A campground can make or break a camping trip. Our preferred method of camping is something called dispersed camping where you pick a location in the middle of a forest, set up your tent and you’re good to go. There are no bathrooms, no water and certainly no showers.
This type of camping isn’t for everything so the next best thing, in our opinion, is rustic camping. Rustic campgrounds have no electricity or showers but provide vault toilets and sometimes water pumps (trust me, the water is always freezing). These are generally cheaper than a modern campground but still give the opportunity to enjoy nature.
12 Mile Beach Campground
Pictured Rocks, Grand Marias, Michigan
Set up your tent on the sands of Lake Superior and take in the view. That makes this the most amazing campground in Michigan. Period. The view is magnificent and there’s no doubt about it, you’ll see some of the finest sunsets in the park here. Imagine cooking dinner after a long day of hiking while watching the sky turn the most vibrant pinks and yellows. All from the comfort of your campsite.
Be warned though. There are 36 sites and it is a first come, first serve campground. It fills up fast during the summer months and stays full. Don’t expect to come on a Friday and expect to snag a spot.
There are vault toilets and “bear proof” trash bins here and that’s about it.
Big Eric’s Bridge State Forest Campground
21 miles Northeast of L’anse, Michigan
Before I go any further into the why I love Big Eric’s Bridge Campground, let me warn you, there will be Mosquitoes at this campground. There will be black flies.
This campground is literally in the middle of nowhere and directly on the Huron River, right next to a small set of waterfalls. That sold it for me. There are 20 sites available for first come, first serve and the campground has a vault toilet and a water pump available. It’s a good place to check out if you’re interested in hiking or fishing, don’t mind bugs and love being in nature.
Round Lake State Forest Campground
Pigeon River State Forest, Vanderbilt, Michigan
When Steve and I got married, this is where we wanted to hold the wedding. Unfortunately, DNR wouldn’t allow that, but it still remains one of our favorite rustic campgrounds in lower Michigan. When it’s just us in Pigeon River, we always disperse camp but when we’re bringing other’s with us to show off the beauty of the forest, there’s no better campground to stay at.
Nearby there is an additional campground called Pigeon Bridge Campground. This one has Pigeon River running through it and is probably the most popular campground in the forest. But it doesn’t have nearly the beauty that Round Lake has.
Mead Creek campground
Mead Creek is a small 9 site campground that we’ve only been to once, back in 2011. The campsites are all spaced out and have lots of privacy. It doesn’t have any spectacular views but as a small creek (Mead) running through it and lots of wildlife. We heard wolves at night. Not too mention it’s surrounded by lots and lots of trees that all turn bright yellow, orange and red in the fall. If I remember correctly, there are two vault toilets at this campground.