15 Things to Pack on Your Pure Michigan Camping Trip: An Infographic

Michigan Camping and RV Month might be coming to a close, but there’s still plenty of time to plan a Pure Michigan camping trip this summer! And with more than a thousand campgrounds statewide, there’s something for everyone – whether it’s camping along rivers, lakes, sand dunes and beaches or in state parks or national forests.

To help you prepare for your next camping trip in Michigan, we’ve put together this checklist of things to bring. See the image below and click here to download a full-sized version. For more on camping in Michigan, visit michigan.org.

Serene Walk-in Campgrounds in Pure Michigan

Jim DuFresne, author of more than 20 guidebooks and main contributor to www.MichiganTrailMaps.com is a go-to resource for all things hiking and trail-related in Michigan. Today, he fills us in on some of the incredible walk-in campsites around the state.

Sometimes it seems like you have to drive to the end of the road to escape the summer crowds and find a quiet place to camp.

And sometimes all you have to do is walk 100 feet.

When the National Park Service renovated its Platte River Campground in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in 1991 it installed electrical hook-ups in 96 of the 179 sites, a change in previous NPS policy of rustic-only campgrounds. But the designers also added 25 walk-in sites for tent campers where a short stroll leads to a quick escape from this otherwise popular and busy campground.

A couple of the walk-in sites are less than 30 yards from where you leave the car and but the majority are a longer walk through the low wooded dunes. Each is unique; site B-8 occupies the top of knoll, B-5 overlooks a pond filled with cattails and wild irises.

The Platte River sites can be reserved in advance through recreation.gov, but the beauty of walk-in sites is that they are often available the day you arrive.

Platte River Campground isn’t the only place offering sites to campers willing to walk. Here are some others:

Shelley Lake
This dispersed recreation area in the Huron-Manistee National Forests is north of White Cloud and has eight designated sites spread around the shoreline of this scenic, 15-acre lake of which seven are reached after a short walk of a 50 yards or less. Site Number 3 is located on a point in the southwest corner of the lake where you can pitch your tent with a 180-degree view of the water.           

Wakeley Lake
Wakeley Lake Foot Travel Area is east of Grayling in the Huron-Manistee National Forests and is best known for its catch-and-release fishery that produces six-pound bass and foot-long bluegills. But the 2,000-acre tract also has a walk-in campground and 30 miles of two-tracks that has become a playground for hikers and mountain bikers. The hike from M-72 to the campground is a third of a mile and the four sites are located in a stand of red pine on a low hill overlooking the lake. Two of them have picnic tables and fire rings.

Tubbs Lake Island
Located in Tubbs Lake State Forest Campground, this small island, created when Winchester Dam was built in the late 1950′s to create a waterfowl habitat, is a Mecosta County Park reached by driving across a narrow dike. The campground features 12 sites including two walk-in sites. These sites are located at the top of the island in a semi-open area that commands a great view of the surrounding lakes as well as your neighbors below.

Pete’s Lake
Located south of Munising in the Hiawatha National Forest, Pete’s Lake Recreation Area has 41 rustic sites, including two for walk-in campers. Site Number 7A is a 50-yard stroll from a trailhead at the east end of the campground and features a clear view of the lake. Less than a quarter mile further is Site Number 8A, another shoreline site with even a bit of sandy beach in front of it.   

Find more campsites around the state at michigan.org and let us know if you have a camping trip planned for this summer!

Jim DuFresne is the author of more than 20 guidebooks and the main contributor to www.MichiganTrailMaps.com, a resource web site for hikers, backpackers, cross-country skiers and other trail users. Among his titles are Michigan’s Best Campgrounds and Isle Royale National Park: Foot Trails & Water Routes.

A Family Camping Trip to Black Lake

Regardless of what type of experience you’re looking for, Michigan has no shortage of lakes and campgrounds to explore year-round. Today, guest blogger Philip Rudy tells us about his favorite family camping destination – Blake Lake State Forest Campground.

For a full listing of campgrounds across the state, visit michigan.org.

In my opinion, there are two types of camping in Michigan: There are the people that go to Higgins Lake with their RV and their TV and then there are people that pitch a tent out basically in the woods.

Not that there is anything wrong with the first type of camping – believe me, I have had my fair share of fun at Higgins Lake and it was a great time indeed. It is a great place to bring all of your friends for a fun, memorable weekend. There are a lot of people that come here from all over Michigan and you can meet tons of people from all over the state and make long lasting relationships.

Black Lake is located in Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties right at the top of the Lower Peninsula, and most people will find themselves driving through it if they chance to go to the Upper Peninsula. At this 9-mile long lake, you will find one of the most enjoyable places there is to go camping on the face of this earth (at least, in my opinion). There are tons of great things about this campsite, but here are the top three reasons that I think make this campground one of the best to go to in Michigan.

The Perfect Family Vacation

This place is somewhat secluded in the woods and for this reason there is a little bit more seclusion and more privacy – allowing you to have the perfect time with your family. It feels like you are a little bit more in the woods and you just get the “roughing it” feel.

This allows you to have large campfires, have the family dog around, cook whatever it was that you caught fishing that day, mess around with slingshots in the background and basically all sorts of things you wouldn’t be able to do at your typical campground in Michigan. It’s a great time to just sit around the campfire, come up with different recipes that make absolutely no sense until you eat them and talk about stories until the late hours of the night.

The Lake

The lake is absolutely gorgeous. It goes out for about 100 yards or more of crystal clear, waist deep water. And for how north this lake is, it really never gets too cold in the winter time. The beach is nice and sandy and it isn’t one of those lakes where you are walking on rocks 90% of the time. It is gentle on the feet, and once again a great place for lots of family fun.

The Fishing

If you are an angler, or if you are interested in going fishing in Michigan for the first time, then Black Lake offers the perfect spot to go fishing. The lake is filled with all different types of bass, pan fish, pike, walleye, and even sturgeon. There are boat rental docks all over the place up and down the shore, and you can get on a boat at a decent price any time of the week during the summer months.

There are also great fishing areas all around the Black Lake Area like Kleber Pond, which is great for fishing off the shoreline over lily pads.

I went to Black Lake many summers of my life in my childhood because my father would take my brother and I out there with our friends for a fun family vacation. I encourage others who enjoy camping and are looking for a more “roughing it” feel to go out and try it as well.

Philip Rudy is the owner of Michigan Wine Trail. He also helps run and maintain Spartan Hall of Fame Café as part of his day job. In his spare time he enjoys blogging and owns a plethora of online websites.