Tourists head to Michigan’s shores every summer to soak up the sun. The extensive network of state parks gives visitors the opportunity to hike, explore wildlife, and learn about local history. Most state parks require the purchase of a Recreation Passport, accessible here.
Here’s a guide to the state parks near Ann Arbor where you, your friends and family could drive for a sunny getaway this summer.
A note: We use Ann Arbor as our starting point because it is Michigan Radio’s home base. We hope that wherever you are in our beautiful state, you can take a trip to some of these state parks.
Less than an hour from Ann Arbor
Maybury State Park
Located in Northville, Maybury State Park has eight miles of trails, paved bike paths, fishing, sports fields and playgrounds. Visitors can also check out the historic trail with signs showing where the old Maybury Sanitarium buildings were.
Watkins Lake State Park
Watkins Lake State Park is found in Jackson and Washtenaw counties. The park is covered with over five miles of hiking trails, wetlands, and open water. Because the lake has been designated a waterfowl refuge by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, birdwatching is a popular activity for park goers.
William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor
An urban state park in downtown Detroit, William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor is located on the east side. The harbor contains fishing and picnic areas, as well as a scaled-down replica of the Tawas Point Lighthouse. There is also a wetland demonstration area.
Seven Lakes State Park
Seven Lakes State Park in Holly has several miles of shoreline and a campground. The dam combined seven small lakes into one large lake, providing visitors with room for various water activities like kayaking, swimming, and fishing.
Belle Isle Park
In Detroit, Belle Isle Park has an aquarium, zoo, conservatory and museum of the Great Lakes. Grassy areas provide park visitors with a place to picnic, grill, walk, and cycle.
Sterling State Park
Sterling State Park is Michigan’s only state park located on Lake Erie. This Monroe County park includes beaches, camping, and hiking and biking trails.
Less than 2 hours from Ann Arbor
Algonac State Park
Along the St. Clair River, Algonac State Park800 meters of riverside is known for passing cargo ships. Wildlife viewing, archery and camping are popular recreational activities with visitors.
Bay City State Park
Bay City State Park is located on the shores of Saginaw Bay. Bird watchers flock to this park for its indoor viewing room and guided tours. Boardwalk trails, lookout towers, a museum, and a beach shoreline provide park-goers with plenty of recreational opportunities.
Lakeport State Park
Sitting by Lake Huron, Lakeport State Park offers visitors two campgrounds to choose from. The 250 sites are spread across the village of Lakeport. The park has pebble beaches along the lake.
Less than 3 hours from Ann Arbor
Sanilac Petroglyph Historic State Park
In Cass City, Sanilac Petroglyph Historic State Park holds Michigan’s largest known collection of carved Native American teachings. The carvings, called “Ezhibiigaadek Asin,” mean “written on stone” in the Anishinaabemowin language.
Warren Dunes State Park
Warren Dunes State Park contains three miles from the shore of Lake Michigan to Sawyer. Visitors can camp, swim, picnic, beach and hike along the dunes.
Sleeper State Park
Sleeper State Park in Caseville was named in honor of Albert E. Sleeper, former governor of Michigan who signed the law on the state park system. Park-goers can camp in the wooded dunes and enjoy the half-mile of sandy beaches.
Grand Haven State Park
Located along Lake Michigan, Grand Haven State ParkThe sandy shores of allow visitors to sunbathe, swim and fish. The park also has a campground, volleyball nets, a scenic pier and lighthouse.