These days, living on the road is all the rage. Not only are more and more people opting for RV life full-time, but it’s become an all-out trend on social media, with many building their own DIY campers out of vans, school buses, ambulances and more.
If you’re planning on spending even a few weeks in a recreational vehicle this summer, we’re here to help! We’ve crafted an extensive guide on RVing in southeast Michigan, which includes the best RV parks, information on free camping, and some recommendations on things to do while you’re here. Have fun out there!
The Best RV Parks in Southeast Michigan
When it comes to traveling in a recreational vehicle, the first lodging choice that comes to mind is, of course, an RV park! Not only do these handy locales offer a special community vibe, but they often feature electrical, water and sewage hook-ups, laundry facilities, and other necessary amenities that you may not get when parking on public land. Here are our picks for RV parks in the southeast Michigan area. If you are driving a nontraditional RV, we recommend calling ahead before booking your reservation to see if these RV parks have any vehicle restrictions.
This family-oriented RV park has been serving Michigan since 1971. The campground features 494 sites with full hookups along with clean restrooms, a general store, a propane station and dump stations, free WiFi and laundry facilities. But the practical amenities aren’t all they are known for; their recreational activities are also a huge draw! Don’t miss their swimming beach, fishing opportunities, the rec center with pool tables and arcade games, a two-hole golf course, basketball courts, a sand volleyball pit, playground equipment and so much more. Click here to make a reservation.
Established in 1948, Camp Dearborn offers a wide range of overnight camping options, including rustic cabins and resort cabins, as well as sites for camper-provided tents or trailers. Camp Dearborn’s exceptional amenities include: a half-mile of sandy beach, athletic fields and tennis courts, shaded picnic areas, swimming and fishing lakes, a concession stand, a miniature golf course, and a 27-hole championship golf course. They have several options for RV campers, including full hookup sites and electric-only sites, so click here to learn more.
Hell Creek Ranch Campground is a family-oriented campground offering fun activities for RV campers of all ages. Located in Pinckney, Hell Creek is known for their fabulous pool, spacious campsites and extremely clean bathrooms. Their beautiful 100-site campground offers 60 electrical sites and 40 primitive sites, so you can camp here even if you don’t have an RV! They also have a basketball court, horseshoe pits, horseback riding, walking trails and fishing areas on site. Click here to learn more and to make your reservation.
Hideaway RV Park in Grass Lake is more than just a campground—it’s a home away from home! Enjoy the beauty of nature, the calming effect of a campfire and the community of other RVers at this hidden treasure that offers paddleboat rentals, a swimming lake, fishing, walking trails, picnic tables, fire rings and much more. Their 2021 season runs from April through October and all of their sites offer water, sewer and electric hookups. Click here for more information and to make your reservation.
Located 10 minutes west of Detroit Metro Airport, the Wayne County Fairgrounds always has something going on—and you don’t want to miss any of it! That’s why they have a recreational vehicle camping site, allowing you to bring your motor homes, fifth wheels or travel trailers right into the action. Enjoy 30- and 50-amp electric campsites; full hook-ups; access to a shower house and laundry facility; and extended camping rates for long-term campers. Click here for all the information and to make your reservation.
Camp Lord Willing, created by Alfred E. Dolores and his family, has been rooted in Monroe since the 1960s. These days, they are open year-round, offering travelers a quiet and peaceful place to stay for as long as they want. Some of the amenities include free WiFi throughout the park, 24-hour coin laundry, snack and drink machines, bathrooms with private showers and more. They currently offer more than 100 large, full-service lots with water and sewer and 20/30/50-amp electric on every lot. Click here to inquire about availability.
Dubbed “Michigan’s #1 Family Campground,” Harbortown RV Resort in Monroe is a favorite for Michigan RV campers. Located on Lake Erie just off the I-75 Expressway, this camping spot is convenient to many southeast Michigan destinations. Harbortown campers enjoy everything from arcade games and outdoor swimming to mini-golf, go-cart racing, batting cages and more! Other amenities include large pull-throughs, full hookups, free cable, free WiFi and more. Click here for 2021 rates and to make your reservation.
When looking for a great place to park your RV, a KOA campground is always a safe bet. Luckily, we happen to have three great KOA campgrounds in the southeast Michigan area. You can find one in Monroe, Ypsilanti and Holly, each offering a variety of exceptional amenities—from miniature golf courses to grocery stores—and hookups all at affordable prices.
Parking on Public Land
When driving a DIY recreational vehicle or other campers that don’t require electric, water or sewage hookups—you may want to consider “boondocking” or staying on public land rather than at an RV park. Not only is it completely free, but it is often quieter and more peaceful than traditional campgrounds. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, dispersed camping is permitted on state-owned land but there are some stipulations. Campsites must not be located in a designated state park, recreation area, rustic state forest campground or game area. And campsites must be located more than 1 mile from any rustic state forest campground. It also must not be located in an area or property marked with “No Camping” signs.
For more free camping options, many full-time boondockers highly recommend taking advantage of rest areas, Cabela’s parking lots, Bass Pro Shops’ parking lots, select Walmart parking lots, and truck stops.
While many of Michigan’s famous natural wonders are on the north side of the Lower Peninsula or the Upper Peninsula, that doesn’t mean that southeast Michigan doesn’t have plenty to offer sightseers! Not only are we home to some of the best and brightest cities in the state, but there are also several historic sites you don’t want to miss when passing through.
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This freshwater lake is nestled between the Canadian province of Ontario and Northern Detroit. There are plenty of fun things to do at this Metropark, from swimming to fishing and everything in between. But if you’re in a hurry, Lake St. Clair is still worth a stop just to say you’ve been to one of the only places in the United States where you can look south and see Canada!
This beautiful park is located about 20 minutes north of Ann Arbor. Popular among birders and photographers, Kensington Metropark offers abundant wildlife, plant species and other interesting features. Take your time exploring the 4,481 acres surrounding Kent Lake, which features more than 7 miles of unpaved nature trails, an 8.5-mile hike-bike trail, and a 36-hole disc golf course.
Located in Royal Oak, the Detroit Zoo is a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability. Here, you’ll find a variety of zoo experiences, including an educational 4-D Theater, a SpongeBob-themed simulator ride, a historic carousel, the Tauber Family Railroad, playgrounds, the famous Rackham Fountain and much more. Click here to explore everything you can do at the Detroit Zoo and to buy tickets!
When visiting Michigan, we recommend diving into our expansive history at least a little. And when you want to learn about history, a visit to Greenfield Village is a must. This open-air museum was created by Henry Ford himself, and features artifacts and homes of famous Americans through history. Step foot in the lab where Thomas Edison had his lightbulb moment or the workshop where the Wright brothers taught us to reach for the sky. Ride in a Model T or walk through working farms—it’s all up to you at Greenfield Village!
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum are two educational and environmental spaces on the University of Michigan campus. The botanical gardens include 11 outdoor areas full of bonsai, native and medicinal plants, perennials and more, and if you want to head inside, you can enjoy the year-round indoor conservatory filled with plants from around the world. The arboretum spans miles of trails and land with impressive collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs, giving you plenty to do and see when visiting.
If you’re bringing some kids along on your RV adventure, a stop at Midway Sports and Entertainment is required. This outdoor entertainment spot offers go-karts, miniature golf, a driving range, batting cages, bumper cars, rock climbing and more. Click here to get your Fun Card!
Photo courtesy of Yankee Air Museum
Yankee Air Museum is an aviation, aerospace and science museum located at Willow Run Airport just a few minutes outside of Ypsilanti. Exhibits offer hands-on experiences and insights into World War I and World War II, Willow Run and Rosie the Riveter, The Vietnam War, aircraft restoration and so much more.
The River Raisin National Battlefield Park was the site of the costly Battle of Frenchtown, in which 397 Americans were killed and 547 were taken as prisoners after surrender to the British Army and Native American coalition during the War of 1812. In February of 1956, the site of Michigan’s most deadly event was added to the National Register of Historic Places and eventually marked as a national park in 2010. Today, this peaceful national park is known for its educational resources, including artifacts and exhibits; demonstrations; and battle reenactments. You can also explore the wonders of nature here too through hiking, fishing, kayaking and more!
Have a fun trip!
Whether you’re camping full-time, seasonally or for a weekend or two—we hope you have fun! Let us know where your favorite place to park your RV in southeast Michigan is, in the comments below!
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