Another of our favorite camping destinations here in Michigan is Interlochen State Park, located just 15 miles southwest of Traverse City, and within easy striking distance of Sleeping Bear Dunes. As you can probably tell, our home state certainly has no shortage of amazing parks, and Interlochen State Park, located between two well-known fishing and swimming lakes, is a prime example. Interlochen is actually the thin strip between Green Lake and Duck Lake, and features almost a mile of lakefront surrounded by lush pine trees and other flora. This was actually Michigan’s first official state park way back in 1917, and has steadily improved over the years.
Upon entry into Interlochen State Park, visitors are greeted by the “Big Wheel.” This well-preserved device was used by loggers at the turn of the century to haul timber out of the woods. Next door to the park you’ll find a world-class arts education at the Interlochen National Music Camp that draws young people from around the world to study a variety of fine arts, including music, theater, dance, visual arts, creative writing, motion picture arts, and comparative arts. The year-round concert series continues to attract thousands of artists and art lovers, and education classes are available for adults as well.
Before Memorial Day and after Labor Day are busy, but not as packed as the summer months, and the lake is a lot calmer with less boating activity. Some of the regulars have been going to Interlochen for 30 or 40 years, and they still love visiting to this day. Read on for more information!
Interlochen State Park has 490 campsites–59 are rustic, the rest are modern. The park also has three cabins for rent. There is a large variety of site types and locations, so whether you like to be on the water, secluded by trees, or in a tent or specialty RV, this is a great choice to spend your time. If you are possibly thinking of camping here, do it! At night you can see the Milky Way in a way you never have before.
Duck Lake-Modern: 418 sites with 50 amp electrical service, modern restrooms, tent rental, and tepee rental. $23-$25 per night.
Green Lake-Rustic: 58 rustic sites, vault toilet. $13 per night.
Camper Cabin: 3 sites. $86 per night.
Pop-up camper: 1 unit. $55 per night.
Rent-a-Tents: 2 tents. $34 per night.
The Pines Nature Trail runs one mile in length and offers both cross-country skiing and hiking. There are modern restrooms and showers for after your adventure if needed.
Bass, pike, and bluegill can be found in both Duck Lake and Green Lake during the summer months. Smelt and pike are favorites of anglers who like ice fishing in the winter.
Three launches are maintained in the park. Each loop of the campground on Duck Lake has an access site, and the third is located in the rustic campground on Green Lake.
Located in the day-use area, this store includes a cafe and a video arcade. It is located near a volleyball court and the beach. Rowboats and kayaks are available to rent and reservations are available. You are also close enough to Tom’s Market to get anything else you might need.
One picnic shelter is available for rent. Contact the park for reservations. The beach area is very family friendly and safe, and kids will love the small store.
- The Interlochen Center for the Arts is adjacent to the park. Renowned musicians perform concerts year round.
- Two nearby canoe liveries rent canoes: Riverside Canoe Livery on the Platte River and Alvina’s Canoe Rental on the Betsie River.
- Also popular at Interlochen State Park is the Three Discipline Triathlon Event hosted each July.
Interlochen State Park is located 15 miles SW of Traverse City on M-137. Take US 31 W. of Traverse City for 7 miles to Interlochen, then go south on M-137 for 2 miles. Lake Michigan shoreline is 25 miles west of the park via US 31.
This remains one of the best state parks in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Have you visited? Let us know how it was in the comments below!