Michigan State Parks: Fisherman’s Island

Two people standing by state park sign

Until recently, the island that Fisherman’s Island State Park was named for no longer existed. Water levels had sunk so low that the island had become a peninsula connected to the mainland and visitors could even walk out there. As of late 2019, the water levels in Lake Michigan are so high that the island is an island once again.

Fisherman’s Island State Park is located in northwestern Michigan near the town of Charlevoix. Its selling point is its prime location along six miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.

You enter the park from the north and drive south along the shore. Along the park’s main road are multiple small turnouts and clearings in the trees where you get great views of the lake. When the water levels are lower you can hike along the beach pretty much the entire length of the park.

Fisherman’s Island State Park is around 2,700 acres, most of it undeveloped. Three miles of hiking trails wind through the woods and connect the entrance, the campgrounds, and the day-use area.

The day-use area sits at the very end of the main road and features a small parking area, some picnic tables, and a short walk to the beach and designated swim area.

People swimming in Lake Michigan
View of the island that gave Fisherman’s Island State Park its name

Camping at Fisherman’s Island

The only camping available at Fisherman’s Island State Park is 81 rustic campsites, mainly split into two loops tucked into the woods on the inland side of the park. They are surprisingly large sites and can accommodate RVs or trailers of varying lengths. There also are five designated walk-in-only tent sites.

If you’re lucky enough to snag one, there are 15 horseshoe-shaped pull-through sites situated on the shoreline side that provide direct access to the beach.

Rustic means there is no electricity, and the only water source is a hand-pump, so be prepared before you arrive with water and either your batteries charged or a generator. The campsites are almost completely in the shade so solar won’t be much use.

Picnic table by the lake
One of the campsites directly on Lake Michigan

Charlevoix is nearby

The nearby town of Charlevoix is a typical West Michigan beach resort community. There are multiple events and festivals happening throughout the summer and plenty of gift shops, restaurants, and ice cream shops to visit.

If you’re staying at the state park it’s really easy to pop into town for eating or shopping, and if you’re staying at a hotel or B&B in town it’s a quick drive out to the park to enjoy the beach.

We have plenty more adventures to come, so subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel. (We have a video about Fisherman’s Island State Park here.) You can follow us on Instagram, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, you can see our progress as we visit each park on this interactive Google Map. You also can keep track of our activities on social media with the hashtags #hikecampgo and #mistateparks100.

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