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Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

8 posts
Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

We are planning a trip to Sleeping Bear dunes this August. We have made reservations at the Sleepy Bear Campground, but now are rethinking our decision after staying at a private campground this weekend in Mackinaw City. Has anyone stayed at Sleepy Bear campground and how does it compare to the state campground near by. We are looking for a good size lot to camp on, since we have two kids. At our recent Mackinaw camp weekend, we were on top of the people next to us. We also would like to have a real campfire, not in a little pan as we found in Mackinaw. Any information would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

Northern Michigan
Destination Expert
for Petoskey, Michigan
Level Contributor
2,313 posts
37 reviews
1. Re: Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

I can't comment on Sleepy Bear Campground, but I did want to mention one thing you shouldn't miss if you're in town on the right dates...

Sleeping Bear Dunegrass and Blues Festival...great, great fun for the whole family...I highly recommend it if you'll be in the area August 2-5.

check it out, the artist lineup this year's AMAZING!!


Shelby Township
2 posts
2. Re: Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

I've never been to Sleepy Bear Campground, but have stayed at Empire Campground, which is a private-owned campground very close to the dunes. The sites are good size and pretty private. If you do choose this place, be sure to request a site in the "hardwood" area.

Bay City, Michigan
Level Contributor
5,276 posts
1,280 reviews
3. Re: Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

We have stayed at Sleepy Bear twice. It is an okay campground, and the lots are decent sized, I do not think you will be on top on any of your neighbors. However, we never had a campfire there, so I cannot comment on that-but I'd call them and ask what kind of campfire pit they have..I am not sure what state campground you are speaking of nearby, but if it is DH DAY, that I believe is rustic, and you will not have the amenities of Sleepy Bear. The main thing I did not like about Sleepy Bear was the shower tokens you had to use, unless they have changed this system. But the bathrooms were always clean, and the pool was nice to have at end of day. If you are speaking of the state campground in TC, well, that is almost being on top of one another, but they do have regular fire pits. Tell me which campground you are talking about, and if you don't mind me asking, where did you stay in Mackinaw City? Tyme

8 posts
4. Re: Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

thanks for the information. I was looking at the Platte River campground or the DH campground around Sleeping Bear Dunes. The campground we stayed at in Mackinaw was Mill Creek Campground. Thanks again.

8 posts
5. Re: Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

Does the Empire campground have a web site or phone number?

Bay City, Michigan
Level Contributor
5,276 posts
1,280 reviews
6. Re: Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

Ok, mc, that helps me a little more with some info. The Platte River Campground is a national park campground, not a state. You make your resrvations via the Nat'l Park reservation system. You could call them and ask for the number. We have stayed there 3 times and LOVE IT there. You have lots and lots of space on your site, and I feel they are well spread out, and private as you most likely are going to find. Bathrooms were always clean. Quiet. The park at the end of Lake Michigan Rd. (the road the park is on to) is a lot of fun-you can canoe the river, or play in the sand/water at the mouth of the river before it flows in the Lake Michigan. They have a lot of picnic tables, and a boat launch. The Lake Michigan dunes and beach are accessible also, either thru wading the river or walking out along the right hand side of the park. Modern bathrooms, showers (I believe), dont' think there is a playground. Very busy place. So if you can get reservations there, DO IT! DH DAY might be national too, now that I think of it, but anyways, it is rustic I am sure, so I'd stick with Sleepy Bear in that case. We have stayed at Mill Creek also-too big for me, though I do not recall the firepits being pots, they must have changed them, a lot of campgrounds have. It was packed when we were there too, and most sites are on top of one another. We have also stayed at Teepee Campground,(in Mack City) it is ok. Have fun whereever you stay, let me know if you stay at Platte, want to know what you think! Tyme

Troy, Ohio
Level Contributor
6 posts
112 reviews
7. Re: Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

My family has stayed at the Sleepy Bear Campground several times now. It's a bit on the expensive side but it's very family friendly. The pool is a big plus which the kids really liked.

There are campfire rings, standard sized, in each spot. The spots are a bit close together but you aren't standing on top of each other. Quiet time at 10pm is enforced, which we also liked. No loud rude people on any of our visits.

Last time we were there they still didn't have Internet which is a problem for us, but that was the biggest downside to them.

traverse city
1 post
8. Re: Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

The website to sleepy bear campground is


9. Re: Sleepy Bear Campground vs. State Campground

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