15 Best Midwest Camping Spots

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Last Updated on May 9, 2023 by asoulwindow

Best Midwest Camping Spot

If you’re looking for the best Midwest camping spots, then you’re in luck because there are so many fantastic places to go!

From the rugged wilderness of the northern woods to the picturesque shores of the Great Lakes, the Midwest boasts some of the best camping spots in the country!

Whether you’re a tent camper or someone who likes to bring all of the luxuries along with them, there are locations all over the great Midwest region that you can head to this summer to enjoy the great outdoors.

In this post, I’ll share with you the best places to go camping in the Midwestern states!

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park – Minnesota

Located on the shoreline of Lake Superior, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is home to a great campground in Minnesota that gives you direct access to the lake and the park.

There are nearly 50 electric sites in the Shipwreck Creek Campground that are perfect  for those using a camper or an RV.

If you have a tent and you’d like to get a bit closer to the water, you can stay in their cart-in sites, which are just 2,000 feet from the parking lot and are more secluded from the rest of the campground. These feature wheeled carts that you can use to haul your gear to your site.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park Minnesota Midwest camping spots USA United States of America
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Minnesota. Midwest camping spots in United States of America

Within the state park, you’ll find amazing hiking trails that offer scenic views of Lake Superior, and you can also see Split Rock Lighthouse which towers high above the lake.

And nearby, you’ll find plenty to do in Two Harbors, a small town just a few miles away.

Badlands National Park – South Dakota

Camping in national parks is something that everyone should experience at least one time in their life. And at Badlands National Park in South Dakota, you can stay in a campground that has incredible scenic views of the Badlands all around you.

There are two campgrounds, Cedar Pass Campground, and Sage Creek Campground that both offer easy access to all of the best things in the park.

Cedar Pass Campground is open year-round and is located near the visitor center. You’ll need to make reservations for a stay at Cedar Pass. On the other hand, Sage Creek Campground is free and offers first-come, first-served sites, and is only open in the summer.

Hocking Hills State Park – Ohio

Whether you have a camper that requires full hookups, or you’re looking to set up your tent in a more primitive area, Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio has the perfect site for you.

There are plenty of sites available and each is located within a short distance of a bathroom and a shower house. There’s also a dump station nearby so you can empty out your camper before you head home. 

Kids can splash around in the swimming pool to stay cool on hot summer days,  and when you aren’t busy relaxing at the campsite you can head on into the state park to wander through the waterfalls, hiking trails, and caverns.

There are also camper cabins available so if you don’t have any camping gear, you can still get out and enjoy the outdoors.

Voyageurs National Park – Minnesota

If you’re looking for a unique camping experience, then a visit to Voyageur’s National Park in Minnesota is going to give you just that.

Voyageurs is a water-based national park with nearly 1/3 of the park being covered in water. This means that almost all of the campsites require a watercraft to reach the site. There are nearly 150 sites located around the park’s large lakes, such as Lake Kabetogama, and these are considered front-country camping. You can also try backcountry camping if you are a bit more experienced in backpacking as these are typically only reachable by canoe.

There are also a few primitive hiking campsites along the Kab-Ash Trail that you can reach without a boat, but these can fill up quickly as there are only a couple.

Voyageurs National Park Minnesota Midwest camping spots USA United States of America
Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota in Midwest. Top camping spots in Midwest of United States of America

While you’re in the park be sure to explore some of the great hiking trails and get out on the water to experience all that the Land of 10,000 Lakes is all about.

Devil’s Lake State Park – Wisconsin

Just a short distance from the ‘Waterpark Capital of the World,’ Wisconsin Dells, is Devil’s Lake State Park.

Here you’ll find a beautiful lake, surrounded by towering bluffs and great hiking trails. Camping here is popular, as there are three campgrounds and nearly 450 sites that are perfect for all sorts of campers!

All of the campsites should be reserved ahead of time, as there are no first-come, first served campsites available. And all of them offer easy access to Devil’s Lake which is great for fishing, swimming, and hiking around.

And because you are such a short distance away from so many waterparks, plan to take a day trip and visit Noah’s Ark or Mt. Olympus Waterpark during your visit!

Theodore Roosevelt National Park – North Dakota

Staying in a campground in Theodore Roosevelt National Park gives you access to one of the state’s cutest towns, Medora, and allows you to experience North Dakota’s only national park.

The Cottonwood Campground is the park’s South Unit campground, and it’s just a few miles outside of Medora. Half of the sites in Cottonwood Campground are available by online reservation, while the others are first-come, first-served. There are no hookups at any of the sites.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Dakota Midwest camping spots USA United States of America
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota. United States of America

The other campground, Juniper Campground, is found in the park’s North Unit and does not offer any hookups either. All of the sites here are first-come, first-served, and won’t be available to reserve online.

During your visit to the park, be sure to watch out for bison that roam the prairies, and check out all of the hiking trails.

Tettegouche State Park – Minnesota

The best place for camping in the state of Minnesota is Tettegouche State Park, along the North Shore. This state park is just a short distance out of Silver Bay and offers some of the most fantastic views of Lake Superior and the surrounding Sawtooth Mountains.

There are about 30 drive-in sites available that are just a short distance from Lake Superior and each is secluded from the rest of the sites. A few of these offer electric while the others don’t have any hookups.

Tettegouche State Park Minnesota Best Midwest camping spots USA United States of America
Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota. Midwest camping spots of United States of America

If you’re a tent camper, then you may want to check out either the backpack sites along the Superior Hiking Trail, or the walk-in sites at the Baptism River Campground.

Some of the most beautiful sites are the cart-in sites,  which are found along Lake Superior’s Shoreline, but are still just a short distance from the parking area. These offer more seclusion from other campers and really allow you to enjoy nature without distractions. 

There are also a few great camper cabins available if you would rather not tent it or use an RV.

Indiana Dunes National Park – Indiana

Just an hour outside of Chicago, is Indiana Dunes National Park, which sits on the shorelines of Lake Michigan.

Here you’ll find Dunewood Campground, which has almost 70 campsites, most of which are available to campers and RVs to drive in.

There are also a few walk-in sites for tent campers. The campground also has restrooms and showers available for campers to use.

During your time at this Midwest camping spot, be sure to check out the national park and admire the views of Lake Michigan from the towering dunes. If you’re up for a challenge, try climbing the dunes! This can be tough, but once you’ve made it to the top and can see for miles in every direction, you’ll know that it was worth it!

Custer State Park – South Dakota

Custer State Park is one of the most popular regions in the Badlands of South Dakota, with towering rock formations, roaming bison, and epic hiking trails.

Within the state park, you’ll find nine different campgrounds to reserve your stay at. A few of the most popular include the Game Lodge Campground, Grace Coolidge Campground, and Sylvan Lake Campground.

At the Came Lodge Campground,you’ll be centrally located in the park and be just a short distance from the Wildlife Loop Road. The Crace Coolidge Campground is also located just shortly from all of the best things to do in Custer State Park. 

On the other hand, Sylvan Lake Campground is on the other side of the park, on the shores of Sylvan Lake. A stay near Sylvan Lake, often considered the crown jewel of Custer State Park, puts you at 6,200 feet, the highest campground in the park, and offers easy access to the popular Needles Highway. 

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Michigan

The Porcupine Mountains are one of the most beautiful parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With roaring waterfalls, rolling mountains, and Lake Superior shoreline, there are so many reasons to visit this beautiful state park!

Backcountry camping is one of the most popular ways to get out into nature, and there are 65 backcountry sites within the park. You must register for your site before heading out to the wilderness, as each site is numbered and you will be designated to a certain one.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Michigan Midwest camping spots USA United States of America
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Michigan

These are primitive sites and require you to hike to them. The only thing that you’ll find at these sites is a metal firing and a tent pad.

Since these are designed to be primitive, there is no access for RVs or campers. But escaping into the backcountry with a tent allows you to seclude yourself from other campers and escape from reality for a few days.

Mt. Olympus Resort Campground – Wisconsin

If you’re traveling with kids, then one of the best campgrounds in the midwest is the Mt. Olympus Resort Campground.

With a stay at this campground, you will have access to Wisconsin Dell’s largest outdoor water park and theme park.

You can book a tent site, which actually includes your own tent to stay in! All you’ll need to bring is your other equipment such as sleeping bags, camp chairs, and food. Picnic tables and barbecue girls are available for your use, as well as Wi-Fi.

 this is one of the easiest ways to get out and enjoy nature, as well as have a blast at one of the best water parks in the country.

If you aren’t interested in staying in the tents, there are also cabins available, which will allow you to still experience the outdoors and visit the water park, with a bit more protection from the elements.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan is a pristine location, located along the shores of Lake Michigan. It features miles of shoreline of sand dunes and the gorgeous Manitou Islands to explore.

The Platte River Campground is open year-round and offers pull-thru sites for RVs, as well as electrical hookups. There are also tent sites that are available to hike into. 

Another option is the D.H Day Campground, Is one of the most popular campsites in Michigan, and offers easy access to Scenic drives, museums in Glean Arbor, and the popular Dune Climb in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

During your stay, spend some time wandering around the dunes, and try your best to climb all the way to the top.

Mount Rushmore KOA Resort – South Dakota

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is one of the most popular monuments in the United States, with carvings of four of the United States presidents in the side of a mountain.

Just a short distance away, you’ll find the Mount Rushmore and KOA Resort at Palmer Gulch. located in the heart of the Black Hills, this campground offers easy access to some of the best activities in South Dakota.

Mount Rushmore KOA Resort South Dakota Midwest camping spots USA United States of America
Mount Rushmore KOA Resort South Dakota Midwest camping spots in USA aka United States of America

Here you’ll find a pool, hot tub, sauna, a camping kitchen, and perfect spots to pull up your camper and spend some time in the great outdoors. 

Aside from just Mount Rushmore, you’ll also find close access to Custer State Park, the small town of Keystone, and Crazy Horse Memorial.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness – Minnesota

If you really want to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then heading out to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota is a must for you.

Here you’ll get to experience one of the most secluded, quiet, and remote wilderness areas in the entire country.

This remote camping is done by portaging with canoes, as you follow along the canoe routes along the lakes and waterways of the pristine Boundary Waters.

There are over 2,000 designated campsites in the Boundary Waters, that can be found via 1,200 miles of canoe routes 

While you’re out in the wilderness, keep an eye out for some of Minensota’s wildlife, such as black bears and moose, and be sure to try fishing on the lakes or hiking around the trails in the area.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a beautiful area along the shores of Lake Superior that features gorgeous sandstone cliffs, caves, and arches against the waves of Lake Superior.

There are three drive-in campgrounds located within the pictured rocks area, Little Beaver Lake Campground, Twelvemile Beach Campground, and Hurricane River Campground.

Each of these is pretty primitive, only having a picnic table, fire ring, and a tent pad. There are also vault toilets, but there are no hookups to electricity or any other amenities. 

During your visit to Pictured Rocks, be sure to do some hiking along the shoreline, and consider renting a sea kayak to get out onto the water and explore the caves that can’t be seen from above.

Wrap-Up: Best Midwest Camping

No matter what kind of camping you like to do, from tenting it to glamping in an RV, there are so many great Midwest camping spots to check out.

From the great shores of Lake Superior to the forested woods of the Boundary Waters, you can escape from everyday life and enjoy nature.

With the upcoming camping season sneaking up on us, be sure to book one of these great campsites!


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