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Winter Camping in Michigan Parks

Sat, Dec  6, 2008 - By MDNR

The Department of Natural Resources wants to remind winter outdoor enthusiasts that there are state parks and recreation areas that remain open to offer camping opportunities throughout the winter season.

“For your winter camping adventures, there are state parks or recreation areas that remain open for camping and other outdoor recreation year-round. Some offer rustic camping with no amenities, while others offer semi-modern campsites with electricity,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division.

“Some parks also have cabins, mini-cabins, lodges or yurts available to rent all year, and all are heated with wood or propane stoves. So GO-Get Outdoors and enjoy the winter season.”

Mitchell, Rifle River, and Traverse City offer site electricity and heated restrooms in the winter. Other campgrounds that are open all winter and offer site electricity are Algonac, Bay City, Fort Custer, Ludington, North Higgins Lake, Tahquamenon Falls, and the Waterloo Recreation Area-Portage Lake Campground.

Many of the camper cabins and mini-cabins have reduced pricing for the winter months. The following parks have facilities located on lakes or nestled in the woods, and offer one or more of these winter lodging opportunities with a wide variety of amenities for the winter season:

Upper Peninsula

  • Fort Wilkins
  • McLain
  • Porcupine Mountains
  • Wells

Northern Lower Peninsula

  • Hartwick Pines
  • Hoeft
  • Interlochen
  • Ludington
  • Mitchell
  • Rifle River
  • South Higgins Lake
  • Tawas Point
  • Traverse City
  • Wilderness

Southern Lower Peninsula

  • Bald Mountain
  • Brighton
  • Fort Custer
  • Highland
  • Holland
  • Holly
  • Island Lake
  • Ortonville
  • Pinckney
  • Port Crescent
  • Waterloo

Reservations for campsites, cabins, mini-cabins and yurts can be made on-line at or by calling 800-447-2757. To reserve a lodge, contact the park directly. For more information about a specific state park or recreation area, winter camping opportunities, events or accessibility, visit the DNR’s Web site at, under the Recreation and Camping section, or contact the Lansing Office at 517-373-9900 (TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired).

Motor vehicle permits for the 2009 season are available and can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, on the DNR’s Web site through the Michigan e-store, or by calling the Lansing Office. Rates will remain the same as last year.

Motor vehicle entrance permits are $24 for a resident annual and $6 for a resident daily. A non-resident annual is $29 and a non-resident daily is $8. Resident annual senior discount permits are $6 and can only be purchased in person at a state park or recreation area, or the main office in downtown Lansing and will require a valid driver’s license and vehicle registration.

In 2009, Michigan state parks will be celebrating their 90th anniversary. Special events will be planned and announced at a future date.

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.