8 Perfect Ways to Spend a Summer Day in Macomb County
Story by Sarah Bence | Photos by Fishing by Bill Bowen; Ford House by Justin Maconochie
Looking for a summer day out in the Detroit area, but want to escape the city? If you’re yearning for a bit more space and fresh air, then head to Macomb County in northern metro Detroit.
For one of our state’s smallest counties, Macomb is still packed with fun and quintessentially “Michigan” activities, ranging from beach days, woodland trails, farms, quaint downtown shops, and so much more.
Note: Your 2020 summer day out might be a bit different. Each of these activities in Macomb County has been hand-picked with consideration to both social distancing and safely supporting local businesses.
How to Enjoy Summer in Macomb County
1. Enjoy patio dining along the Nautical Mile
Located in the city of St. Clair Shores, the Nautical Mile is a lakeside street featuring shops, restaurants, and boutiques, all surrounded by marinas and a total 14 miles of canals. The actual Nautical Mile is located on Jefferson Avenue between 9 and 10 mile roads, and is hard to miss with its nautical themed décor at every storefront!
This is the perfect area to wander before sitting down for a patio lunch or dinner (or ordering carryout to eat along the lake). Try Pegasus Taverna for Greek food, Waves Chill & Grill for classic American eats, Golden Chopsticks for Chinese cuisine, the Nautical Deli, and Mastro’s Ice Cream for dessert.
The Nautical Mile is known as Michigan’s boating capital, so while you’re in St. Clair Shores, why not try boating for the day? Spending a day boating out on the lake is a classic Michigan summertime experience. Head down to the marina and you’ll find many boat rentals available. You can also book ahead of time with companies like Tye Toons Boat Rentals, which rents pontoons for the day, or level up in luxury with Infinity and Ovation Yacht Charters.
3. Experience summertime ice skating
Summer in Michigan isn’t all about sunny beach days – you can also still go ice skating! If you’re getting tired of the heat, this is a perfect excuse to switch things up and try a traditionally winter-time activity. At Suburban Ice Macomb, there are two rinks and daily public skating hours starting from just $5 admission and $3 skate rental.
Due to COVID-19, Suburban Ice Macomb has taken some precautions with their reopening. Call ahead to reserve a skating time, and arrive 15 minutes beforehand to get geared up in the socially distanced staging areas.
4. Spend the day at Lake St. Clair Metropark
Macomb County is home to some incredible parks, and the Lake St. Clair Metropark is one of the best. This park covers 770-acres of woodland trails, beach, and recreational facilities such as tennis courts, a golf course, picnic areas, and even a swimming pool. Laze along the mile long shoreline, brave the water slide (with its 17 foot drop), or walk the 1600 foot boardwalk… whatever you choose to do, you could easily spend a day exploring Lake St. Clair Metropark.
Although this is technically in Wayne County, this attraction is close enough to Macomb that we had to include it. The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is a well-preserved mansion and lakeside estate that will take you back in time to when the Fords lived here. Visitors get a glimpse into the home life and details of the Ford family – you’ll delve much further into their history than the iconic cars we know today. There is something here for everyone, whether you are a history buff, an architecture lover, are interested in the iconic automotive entrepreneur, or a lover of the gardens and outdoors.
As of June 17th, the Ford House grounds and gardens reopened to the public. Admission is $5 and tickets can be purchased online ahead of time. Currently, the historical tours, house, and building entry are canceled.
6. Explore a 250-acre public farm
The Wolcott Mill is another must-visit park in Macomb County, particularly for animal lovers! Home to a 250-acre public farm, the Wolcott Mill is an idyllic outdoor space that is a perfect day out for the whole family.
You could spend the entire day exploring Wolcott Mill, but perhaps start with the farm itself, which is still fully operational. Here you can admire six breeds of dairy cows, sheep, goats, chickens, and miniature and draft horses. There are also miles of nature trails that lead through both woodland and meadows. The mill itself was built in 1847 and is on the National Register of Historic Places – it is currently being evaluated by structural engineers but is still visible from outside.
7. Run, walk, or bike the entire Macomb Orchard Trail
At nearly the length of a full marathon, the Macomb Orchard Trail is a 24-mile trail in Macomb County. It’s built for both foot traffic and biking, and crosses through suburbs, woodland, and farmland. The trail starts from 24-mile and Dequindre outside Rochester, and ends in Richmond. Whether you choose to do a portion of the trail for some fresh air, or attempt the entire trail length, this is an easy way to get outdoors this summer.
8. Wander the cute downtown shops of Mount Clemens
Mount Clemens is the county seat of Macomb County, but it’s also a happening city whose downtown is filled with a mix of historical buildings, and many small local businesses. Spend an afternoon wandering these downtown shops. Hunt for trinkets and homeware at Nest Collaborative, or vintage clothes at the popular Second Hand Rose or Max & Ollie’s Vintage Boutique. You’ll also want to check out ABC Magic Shop (which is now offering virtual magic classes). Grab a sweet treat at Champagne Chocolates, or one of the ice cream tacos from Pops’ Sweets and Treats.