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.

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.

Addison Oaks

  • Address: 1480 W. Romeo Road, Leonard
  • Hours: Late October-late April: 8 a.m.-30 minutes after sunset daily; 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily during camping season

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.

Beacon Park

This is the largest of the parks downtown and has plenty of room for you and your family to spread out and enjoy your spread. Rotating interactive installations for the whole family are a highlight at this park.

Belle Isle in Detroit

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 aquarium.

Bishop Park

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

This campground offers 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.

Campus Martius Park

The ice rink disappears in the summer and is replaced with a pop-up beach with sand and all. It’s the perfect spot to lay down your towel or blanket and have a meal. There’s also volleyball and shovels for the little ones.

Clark Park

Take a summertime trip to Clark Park in Southwest Detroit for fun on the tennis courts and playground or in the winter to use the ice rink. It’s a popular choice for family picnics, which is no surprise as there is green space in abundance at this large park. Plus, it regularly hosts festivals, concerts and special events.

The Detroit Riverfront

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

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

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 is not permitted).

Groveland Oaks Paradise Island

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

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

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

If you’re making a day of your picnic, come with a blanket and use a spot in the grass or at a table. 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.

Innovation Hills

Enjoy your meal while viewing the water sculptures, rivers, ponds and a hiking trail. There are picnic tables, too.

Lake Erie Metropark

The park has picnic areas, picnic shelters, playgrounds, a wave pool and more.

Lakeshore Park

The amenities include a new large pavilion, outdoor grill, benches, tables and a library kiosk.

Lake St. Clair Metropark

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 a swim at the Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Marshbank Park

Has two universally accessible playgrounds, two sand volleyball courts, a soccer field, two ball fields, fishing pier and a picnic area.

Milford Central Park 

This 12-acre site has plenty of room for picnics. Located near a playground, basketball courts, tennis court and more.

North Rosedale Park

  • Address: North Rosedale Park neighborhood, Detroit
  • Hours: Dawn-dusk

This four-acre park has a playground, soccer fields and a baseball diamond. There is a Community House that has, “Little Icy’s Luncheonette” available for you to purchase your lunch or feel free to bring your own.

Palmer Park

This city favorite is over 100 years old and has 281 acres. The park has a playground, biking trails, tennis courts, athletic fields, woodlands and meadows for the perfect picnic.

Plymouth Township Park

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

This 439-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).

Scripps Park

With a branch of the Detroit Public Library next door, this little park on the edge of the Woodbridge neighborhood in Detroit is a quiet gem. A playground and dog park is in the park, too.

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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