Happy Monday my loves! I’m back today with a post that all you city people will love. Why? Because I’ve officially found a small piece of Summertime in Northern Michigan in the middle of the city!
I’m sure you’re thinking I’m crazy, but I promise you I’m not! It’s no secret that Belle Isle is one of the biggest gems of Detroit. (Although, there are a ton of gems in Detroit. I really do believe Detroit gets a bad rep. It really is a great city, and I think you all need to come visit some day… you’ll love it.) Belle Isle is a 987 acre park in the middle of the Detroit River right between Detroit and Ontario.
I’d never been to Belle Isle until last weekend, even though we’ve lived here for almost 3 years now. (Embarrassing. I know.) But I really believed that I’d show up to this…
Or even this.
This gorgeous park (designed by the same guy that designed Central Park in NYC!) is full of hiking trails, lakes, water sports, fishing, picnic areas, playscapes, beaches, a driving range and even a Conservatory and Aquarium. I promise you, when you’re driving down the side roads, kayaking the canals and walking the trails, the only constant reminder that you’re not Up North is the city skylines in the distance.
Today, I’m sharing 10 Things You Must Do on Belle Isle Before Summer Ends! (And yes, you can do all these things in one day… we almost did!)
Kayak. Take a morning to rent a kayak or a paddle board and spend some time out on the water! It’s super relaxing and takes you away from the real world. We had so much fun with our Kayak Tour (find our exact tour here) but you can also rent from places right on Belle Isle too! Learn more here.
Fish. Bring your fishing gear and find a spot to rip some lips. Be careful where you drop your line, because there are a few spots that you can’t fish.
Have a Picnic. If you’ve been with me since the beginning, you know that I LOVE picnics! They are literally my favorite way to eat… especially when they’re on the beach at home featuring my favorite Big Al’s stromboli. And while my list of favorite picnic areas is pretty spectacular (the beaches of Manistee, and the mountains of Wyoming and Banff are my number ones!) Belle Isle comes in a close second. There are literally thousands of picnic tables all over the island, but the best spot is as Sunset Point, where you can eat and see a panoramic view of the Detroit River, and the Detroit and Windsor skylines.
Play at Kid’s Row. Do you have kids with you? Take them over to Kid’s Row. There are play structures for every age and a giant slide too! (Like the kind at the carnival. We didn’t ride this, but I’ve read before that it’s $1 a ride.)
Visit the Conservatory. If you like plants, you love this! If you don’t, you love this too. They have all sorts of tropical plants to check out (like the biggest palm trees I’ve ever seen!), cactuses, ferns and flowers. They also have a big lawn that you can wander through that is very European esq… and very peaceful. This is actually the oldest running Conservatory in the country, and it’s free to enter!
Relax at the beach. You can soak up some rays on Belle Isle’s beach. There were a ton of people enjoying the beautiful day while we were there, but tbh, swimming in the Detroit River just isn’t my idea of a refreshing swim. (I grew up on Lake Michigan… can you blame me?)
Visit the Aquarium. Right next door to the Conservatory is the Aquarium, and guess what? It’s the oldest in the country too! The aquarium is small (but when it opened it was the 3rd biggest in the world!) but has fish from all over the world, not just our Great Lakes. Trev was excited to see the piranhas, but I was happy to see Nemo 🙂
Hike the trails. Belle Isle is the perfect place to lace up your hiking shoes, find a trail and get lost in nature. You can check out a map here to see the designated hiking areas.
Marvel at the Fountain. Guys. The fountain on Belle Isle is STUNNING. I literally felt like I was back in Paris, not the middle of the Detroit River when I was standing there looking at it. It is completely made of marble, and the carvings are incredibly intricate. This iconic Detroit spot is a can’t miss location for that perfect insta photo.
Visit the Nature Center. Do you love the Detroit Zoo? Then you’ll love their Belle Isle Nature Center. Here you can feed deer and enjoy animals that call the state of Michigan home.
And if none of those sound like fun to you, just take a drive around the island. It’s really beautiful, and I promise, you will love it!
Have you been to Belle Isle? What are your favorite things to do while you’re there?
Alright my loves. I’ve had the longest day, and so much I still have to do tonight! I’ll be back tomorrow with a post on the cutest town I’ve ever been to!!! I’ll talk to you then.