Do you live for summers in Michigan? We do! Camping, hiking and exploring is all part of the adventure we call life.
We've outlined 5 of our favorite camping destinations, nearby hikes and the best places to grab a cold beer afterwards. Tag along for the adventure!
1. Alpena, MI Where to camp: Ossieneke State Forest Campground Where to hike: Lumberman's Monument Where to eat/drink: Austin Brother's Beer Company
Ossieneke is first come, first serve with only rustic spots available. This quiet campground sits right on the shores of Lake Huron with sandy beaches! If you're lucky you can catch a great sunrise over the lake too!
Lumberman's Monument was a bit south of the campground, but worth the drive. The landscape was a mixture of old growth forest, sand dunes and, at points, you were privileged to stunning views of the Ausable River.
Back up near camp is Austin Brothers Beer Co. While we personally weren't blown away by the beer, it's a great place to kick back, relax and enjoy a solid meal with a cold adult beverage.
2. Greater Ludington, MI
This is one of our favorite areas to camp! We've camped in both first come first serve sites, but have also ventured out and done some dispersed camping. Here is a great video from a Michigan-based photographer we follow on the in's-and-out's of dispersed camping in Michigan. Depending on where you end up, you won't be far from a trail head or you can just explore the open woods around your dispersed site.
If you're closer to Ludington, check out Stix. This place is newly updated, but boast a solid beer selection, delicious grub, but more importantly entertainment - they have a bowling alley, an outdoor beer garden and feature live music in the summer. You can also head north to Manistee where you'll find North Channel Brewing Co.
3. Traverse City, MI
Where to camp: Traverse City State Park Where to hike: Glen Arbor, MI Where to eat/drink: Ethanology Distillery, Farm Club, HopLot & more
Now we will note, camping in Traverse City (TC) isn't the best, but this is more of a city-based trip versus a nature adventure. Traverse City State Park is right in downtown, so it can be loud, but there are bike paths that make the entire city accessible! You're also right across from Lake Michigan.
We love hiking a bit west of TC in Glen Arbor, MI - home of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. A plethora of hikes surround this little up north gem. Be sure to check out Alligator Hill, Pyramid Point and more! Also don't forget to venture into both peninsulas back near TC - Leelanau and Old Mission - as there are plenty of winers, breweries, views and additional hikes along the way! To call out a few specific favorites - Ethanology is in Elk Rapids (near Shorts Brewing!) and they've created not only a beautiful tasting room experience and creative, locally-sourced cocktails but are home to the state's only head female distiller. FarmClub is, as the owners state, a gathering place to celebrate land, honest food and community. It's a can't miss! HopLot Brewing, and their beautiful, forested beer garden, is also worthy of a visit! We could go on and on...
4. Upper Peninsula, MI
Where to camp: Superior Times or dispersed Where to hike: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Where to eat/drink: Blackrocks Brewing or Ore Docks Brewing
While there are plenty of more remote camping options, and endless dispersed camping, Superior Times was discovered in a pinch and turned out to be great! While they have cabins, they also offer rustic spots which worked out perfectly. Centrally located between Munising and Marquette, camping here allowed easy access to both cities, and was also only a short drive to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We did a long day hike - between 7-9 miles - which was absolutely worth it! The views are spectacular and don't be afraid to take a dip in Lake Superior...it's not that cold. Here is a comprehensive list of hikes in the area.
And after the hike you can head into town for a refreshing beer! Blackrocks Brewing and Ore Docks Brewing are both located in downtown Marquette. Being only a 2 minute drive or 9 min walk apart, we recommend hitting both. Cheers!
Up next on the UP list is exploring the Porcupine Mountains!
5. West Branch, MI
Where to camp: Ambrose Lake or Rifle River Recreation Area (Spruce Campground) Where to hike: plenty of trails around the camp sites Where to eat/drink: The Highway Brewing Company
The middle of Michigan is packed with a few surprises!
There is a nice hidden gem within the Rifle River Recreation Area called the Spruce Campground. It sit right on the river, is rustic, quiet and the site are spacious.
Being a bit harder to access, Ambrose is rustic, a bit more secluded but totally worth it. It sits on a nice inland lake, with depending on the time of year, great sunset views. We also caught a few sizable bass. Aside from the ORV Trails (be careful if you're exploring those) there is plenty of land to explore.
The Highway Brewing Co. is in West Branch proper, so it will have to be a set destination. The beer is solid, the service was great and other patrons sparked up conversation.
Well that should be plenty to keep you busy this summer! Wherever your adventures lead you, be safe and enjoy the beauty that is #PureMichigan. ____________________ #camping #beer #craftbeer #michiganbreweries #hikinginmichigan #campinginmichigan #upnorth #michigansummers #exploremichigan #optoutside #M22 #puremichigan #aplena #ludington #traversecity #westbranch #hiking #michigan