South Manitou Group Campground

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

South Manitou Group Campground is a tent-only backcountry facility on South Manitou Island in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan. Campers must take a 1.5-hour Manitou Island Transit Ferry trip or boat ride to reach it, and must backpack their gear into the campground from the dock.

This facility is comprised of three reservable group sites at Bay Campground and three others at Weather Station Campground. Each site is open to groups of nine to 20 people only. Smaller parties must plan to occupy multiple first-come, first-served individual sites at Popple, Bay or Weather Station Campgrounds on the island. Bay is the closest campground to the dock (less than a mile/1.6 km) and a short walk from the beach. Weather Station overlooks Lake Michigan from the bluffs on the south side of the island; the hike from the ferry is about 1.3 miles (2 km).

If group sites are full, your group may be able to split up into multiple individual campsites. Be sure to book reservations on the Manitou Island Transit website or call (231) 256-9061 for transportation to the island. Or contact Sleeping Bear Dunes for more information at (231) 326-4700 ext 5010.

Summer temperatures range from the upper 70s to 90 degrees F (25° to 32° C) during the day, and from the 50s to 70 degrees F (10° to 25° C) at night. Winters are cold, with daytime highs from 20° to 30° F (-7° to -1° C) and lows in the 10s and 20s F (-12 to -7° C). Snow is usually on the ground from late November through March.

Water is only available in the Village area. Group campsites are secluded and set apart from one another. Each site has a fire pit for open fires (firewood must be purchased or collected in the park). Wooden pit toilets are provided, however campers must bring their own toilet paper.

Need to Know

Natural Features

South Manitou Island is part of an island chain in Lake Michigan that extends north to the Straits of Mackinac. The island consists of a ridge of tilted layers of limestone, buried under a blanket of glacial debris. It features unique sand dune formations, 10 miles of pebble beaches and a grove of old growth white cedars that date back over 500 years. The campgrounds lie on sandy soils among younger forests.


There is no shortage of activities on South Manitou Island. Visitors can hike around the 10-mile perimeter of the island via pebble beaches, take a tour of the South Manitou Island Lighthouse during summer months, view the 1960 shipwreck of the Francisco Morazanon or go on a motorized tour to learn the history of the island.

Visitors can also hike day-long excursions to unique sand dune formations and old growth cedar forests. Both campgrounds have beach access where campers can beachcomb and swim; group sites are closer to the beach at Bay Campground than at Weather Station.

Contact Information



Phone Number

For campground inquiries, please call: 231-326-4700

Rental Options

Learn more about gear rental options for your trip

Driving Directions

From Traverse City, Michigan, take M-22 to Sutton's Bay. Go west on M-204 from Sutton's Bay towards Leland. Turn north at the junction of M-22 and M-204 to Leland. Take the Manitou Island Transit ferry from Leland to South Manitou Island.

Available Campsites

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