Get Outdoors and Check Out Huron-Clinton Metroparks in Metro Detroit
Story by Max White
Summer is one of the best times in Michigan, and with many months spent indoors because of the cold, people are ready to get outdoors and explore.
That’s where Huron-Clinton Metroparks come in. There are 13 parks throughout metro Detroit with activities for people of all ages and of varying interests.
In all, the 13 Metroparks have 25,000 acres of woods, water, and recreational facilities and “are one of the nation’s premier regional park systems,” open 365 days a year.
Each park offers a variety of hiking trails, biking trails, playgrounds, and more, but some of the parks feature more unique activities like beaches, golfing, waterparks, boating, and a farm.
An annual vehicle pass is $40 for residents and $45 for non-residents, and a daily fee is $10 per vehicle if you don’t have an annual pass. Boat passes are also available, and there are discounts for seniors.
Below you’ll find a breakdown of each Metropark with some of the unique things it offers.
Hudson Mills has a variety of offerings at the large Metropark also located along the Huron River. For those looking to get active and play sports, there are four softball courts, volleyball courts, soccer fields, a basketball court, and a shuffleboard court.
In the winter, there is cross-country skiing along the beautiful trails.
There is also an 18-hole, par-71 golf course and two 24-hole disc golf courses for those who want to hit the links or throw some discs.
At nearly 4,500 acres, Kensington Metropark is just off I-96 and features the massive Kent Lake in the middle of the park.
On Kent Lake, you can take a beautiful cruise on the Island Queen III, a 46-passenger pontoon boat that shows you a beautiful look at the park. During the charter, you can see the birds near the lake and even an occasional osprey, according to the park’s website.
For those looking to get more of an exhilarating ride, there are two 240-foot twisted water slides, and a spray ground for kids with palm trees, serpents, and cannons that spray water.
There’s a farm where you can get up close to chickens, goats, sheep, cattle, and horses, with weekend hayrides available.
Finally, Kensington has two disc golf courses, one of which has been the site of professional events, and an 18-hole golf course with open fairways and fast greens.
This Metropark sits on beautiful Lake St. Clair in Macomb County, with a massive 600-foot sandy beach stretching along the lake.
If you want to try something new, Daysail offers a place to kiteboard on the lake.
Many of the Metroparks have some form of golf, but at Lake St. Clair, you’ll find a par-3 golf course that is also used as a FootGolf course, where you swap a golf ball and golf club for a soccer ball and your foot.
In the winter, you can try ice skating and ice hockey, along with cross-country skiing.
Lower Huron is one of three Metroparks that are near each other, and it includes access to the Huron River and nearly 1,300 acres of enjoyment.
The main attraction in the summer is the Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center, which features a pool, two waterslides, a 300-gallon dumping bucket, and a lazy river for those who want to enjoy the sun, the water, and the ride.
There are also a variety of places to play sports, including basketball courts, softball diamonds, a tennis court, and a beach volleyball court.
If you’re looking for a great hike, look no further than Oakwoods Metropark. It’s right next to Willow Metropark, offers a variety of nature trails, and is the flattest of the Metroparks.
There’s a 3-mile hike-bike trail that connects to Willow and Lower Huron Metroparks, or an 11-mile trail connecting to Lake Erie Metropark.
There are also five nature trails varying from ¼ of a mile to 2 miles. The short Butterfly Viewing Trail goes through a “Monarch Butterfly Waystation” and the Sky-Come-Down Trail is described as the most diverse with unique habitats and ecosystems.
Wolcott Mill Metropark offers another opportunity to take a look at a working farm and see what it’s like for the barn animals.
The 250-acre working farm will give you an up-close look at cows, chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, horses, ducks, and dairy cows.
While you’re asked not to feed the animals, you can definitely pet them. As it says on the website, “do you like having your head scratched? So do our animals. Some of our goats and cows really enjoy a good pet.”
With the farm comes interactive programming on a wide variety of subjects, which include sustainable agriculture, milk, and wool production from labs, soil and water conservation, and much more.