We are planning to spend 4 to 6 weeks in Michigan and it's upper penisula this summer and are looking for some campgrounds that might have sights on the water's edge (Great Lakes, inland lakes, or rivers.)
Aune Osborn in Saulte Ste Marie is a city run campground that is right on the St. Mary's River and has a great view of freighters entering and exiting the Soo Locks. The giant freighters are only a couple of hundred yards away. There is also a city run camp ground in Munising that has lake front camp sites. It is only several miles from the western access to Picture Rocks National Lake Shore.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near Traverse City if the best. There are two campgrounds - D H Day is on Lake Michigan and Platte River is across the road from the fun, small scenic river - great canoe trips at the rental store and a short 2-mile drive/bike ride to a gorgeous Lake Michigan beach. It just won some awards so it might be hard to get into but there are many other campgrounds in the area a short drive away from Lake Michigan beaches. Breevort Lake national forest campground is just over the Mackinaw bridge and a little west. Munising in the U.P. has a very nice forest service campground on the Lake Superior - and near Pictured Rocks Nat'l Lakeshore. There are many, many other great spots. Have a great trip!
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Grand Haven State Park CG is right on the beautiful pure sand beach with Lake Michigan right out your RV's door approx 150' to 300' away across the beach and the long pier that juts out into the lake also for you to enjoy. Beach is about a mile long and very wide. Yearly rated as one of the 5 best beaches in the entire USA. There's also a wide boardwalk along the big Grand River to downtown .7 miles distance with food, restrooms, benches, and goes thru park after park on it's way. Big ships, little ships, and countless pleasure boats both power and sail coming and going daily. Camping (168 sites) is on a concrete pad area and the new bathouse is truely state of the art with private door entrances to each and every one of the 15 or so tiled showers. Sites are not large and there isn't much shade as it's a true beach setting. As you'd expect, its very heavily used and reservations are a must. More to do each day for adults and children in the area than there are minutes in each 24 hour period. Outstanding picturesque sunsets over the lake. Nearly all of the constant activities are free of charge to visitors or residents etc.
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5 miles north of Grand Haven is P J Hoffmaster State Park on Lake Michigan with big sandunes and a 300 site CG between the dunes. About a 2 block walk between the dunes to the private camper's beach on a constructed walkway. Lots of trees and shade in the CG. Hoffmaster Park is very big having approx 1100+ acres with 2 1/2 miles of sand beach shoreline and miles of marked hiking trails, a flowing creek, and a fine nature center to visit.
There are over 1100 inland lakes in Michigan and more than 3200 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and far too many CG's on the water to begin to list all them. More than 100,000 miles of rivers, creeks, and streams. There is no place in the entire state in which you can be more than 5 miles from water.
In the U.P. I would suggest Brimley State Park in the small town of Brimley. This is located about 15 +/- miles west of Sault Ste Marie. It's located right on Lake Superior's Whitefish Bay. Nice beach, clear water, and you can see some of the lake freighters coming and going into the Soo Locks. The sites are nice and grassy too.
Further west is the small town of Grand Marais. They have a very nice city campground right on the shore of Lake Superior. I don't believe they take reservations. We'll be there in mid-July. Grand Marais is located about 25 miles straight north of the tiny town of Seney.
Further west of Grand Marais is Munising. There you'll find Pictured Rocks Nat'l Lakeshore. The city has a nice campground located about 2 miles west on M-28. The campground is on the shores of Lake Superior. There is a nice view of Grand Island. Be sure to take the Pictured Rocks cruise. Cruise boats leave the city dock right in downtown. There are plenty of waterfalls in the area too.
Marquette, the largest city in the U.P., doesn't really have much in the way of camping. There is a nice campground about 45 miles west of Marquette along M-28/US-41 on Lake Michigamme (pronounced Mich-e-gomme) called Michigamme Shores Campground. RV Park Reviews.com has all 8-10 ratings and the price is in the mid-30's with FHU's. This is a very large lake in a rural forested area----Beautiful! Web site below.
To the west and north, at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula (that jut of land that sticks way up into Lake Superior), is Copper Harbor. There is a nice state park there, Fort Wilkins, and a private campground, Lake Fanny Hooe Resort & Campground. The drive up to Copper Harbor, through the Houghton/Hancock area is beautiful. Many views of the lake, rivers, old mines, and lots of trees. The area gets lots of snow during the winter, and I mean LOTS of snow.
The Porcupine Mountains State Park is located south of Ontonagon. If you enjoy hiking you will definitely enjoy the Porkies. There is a state park on the north end, Union Bay, that has electric only and a rustic campground on the south end. I've only camped on the south end because I like the trails around that part. Both campgrounds are near the lake. This is a huge state park. It's considered a wilderness park and has over 60,000 acres, much of it virgin forests.
There's another state park a bit further south on Lake Gobebic. This is another large lake and is known for good walleye fishing.
The campgrounds and areas I've pointed out are definitely more rural than what you'll find around the Macinac Bridge area and Sault Ste Marie. Those areas are nice, but more touristy than further west in the U.P. Mackinac Island and the Soo Locks are great places to visit, but the campgrounds are more crowded in those areas.
Last year we traveled to the Rockies and in '09 we went thru Canada to New England. This year we're heading up to the U.P. for a few weeks. I used to live up there back in the 80's and traveled that area extensively until about 10 years ago for my job. It's time to get back to da U.P., eh? Let me know if you need to know more.