Entry into state parks, state recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and state trailhead parking lots requires a Recreation Passport.
State Park and Recreation Area Campgrounds
There is a diverse range of camping and lodging opportunities in Michigan state parks and recreations areas:
- Reservations can be made up to six months in advance for modern, semi-modern and rustic campgrounds.
- Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance for alternative lodging, including yurts, cabins, tepees, pop-up campers and lodges.
For more information, view rules pertaining to state park camping registration and campground usage and see reservation prices for campgrounds and lodging.
Rustic State Forest Campgrounds
Rustic camping opportunities are available at state forest campgrounds throughout the Upper and northern Lower Peninsulas. Each campground is located on a river or lake, providing excellent access to fishing, boating and paddling opportunities. All campgrounds have vault toilets and potable water from hand pumps. Group sites available at some campgrounds and some sites are remote and can only be accessed by hiking or paddling down a river. View 2016 closing dates and 2017 opening dates.
Camping fees and registration procedures are posted at the information kiosk at the campground. The majority of the state forest campgrounds are first come, first served. Reservations are available for the following campgrounds through midnrreservations.com:
- Lake Margrethe State Forest Campground (Crawford County)
- Little Presque Isle (Rustic Cabins) (Marquette County)
- Elk Hill Equestrian State Forest Campground (Otsego County)
- Big Bear Lake State Forest Campground (Otsego County)
Dispersed Camping (camping on your own in a state forest)
Dispersed camping is permitted on any state-owned land for free. The following rules apply:
- The campsite must not be located in a designated state park, recreation area, rustic state forest campground or game area. The campsite must also be located more than one mile from a rustic state forest campground.
- The property must not be posted "No Camping."
- A camp registration card must be prominently posted at the campsite for the duration of the stay. It is the responsibility of the camping party to ensure that the registration card remains legible (placing it in a zip-top bag is recommended).
- State Land Rules are followed.
The following resources are available to help determine where dispersed camping is available:
- Map of state forest boundaries and state forest campgrounds (use the measurement tool to determine state forest boundaries and which locations are more than one mile from rustic state forest campgrounds)
- List of rustic state forest campgrounds.
The camp registration is available at the local DNR Office or to download: