McLain State Park

McClain State Park sign

DNR Website

18350 Highway M-203
Hancock, MI  49930
(906) 482-0278

Dates of Visit:  August 18-25, 2011

The week I spent at McLain State Park was one of my very favorite stops ever, not just in Michigan.  It was here that I fell completely in love with Lake Superior, watching her in her calm states and on her wild, wavy and windblowin' days.

Malia Loves Lake Superior cropped

 

 

It was also here that I first truly began to understand how special and unique the Upper Peninsula really is. And the Keweenaw Peninsula is at the upper western tip of the Upper Peninsula like the cherry on top of a delicious sundae. One of the info signs near the entrance set the stage:

 

 

 

"Welcome to F.J. McLain State Park and Michigan's Copper Country!  We are certain that you will enjoy your stay.  There are many things to see and do while visiting this beautiful and historical area, and our staff is anxious to help you get started.  Be sure to stop by the Campground Office or the Keweenaw Visitor Center in Calumet for more information on any of the area's attractions.  We are here to help you enjoy your stay.

Surrounded by the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the Keweenaw Peninsula is a land of dramatic constrasts. Here, the crumbling ruins of a once vast copper mining empire stands alongside clear running streams and forests of maple and pine.  Birders visit Brockway Mountain during the spring will be treated to the annual hawk migration.  History buffs will need a week or more to see all of the region's museums and historic copper mining sites.  And if you are looking for waterfalls you have come to the right place, the western Upper Peninsula has over 150 named waterfalls and cascades.

The Keweenaw is also home to Isle Royale National Park, the island jewel of our National Park System.  With over 160 miles of hiking trails and vast stretches of rocky shoreline, this wilderness park offers solitude aplenty.

The name Keweenaw had its origin in the language of the native Ojibwa people. Their word "Kakiweonan" meant a point of land traversed on foot.  We hope that for you, Keweenaw comes to mean family, fun and good times in Michigan State Parks."

And I really did enjoy the recommended attractions, but the setting of the campground itself, the sunsets and glorious Lake Superior made it easy to just want to stay there and relax and enjoy.

McLain State Park - bluff on Lake Superior

These beach chairs placed all along the bluff reminded me of a luxurious resort. The campground is directly across the road from this beachfront area.

McLain - Sunset

One of my favorite things was the endlessly fascinating sunset shows – this one absolutely blew my mind!  And honestly, the colors were not enhanced in any way – this is all nature's artwork!

McLain - Sunset 2

Every night was just a little different but always breathtaking…

McLain Bluff View

Looking down the bluff in the other direction, you can see campers enjoying the scenery and waiting for the next "show."  There are lakefront campsites directly on the other side of the road you see here with no trees to buffer the view (or the wind). More interior sites are on the other side of the trees along the waterfront and offer a more shady setting.

McLain - Lakefront bluff

A little further up on the shoreline, you can now see RVs in the campground.  This was taken from the public area pictured below.

McLain - Breakwaters sign

After entering the park, to the left of the campground is a large parking area for public day use.  While the campground facilities are reserved for registered campers, there is a nice public playground and picnic tables and the road that leads to the Breakwaters.  Picnic and swing right on the beach – priceless!

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Breakwaters:

If you follow that road around for less than a mile, you come to another large parking area, a big covered pavilion to rent for groups, picnic tables scattered around, soda machine, playground, and restrooms.

I was told by people at the campground that even if you can't get phone or internet access from your air card or my-fi from the campground, you could get it from this Breakwaters area. I tried it and it worked – it also worked from the parking lot outside the campground before you drove back to Breakwaters.

McLain Breakwaters

Here you see the Keweenaw Waterway Lighthouse. The station was established in 1868, and first lit in 1920. The lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard; the light is still automatically operated and the tower is closed.  I enjoyed walking on this breakwater, but surely would heed the warning signs not to do it in high waves!

Breakwaters beach

The beach to the left of the breakwater wall. You'll see rock hounds here looking for agates or just the pretty multi-colored rocks to be found all along the seashore.

All Michigan Miles pages about McLain State Park:

Inside the State Park:

Park Scenes
Campground – General Info
Campground – Lakefront Sites
Campground – Interior Sites
Moody Lake Superior

Nearby Activities and Attractions:

Keweenaw Peninsula (my page coming soon)
Brockway Mountain Drive (my page coming soon)
Calumet (my page coming soon)
Calumet Theatre (my tour page coming soon)
Quincy Mine (my tour page coming soon)

My public Facebook pictures and comments on McLain State Park

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I'd love to hear your own experiences about places I've been - and what you think are "must-sees" - and I really value any suggestions and feedback from readers, so please let me have your 2 cents in Comments below:

  • No matter how many times I read this or see the awesome pictures you put up, it just makes me more homesick for Lake Superior.. Michigan has some of the best State Parks but McLain is one of the tops… Can’t wait to get back there again.

    • I know what you mean – just working on these pages make me literally long for another shot of Lake Superior magic. Still holding on to dream that we can experience her again together! And I totally agree that McLain is one of the premier destinations as far as state parks go – anywhere – not just in MI.

  • Thank you so much for posting this! We plan our vacation here this year and it really helped us to figure out which area of the campground we would like to be in! Great pictures!!! It looks like you had an amazing time.

    • Tammy, you sure brightened my day today! Appreciation for the work it takes to do these pages is exactly why I do them. These are the kind of things I want to know when researching a campground and I never could find them, so I started doing them myself. 🙂 And I really did have an amazing time here – McLain is definitely on my list of top 5 all-time favorite state parks I’ve visited in 12 years of fulltiming. If you have anything to add about your own experiences here, I’d sure love to hear them!

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  • stacey

    Thanks for all the wonderful details! We are going to stay at Mcclain this summer. We are in love with the UP and visit a new area each year. I look forward to reading about your Michigan adventures and use them to plan our trips.

    • Hey Stacey, thanks for taking the time to let me know this has been helpful to you! I have a huge love affair going with the UP, also, and if there weren’t so many other places I’m yearning to see, I’d be up there every year. 🙂 I know you’ll enjoy McClain – it is a great park with some of the most incredible views ever!

      • stacey

        Im sure it will be lovely. I already told my husband about the Porkies and we are planning that for next year;) We feel so blessed to live so close to this beautiful place. Once you camp on lake Superior, its hard to do anything else!

        • I can tell you are a tad bit smitten with the magical Lake Superior, too! There really is nothing else that compares, but you have to meet her to know that. 🙂