From biking along a one-mile shoreline stretch of Lake St. Clair to monkeying around on its recently redeveloped playground, Lake St. Clair Metropark (formerly known as Metro Beach Metropark) offers something for everyone in the family.
“We are trying to cater to every age group,” says Mike Lyons, eastern district park superintendent of Lake St. Clair, Stony Creek and Wolcott Mill Metroparks.
And this Macomb County spot, one of 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor, does just that. Plus, it gives families the opportunity to enjoy affordable fun all year round.
Take a peek at just a few of Lake St. Clair Metropark’s offerings below – and tell us which is your favorite in the comments.
Slides, swings, rope climbing and more – kids ages 2-plus can let loose at this action-packed playground, formerly known as the Tot Lot.
“The old one had outlived its life,” Lyons says. Today, the playground is much safer and has a more modern appearance.
Kids ages 2-5 can play in a separate area from the older kids (up to age 12). Plus, while your kiddos are unwinding, you can work on your fitness thanks to arguably one of the coolest features of this playground: an adult exercise area. There’ll be a few cardio machines, Lyons says, so you can ride on an elliptical while your kiddos play.
“Parents can see the whole playground” as they exercise, Lyons adds. “They have a view of the lake behind them. It’s right by the boardwalk. You can watch your kids while they play on the playground.”
During busier months, Lyons says, kids can find healthy food at the Snack Shack, which is located right in the middle of the playground.
Stop by the park’s nature center, open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily in the summer and 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday during the school year, to browse several displays.
Peek at wetland, waterfowl and live animal exhibits – and learn about how the French voyageurs used the area back in the day.
Visit some live animals – sometimes you might catch nature center workers feeding and caring for native critters, too – or stop in for an educational program. Public programs and events, plus school and scout programs, happen all year long. Kids can go on a bug hunt, enjoy a voyageur encampment, and check out other cool activities that happen in and around the nature center. And when autumn hits, they can even take a southeast Michigan color tour.
“Fall is a popular time for our nature center and just people coming out and enjoying the changing colors,” Lyons says.
Cool off in the summer months in one of the best public swimming pools in metro Detroit, Lake St. Clair Metropark’s Olympic-sized swimming pool, which also features two slides, an inflatable obstacle course and climbing walls. Kids much be 48 inches or taller to use the slides and need to be 7 years old and pass a swim test to play on the climbing wall.
There’s also the Squirt Zone Spray Ground, located between the pool and the 600-foot sandy beach along Lake St. Clair. Water cannons, arches and more allow kids to cool off without being fully immersed in the pool – so it’s great for the smallest kids in your crew.
Once you’re all set, get showered and dressed in the bathhouse before heading home or exploring the rest of the park.
Pool use is $5 per person, and the pool is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day.
One of the most popular things to do in the winter, Lyons says, is ice fishing on Lake St. Clair. The area, the park’s website notes, is a good spot to fish for pan and yellow perch.
Not interested in ice fishing? No worries. There’s plenty more to do at Lake St. Clair Metropark in the cooler months – like cross-country skiing on two-and-a-half miles of trails with a flatter terrain, which is good for beginner- and intermediate-level skiers.
In the west playfield of Lake St. Clair Metropark, find an ice hockey rink and ice skating rink, too. Also located near that playfield, you’ll find a sledding hill. Plus, if you need to rest, you can find a comfort station, warming station and picnic area nearby.
Plan a party here, too. Rent a shelter area (for a fee) for your next shindig. “Definitely one of our major attractions is the picnicking,” Lyons says. “We have 12 shelters that we rent to the public.”
One of these areas – the Par 3 Picnic Shelter – holds up to 250 people and could be a great setting for a family reunion or graduation party. Call 586-463-4581 for more details on renting these spaces.
These offerings are just the tip of the iceberg! Find this and so much more at this local Metropark.
“Lake St. Clair Metropark is just a beautiful setting on Lake St. Clair to come out and just take in the scenery,” Lyons says. And with so many activities, “there’s something for everybody,” he adds.
Lake St. Clair Metropark is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. One-day vehicle admission is $10, or purchase an annual pass for $35.
Photo from Lake St. Clair Metropark’s Facebook page
This post was originally published in 2011 and is updated regularly.