Take This Road Trip On Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
If you head all the way north on Interstate 75, you’ll cross the Mackinac Bridge onto the scenic Upper Peninsula in Michigan. The U.P. is a peaceful destination for RV camping between the dense north woods and sandy shoreline along three of the Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, and Huron). This also makes for a natural playground if you love to go fishing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, or biking.
Summer is the best time to visit when the weather is nice and warm. It is also especially scenic in the fall when the leaves change colors and in the spring when you can see blooming wildflowers.
We mapped out the best road trip on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Plan your own travels on RV Trip Wizard and with the RV LIFE App to find more great campgrounds, RV parks, and other points of interest.
1. Straits State Park
Straits State Park makes a great starting point right after you cross the bridge onto the Upper Peninsula. It also provides a perfect home base if you want to take the ferry over to explore the shops and historic sites on Mackinac Island. The park has two campgrounds—the upper sites are larger and nicely shaded in the woods while the lower campground has scenic views of the lake and the bridge.
2. Tahquamenon Falls
About an hour northwest, you’ll reach Tahquamenon Falls State Park near Paradise, Michigan. Tahquamenon Falls is actually two waterfalls, the Upper and Lower Falls, on the Tahquamenon River.
The Upper Falls can be reached along a paved, quarter-mile trail through the woods and down a set of stairs to a viewing platform. From there, it is a longer, 4-mile hike (roundtrip) along the River Trail to reach the Lower Falls. If you want to view the Lower Falls but don’t want to hike, you can also drive up to see it. There is additionally a shuttle service offered for a fee between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The campground is close to the Lower Falls, as well as a gift shop and camp store. There is also a Brew Pub in the park that serves craft beer and various dishes like steaks, sandwiches, and pasta.
3. Pictured Rocks
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a couple hours west of Tahquamenon Falls, along the south shore of Lake Superior. The park’s 100 miles of trails lead to beautiful waterfalls, along the sandy beach, through the woods to inland lakes, and to scenic overlooks where you can see the dramatic cliffs and rock formations.
The name Pictured Rocks comes from the colorful cliffs and the best way to view them is from the water. Go kayaking or take a scenic cruise on Lake Superior during the day or at sunset. The park has a few RV-friendly campgrounds including the Twelvemile Campground where you can camp with views of the lake. There is also a KOA and RV park nearby.
4. Keweenaw Peninsula
A few hours west of the lakeshore is the Keweenaw Peninsula, the northernmost point of the Upper Peninsula. This quiet, more remote area has breathtaking views of the Lake Superior shoreline as well as historic sites including the Keweenaw National Historic Park and Quincy Mine.
5. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Head south from the Keweenaw Peninsula and you’ll reach Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, the largest state park in Michigan. This park has miles of hiking trails through the woods, many leading to waterfalls and scenic overlooks like the ADA-accessible Lake Of The Clouds and the Summit Peak Observation Tower.
6. Crystal Falls, Michigan
Continue back east towards Crystal Falls, a tiny town along the Paint River with lots of parks nearby for outdoor activities. Stay at Paint River Hills Campground, Bewabic State Park, or Runkle Lake and spend a day or two exploring the area’s peaceful trails, lakes, and waterfalls.
7. Fayette Historic Site
The historic townsite of Fayette is worth branching off to see on your way eastbound. This ghost town has been preserved as a living museum and is listed on the National Register Of Historic Places. There are over 20 restored buildings from the 1890s that visitors can still walk through today. The park also has 61 campsites with water/electric hookups, a short walk from a beach and a picnic area.
8. Palms Book State Park
Kitch-Iti-Kipi, also known as The Big Spring, is less than an hour north in Palms Book State Park. The natural spring water is so crystal clear you can see the trout swimming underneath.
The park has a floating observation raft, a picnic area with grills, and a store where you can purchase souvenirs and snacks. There is a large campground with pull-through sites only 10 minutes away at Indian Lake State Park.
9. Manistique Lakeshore Campground
Only 20 minutes east of the spring is the small town of Manistique. The town has a nice lakefront campground with wide and long pull-through sites and full hookups. Take a walk down to the beach or along the Manistique Boardwalk to see the lighthouse.
10. Lakeshore Park Campground, St. Ignace
Wrap up your trip at Lakeshore Park Campground in St. Ignace, less than an hour and a half east of Manistique via Highway 2. This family-owned park has pull-through sites with full hookups and beautiful views overlooking Lake Michigan. It is also just up the road from the St. Ignace KOA.
Start planning your Upper Peninsula road trip today on RV Trip Wizard and with the RV LIFE App. You can also find more campgrounds and get tips from other RVers on Campground Reviews and the iRV2 Forums.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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