The park is on the shore of Lake Superior, and most of the beach areas are rocky. However, a stretch of land known as the Breakwaters, on the edge of the park near the Keweenaw Waterway, is sandy and popular for swimming. There are also swimming areas adjacent to the campground.
McLain lies between the towns of Calumet and Houghton/Hancock. It is a popular destination for mountain bikers and road bikers as it has many trails through and near the park, and the park is situated approximately 10 miles from both cities which have biking traditions and many trails.
McLain State Park is also home to a campground, with showers and bathrooms. This campground is popular in the summertime, and offers sunsets over Lake Superior. It has about 80 campsites all of which are on or near the water's edge and a handful of small and rustic cabins, most of which sleep 4. They have one cabin that sleeps 8 and has a small primitive kitchen area. There are playgrounds scattered throughout.
There is a fee to enter the park with a car or to use the campground. Pedestrian access to the park is free, and there is a free parking area outside the gates.
During the first week of the fall semester,Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) holds "K-Day" (or "Keweenaw Day") at the park. The university cancels afternoon classes so that students and faculty can enjoy a day of fun, sun, music, games, and food.
The spelling of the park's name is inconsistent on roadsigns and in local publications, varying between "McLain", "MacLain", and "McClain".
- Campground - 98 Sites, 7 Cabins
- Keweenaw Waterway Upper Entrance Light
- Picnic Area
- Picnic Shelters (3) - Reservation required
- Cross Country Skiing - 4 miles (6.4 km)
- Hiking - 4 miles (6.4 km)