Northern Michigan camping suggestions???

I’m looking to take my wife and daughter north this summer. I’m wondering if anyone has any recomendations as to a good place to camp, paddle, and fish with a good beach for the little one. I really want to stay away from any rowdy crowds and get some peace and quiet. I would appreciate any input. Thanks

Wilderness State Park has great paddling
and small mouth fishing. Platte River campground at Sleeping Bear is very nice with great paddling in Lake Michigan and the Platte River. Les Chenoux Islands (sp) and possibly even Drummond Island would be top picks too. I prefer bigger water so I cannot suggest much on the rivers and inland lakes. I hope you have a great vacation. Bill

how far north
Hi, d’ya mean northern lower peninsula or the UP?

Cuz almost anywhere in the UP will be less crowded

and more tranquil, and usually more affordable.

As Bill said, Wilderness State Park is great. The paddling there might be a little more exposed and rougher than you’d like, esp. in a canoe.

I spent a week paddling on Drummond Island and it was the best, but again, getting from island to island is a bit easier in a kayak. But the town is small, slowpaced and casual, and there are a handful of simple campgrounds, small resorts, and B&Bs plus the big Drummond Island Resort. I camped and launched every morning from a small cove just below

my campsite.

For large inland lakes try Young State Park (Lake Charlevoix, popular lakefront sites). On rainy days the city of Boyne has a lot to do and see, and is a pretty town with upscale but friendly overtones.

In the UP Indian Lake State is a big, woodsy park on a fairly shallow but clean lake. There is a swimming beach at the lodge. The park is one of the oldest in the state but well maintained w. both wooded and open campsites. If I were to choose a state park site for a small family that would be one.

All three state parks (and many others) are well managed - they really enforce 10 pm quiet and are very rowdy free.

One private campground that is very friendly and family oriented - for kids, quiet paddles and all that goes w. them - is Northern Exposure just west

of Mesick (Mesick being SE of Traverse City). The family that owns it is wonderful and very service oriented. Our paddling club holds its annual meeting/paddle every October. The watersites in Flatlander’s gulch are very popular w. pull thru sites just behind them. They set aside that whole

wing for us and give us a special rate, too. The water feature is Hodenpyle Dam which is a very large reservoir of clean, clear water bordered on one side by a hilly forest. You can kayak or canoe, it stays fairly calm due to lack of fetch. You’ll probably see bald eagles and the fishing is decent.

Like Bill, I prefer larger lakes BUT there are many

smaller inlandw. secret gems of campsites and places to stay. Guess it depends how simple you want to go and how far north you want to be. Or who wants to give away their special spot '-)

Thanks Guys
I really appreciate the input. I’m pretty new to paddling so I kind of want to stay off of the big lakes for now. Indian Lake sounds promising though. I’ll look into it. Keep the suggestions coming. Thanks again.

Craig Lake
I honestly haven’t been there, but, there I’ve been all around there.

Craig Lake…
Craig Lake looks awesome and I was considering it but I’m not sure if it would work out good for my 2 year old.

northern michigan
The USFS campgrounds near Kenton in the U.P. are just beautiful. Rustic campsites, beautiful lakes and not many people. There are many campgrounds near one another but our favorites are Lake St. Katherine, Bob Lake and Norway Lake. Can’t go wrong. We always hear owls at night and see critters during the day. Sandy beaches, great lake paddling. Have fun. wendy

Deborah was obviously smart enough
to check your profile. Sorry, I assume everyone is a kayaker because I am, whoops. One more, Muskelonge (sp?) State Park up by Whitefish Bay. Lake on one side of road, Lake Superior on the other. Nice place that can take you easily to Pictured Rocks. Bill

Craig lake id great.

– Last Updated: May-30-09 10:02 AM EST –

There are cabins on the lake that can be rented as well as campsites. There is about a 1/4 mile walk in to get from the parking lot to the lake and then campsites and the cabins are paddle to as I recall. Fishing for Northern Pike and Small mouth is good. Also panfish and Muskie around. I can't remember whether there are beaches - I wasn't paying attention. Might be a bit of a challenge for the little one.

Indian Lake
Another vote for Indian Lake in the UP. We spent a couple weeks every summer on Indian Lake growing up and I have taken my family there when the kids were still at home. Nice campsites (state park), nice lake, nice beach!


Porcupine Mtn State Park
is one of my favorites! There are two different campgrounds: Union Bay and Presque Isle. So much to do in the park and the surrounding area up into Copper Harbor. Beautiful area without the crowds.

Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore
Beautiful park and very well run. Senior man is a ranger named Jim. He frequently stops by many a campsite w. lots of entertaining tales and great beta on the hidden wonders of the park. The shower and lav facilities are immaculate, cleanest I’ve seen at any park. Talk to any ranger, they are happy to be here and happy to help you enjoy their park.

I prefer the walk in campsites, but for the young family there are very nice wooded loops secluded by pine and oak. They tent to keep certain loops just for tents, which is nice.

Wonderful day hikes thru forest to secluded almost untouched dune beaches w. gentle surf for swimming

and sugar sand for sunning.

Lower Platte is super ez to paddle (some livery traffic cuz there is a livery opposite the park entry, but not big flotillas of drunken river dorks, as theBob would say). It crosses thru Loon Lake,fishing there. Upper Platte a little more challenging not intimidating. I saw many kayaks there, again some rentals, some owned.

There is a big sandbar that separates the Platte from Lake Michigan. In summer river waters are very warm and many families take their kids to splash.Not really for swimming. On the other side swimmers are in the big Lake, kayakers are putting in and taking out off the day lot, and fishermen are out doing short casts standing and in boats.

Seakayakers can go ~13 miles north along the bluffs of Empire (remote, good ditch places, no people). It could be canoed depending on skill level.

The dunes really are spectacular at sunset. There is a dune overlook accessible by car if people don’t want to hike. There are all levels of hiking trails. During the day if the wind is right you can see a lot of hot air balloons and gliders coming of the dunes.

At sunrise go on the beach and you’ll be amazed at the still beauty and the variety of animal tracks. Kids can make a plaster mold w. the kit they sell at the visitor center. Be sure to go see that, it’s well done. There is more to see in the way of oldfashioned living (general store, blacksmith, pharmacy, boatshop, etc.)at the restored logging town of Glen Haven which is owned by the park.

While you’re up at Glen Haven, visit the very inhabited, pretty/upscale town of Glen Arbor, and bring the canoe to launch on Glen Lake.

Empire the town has just the right amount of good pubs to make it interesting, w. ice cream places and coffee bars to make it current. For Chocolateaholics the Grocer’s Daughter handmakes their own, and there’s another great place for smoked fish as well.

Mostly I just love the dunes and the park, and the sound of Lake Michigan, the variety of water to paddle…

So many choices
It’s hard to decide with all of the excellent places to go.

MI camping
What type of camping? State of county parks? More primitive camping? We have many parks and primitive camp sites all over up here in N. lower MI as does the U.P.

If parks are your choice it might be better to pick some you think you like then ask, just too many to list.

I have a 5 and 6 year old
we take a trip up to bewabic state park every year. There is a nice beach with changing rooms. the lake is small enough that you could paddle on all but the windiest of days. there are two more lakes that are also connected by a small stream that have only two cabins each. Good luck with your search there are a lot of choices.dont agonize too much over the location. Having a good time is more about state of mind than location IMHO.

Tent camping
We plan on tent camping in something a little more rustic hopefully.

Rifle River Recreation Area???
How bout the Rifle River Rec Area? Is it worth visiting for a couple of days?

Kingston Lake SP near Pictured Rocks
Spent a week there with the family. Reasonably quiet, all lakeside rustic camps. If you paddle the whole shoreline probably take you an hour. Crystal clear water for snorkeling and swimming. Plus you can drive to pictured rocks to hike and take pics.

Did they have a beach at Kingston? That was one I was interested in but was unsure of the beach situation.

kingston lake camping
I am in the U.P. but dont remember if kingston lake has a beach. they are doing a bunch of road construction on h-58 in that area, might be a little noisey, and dusty because of that. a very nice place with camping and a beach is petes lake, on highway 13 south of munising. there are several lakes and campgrounds inthat area, most are national forest rustic campgrounds, petes lake is probably the most family friendly, with a nice beach etc. island lake is another nice lake for paddling, as well as wide waters. all in the same general area. easy driving distance to pictured rocks.

the water in lake superior, as well as the rest of the lakes is still quite cold though.

have a great trip!