Wilderness State Park is part of our Camping For Beginners series simply because it’s a great opportunity to explore the outdoors while not leaving civilization (Mackinaw City is only 10 minutes away, and there’s even cell phone service!) It’s a great park to camp at that features multiple ways to camp, and enough space that you can spread out however you want to (please follow all of the posted rules and regulations though).
With the ample trails, the scenic beauty, and the relatively ‘wilderness’ feel, it’s a great spot for camping for beginners. Wilderness State Park is an amazing park in Michigan that’s just west of Mackinaw City in Emmet County. Wilderness State Park features more than 10,000 acres of northern forests with some areas of meadows and swamps. The park is next to the Headlands International Dark Sky Observatory which is a designated dark sky area which features some of the best night-time sky viewing in the midwest.
Wilderness State Park also has 26 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Most of it is rocky and shallow, but there are some beaches with sandy swim areas. The west side of the park is great for shallow water carp and smallmouth bass fishing, depending on the time of the year.
Probably the best part of Wilderness State Park though is it’s beautiful ‘walk in’ tent campsites (really accessible, just a 20 foot walk from the designated parking area) that are right near the Lake Michigan shoreline. It’s perhaps some of the most stunning camping areas (at least as far as official State of Michigan campsites go) that you can find in Michigan. Off to the north east, you can even see the lights from the Mackinac Bridge at night.
Wilderness State Park features ample tent camping, RV camping, and has several bunk houses and group campsites. Amenities include ringed campfire pits (learn some campfire safety tips here), water pumps, pit toilets, trash dumpsters, and even showers. There’s also a camp host in the campgrounds as well.
As far as activities go, Wilderness State Park offers many! There’s hiking, fishing, swimming, cross country skiing, and hunting allowed in the park’s 10,000 acres. There is also a boat launch on the north side of the park, just west of the campground. There’s even some limited phone service! For some reviews of the park, check out this link from The Dyrt.