State Forest Campgrounds – Finding A Hidden Treasure


When one hears the word “camping” in this day and age, thoughts of RV’s, running water, showers, and electricity often come to mind. However, for me, I think of a remote lake or river with a few cleared out campsites, a vault toilet, and a hand pumped well. If this appeals to you, than I’d like to recommend camping at one of Michigan’s state forest campgrounds.

Located on state forest land in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula, Michigan’s 130 state forest campgrounds offer very few amenities and provide each camper with a way to reconnect with nature unlike modern campgrounds. Ranging from 3 sites to 50 sites, state forest campgrounds vary in size. Some have hiking trails, others have boat launches and beaches. What stays the same, however, is where they are located – off of the beaten path.

When I discovered these “hidden treasures” several years ago while camping with my family, I immediately fell in love. For $13 a night, you get peace, tranquility, and the ability to experience nature at its finest. No crowds, paved campsites, hotel-like amenities, or internet. This is what camping is all about.

Michigan is blessed with 3.9 million acres of state forest land. Take advantage of it, because each citizen in Michigan owns it. To find a state forest campground near you, visit or call your nearest DNR field office.

Jake Putala, YCC Member, Pelkie



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