Best Picnic Areas in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

Grab your picnic basket of snacks and head out to one of the best picnic areas in metro Detroit including Belle Isle, Addison Oaks and more.

Dotted with parks, crisscrossed with streams and bordered by Lake Michigan and the Detroit River, there are plenty of picturesque picnic spots to choose from in southeast Michigan.

So pack up a picnic and head out to one of these locales. Most of these sites also include family-friendly activities on site too like playgrounds, swimming pools, hiking trails and more.

Note: Some areas of some parks may be closed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Parks may also enforce social distancing and other COVID-19 safety protocols. Check with your chosen park to find out what they are before heading out. 

Addison Oaks

  • Address: 1480 W. Romeo Road, Leonard
  • Phone: 248-693-2432
  • Entry fees: $12/car (daily), $5/Oakland County residents

Two lakes stretch across this 1,140-acre park in Oakland County’s northeast corner. Picnic spots are right along the beach. Swimming permitted; call for times. You might also want to bring a pair of sturdy shoes for hiking or bikes to check out the Fat Bike Mountain Bike route.

Belle Isle in Detroit

  • Address: 99 Pleasure Drive, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-821-9844
  • Entry fees: $12/recreation passport (valid until your vehicle’s next license plate registration renewal date; out-of-state residents pay $34/year or $9/day; good for entry into all state parks)

If you haven’t visited Belle Isle, the island park in the middle of the Detroit River, now is the time! Choose from an array of standard picnic tables or find your own spots and rent a bike to cycle through the island, visit the beach, go to the nature zoo, or make your way to the renovated aquarium.

Bishop Park

  • Address: 1 Superior Blvd., Wyandotte
  • Phone: 734-246-1000
  • Entry fees: Free

Located in downtown Wyandotte and along the Detroit Riverfront, this downriver city park is great for family picnics. It’s complete with a concession stand, picnic deck, tables and shelters, restrooms and – for added family fun – playground, basketball courts and fishing pier.

Camp Dearborn 

  • Address: 1700 General Motors Road, Milford
  • Phone: 248-684-6000
  • Entry fees: Call for details

This campground offers a 626 acres of hills and lakes to picnic near, and after you have your meal, there’s plenty of amenities to enjoy, including mini golf, paddle boats, and a playground.

The Detroit Riverfront

  • Address: Near the intersection of Rivard and Atwater streets, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-566-8200
  • Entry fees: Free; but parking fees may apply

Reaching more than five miles from the Ambassador Bridge to Belle Isle, you can stop and have your picnic with the Detroit skyline as your backdrop. The riverfront area includes a café, playscape, fountains to run through and a carousel, too. Parking is available near Cullen Plaza.

Elizabeth Park

  • Address: 4650 Elizabeth Drive, Trenton
  • Phone: 734-261-1990
  • Entry fees: Free

This “island” park located on the shores of the Detroit River offers amazing views to enjoy on a lazy summer day. This happens to be the oldest park in Wayne County and the first county park in the state of Michigan.

Greenfield Village

  • Address: 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
  • Phone: 313-982-6001
  • Entry fees: $28/ages 12-61, $25.25/seniors 62-plus, $21/ages 5-11, free/ages 4 and under

An extension of The Henry Ford Museum, this outdoor historic village includes old-time shops to visit, a carousel to ride, and other fun discoveries within the grounds. Family picnics are permitted. You might want to bring some extra cash, however, to buy ice cream cones for dessert. (Note: Outside alcohol not permitted).

Groveland Oaks Paradise Island

  • Address: 14555 Dixie Highway, Holly
  • Phone: 248-634-9811
  • Entry fees: $12/car (daily), $5/Oakland County residents

Venture across the bridge to Groveland Oaks’ Paradise Island to spot your perfect picnic locale. Once you’ve put away the picnic fixings, visit the playground (the largest playscape in Oakland County!), try a round of mini golf, or for the teens in the group check out the skate park area.

Heritage Park Canton

  • Address: 1150 S. Canton Center Road, Canton
  • Phone: 734-394-5310
  • Entry fees: Free

An extensive wooden playscape beckons kids to play pretend and explore this park in Canton. There’s a lake nearby with a trail all around it and several spots to choose from to lay down a blanket for your picnic. Don’t forget about a kid favorite: the splash playground!

Hudson Mills Metropark

  • Address: 8801 N. Territorial Road, Dexter
  • Phone: 734-426-8211
  • Entry fees: $10/daily vehicle entry, $35/annual pass

Northwest of Ann Arbor, this wooded 1,549-acre park includes several amenities besides just amazing picnic spots. Trek along the 2-mile Acorn Nature Trail. There are also soccer fields, softball diamonds, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts.

Independence Oaks

  • Address: 9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston
  • Phone: 248-625-0877
  • Entry fees: $12/car (daily), $5/Oakland County residents

If you’re making a day of your picnic, come with a blanket and use a spot in the grass or at a table. Or, use one of two fireplaces at the Twin Chimneys site to start an evening fire – time to roast marshmallows!

After your meal, play at the volleyball courts, visit the Wint Nature Center, head to the ball field, or watch the sunset at the gazebo.

Lake St. Clair Metropark

  • Address: 31300 Metropolitan Parkway, Harrison Township
  • Phone: 586-463-4581
  • Entry fees: $10/daily vehicle entry, $40/annual pass

Picnic beside the banks of Lake St. Clair at this 770-acre park. With the price of your vehicle admission, enjoy the paved trail, beach, sprayscape and more. For an additional fee ($5/person, free/30-inches tall and under) you can go for swim at the Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Plymouth Township Park

  • Address: 46640 Ann Arbor Trail, Plymouth
  • Phone: 734-453-3840
  • Entry fees: Free

This picnic spot has it all – and there’s no cost to go! Eat your picnic at the shelter next to the playground. Your kids will finish fast once they know they can go to the SprayScape afterwards, open dawn-dusk.

Rolling Hills County Park

  • Address: 7660 Stony Creek Road, Ypsilanti
  • Phone: 734-484-9676
  • Entry fees: $10/daily vehicle entry, $6/county resident

This 363-acre park includes both paved and nature trails for your kids to explore before it’s time to pick your picnic spot. Bring your poles to try to catch a fish or two. Or, bring your swimsuits to visit the water park (additional fees apply; open Memorial Day through Labor Day).

What is your family’s favorite picnic spot? Did we miss it on this list? Comment and share your thoughts!

This post is updated regularly.


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