Michigan State Parks

The State Parks In Michigan Are Among The Finest In The Country

There are 78 Michigan State Parks and together with 19 state recreation areas and 6 state forests this is the largest system in the entire United States. The land it covers amounts to an incredible 285,000 acres.

One of the state parks in Michigan was created in 1895 and was then designated as a National Park, only the second one to be named in the whole of America. This is now the Mackinac Island State Park.

In 1917 the then Governor of Michigan, Albert E. Sleeper introduced the Michigan State Parks Commission. His first Superintendent was P.J. Hoffmaster. Both these gentlemen are remembered by having state parks named after them.

Four years after the commission was set up it was reorganized and renamed as the Department of Conservation. It has since had another name change and is now known as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. (D.N.R.)

It is the DNR who are responsible for managing the list of Michigan State Parks and forests. They also oversee 16 state harbors on the Great Lakes. These harbors are a refuge for boats seeking shelter from any storms on the lakes, they are usually site about thirty miles apart.

The Mackinac Bridge

Michigan is a unique state consisting of two seperate peninsulas divided by the Straits of Mackinac. This is the five mile wide channel that seperates Lake Michigan from Lake Huron. These two peninsulas mean that Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in America.

These peninsulas are very different. The upper peninsula, often called "the U.P." is important for its tourism and natural resources. Out of a state population of just under ten million people, only 330,000 live here. The lower peninsula, shaped something like a mitten, comprises two thirds of the state`s land mass. It is here that the majority of the larger cities are found.

With this large population within the state - the 8th largest in the U.S. - it is not surprising that tourism is such an important business. The tunover from tourism is over $17 billion a year and this supports over 190,000 jobs in the state, a large number of which are employed in the Michigan State Parks system.

With the presence of the Great Lakes and over 3,000 miles of shoreline it is no surprise that many of the state parks in Michigan are located along the coast.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Fishing and boating play a huge part in the leisure activities of visitors to the parks. It is a little known fact that Michigan is a world-class scuba diving destination. Over the years countless ships have gone down in the waters of the Great Lakes, this has led to the state authorities creating eleven underwater preserves for the enjoyment of sport divers.

Michigan is a very scenic state and this beauty has been incorporated into the Michigan State Parks system. Unique features within the state are highlighted, such as the white pines at Hartwick Pines State Park and the incredible sand dunes at Warren Dunes State Park.

Tower Hill Sand Dune at Warren Dunes State Park

Here is a list of Michigan State Parks

  • Algonac State Park
  • Aloha State Park
  • Baraga State Park
  • Bewabie State Park
  • Brimley State Park
  • Burt Lake State Park
  • Cambridge Junction Historic State Park
  • Cheboygan State Park
  • Clear Lake State Park
  • Coldwater Lake State Park
  • Craig Lake State Park
  • Dodge State Park
  • Duck Lake State Park
  • Fayette Historic State Park
  • Fishermans Island State Park
  • Fort Wilkins Historic State Park
  • Grand Haven State Park
  • Grand Mere State Park
  • Harrisville State Park
  • Hart-Montague Trail State Park
  • Hartwick Pines State Park
  • Hayes State Park
  • Historic Mill Creek State Park
  • Hoeft State Park
  • Hoffmaster State Park
  • Holland State Park
  • Indian Lake State Park
  • Interlochen State Park
  • Kal-Haven State Park
  • Lake Gogebic State Park
  • Lakelands Trail State Park
  • Lakeport State Park
  • Leelanau State Park
  • Ludington State Park
  • Mackinac Island State Park
  • Maybury State Park
  • McLain State Park
  • Mears State Park
  • Meridian-Baseline State Park
  • Colonial Michilimackinac and Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
  • Mitchell State Park
  • Muskallonge State Park
  • Muskegon State Park
  • Negwegon State Park
  • Newaygo State Park
  • North Higgins Lake State Park
  • Onaway State Park
  • Orchard Beach State Park
  • Otsego Lake State Park
  • Palms Book State Park
  • Petoskey State Park
  • Porcupine Mountains State Park
  • Port Crescent State Park
  • Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park
  • Saugatuck Dunes State Park
  • Seven Lakes State Park
  • Silver Lake State Park
  • Sleeper State Park
  • Sleepy Hollow State Park
  • South Higgins Lake State Park
  • Sterling State Park
  • Straits State Park
  • Tahquamenon Falls State Park
  • Tawas Point State Park
  • Thompson`s Harbor State Park
  • Traverse City State Park
  • Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor
  • Twin Lakes State Park
  • Van Buren State Park
  • Van Buren Trail State Park
  • Van Riper State Park
  • Warren Dunes State Park
  • Warren Woods State Park
  • Wells State Park
  • White Pine Trail State Park
  • Wilderness State Park
  • Wilson State Park
  • Young State Park

For information about things such as camping, fishing, permits and licences or making Michigan state parks reservations, you can contact the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at their website here

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