Michigan State Parks (2022)

Michigan State Parks Details

Camping

Camping in Michigan is a one-of-a-kind experience and will undoubtedly inspire you to explore the Great Lakes even more. The 5,000-acre Ludington State Park, nestled between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake, features over 360 campsites equipped with the latest amenities, as well as mini cabins for rent. This park is a particular favorite among families looking for a great camping trip that has plenty of swimming thrown in!

The quaint and charming Sleepy Hollow State Park is another popular camping spot with both primitive and modern sites. The diverse flora and fauna found within this park are a treat to experience.

Those who prefer a peaceful and quiet camping trip will find the secluded Leelanau State Park to their liking. The rustic sites found within the park are perfect for campers who wish to go back to the simple joys of nature. Follow our camping checklist to help you get ready for your trip.

Wilderness State Park is also a great camping destination with over 250 well-equipped campsites separated into two areas. Amenities here will cater to every type of camper, whether they prefer a modern or rustic camping trip.

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Hiking

Those who are after a leisurely and laid-back hike will love the 1.6-mile Warren Woods Trail at Warren Woods State Park, located a few hours southwest the city of Kalamazoo. This route takes hikers through the park’s lush forests and the Galien River Overlook where a breathtaking view of the river and its surrounding natural landscapes await.

The 5.8-mile hiking trail at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, on the other hand, is perfect for those who wish to explore the unique and rugged beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Take in the cascading Upper Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. Keep an eye out for the foxes, deers, moose, and beavers who have made their homes inside the park!

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Backpacking

At Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, a 21.2-mile trail is ideal for visitors who are up for an adventure. This is the largest state park in Michigan with over 60,000 acres, boasting of old-growth forest, a great many streams and rivers, and miles of shoreline along Lake Superior. Enjoy the stunning scenery from Lake of the Clouds and the Summit Peak Observation Tower.

On the other hand, Hoeft State Park is made for backpackers looking for a short yet sweet adventure. Traversing the 11-mile trail along the shoreline of Lake Huron is a great way to explore the incredible nature of Michigan and backpackers can complete their day by spending a night at the park’s well-kept camping sites.

Negwegon State Park is the ideal backpacking spot for those who want a rustic adventure along Michigan’s backcountry. Take in great views of Lake Huron and the natural landscapes of this region of The Great Lake State.

Fishing

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, situated on 20 miles of Lake Superior shoreline, is considered by many to be the best fishing hole in Michigan. Be advised, though, that Lake Superior tends to get crowded, especially during peak season, although many inland lakes and rivers inside the park also make for a great fishing spot.

Geocaching

For geocachers visiting Michigan, head on over to Bay City State Park, Cheboygan State Park, Holland State Park, and Baraga State Park, all of which boast of several caches concealed among their challenging hiking trails.

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Day Use Areas

Michigan is one of the best springtime destinations in the United States with its sprawling landscapes and diverse nature, both of which make for great picnic spots. Grand Haven State Park, in particular, is a favorite among residents who love laying their blankets on the park’s sandy beaches. Be sure to bring an ice box, though, to protect your food from the crafty seagulls who frequent the area!

Silver Lake State Park is another incredible spot where picnic-goers can take in views of the stunning sunset over the water as they close off their meal. This park is an extremely popular recreational spot so don’t be surprised by the crowds that you’re sure to encounter here.

Within the town of Champion lies Van Riper State Park, a great spot for picnic-goers who love the outdoors! The beautiful scenic landscapes found in this park are simply breathtaking.

Biking

Grand Haven State Park features over 20 miles of paved bike trails, running from the north end of the park to Holland State Park in the south for cycling. This trail takes riders through stunning landmarks, such as the Rosy Mound Natural Area, a classic Great Lakes dune system that includes high wooded dunes, a beach, and a dune blowout.

Those who wish to take on a longer biking adventure should check out the 774-mile trail that runs from Detroit to Bay City, turning west to North Higgins Lake State Park before heading north through to Mackinaw City. This experience of a lifetime isn’t for the faint-hearted!

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Boating

Most Americans consider Michigan to be the national center of classic boating due to it being the home of the Great Lakes, as well as the country’s longest freshwater shoreline at over 3,300 miles. Thus, there are a great many incredible boating spots here, one of them being Mullett Lake at Aloha State Park. With over 26 miles of surface area, this lake is one of the largest in the state and many kayakers are obsessed with paddling its many inlets.

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Additionally, Mullett Lake is part of the Inland Waterway, a series of connected rivers and lakes that will take boaters from one side of the state to the other.

Bird watching

As its name suggests, Warren Dunes State Park is renowned for its towering dunes that reach as high as 240 feet above the water. However, the park is also one of the finest birdwatching hotspots in Michigan with migratory boards following the lake’s shoreline and various species of raptors making an appearance every April. Here, avid Birders can catch glimpses through your binoculars of the Least Flycatcher, the Carolina Wren, the Prairie Warbler, and the Summer Tanager.

The 183-acre Tawas Point State Park situated on a narrow peninsula on Lake Huron is also home to various interesting bird species. The park boasts of an abundance of diverse habitats, such as marshes and mudflats, that attract over 280 species, some of which are rarities. Bald Eagles are observed year-round while the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler regularly appears within the area every May.

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Beaches

Grand Haven State Park is a classic summer beach with a picturesque lighthouse, a scenic boardwalk, and plenty of recreational activities. The park’s beach is the most heavily used in the state due to its many modern amenities, which includes a multi-use trail that leads to Holland, one of the larger and busier lakeside cities in Michigan.

The beach at Hoeft State Park is Michigan’s best-kept secret – an oft-overlooked and lightly-used swimming spot situated in the state’s northeastern Lower Peninsula. Swim in the cool and clear waters of Lake Huron and relax on the comfortable sandy beach afterward. If you’re not in the mood to deal with the summer crowds, then this park is perfect for you!

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ATV Trails

The massive Silver Lake Off-Road Vehicle area found at Silver Lake Dunes State Park is the largest one in Michigan, boasting of over 500 acres of diverse and challenging terrain that includes hilly sand dunes. A few minutes south of the town of Ludington, residents and tourists alike flock to this park for a day of hair-raising fun and to test their driving skills.

Horseback Riding

With over 12,000 equestrian trails and pathways, Michigan is a dream destination for many horseback riding enthusiasts! At Mackinac Island State Park, visitors can avail of a guided equestrian trail or opt to bring their own horses instead via the island’s ferry services. The park features several boarding options for equestrians, including Bed & Breakfasts, the Grand Hotel, and the recently-renovated Mission Point Resort. Nearly 80% of Mackinac Island is crisscrossed by well-kept and shady horse-friendly trails, making it the perfect spot for avid horseback riders.

Waterloo State Recreation Area, the third-largest park in Michigan, has over 50 miles of horseback riding trails that will take you through some of the most stunning scenery that you’ll ever encounter! This park is also famous for its world-class accommodations, which include cabins, yurts, and campsites that visitors can reserve.

Museums

The Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum is found inside Leelanau State Park, offering visitors a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan and the Grand Traverse Bay. Among the park’s many exhibits are the restored keepers’ dwelling, the Native American Settlements found within the area, the archaeological dig of the first Grand Traverse Lighthouse, and the Underwater Preserve found in Grand Traverse Bay. While the museum offers only self-guided tours, school and adult groups are free to reserve a guide beforehand.

Winter Sports

Muskegon State Park is home to the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, which means that it offers more than just your run-of-the-mill winter activities. Here, visitors can ice skate through the woods, shoot down a hill on an Olympics-designed track, and even take on the Midwest’s longest lit cross-country ski trail. To cap off your winter adventure, spend a few nights inside one of the many yurts found within the park.

Those who prefer a more laid-back winter treat may opt for Hartwick Pines State Park, which offers full moon hikes and snowshoe hikes. These are perfect for those who wish to explore the snow-covered natural landscapes unique to Michigan! If you want to stay toasty warm while outside, you can always pick up a heated jacket.

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

If you want to snorkel in one of the best freshwater diving spots in Michigan, then check out Burt Lake State Park. Beneath the waters of Burt Lake are large schools of trout and perch, which are easily seen due to the clear visibility of the lake. This is undoubtedly a snorkeling experience to remember!

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Lake Charlevoix at Young State Park is also full of colorful freshwater fish and aquatic plants, making it another ideal spot for avid snorkelers visiting Michigan.

FAQs

What is the most beautiful state park in Michigan? ›

What is the most visited state park in Michigan? ›

Warren Dunes State Park

With a bounty of Lake Michigan beachfront in its nearly 2,000 total acres, it's easy to see why this park is almost always the most visited in the state.

How many state parks are in Michigan? ›

103 state parks and recreation areas (with new parks in Saginaw and Flint underway). 140 state forest campgrounds. 357,000 acres of state park land (with 257,155 acres of that land open to hunting). 13,496 state park campsites.

Is there a senior pass for Michigan state parks? ›

The state increase follows the December announcement by Huron-Clinton Metroparks that its price for vehicle passes increased $5. The annual metroparks pass had been $35 and $24 for seniors age 62 and older. As of Jan. 1, however, the passes cost $40 and $29 for seniors.

What is America's #1 state park? ›

1: Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee

Besides Fall Creek Falls, the park is home to 26,000 acres of cascades, gorges, waterfalls, streams and hardwood forests. For beautiful views, you can hike to one of many overlooks throughout the park.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Michigan? ›

According to a list compiled by the U.S. News & World Report, the most popular tourist attraction in all of Michigan is Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is known for its famous fudge and Native American historical sites.

What is the least visited national park in Michigan? ›

This is Michigan's Isle Royale National Park. In the last few years my feet have trod trails in many national parks, including Yosemite, Glacier, Arches, Big Bend, and Denali. All of them are majestic destinations brimming with unique wildlife and stunning vistas, wondrous opportunities and magical experiences.

What is the number 1 most visited national park? ›

Top 10 national parks
  • Grand Canyon National Park: 4.53 million.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park: 4.43 million.
  • Acadia National Park: 4.06 million.
  • Grand Teton National Park: 3.88 million.
  • Yosemite National Park: 3.28 million.
  • Indiana Dunes National Park: 3.17 million.
  • Glacier National Park: 3.08 million.
16 Feb 2022

What is the famous state park in Michigan? ›

Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Paradise. One of Michigan's most popular state parks, Tahquamenon Falls encompasses much of the Upper Peninsula's most spectacular natural beauty. Two large waterfalls, among the largest east of the Mississippi, the Upper and Lower Falls give the park its name.

Do you need a park pass for Michigan state parks? ›

Park entry

A Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, and most boating access sites and state trailheads.

How much does a Michigan state park pass cost? ›

Vehicles: $17 when purchased at state parks, most DNR customer service centers or at the Secretary of State outside your license plate registration renewal cycle. (passport fee + $5 convenience fee = $17). Motorcycles: $6 when purchased at time of your license plate registration renewal through the Secretary of State.

Can you sleep in your car in Michigan state parks? ›

Yes. Because Michigan rest areas are open 24 hours a day, you can arrive at a rest area during night time hours and park overnight for an indefinite period of time. With no specified maximum time limit, overnight parking is effectively permitted.

What is the difference between America the Beautiful Pass and senior pass? ›

The Senior Pass allows free access and discounts at National Parks and other federal recreation sites. The official name of the Senior Pass is America the Beautiful—the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. This pass replaced the Golden Age Passport.

How long is a Michigan state park pass good for? ›

The pass is valid for one year or until the current vehicle registration expires. The pass allows people to visit more than 100 state parks and recreation areas. Visitors from outside Michigan can purchase the annual pass online or at state parks for $34 or pay $9 a day.

What is considered a senior citizen in Michigan? ›

Must be at least 55 years of age or older.

What is the only US state without a national park? ›

Delaware is the only state in the country that does not have anational park, national monument, national historic site or anyother unit of the National Park Service.

What is the best month to visit Michigan? ›

The best time to visit Michigan is between the months of May and October. Michigan observes its spring and autumn seasons during this time, making it ideal weather to enjoy the host of outdoor activities that Michigan has to offer.

What is the most crowded national park? ›

25 Most Visited Parks in 2021
OrderParkRecreational Visits
1Blue Ridge Parkway15.9 million
2Great Smoky Mountains National Park14.1 million
3Golden Gate National Recreation Area13.7 million
4Gateway National Recreation Area9.1 million
21 more rows
16 Feb 2022

What is the least visited national park? ›

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the least-visited US national park.

Is there a Disney park in Michigan? ›

Walt Disney World Resort (Michigan) is an entertainment complex in Muskegon, Michigan is also a Theme Park resort located Within Muskegon World Resort at Muskegon, Michigan. Is An Indoor Walt Disney World Michigan has 7 Theme Parks, 20 Hotels & Resorts, a downtown-like shopping district, and other entertainment venues.

Where is the largest waterfall in Michigan? ›

The Tahquamenon Falls is Michigan's largest waterfall, with the upper falls stretching 200 feet wide and 50 feet tall. The lower Tahquamenon Falls is 100 feet wide and 22 feet tall located four miles downstream. The waterfall is located at Tahquamenon Falls State Park near Paradise in the Upper Peninsula.

What is the largest waterfall in Michigan? ›

Tahquamenon Falls – Paradise

The Upper Falls, at 50 feet tall and 200 feet wide, stand alone as Michigan's largest waterfalls, the most interesting and among the most accessible.

What is the prettiest area of Michigan? ›

Here are 12 of the most gorgeous destinations in Michigan.
  • Grand Haven State Park. ...
  • Fisherman's Island. ...
  • Porcupine Mountains. ...
  • Isle Royale. ...
  • Tawas Point State Park. Flickr/George Tawas. ...
  • Mackinac Island. Flickr/Michael Patterson. ...
  • Lavender Labyrinth at Cherry Point Farm. Facebook/Cherry Point Farm and Market. ...
  • Tahquamenon Falls.
22 Jul 2017

What is the famous state park in Michigan? ›

Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Paradise. One of Michigan's most popular state parks, Tahquamenon Falls encompasses much of the Upper Peninsula's most spectacular natural beauty. Two large waterfalls, among the largest east of the Mississippi, the Upper and Lower Falls give the park its name.

What is the number one beach in Michigan? ›

1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore — Empire. Sleeping Bear Point Beach is on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and has been named among the 21 best beach destinations in the world by National Geographic.

What is the best month to go to Michigan? ›

The best time to visit Michigan is between the months of May and October. Michigan observes its spring and autumn seasons during this time, making it ideal weather to enjoy the host of outdoor activities that Michigan has to offer.

Where is the richest city in Michigan? ›

Located in Wayne County, Grosse Pointe Farms is considered the richest city in Michigan and is a great place to live especially for young families.

What is the least visited national park in Michigan? ›

This is Michigan's Isle Royale National Park. In the last few years my feet have trod trails in many national parks, including Yosemite, Glacier, Arches, Big Bend, and Denali. All of them are majestic destinations brimming with unique wildlife and stunning vistas, wondrous opportunities and magical experiences.

Is there a Disney park in Michigan? ›

Walt Disney World Resort (Michigan) is an entertainment complex in Muskegon, Michigan is also a Theme Park resort located Within Muskegon World Resort at Muskegon, Michigan. Is An Indoor Walt Disney World Michigan has 7 Theme Parks, 20 Hotels & Resorts, a downtown-like shopping district, and other entertainment venues.

What is the only US state without a national park? ›

Delaware is the only state in the country that does not have anational park, national monument, national historic site or anyother unit of the National Park Service.

What is the number 1 most visited national park? ›

Top 10 national parks
  • Grand Canyon National Park: 4.53 million.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park: 4.43 million.
  • Acadia National Park: 4.06 million.
  • Grand Teton National Park: 3.88 million.
  • Yosemite National Park: 3.28 million.
  • Indiana Dunes National Park: 3.17 million.
  • Glacier National Park: 3.08 million.
16 Feb 2022

What is the most visited state park? ›

Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument, California

It's no surprise that California has the most visited state park system in America. But it might be surprising to learn that the most popular of those state parks is, well, a house.

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