Hidden Gems: Six Michigan State Parks to Visit This Summer

In Michigan, you are never more than an hour’s drive from a state park or recreation area.

Summer is a great time to enjoy the Great Lakes State and our parks, trails, campgrounds and more. If you’re looking to explore but want to avoid the crowds, here are six hidden gems to check out:

  1. Ocqueoc Falls: Located near Rogers City, Ocqueoc Falls is the only waterfall in the Lower Peninsula. It is also the first universally accessible waterfall in the country. The design was given the 2013 da Vinci Award for exceeding American Disabilities Act requirements. Get in, splash down and make memories in this natural wonder.
  2. P.H. Hoeft State Park: Not far from the falls is a fabulous beach destination at P.H. Hoeft State Park. With one of the only places you can watch both the sunrise and sunset over a Great Lake, this uniquely situated park offers beach volleyball, a great lodge for the non-camper, and what some people think of as the “traditional” state park experience.
  3. Kitch-iti-Kipi: Also known as the “Big Spring,” Kitch-iti-Kipi can be found in Palms Book State Park in the Upper Peninsula. It is home to a 40-foot deep natural spring with an amazing 10,000 gallons of water entering the spring every minute. The flow continues year-round at a consistent temperature of 45 degrees. Access to this natural wonder is available via a limestone pathway and includes a self-propelled raft that takes visitors out over the top for wildlife and fish viewing. Watch the video below to learn more.
  4. Bay City Recreation Area: This location boasts a spray park, outdoor movie screenings, a 12,000-square-foot playground, two four-story observation towers and access to more than 17 miles of bike trails. No kid, or kid-at-heart, can resist a weekend of outdoor play here!
  5. Belle Isle State Park: In 2014, Detroit’s Belle Isle Park became Michigan’s 102nd state park through a 30-year lease agreement with the City of Detroit. This gem includes an aquarium, museum, nature zoo and a rich variety of music, art and other entertainment options. Plus, it’s close to Detroit’s best destinations, such as professional sport venues, Detroit Eastern Market, the symphony, restaurants, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan Science Center and much more.
  6. Interlochen State Park: Did you know, Interlochen is home to Michigan’s first state park? This park boasts both rustic and modern camping options. Located across from Interlochen Center for the Arts, it is a natural choice for enjoying free student and faculty performances, concerts during the Summer Arts Festival and much more.

Which Michigan State Parks are your favorite to visit in the summer? Share your tips with us by leaving a comment below.

About the author: Maia Turek is ‎an innovative marketing and partnership development specialist with the ‎Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation.

Photo credit: Michigan DNR (courtesy image)

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