Camp at Warren Dunes State Park

Michigan Warren Dunes State Park

Added by Brian Hetzer

  • Sand dunes reaching 260 feet in elevation
  • Lake Michigan
  • Stunning beauty, peace, and solitude (unless you're foolish enough to attempt a summer visit)

If you wish to enjoy Warren Dunes in peace and natural solitude, you'll arrive at the campground outside of the Summer season. You can make your reservationshere. Upon arrival you'll decide between the "modern" or "semi-modern" camping loops. The semi-modern loop provides vault toilets, water spigots, fire rings, and nothing else. After scouting out and choosing a site in the modern loop you'll find you have two electric outlets, fire ring (with NO grate on which to cook), picnic table and a wondrously comfortable foundation of packed sand on which to pitch your tent. You'll also find very well maintained modern restrooms and private, individual showers. If adventuring with family, the restroom facilities alone are worth the extra few dollars over the semi-modern loop, as the facilities in the rest of the state park are nothing short of abysmal.

A very short walk to the North end of the campground reveals the trailhead to the Mount Randall Loop trail (4 miles). Another short walk will lead you to one of the most unusual geographic features I've encountered. A narrow spit of sand reaches up through the trees roughly 250 feet in elevation in such a short distance that for most of the climb your nose will be almost as close to the sand as your toes. The climb is shockingly exhausting but upon reaching the peak, a panorama of the dunes and Lake Michigan awaits. Another deceptively long mile over multiple dunes and you're on the beach.

It cannot be stressed enough that having experienced Warren Dunes in October, I would never consider visiting in Summer. On the October Sunday of our arrival, perhaps 3/4 of the sites were occupied. The grounds were lively, children ran freely between sites, and it was vibrant but slightly crowded. Come noon on Monday there were no more than 10 occupied sites throughout the entire campground. It was stunningly peaceful for the remainder of the week.

Pack List

  • Grate or tripod for cooking over the fire pit, or your camp stove.
  • Your standard camping kit
  • Towels, bathing suit, or whatever else you'd like to have on the Lake Michigan shore
  • Your choice of footwear for hiking in loose, deep, and at times extremely steep sand
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Camping

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

5 months ago

Few Years Ago (2013)

It was an amazing trip. The dunes are family friendly, which it is not overly adventurous, but it is a start. It is quite high, and other activities to do over there. However, the only problem are black flies, which it is what I heard of and not surprised. Sometimes, state parks get overly crowded and neglected of their cleanliness.

5 months ago

Added by Brian Hetzer

Camping and exploring wherever the road takes me, the wife, and our 5 year old boy. Sharing family and wallet friendly adventures from our current home base in southern Ohio.

More Adventures Nearby

Backpack to the Mirror Lake Cabins in the Porkies

Michigan / Summit Peak Scenic Area

The trip to Mirror Lake begins at the Summit Peak Scenic Area. To extend your hike, start at the Lily Pond trail-head farther south on Summit Peak Road (5.3 miles to cabin).

Matt Johnson
5 Saves

Backpack the Big Carp River and Lake Superior Trails in the Porkies

Michigan / Lake of the Clouds Overlook Parking Lot

We started our hiking in the afternoon at the Lake of the Clouds parking lot.

Matt Johnson
10 Saves

Backpack the Manistee River Trail Loop

Michigan / Seaton Creek Camp Ground

Day 1:  Arrive at Seaton Creek Campground and pay for parking for the number of nights you plan on hiking the loop. For this particular trip, I hiked the loop in 2.5 days and 2 nights.

Chris Young
41 Saves