Lake Michigan Recreation Area


Area Status: Open

Lake Michigan Recreation Area is a four loop campground located on the shoreline to Lake Michigan between Manistee and Ludington.  In addition to the 99 single family sites and 3 group sites, the site also boasts a day use area with multiple picnic tables, pavilions and a playground, an ampitheater and an overlook.  Arrowhead Trail, which runs through the campground, connects to the wilderness trails that traverse Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless otherwise posted.
Reservations: Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777
Area Amenities: Parking
Fees: Camping (per night):
  • Single Site: $29.00
  • Group Site (up to 25 people): $65.00
  • Group Site (26 – 50 people): $85.00
Day Use (per vehicle):
  • Per Day: $7.00
  • Extra Vehicle: $8.00
  • Ampitheater: $175.00
Permit Info: Special Use Permit -
  • No special use permit is required for individuals or small groups (74 people or less).
  • Permits are required for commercial, event or large groups (75 people or more).
Visit the Passes and Permits section for more information on obtaining a special use permit.
Open Season: May 13 - October 10
Usage: Light
Best Season: May to October
Restrictions: As a visitor to the National Forest, you are asked to follow certain rules designed to protect the Forest, natural resources and to provide for public safety of visitors. These rules are available to you on-line or at any office of the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Please take time to read and understand them. General Topic orders apply across the Forests. Applicable Orders -
  • Motorized Vehicle Use of Roads, Trails and Off-road Areas; R904-14-02
  • Occupancy and Use - Developed Recreation Areas, Dispersed Areas, Being Publicly Nude, Marine Prohibitions, Parking and Sanitation; R904-14-03
  • Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area; R904-14-09
  • Piping Plover; R904-14-11
Closest Towns: Freesoil
Water: Yes
Restroom: Vault
Operated By: American Land and Leisure
Information Center:

General Information

Directions:

From Manistee

  • Travel south on US-31 for 10 miles.
  • Turn right and travel west on W. Forest Trail Rd. for 8 miles.
  • W. Forest Trail Rd. becomes FR 5629. Continue west on FR 5629.
  • The road terminates at the site.

General Notes:

Downloadable Maps and Resources

Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Visitor Information and Map

Location

Lake Michigan

Nearby Recreation Areas 

County

Mason

Lake Michigan Recreation Area


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Beachcombing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amenities -

  • Playground
  • Pedestal grills
  • Overlook deck
  • Beach
  • Bike trail
  • Amphitheater

Sand Play

Campground Camping

 

A campground site map is located on Recreation.gov.

Amenities -

  • Playground
  • Pedestal grills
  • Overlook deck
  • Beach
  • Bike trail
  • Amphitheater
  • Hosts
No. of Sites Single: 99
Reservation Info  Hemlock and Violet Loops: No reservation needed. All sites are first come, first serve. Orchid and Oak Loops - 25 single sites: Reservation needed -
  • Mid-May to Mid-September
  • One time reservation fee of $9.00
  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance of visit.
  • Reservations must be made at least 3 days in advance of visit.
Go to: Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777. Search for "Lake Michigan at Manistee"
No. of Accessible sites
Sleeping Shelter No

RV Camping

Amenities -

  • Playground
  • Pedestal grills
  • Overlook deck
  • Beach
  • Bike trail
  • Amphitheater
  • Hosts
No. of Sites
  • Single: 99
  • Group (25 - 49 people): 3
Pavement Type for Parking Asphalt
Reservation Info Hemlock  and Violet Loops: No reservation needed. All sites are first come, first serve. Oak and Orchid Loops: 25 single sites and 3 group sites are reservable. Reservation needed -
  • Mid-May to Mid-September
  • One time reservation fee of $9.00
  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance of visit.
  • Reservations must be made at least 3 days in advance of visit.
Go to: Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777. Search for "Lake Michigan at Manistee".
Hookup - Water No
Vehicle Clearence Low
Hookup - Sewer No
Size Restrictions 50 Ft. or Less
Dump Stations No
Hookups - Electric No

Group Camping

No. of Sites Group (25 - 49 people): 3
Reservation Info Reservation needed -
  • Mid-May to Mid-September
  • One time reservation fee of $9.00
  • Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance of visit.
  • Reservations must be made at least 3 days in advance of visit.
Go to: Recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777. Search for "Lake Michigan at Manistee".
Group Shelter No
Group Cooking Facilities No
Hookups - Electric No
Sleeping Shelter No

Day Hiking

Arrowhead Trail is a short loop trail created by the Boy Scouts and is located between the Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Lake Michigan, forming a loop between the campground and the beach. 

Lake Michigan Recreation Area also has a trailhead for the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area trails.  These trails are minimally maintained and signed. 

Viewing Wildlife

LMRA - Piping PloverThe Lake Michigan Shoreline is the summer habitat for the Piping Plover.  The piping plover is a relative of the Killdeer. Piping Plovers are smaller, and lighter colored. Breeding adults have a single black band around the neck, while the Killdeer has two. The Great Lakes population of piping plovers is endangered — they are in danger of extinction. The “piping” part of the name is a description of its call, a sweet, soft whistle. Plovers are a group of shorebirds that feed with run-stop-peck movements, somewhat like the way an American robin feeds.

The ultimate wildlife viewing experience is watching animals in their habitat. Here are some helpful tips to become a wildlife friendly viewer:

  • Use the right tools - A field guide, a pair of binoculars and a camera. Wear clothing that is appropritate for the season and activitiy.
  • Watch at dawn and dusk - This is the time when most wildlife species are active enough to view.
  • Keep your distance - Maintain a distance that is comfortable for the wildlife.
  • Stay quiet - Move slowly and quietly to increase your chances of viewing wildlife, and to avoid stressing the animals you wish to watch.
  • Do not feed the wildlife - There is plenty of food availale in the wild. Human food can cause digestive problems, provide improper nutrition, and even kill an animal.

An online version of the Michigan Wildlife Viewing Guide is available on the MI-DNRE website.

Species Unique Species - Piping Plover and Prairie Warbler
Special Feature Ludington Dune System, including Lake Michigan Recreation Area, Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Viewing Scenery

Special Feature Ludington Dune System, including Lake Michigan Recreation Area, Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Visitor Programs

Interpretive Areas

Picnicking

No. of Sites 6
Reservation Info No reservation needed.  All sites are first come, first served.

Swimming

 To find out the water temperature in Lake Michigan visit the Great Lakes Coastal Forcasting System

Also remember to check the Beach Conditions Report. Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Nordhouse Dunes are located just north of Ludington State Park and south of Orchard Beach State Park

Water Temperature Cool to Cold

Amenities

Parking: 60 vehicle capacity

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
44.115658

  Longitude : 
-86.412449