Your New Favorite Healthy Hangouts in Southeast Michigan

One of the best parts about warmer weather is getting out and enjoying all of the great parks and natural spaces around Michigan. Not only does Mother Nature make you more excited to be active (it’s a lot more fun to walk through a park than on a treadmill!), but she’s also been shown to reduce blood pressure and levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).

This year, there are some new spots to check out. The Michigan Municipal League reports that 68 percent of large municipalities in Michigan (places with populations of more than 30,000), are making an effort to create more community places where people would want to gather and spend their time. There are so many ways to enjoy the great outdoors Michigan has to offer like exploring the plentiful hiking or bike trails across the state or  participating in the MI Big Green Gym program.

Ready to get back out there? Here are a handful of new (or newly renovated) public parks made for exploring in southeast Michigan.

  1. Atlas Park – Genesee County: What was once a family-owned property is soon to be a must-see public space. The Atlas County Park, located across the street from Goodrich High School, is set to open in April. With plenty of unique features on the property, you’ll be able to enjoy scenic walks, diverse plant life, and possible even go kayaking on Kearsley Creek.
  2. Dequindre Cut – Detroit: Although the Dequindre Cut has been open since 2009, a half-mile extension was completed in 2016, connecting pedestrians to the heart of Eastern Market. This new addition lets you see what the old railway looked like back when it brought people and products into the market. Whether exploring the recreational trail by foot or bike, there’s plenty of natural beauty and street art to take in, too.
  3. Belle Isle – Detroit: There are plenty of spaces to explore across this 982-acre island, including the Belle Isle Aquarium, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Center, the James Scott Memorial Fountain, and more. This is a great destination for a bike ride, healthy picnic or even a kayak This year, keep an eye out as the historic Belle Isle Boat House undergoes restoration. The project includes basic building renovations like new paint, structural repairs and updated décor as well as a new outdoor green space.
  4. Beacon Park – Detroit: Brand new to the Detroit park scene, Beacon Park opened last July and offers programming all year round. The park “infuses light, energy, and motion” into a public space, creating a unique gathering place as well as an Instagram-worthy aesthetic. The park’s diverse events calendar will give you plenty of inspiration to stay active and engaged all summer.
  5. Flint Farmer’s Market – Flint: This historic market recently received a face lift as it returned to its original downtown location. Open all year, it offers fresh produce, quality entertainment, kitchen demonstrations and more. It’s a great place to spend a spring weekend, picking up nutritious ingredients for your next meal and meeting up with neighbors.

Live elsewhere in the state? The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Public Spaces, Community Places program supports the creation of spaces like these across Michigan. Check out the projects in the works to see if there are going to be any new spaces near you.

Any new public spaces near your hometown we should know about? Share in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Rex Roof

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  1. Gallup Park in Ann Arbor is a wonderful place to spend the day. Kayaking, canoeing, and tubing on the Huron River are among the many options, which also include bike trails through wooded areas and near the water.

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