Fisherman’s Island State Park in Charlevoix: Camping, Petoskey Stones, and a Stunning Lake Michigan Beach (Photo Gallery)
Fisherman’s Island State Park in Charlevoix has quickly become one of our favorite state parks over the past few years. The secluded Lake Michigan beach here is the perfect place to search for Petoskey stones, the campground offers some of the best rustic sites in the state, and the scenery almost makes you feel as if you’re on a tropical vacation. While our previous visits to the park were mainly focused on rock hunting in the northern part of the park, a recent visit gave us the chance to explore a lot more of the park and take a look at the island that gives the park its name. Today we will share some of our favorite photos from Fisherman’s Island State Park, and let you know everything you need to know to plan a visit of your own.
To reach Fisherman’s Island State Park, head west on Bell Bay Rd. from U.S. 31 and follow it to its end. There is a small parking area here before you reach the ranger station. Turn left to head into the park (MI recreation passport required), where you will see the north campground. Two loops here offer 25 sites, but as you drive further south you can see the 10 absolutely amazing sites that directly border the beach. A few day use parking areas are scattered through here, and continuing south on this sometimes-rough seasonal road leads to the south campground and the beach. The south campground has more than 40 sites with most in a loop on the east side of the road and a few sprinkled on the lakeshore side on a small bluff. From here it is another half mile to the beach day-use area and the trailheads for biking and hiking.
A short trail leads from the parking lot to the beach area, and a sign cautions visitors to be aware of piping plover nests along the shoreline. To explore the beach to the south you will need to cross a shallow creek. We immediately found a few great looking Petoskey stones in Lake Michigan here, then started following the beach and heading towards Fisherman’s Island. This was an absolutely beautiful walk, with clear water on one side and spectacular sand dunes on the other. With six miles of shoreline in the park, there’s room to spread out even during the busy summer season.
Fisherman’s Island was connected to the mainland by a tombolo for a few years but recent high water levels have made it an island again. Posted signs warn of rip currents and extreme caution is advised for any who try to wade or swim out to the island. Watch for wildlife and plant life in the dune area and in the water! We even saw the tug/barge Caroline McKee/Commander pass by as it headed to the St. Mary’s Cement plant in Charlevoix.
If you like swimming, rock hunting, hiking, camping, or quiet time at a beautiful beach, Fisherman’s Island State Park is somewhere you need to visit. For campsite reservations, head to midnrreservations.com. Enjoy the photos below!