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Petoskey State Park Camping Guide

Are you looking for the perfect campgrounds with beach scenery and plenty of recreational activities? Consider camping at Petoskey State Park.

This 300-acre Michigan state park is located on the shores of Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan and is home to two camping grounds, with 180 available sites for rental. It is a well-known area to search for Petoskey stones.

Keep reading to learn all about Petoskey State Park camping and what you’ll experience during your trip!

View of sand dunes at Michigan's Petoskey State Park.


In 1934, the Michigan Conservation Commission allowed the Petoskey State Park to be built on old tannery land that was previously owned and developed by William Rice.

The park began serving the public as a recreation area and was named Petoskey Bathing Beach.

In 1970, the state of Michigan acquired the beach and transformed the property into the first 90 camping sites it houses today and began to serve the public as a state camping ground.

What to Expect at Petoskey State Park

Sunset over Lake Michigan at Petoskey State Park.

Petoskey State Park features 300 acres of beautiful scenery along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. It has a mile-long beach, situated on Lake Michigan, two large camping areas for guests, nature trails to explore, and so much more.

Pets are allowed entrance to the park, but they must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet long, and they are not allowed on the beach. Make sure to clean up after your pet, and leave the campsite clean when you leave.

Fees and Recreation Requirements

A recreation passport is required to gain access to any state park in Michigan, so don’t forget yours! The passport allows you to use hiking trails, boat ramp access areas, campgrounds, and pretty much every other area in Petoskey State Park.

To secure a campsite, you will need to pay anywhere from $34-$37 per night, with a limit of no more than a 15-night stay.

You will need to pay a $15 fee for parking in the state park.

Petoskey State Park Camping

You can make future reservations for a Petoskey State Park camping trip up to six months in advance through Michigan’s State Parks Reservation System.

You can also reserve your spot the same day, with campsites being assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.

An RV campsite with comfy chairs and lanterns at sunset.

Dunes Campground

The Dunes campgrounds are located on the north end of Petoskey State Park, with 80 sites that are sized appropriately for pitching a tent or using a pop-up camper. Each camping site has plenty of space to spread out, a fire ring, and firewood available for purchase.

The Dunes campground has a functional, flushing toilet and four shower stalls available for campers. These campsites are relatively private, with foliage that provides a privacy fence of sorts.

You will find beautiful hiking trails with abundant wildlife, especially squirrels, beach access with a small playground and bathroom, and the famous Petoskey stone if you look hard enough!

Closeup of a red squirrel.

Tannery Creek Campground

Tannery Creek campgrounds are located on the south side of Petoskey State Park, with 100 large campsites that are ideal for RV camping.

You’ll find that Tannery Creek campground has much larger plots than the Dunes, but provide less privacy. If you can catch an opening, there are two cabins available for camping in Tannery Creek campgrounds for a little more privacy during your trip.

Each campsite has beach access, picnic tables, and fire pits. As with the Dunes, firewood is available and is encouraged to be purchased inside the park by camp officials.

Activities to Enjoy at Petoskey State Park


Break out the swimsuits for some quality fun in the sun beach swimming and tanning!

You will love sunbathing on the gorgeous one-mile beach during the day and walking along the shoreline at night, listening to the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore.

Some areas of the beach are rocky, though, so bring along a pair of beach shoes or swim shoes just in case.

Campers can enjoy water skiing, jet skiing, swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying quality time with family.

Always remember that Lake Michigan is a large and powerful body of water. It is very vital that you pay close attention to beach conditions since they can change quickly. The beach also has a flag warning system like most beaches do, so adhere to the warning system for your own safety.

No pets are allowed on any portion of the beach.

Petoskey Stones

Closeup of a Petoskey stone showing the detail of fossilized coral.

While you enjoy the sandy beach, sift through the soft sand for the official state stone. The Petoskey stone is a fossil composed of prehistoric coral, also called Hexagonaria percarinata. Keep your eyes peeled for the notorious stone when you take a walk on the beach!


The Petoskey State Park has picnic tables and grills for your enjoyment, located on the northern side of the park.

Hiking Trails in Petoskey State Park

The Old Baldy Trail

The Old Baldy Trail is a half-mile trail that leads to the top of Old Baldy Dune, which is a popular attraction at Petoskey State Park for its breathtaking scenery.

This trail is ideal for hiking with your children and showing them the beauty of nature. They will also get a nice sense of accomplishment at the end of hiking the Old Baldy Trail!

The Portage Trail

The Portage Trail is a mile long, so it’s double the size of the Old Baldy Trail, and therefore probably more suited toward more experienced hikers. It is the longest hiking trail in Petoskey State Park.

Enjoy hiking the wooded dune area, observe the native wildlife, and grab some firewood for a campfire from the bin near Tannery Creek Campground on your way back down the Portage Trail.

Relax and Unwind Camping at Petoskey State Park

Sunset on a beach with Petoskey stones.

From water skiing to hiking trails, Petoskey State Park camping has something for the entire family to enjoy! Spend the day enjoying the beach and hiking trails, or reserve your campsite for a short weekend stay and up to an extended 15-day camping trip.

Interested in camping at other state parks? Check out the State Park Camping page on our website.