The U.S. state of Michigan is made up of two major peninsulas. The Upper Peninsula (UP), is northern of the two. In my opinion, the best weekend to go camping in Michigan’s UP eastern region is during the fall. There are endless adventures when the trees are bursting with bright colors. Camping in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is also eco-friendly! As sustainable travelers, we try to stick close to home for mini staycations throughout the year. Camping in Michigan is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and travel responsibly.
I hope you enjoy my guide to The Perfect Weekend Camping in Michigan’s UP Eastern Region edition!
When to Visit
Depending on what type of adventure you are looking to have, you will want to plan your visit around the right time of year. My favorite season to visit Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is during the fall. The bright-colored fall leaves are breathtaking and will leave you in awe as you explore hiking trails.
If you want warmer weather, I would recommend mid-late August. The coldest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior at the warmest temps of the year. The summer sun heats up the massive Great Lake making it around 65 F / 16 C degrees. High compared to the annual average of 40 F / 8 C
LOCAL TIP: Peak black + stable fly season in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is usually from mid-May to mid-August but the number of species we have means one can enjoy them well into August and early September if you are in the right place. The adult flies live for about two to three weeks
How to Get to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
The nearest major airport to Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula is Chippewa County International Airport. The airport is about 35 minutes from the Mackinac Bridge. Unfortunately, it is not as budget-friendly as Flint Bishop International Airport or Detroit DTW. Flights are limited, and the airport is small. If you’re planning to park at your departure airport, save time by making a parking reservation.
You can rent a car from the airport to get around the city and explore more of what Michigan has to offer.
Michigan Eastern Upper Peninsula Road Trip Map
Where To Camp in Eastern Upper Peninsula Michigan
Want to go camping but don’t own a tent or RV or want to pack a little lighter? There are many overnight lodging options available in state parks and recreation areas from cabins, yurts, and safari-style tents to lodges and cottages with many of the amenities of home. There are pop-up campers, cottages, and tepees too!
Brimley State Park
One of the oldest state parks in the UP, Brimley State Park in Michigan provides plenty of recreational activities such as boating, kayaking, swimming, camping, and hiking along the beautiful shore of Lake Superior Whitefish Bay. The campground is modern with 237 electric sites & showers available. There are also mini cabins you can stay in!
- LOCATION: 9200 W 6 Mile Road Brimley, Michigan, 49715 USA
- PHONE: (906) 248-342
Our gift the first morning was waking up to a snow-covered tent… in October. Really neither of us was surprised…welcome to The UP.
It was the end of the season in late October, we had JUST made it to see the fall colors. It was the last weekend the campground was open, and we were the only ones crazy enough to be camping that late in the season.
We camped directly on Lake Superior at Brimley State Park, one of the oldest parks in the UP. In typical Logan/Chelsea fashion we arrived at our campsite in the dark. Setting up at night was never a concern of mine, in fact I kind of like it… waking up in a new place, really seeing it for the first time that morning. It’s like a surprise, or a present waiting to be unwrapped.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Made up of over 48,000 acres this state park has 17 miles of hiking around the Tahquamenon River. The most popular attraction of the park is the Upper Falls. At over 200’ across and with a 50′ drop, the Upper Falls is the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi River.
- Location: 41382 W M-123 Paradise, Michigan, 49768 USA
- Phone: (248) 492-3415
Whether you are planning to camp or not – Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a must-see you won’t want to miss. The Upper Falls are over 200′ across and a 50; drop, making it one of the largest waterfalls this side of the Mississippi. The beautiful rust-colored falls get their color from leached tannins of the cedar swamps which the river drains. Explore the park, do some hiking, and stop at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub for some food & locally made beer
Each morning we woke up freezing because we didn’t pack the right gear for color weather camping. In desperate need of caffeine, we went in search of coffee, unfortunately, there were very limited options in the rural area of Brimley. We fueled up and hit the road, enjoying the views as we sipped our way back to warmth.
Pro Local Tip: Take the scenic route along W Lakeshore Dr on your way to Tahquamenon Falls. This route will take you along Whitefish Bay giving you gorgeous lake views and the opportunity to see a lighthouse!
Visit Point Iroquois Lighthouse
Just a short 15-minute drive from Brimley, this historic lighthouse is worth the stop. The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic back in 1975. Its name meaning “Place of Iroquois Bones” is derived from a battle fought back in 1662 by local Native Americans of the Chippewa and Iroquois. The lighthouse was closed for the season so we couldn’t climb the tower but we were able to explore the grounds.
The Whitefish Point Lighthouse is the oldest and arguably most important lighthouse operating light on Lake Superior. All marine vessels entering and leaving Lake Superior must pass the light. Whitefish Point is located at the extreme southeastern end of Lake Superior which is a critical turning point for entering and exiting Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes.
Today, the Whitefish Point Light is the oldest operating lighthouse on Lake Superior. The current light tower was constructed in 1861 during Abraham Lincoln’s administration.
Whitefish Point marks the eastern end of the notorious 80-mile stretch of shoreline heading west to Munising. Which is ominously known as Lake Superior’s “Shipwreck Coast”.
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is quickly becoming one of Michigan’s most popular destinations in the cultural tourism industry.
Of the 550 known major shipwrecks lying on the bottom of the lake, at least 200 are along the “Shipwreck Coast” in the vicinity of Whitefish Point. The primary causes of shipwreck here are stress of weather and collision; the 1975 loss of the steamer Edmund Fitzgerald with her entire crew of 29 has become a worldwide legend. The wreck of the Fitzgerald lies just 15 miles northwest of Whitefish Point.
The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that sank in Lake Superior during a storm on November 10, 1975. The entire crew of 29 men was lost at sea. When the Fitzgerald launched on June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on North America’s Great Lakes. To this day she remains the largest ship to have sunk in the Great Lakes.
Museum Admission Prices
- Adults: $13.00
- Children 17 and under: $9.00
- Children under 5: FREE
- Family, 2 adults and 2 or more children: $40.00
- Single Family, 1 adult and 2 or more children: $30.00
If you have more time in the eastern UP, take a boat tour of the famous Soo Locks
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These colors are just stunning wow. We definitely don’t have these on my side of the country, that’s for sure. Love the lighthouse as well, would love to photograph it.
This place is dreamlike, it could have been such a lovely visit despite the cold temperatures during “color weather camping” 🙂
This is going to sound loopy, but I actually really love camping at the end of the season like you did. We normally cheat and bring loads of extra blankets, but it is pleasant and cozy once you’re in the tent. It looks like you had perfect timing as those autumn leaves are stunning in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
I love the autumn colors in this area. I think I would day trip and hike around in the fall to take it all in. The shipwreck museum sounds fascinating.
This looks amazing. The colors are spectacular. I really loved Tahquamenon Falls. Hope to one day visit and hike the region. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
I went to western Michigan and always wanted to go to the UP. Based off this guide, there’s so many cool things to do.
I would love to visit Michigan in the autumn, the colours look amazing. Particularly the leaves in Tahquamenon Falls State Park! I also love camping too so this seems like the perfect place for a getaway.
It looks like a great place to enjoy the changing colors of leaves in the Fall. Where I live, we pretty much have two seasons – Summer for 10 months and Winter for 2.
WOW, I had no idea there was so much to do in the Upper Peninsula! I’ve only been to the bottom part of the state, but I see now that i have to remedy that with a visit to the UP asap!!
It looks so beautiful in Fall season but I don’t know how you manage to sleep when it’s snowing outside! I totally agree with you about setting up the tent late at night and waking up discovering the surroundings, it is such a nice feeling 🙂
The East Upper Peninsula of Michigan seems really inviting and holds the promise of a great holiday. There is so much to see and experience apart from the colours of nature. I was fascinated reading about the Shipwreck Museum, and this is a place I would really love to visit when in those parts.
The Shipwreck Museum is incredible. They have a film introduction when you first arrive that tells the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald. OH, and there is a song about it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH0K6ojmGZA
It’s great to learn about the UP because I’m moving to Chicago next month and definitely am looking for places to visit regionally! Visiting during the fall sounds amazing and I really love that there are a couple of lighthouses to check out. Whitefish Point has such a unique design; I would want to see that one in person!
Michigan has the largest amount of lighthouses in the US at around 130 surrounding MI Great Lakes. A lot you can go into and see the old living quarters of the lighthouse keepers so that’s pretty cool too.
Definitely a beautiful camping destination for fall season. It’s also closer to cool attractions, like the museum, waterfalls, and lighthouses. And looking at the temperature chart, I don’t mind to camp here during summertime. It’s a fall/early winter average in Texas. lol.
I’m so jealous of your warm temps. Tonight it is going to be 23 F…. TWENTY THREE DEGREES! It’s ridiculous. Summer is a great time to visit so you can take a dip in the Great Lakes.
I can see why fall is your favourite season for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Even in late summer you might not catch me swimming in the lake! But I might want to try a cabin or yurt and enjoy the great outdoors. A good option for us from Toronto when the border opens back up.
I am very much looking forward to our borders opening up as well.. I love visiting Canada. There are SO MANY beautiful national parks there, and lots more on my bucket list!
I can totally see why you’d love visiting during fall. It’s actually always been a dream of mine to visit during that time as well for fall foliage. Tahquamenon Falls State Park looks beautiful and I’ll for sure have to bookmark it along with Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub. The lighthouse is gorgeous too. There’s so much to do and this really is such a perfect weekend!
It’s a very unique experience visiting the UP. Kinda like going back in time 10 years lol Fall in the UP is my favorite time to visit, it’s chilly and rainy but the leaves are just so beautiful.
I’m not going to attempt to type up the name but that T-Falls State Park looks amazing! What a gorgeous part of the state 🙂
hahaha MI has some weird names and visitors very often say the words wrong, I think I might make a MI translation post haha
I love camping in the autumn, and the upper Peninsula of Michigan looks like such a perfect spot for it. The state parks are gorgeous Tahquamenon Falls looks great for hiking and camping in Brimley looks divine. Thanks for sharing all your tips for a perfect weekend in Michigan’s upper Peninsula.
Wow, I didn’t realize how much there was to do here in Michigan! I especially loved that beautiful lighthouse!
Your photos are stunning! I’ve never been to Michigan but this post definitely gives me reasons to go!!!
Oooh, brave one to have camped in that cold weather. Yes the snow would be pretty, but I would feel like I could never get warm. On the plus side, it would be like you have nature all to yourself.
I am amazed by the leaf colours in your photos. Such a beautiful variety of shades. I can imagine camping allows you to fully immerse yourself in the landscape. Thank you for sharing your trip.
I’m not a huge fan of camping, but camping in the snow is next level crazy. The area does look absolutely beautiful though!
hahaha waking up in the snow covered tent was a surprise not even we were prepared for so I’m going to have to agree with you on the snow part haha
absolutely gorgeous photos. Love Iroquois lighthouse! Always wanted to visit Michigan and your post has confirmed my reasons to visit it. Thanks!
Michigan has a lot more to offer than a lot of people realize! The Great Lakes, coastlines of sandy beaches, fall colors, winter activities – there’s always something to do no matter the season 🤗
Wow I had no idea Michigan was so beautiful! It does look pretty chilly though!
MI is truly a beautiful state, especially in the fall!
Really lovely article and so fab to see another camper willing to go late in the season. That’s great because no one is there! Love the dusted snow photos 🙂
It was nice to have the place to ourselves for sure. After that snowy morning we ended up purchasing a retro 1965 cree camper – the doggos just couldn’t do the cold haha
What a natural view. Superb post. Thanks for this share.
I had no idea that there was so much camping in Michigan. You’re brave for camping in the snow! I hate the cold way too much
These photos are stunning! I can’t believe how colorful they are!
I love going out into the outdoors when it’s autumn – this looks like a nice place to go camping!
What a stunning area to explore in the autumn! I love all your photos as it s just sooo flipping gorgeous and perfect for hiking.
But was it tough to camp in the snow? I really like the idea of it, but I feel like I would freeze in my current camping gear!
I just love autumn colours. These areas look really lovely, are there any things you’d suggest packing or stuff to prepare at this time of year?
I love this! The colours of the leaves mean I totally get where you are coming from about the beauty of the area at this time of year. And I had never considered the joy of putting a tent up in the dark for a new view in the morning. That waterfall is fascinating too – what a beautiful place & admire you camping in the snow 😉
Love these pictures and stunning fall colors! Tahquamenon falls, the lighthouse and trails through this beautiful region look inviting. Would love to visit this place when I am in US next:-)
I must admit that camping is still a stretch for me. And camping when you wake up to snow has me shivering. But I can certainly see why we should plan to visit this part of Michigan. Especially for a fall colours trip! I too like to hike in the fall when the air is a bit cooler. So great to know there are lots of trails.
Michigan is just over the river so it’s a great place for weekend trips for us. Thanks for the inspiration. The fall colours are amazing, hiking i those forests must be a pleasure.
That seems supercold!
Sleeping in a tant during autumn would not really be my cup of tea, but I bet it was really beautiful and quiet to stay out there when the leaves are chaing colours 🙂
The colours here are sublime and your photography is wonderful! Looks like a great weekend
Thank you! 🙂 It certainly was. Anytime we visit the UP its incredible.
What an amazing journey … those colors just keep on giving don’t they? I’m going to have to start following you on instagram! I’m sure you’ve got no shortage of pictures to use as backgrounds for social media!
Thanks Jay!! I sell a lot of my photos on Etsy via digital downloads for stock photos/social media/wall art you should check it out! https://herlifeadventures.blog/her-life-adventures-etsy-shop/
A perfect Autumn gateway. This place looks so beautiful and calming. Love the pics you have shared. I wish to visit here soon.
Sigh. I just want to crawl into these pictures and never leave. Fall is definitely the time of year that the Midwest really shines. I’ve never been to Michigan before but obviously I need to plan a visit!
wow!Seems like this is a perfect place for camping.Gorgeous photos.I hope you had great time there.
I have never been to Michigan but it looks beautiful ! love camping and have been wanting to visit the UP.
Fall is my favorite time of year to go camping. It’s not too hot or too cold and you can enjoy the beauty of the changing leaves.
The Point Iroquois Lighthouse looks beautiful. I had no idea what was above Grand Rapids. Just knew that it was called upper peninsula.
How nice! It looks so cozy to be in a tent and be one with nature. Lovely photos!
such a beautiful camping weekend. All the fall colors and foliage makes for such stunning sites!
This is so lovely. The colours, crisp air, tons of hiking trails and the opportunity to just spend time in nature is so very exciting.
A place where I would certainly like to escape with my half for two wild days and pure relaxation, immersed in the purest beauty!
I love the colors of autumn,
these colors make me happy.
a beautiful article
What a gorgeous place to camp! I am not much of a camper, but I’d certainly glamp here. Or just hike around and then return home to a bed.
The fall colors are so pretty. My sister lives in Michigan so I need to go visit her.
It looks like you had an amazing time camping in the Eastern Region of Michigan. The scenery is so pretty, you have captured the perfect autumn foliage in your photos.
Great writing ,Absolutely beautiful pics,
Thank you for sharing your adventures!
Thank you!!! I’m glad you enjoyed it 😄
The place looks so perfect for camping and the pictures refreshed my mood. I hope u had a great time.
Aww I’m so glad they helped brighten your day!