You might not typically associate Metro Detroit with natural beauty, but there are so many underrated outdoor treasures throughout the area. Even within the bounds of the Motor City itself, you’ll encounter plenty of peaceful and breathtaking green spaces. When you’re searching for the opportunity to unwind, relax, and embrace the wonders of Mother Nature, check out these relaxing natural hidden gems in Detroit and its surrounding communities.
1. Elizabeth Park
Despite its endless charms, Elizabeth Park remains a relatively unknown destination among many Detroit residents. This unique park in Trenton sits along the banks of the Detroit River and boasts everything from green space to beautiful bridges to a stunning boardwalk that’s perfect for a stroll. In its earlier days, the land that comprises Elizabeth Park was privately owned, but it has operated as a public space since 1919.
2. Furstenberg Nature Area
Venture to nearby Ann Arbor for a relaxing family outing at Furstenberg Nature Area, which features 38 acres and boundless delights for visitors of all ages. While it’s often overshadowed by more famous destinations like Nichols Arboretum, Furstenberg is an ideal spot to stroll – in fact, you’ll find wooded beauty, wetlands, prairies, and more, all of which can be appreciated along a series of easily traversable trails.
3. Stone Bridge Nature Trail
Detroit’s Rouge Park is a popular place to gather, but did you know that it’s home to a whimsical forest trail? That’s right: Stone Bridge Nature Trail is a 0.7-mile pathway that features an enchanting stone bridge and plenty of natural beauty. Dogs are welcome to embark on this trail, so long as they are kept leashed. When you’re searching for a bit of magic and a whole lot of quietude, look no further.
4. Indian Village Centennial Garden
Make your way to the historic Indian Village neighborhood for a dash of exploration at Indian Village Centennial Garden, a community space that sits on a corner lot and features blooms galore. Shrubbery, flowers, green space, garden accessories, a gazebo – the list of special touches continues. There are even special events held in the garden during the warmer months, so this space will quickly become a favorite.
5. McHattie Park
Situated in South Lyon, McHattie Park truly offers a little something for everyone to enjoy. While many visitors opt to spend time on the playground with younger family members, there are also historic buildings on-site. If that weren’t enough, guests can partake in everything from picnicking to sledding during the chilly months to simply appreciating the abundance of fresh air. What’s not to love?
6. Mariner Park
Blink and you’ll miss the small but lovely Mariner Park, which offers a sense of seclusion without venturing outside the city. This unique spot along the banks of the Detroit River offers space for fishing, unique lighthouse views, green space, and more. Whether you’re stretching your legs or conversing with a loved one on one of the park’s benches, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to stop by.
7. Robert H. Long Nature Park
Make the 30-minute drive to Commerce Township for a deep breath of fresh air at Robert H. Long Nature Park, which is something of a wonderland for those who love flora and fauna. An accessible limestone trail adds to the popularity of this underrated gem, allowing guests with various mobility needs to appreciate the beauty of Berry Lake. There’s ample space to fish, hike, enjoy a picnic, and simply unplug for a while.
8. Lincoln Woods Nature Preserve
Head to Southfield for a calming outing at Lincoln Woods Nature Preserve, which is rich with greenery during the warmer months and full of charm in every season. Also referred to as Lincoln Woods Park, this spot boasts 10 acres of land and features a playground, multiple walking trails, and an atmosphere of relaxation that will impress the whole family. You might just want to stop and stay awhile.
Are you familiar with any of the natural hidden gems in Detroit that were included in our piece? Did we leave any of your favorites out of the compilation? Share your natural bucket list additions to the list by leaving a Facebook comment or recommend another underrated day trip destination in Detroit or Metro Detroit by completing our official nomination form.