Michigan’s U.P. State Parks: Nature’s playground from dawn to starry night

Need a place to slow down from your hectic life? You’ll find it in the U.P.’s 22 state parks and recreation areas. Breathtaking scenery, acres of wilderness, refreshing solitude and exhilarating adventure make each one a memorable destination. Plan to hike, paddle, fish, swim, mountain bike, boat, ORV or snowmobile, snowshoe, horseback ride, cross-country or downhill ski, or just sit back and relax. See lighthouses, waterfalls and wildlife.

Most of the U.P.’s state parks are open year round. Many fill calendars with family activities and special events for day visitors and campers. All should be on your bucket list to visit.

Did you know? The U.P. is home to Michigan’s:

  • Oldest state park, Mackinac Island State Park. More than 80% of the island is state park property and most of this land remains in its natural state. Access to the park is by foot, bike, rented horse or buggy, sightseeing carriages or horse-drawn taxis. No motorize vehicles or camping are allowed.
  • Largest state park in land mass, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. It’s 60,000 acres is one of the few large wilderness areas remaining in the Midwest. Miles of wild rivers and streams, secluded lakes (including a mountain view of Lake of the Clouds), virgin timber, wildlife and waterfalls make this an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Roads are closed Dec. 1 ‘til late spring.
  • Most remote state park, Craig Lake State Park. It’s an adventure just getting to this incredible spot on our planet!  You’ll want to take a vehicle with high-ground clearance to reach this park’s six lakes, numerous ponds and high granite bluffs. The payback for making the effort is a chance to see loons, deer, black bear, beaver and part of Michigan’s moose herd.
  • Michigan’s only brewery within a state park, Tahquamenon Falls Brewing Company in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. This park is the land of Longfellow’s Hiawatha. The brewery is just one of this park’s amenities. Its hallmarks are two magnificent waterfalls along the Tahquamenon River, the Upper Falls (one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River) and Lower Falls.

Entrance requirements: Michigan recreation passport or day pass; or non-resident passes

Spend the night beneath a dome of stars: Choose from thousands of campsites or rustic cabins, camper cabins, lodges, yurts and tepee rentals. The U.P. strives to share its beauty with everyone and many of its state parks offer ADA accessible camping options. Like to explore the outdoors, but prefer overnighting with the indoor amenities and comforts of a hotel or bed and breakfast inn? Most U.P. state parks are located within minutes of nearby lodgings.

Campground reservations: Click here, for online reservations or call 800-44PARKS (800-447-2757).

Find your happy place here.

Alger County

Baraga County

Chippewa County

Delta County

Dickinson County

Gogebic County

Houghton County

Iron County

Keweenaw County

Luce County

Mackinac County

Marquette County

Menominee County

Ontonagon County

Schoolcraft County