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Multiple Michigan Camping Areas are Closing This Season

Devastated RVers learned that Michigan’s closing many of its beloved camping areas this year. Over a dozen parks are closed for the 2023 camping season!

Visitors have little information about when the state plans to reopen the campgrounds. As a result, thousands of tourists feel left in the lurch.

Today, we’re investigating what’s happening in Michigan and how to navigate these changes in the coming season. 

Let’s jump in!

Closing Notices for Popular Michigan Camping Areas

Unhappy campers learned that some of their favorite spots to stay overnight are now unavailable during peak season. Some will close for good, while others will only shut down certain areas or campsites.

But these closures are taking place for a good reason. As many as 17 state parks and wilderness areas in Michigan are receiving significant upgrades. The state’s spending millions of dollars for accessibility, restroom facilities, and fixes in its parks. Upgraded electrical systems, water lines, and sewer systems are some of the most common additions. 

The state’s campgrounds are incredibly popular, especially during the summer months. Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hopes to get the word out now so RVers aren’t surprised when they pull up to their favorite campground. The upgrades will allow these visitors a safer and more comfortable experience. 

About Michigan Camping

Michigan has more than 1,000 campgrounds throughout the state. Many visitors use the seven national parks and over 100 state parks and recreation areas every year. The state’s natural beauty draws tourists from around the country.

Lake Michigan is a premier tourist destination, and waterfront campgrounds are plentiful. Lush, emerald forests are a respite for interstate-weary travelers. Michigan has it all, and it’s on offer year-round. 

DNR oversees these state-run locations. When they began working on the strategic plan, they requested input from Michigan residents and visitors. DNR expects the work to last through 2027, but parks won’t be closed nearly that long.

Pro Tip: You’ll love exploring these 7 Underrated Michigan Tourist Attractions.

Michigan hiker

Why Does Michigan Close Camping Areas?

Construction and maintenance are the main reasons for this rash of closures. DNR projects may include supplying campgrounds with electricity and sewer access, reinforcing infrastructure like roads and sidewalks, or revitalizing buildings.

However, weather-related events and damage from natural causes are also to blame. Flooding has made certain destinations inaccessible in some areas, such as Bankson Lake and Little Presque Isle. These closures are due to insufficient drainage or problems with existing dams.

Some parks are simply adding more amenities. Governor Whitmer’s Building Michigan Together plan designated $250 million for state parks needing revitalization. While this endeavor will benefit Michigan’s state parks, it’s inconvenient that so many campsites will be inaccessible at one time. 

How Can You Find a Michigan Camping Area That’s Not Closing?

DNR is trying to make these closures known throughout the state. News briefings and press releases have covered the changes for months. But there are several resources available to help campers plan for their trips.

Their website has a comprehensive list of closures on state lands. There’s a specific web page dedicated to these interferences. 

You can search the site by park name or even by reason for the closure, which is especially helpful if you believe multiple campgrounds along your route may be closed for the same reason.

3 Popular Michigan Camping Areas Not Closed in 2023 

If you’re planning a road trip through Michigan any time soon, it’s essential to do your research beforehand. To make it easier, we compiled a list of our favorite sites unaffected by the closures.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park 

The Tahquamenon River is the jewel of the Upper Peninsula. Its waterfalls are some of the largest east of the Mississippi. The Upper Falls are almost 200 feet across and 50 feet high. Visitors can either enjoy the Lower Falls from the riverbank or rent a rowboat and take in the sites from the island. 

Tahquamenon Falls State Park encompasses nearly 50,000 acres and includes 13 lakes and over 40 miles of hiking trails. 

It’s also highly accessible and offers “track chairs” to visitors who can’t make the trek on foot. These are essentially off-road wheelchairs that can handle a variety of terrain. Best of all, they’re free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. 

South Higgins Lake State Park

Another state park unaffected by these closures is South Higgins Lake. Seven hundred acres of mixed pine, oak, and maple forest surround this crystal-clear body of water. Many of the 400 campsites have 50-Amp hookups. 

It’s hard to get bored camping here. Visitors can fish, canoe, or rent a boat in comfortable weather, and metal-detecting is especially popular along the shores. 

Campers can explore over five miles of hiking trails, and the waterfront is pet-friendly. In winter, adventurers flock to the park for ice fishing and snowshoeing.

Wilderness State Park

Wilderness State Park lives up to its name with more than 26 miles of shoreline and 10,000 acres of woodlands. 

Activities are plentiful, especially for outdoor enthusiasts. Fishing, hiking, and stargazing keep visitors entertained. There’s even a dog-friendly beach for your four-legged friends. Over 20 miles of hiking trails meander through the park. But take a map if you venture into the woods. The forest is dense, and it’s easy to get lost. 

Many camping options are available, from tent-only spots to RV pads with full hookups. You can also stay in a rustic cabin or bunkhouse. 

Pro Tip: Study up on these 7 Michigan Slang Words You Must Know Before Visiting.

Don’t Let Michigan Camping Area Closures Keep You Down!

Many of Michigan’s most popular campgrounds will be closed for renovations in the coming season. But there are still plenty of options to choose from. More importantly, these parks will be even better when they reopen. Improved roads, accessibility, and features like bathrooms and sewer hookups elevate every camper’s experience.

We can’t wait!

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

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