Michigan?
In fact, at Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat, you’ll have half a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline to explore. Not to mention, you’ll be a short drive from Pentwater’s quaint village, if shopping and dining are your pleasures.
There are 100 sites for tent campers and RVers. The RV sites have water hookups and 30 amp electric service but no sewer hookups. However, there is a new and improved dump station at the campground. RVs under 35 feet are welcome at a rate of $36 per night.
If you’re looking for a unique camping experience, Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat also offers platform tent rentals. Each tent rental includes four sleeping cots with mattresses for your comfort. Platform tents are $56 per night.
Don’t Miss These Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a membership for RVers who want to camp at places like wineries, breweries, and farms. As these locations are not official campgrounds, you’ll need to be fully self-contained and prepared for off-grid living. Here are a few Lake Michigan Harvest Hosts camping opportunities you shouldn’t miss.
Fenn Valley Vineyards
Address: 6130 122nd Ave, Fennville, MI 49408
About Fenn Valley Vineyards: Since 1973, Fenn Valley Vineyards has been making world-class wines. Their grapes are grown in vineyards planted just five miles from Lake Michigan’s shore. This carefully selected location ensures that temperatures remain optimal for perfectly ripened grapes.
The wine selection includes favorites like their classic chardonnay and specialty fruit wines like their blueberry wine. They also sell a variety of hard ciders in cans.
There are only two RV spots open to Harvest Hosts members. If you want to park your RV amongst the vines, you’ll need to make a reservation in advance.
Brengman Brothers Winery – Traverse City, Michigan
Address: 9720 S Center Hwy, Traverse City, MI 49684
About Brengman Brothers Winery: Brengman Brothers Winery is located on the Leelanau Peninsula, just north of Traverse City. The winery sits about a mile inland, making it an ideal camping spot with easy access to Lake Michigan.
The Brengman family is not only passionate about wine, but they are also passionate about hospitality. This means your stay at the winery is sure to be a pleasant one.
While you’re there, you’ll want to purchase a bottle of wine (or several!) from their stunning selection. Whether you’re a purist who appreciates a traditional red or you prefer wines with a “sparkling” personality, you’re sure to find a vintage you’ll love at Brengman Brothers.
Friske Orchards and Farm Market – Ellsworth, Michigan
Address: 10743 US Hwy 31, Ellsworth, MI, 49729
About Friske Orchards and Farm Market: Friske Orchards and Farm Market is an excellent place to stock up on road trip snacks. It’s also a great place to camp near Lake Michigan! Grand Traverse Bay is only two miles down the road.
During your stay, you can get your fill of Michigan cherries, apples, maple syrup, honey, locally roasted coffee, and more. The farm market also features a cafe where you can grab a quick lunch before heading out to the beach.
Make sure you check their events calendar before you book your stay, as Friske hosts family-oriented festivals throughout the year.
Lake Michigan has some of the best lake camping opportunities in the country. Whether you want to experience this natural wonder from the serenity of a state park or the luxury of a private campground or host, you won’t be lacking in first-rate choices. Where do you envision yourself camping on Lake Michigan?