Located on the shores of Big Stone Bay in Emmet County, Michigan, Wilderness State Park lives up to its reputation as unspoiled natural scenery. With almost 11,000 acres to its name, this Michigan state park has hardwood forests, white sandy beaches, scenic trails, and forested dunes. In the summer, the beaches become a popular pastime. In the winter, you can enjoy cross-country skiing on the trails.
The point is there is something for everyone to enjoy at this alluring destination in the Lower Peninsula. Continue reading this Wilderness State Park, Michigan guide to learn everything you need to know for your first adventure, including the best campgrounds, year-round weather, and popular activities.
Best Campgrounds Near Wilderness State Park
You don’t have to travel far to find suitable camping options in Emmet County. Here is a sample of nearby campgrounds:
Wilderness State Park Campgrounds
Wilderness State Park provides several options for an overnight adventure. The park has 250 campsites split up into two campgrounds: the Lakeshore and the Pines area. Both campgrounds offer electrical services, a picnic bench, and a campfire ring. Alternatively, you can reserve a rustic cabin (open year-round). However, there is no running water or electricity.
Mackinaw City/ Mackinac Island KOA Journey
Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island KOA Journey is the perfect home base for exploring Mackinac Island. Located 12 minutes from Wilderness State Park, this campground offers heated pools, full hookup sites, cable TV, and bike rentals. They even have a dog park for your four-legged friend to enjoy! The deluxe patio sites offer 50/30-amp services and can accommodate RVs up to 100 feet.
Tee Pee Campground
Located near Mackinaw City, Tee Pee Campground has no shortage of enjoyable pastimes. This family-owned campground has the following: a basketball court, a recreational room, a sandy beach, and a party store. The RV sites are equipped with 20, 30, and 30-amp electrical services. There are also fire pits and picnic tables at each site. The one caveat is that there are no sewer hookups.
Wilderness State Park Weather
Regardless of the season, Wilderness State Park remains a popular destination for those seeking to enjoy Michigan’s outdoor environment. Here is what you can expect each season in Emmet County:
Expect heavy snowfall during the winter. On average, the county receives 98 inches of snow per year. In January, the average high temperature reaches a mere 26.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Overnight lows can drop to as low as 10 degrees. Those numbers don’t fluctuate much in February. If you’re hoping to camp in winter, rustic cabins are your only option.
Temperature-wise, spring remains a cold period for most visitors. In April, the average high reaches 51 degrees Fahrenheit before dropping to an overnight low of 30 degrees. By May, the chances of seeing snow are relatively low. The benefit of visiting the park in the spring is seeing carpets of gorgeous wildflowers come to life!
What makes summer the best time to visit Wilderness State Park? The list includes pleasant weather, beautiful beaches, and active wildlife. You can take comfort in the fact that average highs in the summer reach 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Overnight lows usually drop to the low 50s. Plus, July is the driest month of the year in Emmet County.
By October, you start to see re-emerging signs of a freezing winter. The average high hovers around 56 degrees Fahrenheit before dropping to an overnight low of about 37 degrees. Bring your trekking poles and go on an afternoon hike through the park. You’ll be treated to scenic fall foliage.
Wilderness State Park Activities
Wilderness State Park offers several opportunities for a memorable adventure. Below are some of the most common activities:
- Hiking: Visitors can explore 38 miles of an extensive trail network. For something simple, try the Pondside Trail — a quarter-mile loop near the Pines Campground. If you’re up for a rigorous workout, try the 8.3-mile Nebo Trail-Swamp Line Loop.
- Cross-Country Skiing: Once the park receives substantial snow, the trails become cross-country skiing routes. Skiers can explore six miles of groomed trails with easy uphills.
- Swimming: It wouldn’t be a Michigan adventure if we didn’t include water-based activities. With over 26 miles of shoreline and a sandy beach nearby, you’d be crazy not to soak up the sun!
- Boating: Bring your boat if you’re in the mood for stunning sunset views and an aquatic adventure. For your convenience, there’s a boat launch located to the west of the campgrounds.
Embark On Your Next Vacation With Cruise America
Wilderness State Park, Michigan, is a one-way ticket to a Great Lakes adventure. Cruise America would like to help you get there. Select one of our RV rentals and surround yourself with home-like necessities. Do you need an electric generator? We got you covered! How about electric refrigerators? We have those too!
Visit your nearest rental location to explore your options.