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Indian Lake State Park Visitor’s Guide: How To Enjoy This Beautiful Michigan State Park

You may have never heard of Indian Lake State Park in Michigan, but if you’re looking for a memorable camping trip, this site isn’t to be overlooked. With its rich history, expansive lodging options, and fun seasonal events, there is much to explore.

Read on to learn the ins and outs of Indian Lake State Park and how to make the most out of your visit.

A lake in Indian Lake State Park in Michigan.

What to Expect

As told by its name, this Michigan state park is found on Indian Lake. It’s the fourth-largest inland lake in the upper region of the peninsula. It features colorful sunsets, breathtaking lake views, and grassy camping sites. Friendly staff members and well-kept bathroom and shower facilities are also available to help make your stay more pleasant.

Size and Setup

Indian Lake State Park Michigan is found on 847 acres of land. It’s six miles long and three miles wide.

It’s set up as two different units that are each three miles apart. These units are separated by the waters of Indian Lake.

Indian Lake in Indian Lake State Park in Michigan.


Once called M’O’Nistique lake, Indian Lake State Park has a rich history. Records from the year 1850 show that Native Americans lived in log cabins around the water’s outlets.

The land was acquired in two parts. In 1932, the southern land was acquired, and its development began in 1933. The west shore, however, was acquired in 1939 but wasn’t developed until 1965.

What You’ll Find

Indian Lake State Park has a variety of amenities to enhance your trip. You’ll find two Lakeview campgrounds here, where you can choose to bring your own camping gear or rent it from the site for a hassle-free experience.

For those looking to spend some time on the water, there is one boat ramp on the edge of the lake. It allows you to trailer your boat and easily place it in the lake. There’s also a popular 75-yard-long beach with swimming access.

At this park, you’ll also find a picnic area and two miles of hiking trails. No matter your style of camping or exploration, Indian Lake State Park has something exciting for everyone.

A pretty sky over Indian Lake State Park.

Things to Do at Indian Lake State Park, Michigan

From snowshoe hiking to ice fishing and birdwatching, this park provides seasonal nature-based programs and events run by expert naturalists. Check out the park’s official website to view the programming calendar and see what events are offered during your visit.

Because of its diverse terrain, there are unlimited opportunities for swimming, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hiking, and berry picking. Listed below is an overview of some of these adventures:


If you’re a fan of freshwater fishing, this lake has a wide variety of species. It’s known to have northern pike, bluegill, sturgeon, brown trout, and walleye, to name a few.

Metal detecting

When done in safe and non-harmful ways, metal detecting is a legitimate recreation activity. On the Indian Lake State Park website you’ll find a map that outlines exactly where you can safely participate in this pastime. Any items that you find on-site must be checked out by park staff, who have the ability to investigate further, if necessary.

As long as you are taking the appropriate measures to avoid damaging the natural and cultural resources, and do not violate applicable state statutes, metal detecting can be an adventurous and exciting pastime.

Metal detecting equipment in a forest.


Hunting is permitted at Indian Lake State Park. Before beginning your hunting journey, however, it’s highly recommended that you call the park to inquire about any specific rules or considerations required.


Similar to the boat launch, this park also has a carry-in launch located on the west shore. It’s within the semi-modern campground and you can utilize the day-use area. Bring/rent your paddleboard, canoe, or kayak to experience the beauty of this lake firsthand. It also doubles as a great form of exercise!


There is a designated swim area near the Beach Shelter within the day-use area. The beach is clean and sandy, and the shallow waters make this a perfect and inexpensive way to spend your day on the lake.

Visit the Playground

Indian Lake State Park has multiple play areas in the day-use space. Each shelter features swing sets, horseshoe pits, and volleyball nets. If you’re visiting as a family, there’s a double wooden swing set near the Beach Shelter on the west shore that is perfect for small children.


Indian Lake offers two miles of trails that can be used for hiking and snowshoeing. These trails follow different habitats along Indian Lake and Dufour Creek.

The Dufour Creek hike is a loop that includes two bridges over the creek. Make sure to bring your water shoes, as this trail is very wet in the spring and fall!

A family hiking in a forst.

Overnight Lodging Options

South-Modern Campground

Indian Lake State Park Michigan has two campgrounds perfect for your overnight stay. The South-Modern Campground (site 145) is located in the southern unit of the park. It’s on the edge of Indian Lake, providing visitors with a gorgeous view.

In and around the South-Modern Campground there are numerous amenities to support your camping adventure. There is a concession store that sells firewood and ice, modern restrooms and shower facilities, and a sanitation station with potable water available at two lanes.

It’s located near a designated swimming beach, a boat ramp, a picnic area, and shelters. It also has accessible, pull-through, and tent-only sites.

Indian Lake West-Semi-Modern Campground

This campground is found at site 72, located on the west shore of Indian Lake. It’s about four miles northwest of the park and provides a more rustic experience than the modern campground.

This campground is generally open from mid-June through early September and is offered on a first-come-first-served basis. You can use the self-registration station upon entrance.

Because this is a semi-modern campground, there is a 20-amp electrical service available at each site. Bathrooms are limited to hand-pumped water and vault toilets, or campers can access the modern campground facilities for a small fee.

Mini cabin

If old-school camping isn’t your thing, Indian Lake State Park also offers mini cabins to enhance your experience and make your stay more comfortable. Here you’ll find electrical outlets, a microwave, and a small refrigerator.

These cabins are equipped with bunk beds and sleep up to four people. They also require you to bring your own bedding, dishes, and cookware. You can find bathroom and shower facilities located on-site nearby.

Indian Lake in Michigan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a permit to camp there?

You’re required to have a Michigan Recreation Passport for vehicle entry into all Michigan state park recreation areas. Further details on how to obtain this pass can be found on the Michigan Recreation Passport website.

Are there accessibility accommodations?

There are quite a few accommodations found throughout this state park.

The Indian Lake hiking trail includes a quarter-mile of a paved accessible trail that includes lake overlooks within the day-use area of the park.

The Beach House, boat launch, mini cabins, modern restrooms, and picnic shelters also provide accessibility accommodations.

Take a look at the Indian Lake State Park website for more details on these accommodations.

Can I reserve my stay in advance?

You can make camping and harbor reservations up to six months in advance through the state park’s website.

If you’re looking to use any of their available lodging options, these reservations can be booked up to a year in advance, also through the website.

Make sure to check this Camping and Overnight Lodging webpage prior to planning your trip for any updates or changes to this information.

Time to Plan your Adventure!

Whether you’re an overnight camper or are just looking for a day trip, this lake has something to offer everyone. So, now that you know all about Indian Lake State Park, it’s time to start planning your adventure!

Looking for more travel tips and things to do in Michigan? Visit our Michigan page for everything you need to know!