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Sterling State Park Camping Guide

Sterling State Park, located in Michigan, is the only state park on the shores of Lake Erie. This 1,300-acre park offers many recreational activities, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families.  

Keep reading to learn how to have an amazing Sterling State Park camping trip!

A dog lying down by a camping tent.

Location and Accessibility

Sterling State Park is located near the Ohio border and approximately an hour from Detroit. It spans 1,300 acres, with a mixture of sandy shoreline, man-made lagoons, and diverse recreational facilities. The park is accessible to visitors for various outdoor activities.

The park boasts a mile-long sandy waterfront access to Lake Erie, a modern campground with 256 reservable campsites, full-amenity cottages, a boating access site, and over seven miles of hiking and biking trails. In addition to the wealth of outdoor activities, Sterling State Park provides plenty of opportunities for shoreline and off-shore fishing, particularly near the mouth of Sandy Creek and the park’s lagoons.


Visitors can access Sterling State Park by taking exit 15 off of Interstate 75 and proceeding east on Dixie Highway. After traveling a little over a mile, turn right onto Laplaisance Road, and the entrance to the park will be on the left side.

Park Hours and Visitor Policies

Sterling State Park is open year-round for public use. However, be aware that the campground, boating access site, and other park amenities have specific operating hours, which might change seasonally. 

Visitors intending to camp must adhere to the park’s rules, such as the maximum stay of 15 consecutive nights and the need for campsites to be occupied every evening.

Registered campers and their guests are allowed within the campground area, with visitors required to leave by 10 pm. Additional park rules, such as the prohibition of fireworks and a maximum of six people per campsite, must also be observed for a pleasant and safe visit.

Camping at Sterling State Park

The beach shoreline on Lake Erie in Sterling State Park.

Reservation Process

When planning a Sterling State Park camping trip, be sure to reserve a campsite in advance. The reservation process can be done online or by phone. 

To reserve a site online, visit the official park website or use the designated reservation platform. For reservations over the phone, call the campground office at (734) 289-2715. 

You’ll want to book early, as campsites can fill up quickly during peak seasons!

Types of Campgrounds

Sterling State Park offers various campgrounds to cater to different preferences and needs. The park provides both reservable campsites and modern full-amenity cottages. 

Visitors can choose between shoreline campsites with stunning views of Lake Erie or more secluded off-shore campsites for additional privacy. In addition to the traditional campsites, ADA-accessible sites are available, ensuring everyone can enjoy camping at Sterling State Park.

Campsite Features

Sterling State Park camping sites have essential amenities to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience. Some of the common features include:

  • Electric and water hookups
  • Fire rings and picnic tables
  • Modern restrooms with showers
  • Drinking water fountains
  • Dump stations for RVs
  • Visitor parking

Additionally, the park offers recreational facilities such as a boating access site, fishing opportunities, and hiking trails for guests to enjoy during their stay.

Amenities and Facilities

Sterling State Park offers a wide range of amenities and facilities for campers to enjoy while staying at the park.

The sign for Sterling State Park in Michican. Sterling State Park camping.

Restrooms and Showers

One of the essential amenities in any campground is the availability of restrooms and showers. Sterling State Park provides clean and convenient restrooms for campers, including separate facilities for male and female visitors. 

Showers are also available, ensuring a comfortable camping experience.

Picnic Areas

Sterling State Park offers several picnic areas for visitors to use during their stay. 

Picnic tables and grills can be found throughout the park, making it a perfect place for family gatherings or a relaxing meal outdoors. Some areas also have roofed pavilions to provide shade and shelter from the elements.

Accessibility Features

The park and its facilities are designed with accessibility in mind, catering to visitors with varying needs. Some of the accessibility features include:

  • Accessible restrooms and showers to accommodate guests with disabilities
  • Wheelchair-friendly picnic areas and pavilions
  • Some trails are designed for ease of use by wheelchair users and people with mobility limitations

These features ensure that all visitors can enjoy the amenities and natural beauty of Sterling State Park while camping.

Outdoor Activities

While camping at Sterling State Park, visitors will find various engaging outdoor activities, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure-seekers.

A view of marshland in Sterling State Park.
Sterling State Park marsh.


The park offers visitors several walking and hiking trails to explore its diverse landscapes. These pathways can also be used for biking, providing ample opportunities for exercise and enjoyment of the surrounding scenery.

Boating and Fishing

Boating enthusiasts can launch their vessels from the park’s boating access site, while anglers can access shoreline and offshore fishing opportunities. 

Lake Erie is known for its populations of largemouth bass, walleye, freshwater drum, yellow perch, bluegill, and smallmouth bass (just to name a few!).  This makes Sterling State Park an excellent choice for fishing outings.

Park Regulations

A small dog in an RV window.

Campsite Occupancy

There’s a strictly enforced campsite occupancy policy for camping at Sterling State Park. Campsites can accommodate up to six people and two vehicles, including a camping unit and a tow vehicle. Each site should have at least one responsible adult aged 18 years or older. 

Group sites may have more guests, but it is essential to check for specific restrictions by contacting the park office.

Pet Policy

Pets are welcome when you camp in Sterling State Park, but some rules must be followed.

Pets must be kept on a maximum 6-foot leash at all times (even “good dogs,” as the signs state!). They also may not be left unattended in the campground. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets and not allowing pets to disturb other guests. 

It is important to be aware that not all cabin areas in the park permit pets, so check with the park office before planning your visit.

Fire Restrictions

Fire safety is a top priority at Sterling State Park! 

Campfires must be contained within designated fire rings and supervised at all times. The gathering of firewood from the park is not allowed.  You may purchase firewood from the park office or bring your own approved firewood. 

Please remember that it is illegal to transport firewood across state lines to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Nearby Attractions

Local Restaurants

Sterling State Park campers can indulge in various local restaurants in the Monroe area. Some popular dining choices include:

  • Great Lakes Eatery & Pub: A casual spot offering American classics and seafood dishes.
  • Michigan Bar & Grill: A local favorite for burgers, sandwiches, and steaks.
  • Amaya’s Fresh Mexican Grill: Serving Mexican favorites like tacos, fajitas, and burritos.

Exploring Monroe

The city of Monroe offers a range of attractions for history buffs and nature lovers alike. 

Learn about the area’s history by visiting the Monroe County Historical Museum.  You’ll find exhibits on General George Armstrong Custer and the War of 1812.

River Raisin National Battlefield Park is a historical site that tells the story of the War of 1812 and its impact on the region.

For a picturesque recreational trail that winds through the heart of downtown Monroe, be sure to check out the River Rasin Heritage Trail for walking, jogging, or biking.

Wildlife Viewing

A sign to make visitors aware of eastern fox snakes, a protected species in Sterling State Park.
A sign making visitors aware of eastern fox snakes at Sterling State Park.

Visitors to Sterling State Park can observe local wildlife in their natural habitats. The park’s diverse marsh and lakeplain prairie ecosystems support various native animal species, making it an excellent location for wildlife watching and photography.

You’ll see various songbirds, herons, swans, cormorants, ospreys, eagles, muskrats, deer, and turtles.  You might even spot an eastern fox snake, a threatened species protected within Sterling State Park.

Plan a Sterling State Park Camping Trip!

A bridge over a waterway at Sterling State Park.
Bridge at Sterling State Park.

From camping to hiking, boating to fishing, Sterling State Park is a magnificent destination for anyone seeking a taste of the great outdoors in Michigan. The picturesque views and abundant activities make it an ideal setting for a memorable camping experience on the shores of Lake Erie.

For more state parking camping ideas, read our State Park Camping Guides to learn about other great camping destinations.