We’ve been camping with our three kids since our twins were toddlers. We’re always on the lookout for kid friendly campgrounds in Michigan! Over the years we’ve found a few state parks that are more enjoyable when you’re traveling with young kids. We camp in Michigan State Park campgrounds a lot because the fees are so reasonable and our kids get a less commercialized experience.
Camping with kids, especially younger kids, can be exhausting if the campground layout isn’t kid-friendly. There’s nothing quite like carrying a sweaty, grumpy toddler a long distance in 90-degree weather! We try to avoid situations like this that will make our trip less-than-awesome.
Kid Friendly Campground Criteria:
- Three hours or less drive from our home in Mid-Michigan
- Easily accessible beach and swimming area
- Modern playground structure
- Activities or attractions located near the campground
Our Favorite Kid Friendly Campgrounds in Michigan State Parks:
Mears State Park
Mears State Park is located right on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan. This campground makes our list because of its location RIGHT on the beach. We prefer this beach campground over Holland State Park and Grand Haven State park because kids have a little (just a little!) room to play right at your campsite. The campsites are small but they each have a sandy patch and a fire pit unlike other beach campgrounds. It’s super easy to get your kids to the beach, take a walk on the pier, or play at the newer playground right on the beach. We also enjoy walking the short distance into Pentwater for ice cream and other treats!
Interlochen State Park
Interlochen State Park is located just outside of Traverse City, Michigan. The campground itself is HUGE and typically has openings all summer making it a great spot for a last-minute trip. We love this park because it is shady and you can easily get to the beach area for swimming and sand. The playground located at the beach is newer and our kids had a blast playing on it. Interlochen State Park is located within a short drive to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Traverse City area. We also love making a stop at Moomers for ice cream when we visit!
Waterloo Recreation Area Sugarloaf Campground
Waterloo’s Sugarloaf Campground makes our list because it offers so much, so close to home! The campground is on the smaller side making it easy to navigate with kids. It features an AWESOME playground for kids of all ages. The playground is split into two sections so little kiddos have their own space. It is one the best playgrounds we’ve seen at a state park. There is also a small swimming beach area.
Lakeport State Park
Lakeport State Park is located right on Lake Huron. We prefer the North campground because of its proximity to the beach. You can book campsites only steps away from the beach. Like other Lake Huron beaches, this one is rocky so be sure to pack water shoes. Our family loves rock hunting so it really just adds to the fun for us. The park also features a newer playground and a camp store stocked with ice cream, treats, and other necessities. Lakeport State Park is located within minutes of Port Huron. There is also a DELICIOUS BBQ and ice cream stand right outside the park.
South Higgins Lake State Park
South Higgins Lake State Park is located right on beautiful Higgins Lake. The park features shady sites, a newer playground, and lots of shallow beach area. There are many swimmers itch signs posted but we’ve never had a problem after swimming in the lake. The park is large so book a site closest to your favorite activities to make your trip easier. The park is located within a short drive to the Houghton Lake area for anything you might need. Our favorite weekend of the year is South Higgin’s annual Harvest Festival. They do an amazing job setting up and decorating for the weekend.
Hoffmaster State Park
Hoffmaster State Park is located in Muskegon, Michigan within minutes of shopping, activities, and restaurants. The park is wooded and shady and really feels like “up north”. We love booking a site right on the creek. The creek has a sandy bottom and clean water running through it. Our kids love splashing and playing in it right behind our campsite. The only caveat to this park is that the walk to the beach is on the longer side and the trail is too sandy to allow for wagons or strollers. We made the trek to the beach with two toddlers who couldn’t walk once and only once! Last time we visited with kids who could walk it was a whole different experience! Hoffmaster also features a big, newer playground.
If any of the campgrounds we listed look perfect for your family, book a site today! Michigan State Park campgrounds are VERY popular so booking well in advance of your trip is a must.