Michigan State Parks: Harrisville & Sturgeon Point

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Harrisville State Park is located just outside the town of Harrisville in the northeastern quadrant of Michigan right along Lake Huron.

Harrisville State Park was one of the first 25 state parks, opening in 1921 with only 6 acres, and expanding over the years to its current 107 acres.

It is a nice little state park with a campground, day-use area, short nature trail, and access to the lake. Plus, just up the road is a bonus: the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse (also technically a state park).

Camping at Harrisville SP

You can tell the Harrisville State Park campground is older based on its design. The rows are very narrow, and the 195 sites are a mishmash of sizes and shapes; clearly designed in an age when trailers and vehicles were much smaller. There are some pretty tight corners and trees close to the road so watch your backend, mirrors, and air conditioners.

Camping in October at Harrisville SP

The campground has many large, mature trees so even though many of the sites are close together you feel like you’re camping in the woods. The prime sites are those located with views and access to Lake Huron. No matter what season you visit, those will be the first to book up, so reserve early to nab one of those sites. (But fair warning, many of those sites are super unlevel, angling down toward the water, so bring leveling blocks!)

Our lakefront site at Harrisville State Park. A great view, but we had to use all 10 of our leveling blocks!

New amenities include a handful of sites that have been upgraded to 50-amp service and what appears to be a relatively new bathhouse. I was very impressed with the new bathroom facility. The bank of unisex showers are all large and handicap/family friendly with rails, seats, and multiple height showerheads. Two of them even had toilets, so you don’t have to go to a separate bathroom.

The new and impressive bathroom facility at Harrisville State Park

Trails in the park

A really nice, paved walking/bike path takes you from the campground over to the day-use section and to the nature trail. It also leads into the town of Harrisville.

Nature trail brochure
Cedar Run Nature Trail

The Cedar Run Nature Trail runs for about 2 miles through the park. Pick up a brochure that provides a self-guided tour with matching interpretive signs of the different types of trees you’ll see along the path. This trail is for foot-traffic only.

Beach time

The day-use area at Harrisville State Park consists of a really nice sandy beach, along with a couple of slides and a swing set. There also are a few picnic tables and grills and a little bathhouse.

Given the size of the parking lot, it likely fills up during prime beach weather.

Sandy beach at Harrisville State Park

Away from the swimming beach, the beach is a rock-lovers paradise. Take some time to hunt for quartz, granite, fossils, and of course, Petoskey stones.

There is no official boat launch at the state park, except for car-top boats only (kayaks, canoes, SUPs).

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse

Just 5 miles up the road from Harrisville State Park is the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse. While it is officially designated as a state park, it is jointly operated by the DNR and the Alcona County Historical Society.

The lighthouse was completed in 1870, and in 1876 a lifesaving station was established adjacent to the lighthouse. Over the years, the lighthouse keeper and lifesaving crew helped save many lives from shipwrecks.

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse

The now automated light is still maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. While many of the outbuildings have been torn down, the keeper’s house is now a maritime museum, and tours are provided at certain times of the year (also check for COVID restrictions). Around the grounds are historical artifacts from shipwrecks in the area, as well as the Old Bailey School, a one-room schoolroom from 1907-1941 that was relocated from a local town.

We have plenty more adventures to come, so subscribe to this blog and our YouTube channel. We have a video about Harrisville State Park here and a video on Sturgeon Point Lighthouse here. You can follow us on Instagram, our Facebook page, and Twitter. Plus, you can see each of the parks we visited on this interactive Google Map. You also can keep track of our activities on social media with the hashtags #hikecampgo and #mistateparks100.

12 thoughts on “Michigan State Parks: Harrisville & Sturgeon Point”

  1. Loved your article on Harrisville an the light house I’m 69 an been going camping there all my life we love it there

  2. We have camped there over 30 years! No other SP compares. But don’t tell anyone, don’t need more competition for the prime beachfront sites. We’re hoping they will repair and reopen the 7 beach sites which were washed out last season.

    1. Ha! We appreciate the dilemma about sharing great spots with people and that it might mean more competition in the future for those great spots. This state park and others have lost a lot of campsites due to high lake levels but it’s cyclical so we suspect most will be back eventually. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. My grandmother grew up in Harrisville and our family camped there my whole childhood. There used to be a movie theater in town and I saw the first Star Wars there when we were camping! My parents even honeymooned there in a tent 65 years ago. The sites were 50 cents!

  4. Wendy and I raised 2 kids in Harrisville. What a great area to live in. Every year we would stay at the campground. One of the best in the state! Now, when we vacation to Michigan, Harrisville is a MUST stop

    1. Thanks for reading our blog and leaving a comment. It’s always great to hear about people’s personal experiences and history with a place we have visited!

  5. We too live Harrisville and enjoyed camping there with our family over the years. We love the hike/bike trail and being able to camp so close to Lake Huron. Brings back lots of fun memories!

    1. We had not been to this area until our state parks project took us there. But we enjoyed our trip and were surprised how many people have reacted with memories of enjoying the area with their families. Thanks for reading and commenting! -Ari

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.