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Silver Lake State Park Camping Guide

If you’re looking to go on a Midwestern outdoor adventure, Silver Lake State Park camping is hard to beat.

Nestled in the heart of western Michigan, this picturesque park is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the state. From the towering sand dunes to the crystal-clear lake waters, this park has something for every outdoor enthusiast.

Before you head to Silver Lake State Park this summer, be sure to give this guide a read first.

In this article, you’ll learn everything there is to know about this park, including the best camping spots, the must-see attractions, and what kind of wildlife to expect.

So read on to learn all about Silver Lake State Park camping!

Aerial view of Little Sable Lighthouse and Lake Michigan. Silver Lake State Park camping.

What to Expect At The Park

Camping at Silver Lake State Park offers a unique nature experience you won’t find anywhere else in the Midwest.

What sets this preserve apart is the whopping 2,000 acres of rolling sand dunes that seem to go on forever. The desert-like environment makes you feel like you are scaling the landscape of a different continent, except it’s right in western Michigan.

But this park is more than just sand dunes. You’ll also discover three miles of stunning coastline on Lake Michigan and a large inland lake.

You can choose between traversing the choppy waters of the Great Lake via sailboat or enjoying some peaceful canoeing on the calmer Silver Lake.

No matter how you spend your time at this park, an exciting outdoor adventure awaits!

A waterfall during the winter at Silver Lake State Park.
Winter beauty at Silver Lake State Park.

Silver Lake State Park Camping

If you’re planning an overnight trip to this sandy park, you’ll be met with a wide array of local accommodation options, including rustic camping, RV parks, and cabins. We narrowed down the best places to stay for Silver Lake State Park camping.

Silver Lake State Park

Where will you find the best camping at Silver Lake State Park? Right on the premises!

This park offers a modern campground with 200 campsites that accommodate tent camping as well as RV’s up to 40 feet. Each site provides electrical outlets so you can enjoy all the creature comforts while enveloped in nature.

Most of the campground is situated in the shade, making it a great spot to escape the summer heat.

If you’re looking for a truly special camping experience, consider reserving sites 1-13, which are right on the water. But all the sites are only a short walk away from the glistening shoreline.

This campground is reservation-only, so be sure to visit Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources website to secure your spot.

A brown and white wooden campground sign.

Silver Lake Resort and Campground

If you’re looking for a family camping haven, check out Silver Lake Resort & Campground. The location is unbeatable, with close proximity to the famous Silver Lake sand dunes.

The 200 campsites and 16 rustic cabins are top-notch, with a communal bathroom facility that makes you feel like you’re staying in a hotel.

When you’re not relaxing in your tent, you can enjoy the heated pool and outdoor amphitheater for movies under the stars.

Sun Retreats Silver Lake

Sun Retreats Silver Lake offers everything you need for an unforgettable RV getaway.

There are over 250 RV sites equipped with concrete pads and full hookups, so you’ll have no trouble setting up camp and cozying in for the night.

What sets this park apart from the rest are the fun-filled amenities, including a pool, hot tub, and shuffleboard courts.

Plus, with fire rings available for s’mores and stargazing sessions, you can enjoy the true essence of camping under the beautiful Michigan night sky.

Things To Do At The Park

After spending the night in your cozy camp, what’s there to do during the day? Here are the top attractions at this Midwestern natural wonder.


Camping at Silver Lake State Park isn’t complete without seeing one of the prettiest lakeside monuments in western Michigan.

If you take a walk south along Lake Michigan, you’ll find the Little Sable Lighthouse, a historical landmark that has guided sailors ever since 1886.

For a small fee, you can visit the lighthouse for an unparalleled view of the lake. Just be prepared to climb 139 steps to the top!

View of Little Sable Lighthouse at Silver Lake State Park.

Off-Road Vehicle Area

If you’re a thrill-seeker looking for a hit of adrenaline, check out the Silver Lake off-road vehicle area.

This park boasts 450 acres of dunes that are open for off-road adventures. You can easily spend the whole afternoon zipping through the vast terrain and doing donuts in the sand.

There are a few rules and regulations to be aware of before you embark on this exciting experience.

You must have an off-road license and trail permit displayed on your motor vehicle. You also need a recreation passport which you can purchase at the park for a low fee.

Other Ways to Explore the Dunes

If you prefer taking in the dune’s natural beauty at a slower pace, don’t worry. Two-thirds of the area is reserved for foot traffic, so you can take a long stroll throughout the sandy area without dodging four-wheelers.

If you’re up for a challenge, try hiking to the top of the dunes. The views are breathtaking and make for some amazing photo opportunities.

The park also offers different times of the year when you can explore the dunes via horseback riding and fat-tire bicycling.

Sand dunes along Lake Michigan at Silver Lake State Park.


If you’re looking for a great chance at catching some walleye, try casting off in Silver Lake. This inland body of water boasts an ample supply of this swimmer.

Just be aware that there is heavy boat traffic during the summer, so you might have a more peaceful experience fishing during the off-season months.


You’ll also find plenty of activities in the area while camping at Silver Lake State Park.

Take a relaxing stroll through the lavender labyrinth at Cherry Point Farm, or bring your off-road vehicle to Silverback Speedway for a high-speed romp.

The small town of Mears offers a modest selection of local eats, souvenir shops, and ice cream parlors, so leave yourself some time to take a gander through the hamlet.


A brown and white piping plover bird.
A piping plover.

If you’re an avid bird watcher, then be sure to bring your binoculars to this park. The sand dunes are home to the piping plovers, an endangered bird that nearly went extinct in the 1980s.

You’ll also find white-tail deer, squirrel, grouse, and rabbit interspersed among the dune area. You’re allowed to hunt in most areas of the park, but it’s recommended to double-check with the ranger.


While the sandy hills steal the spotlight from other vegetation, there are spots of mature forest among the vast spread of dunes where you’ll find old hardwood trees and abundant bush.

In the dunes, you can expect to see similar foliage to that of a desert, including scrub brush and dune grass.

Plan Your Silver Lake State Park Camping Trip!

The dunescape at sunrise or sunset at Silver Lake State Park.
Dunescape at Silver Lake State Park.

Silver Lake State Park camping is some of the best in Michigan. From the endless rolling hills of sand dunes to the vast, glistening waters of Lake Michigan, no camping bucket list is complete without visiting this park at least once.

Looking to plan another outdoor adventure? Check out our guides on our State Parks Camping page to get inspired!