16 Outdoorsy Adventure Day Trips From Detroit

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The largest city in Michigan, Detroit offers a great variety of activities and things to do to keep its residents entertained. Known for its huge motor car manufacturing industry, Motown, sports and music – Detroit never fails to impress anyone.

There are lots of day trips you can take from the city of Detroit which can keep you entertained. Let us explore some of the best day trips you can take from Detroit. 

Harrisville State Park, Michigan

Lake Huron

Located on the shores of Lake Huron is the Harrisville State Park. This park is one of the oldest parks in the state of Michigan and makes for a fantastic day trip from Detroit.

This 107-acre property is three hours away from Detroit. Covered with pine and cedar trees, there are two miles of hiking trails that the visitors can take advantage of.

They even have a sandy beach if you just want to relax. Other attractions here include a horseshoe pit, and volleyball and basketball courts, bike rentals, etc.

Distance: 3 hours

Ideal for: Outdoor lovers

Ann Arbour, Michigan

Ann Arbor

Located one hour away from Detroit, Ann Arbour is known for its beautiful tree-lined streets and it is also home to the University of Michigan.

Ann Arbour was founded in the 1820s and was named after the wives of the founders, both of whom were conveniently called Ann. This artsy, liberal city is a joy to explore and makes for a great escape from Detroit.

Come here to experience college culture, roam around downtown where there are numerous bookstores, free-trade coffee shops, art galleries, and restaurants. There are plenty of craft breweries for beer lovers too.

For families with kids, head to the Museum of Michigan Natural History Museum which is a hit with kids. Other attractions you can explore are Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Gallup Park, and Argo Park.

Distance: 1 hour

Ideal for: Relaxing getaway

Belle Isle State Park, Michigan

Belle Isle

Located only a few minutes from Detroit’s city center is the Belle Isle State Park in Michigan. The park encompasses the beautiful Belle Isle and several of the surrounding islets in the Detroit River.

This 982-acre park is perfect for lazying around or just having a picnic. The park boasts of many family-friendly attractions an aquarium, a nature center, and a conservatory. 

Outdoor lovers can spend their time jogging along the six-mile road, rent a pedal boat or standup paddleboard and explore the waters around the island.

Distance: 21 minutes

Ideal for: Relaxing getaway

Cleveland, Ohio


Located 2.5 hours away nestled up against Lake Erie, Cleveland is a bustling city with a bustling waterfront and a world-class culinary scene.

Best known for its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland offers many more things to do as well. Visit the Cleveland Museum of Art which has free admission and enough galleries to fill an entire afternoon. Sports lovers can catch a game at the Progressive Field stadium.

There are excellent beaches as well where visitors can spend time.

Distance: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Ideal for: Fun getaway

Lexington, Michigan


This is not the Lexington in Kentucky, this Lexington is a small village in Michigan with a laid-back atmosphere. It sits on the banks of Lake Huron and makes for a fantastic day trip from Detroit.

Lexington has a lot to offer in terms of shops and restaurants which visitors can explore in this small resort town. Stroll by the beach or just have a relaxing day here.

For a little more adventure, you can take a cruise, or play a round of mini-golf.

Distance: 1 hour and 25 minutes

Ideal for: Relaxing day trip

Chelsea, Michigan


This vibrant city is located 55 minutes away from the city of Detroit and is a small city with a variety of opportunities for visitors. 

Explore the downtown area which has plenty of dining, entertainment, and shopping options to choose from. You can also take the self-guided Sculpture Walk that leads through the downtown streets.

Visitors can also take a tour of the JIFFY mix factory or one of the local breweries and distilleries. 

Distance: 55 minutes

Ideal for: Relaxing day trip

Hell, SC


As diabolical as it sounds, you can visit hell – this is Hell in SC! Drive from Detroit for about an hour and explore this unique town which is nestled in the hills of the heavenly Livingston County.

Explore unique and fun attractions like Hell Hole Diner for a pizza or burger or visit the Crematory at Screams and order a Gravedigger Sundae.

There are demon cutouts scattered throughout the city where you can take photos or selfie. 

Distance: 58 minutes

Ideal for: Fun trip

Frankenmuth, Michigan


This Bavarian-style town of Frankenmuth is located one and a half hours away from Detroit. Often referred to as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria“, this cute little town is most known for its Bavarian architecture, its German-style shopping market, and its Bavarian sweets.

The quaint-vibe of this place will make you feel like you have been transported to Europe. The romantic vibe of this place makes it an excellent place to visit with you bae. 

Visit the world’s largest Christmas market here as well which can make for an exciting experience. Couples can also take a romantic carriage ride through the streets.

Distance: 1 hour and 37 minutes

Ideal for: Romantic getaway

Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio

Cuyahoga Valley

Located two and a half hours away from Detroit, Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio is one of the most popular national parks in the state. 

Created to protect the beautiful land along the Cuyahoga River, there are more than 100 waterfalls scattered throughout this park. A must-visit is the Brandywine Falls, which tumbles over a 60-foot cliff into an incredible gorge.

If you want to relax and do view some beautiful scenery at the same time, then hop on the train on  Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. You can also opt to explore by a cycle or on foot. 

Distance: 2 hours and 46 minutes

Ideal for: Outdoor lovers

Saugatuck, Michigan


Located three hours away from Detroit, this coastal beauty is known for its Cape Cod vibes. The artsy Saugatuck is known as the “art coast” and also the bustling creative scene.

The town of Saugatuck is also home to one of Conde’ Nast Traveler’s “Top 25 Beaches in the World.” Needless to say, a trip to the beach is a must!

Breathtaking views, soft sand, and endless opportunities to bathe and swim.

Visitors can also visit the  Saugatuck Center for the Arts to check out dozens of artists and their spectacular galleries. 

Distance: 3 hours and 5 minutes

Ideal for: Beach lovers

Silver Lake State Park, Michigan

Silver Lake

Located three and a half hours away from Detroit, Silver Lake State Park stretches for four miles along the shore of Lake Michigan.

The state park provides many opportunities for swimming, canoeing, boating, and fishing. Silver Lake State Park also boasts of  2,000 acres of dunes, 450 of which are open to off-road vehicles.

The dunes, of course, provide lovely opportunities for adventure. You can also visit the lovely sandy beach for some sun time.

Distance: 3 hours and 30 minutes

Ideal for: Nature lovers

Mackinac Island, Michigan

mackinac island

If an island getaway is on your mind, then Mackinac Island can be your best bet. This is a natural park which is located on an actual island.

This lovely island has been a popular vacation spot for generations and continues to be. Visitors can spend their time exploring historic sites which include two forts that were captured by the British during the War of 1812.

Enjoy swimming, sailing,  and fishing in the Straits of Mackinac. You can only reach here by ferry, as cars are not allowed on this island.

Distance: 3 hours 

Ideal for: Family fun

Rondeau Provincial Park

Rondeau Provincial Park

Located two hours away in Ontario, Canada, Rondeau Provincial Park is the second oldest provincial park. 

Beautiful shorelines adorn this area. The park sits on a crescent-shaped sand spit that stretches out into Lake Erie to create Rondeau Bay.

The waters are excellent for swimming, fishing, and boating. Visitors can also explore the hiking trails which are great for bird watching as well. 

There are three trails dedicated to bike traffic, which allow visitors to explore the peaceful Carolinian forest.

Distance: 2 hours 

Ideal for: Outdoor lovers

Van Buren State Park, Ohio

van buren

Located two and a half hours away in Ohio, Van Burren State Park is all about lovely beaches. This area is surrounded by rolling fields of northwestern Ohio’s farmland and makes for a wonderful retreat.

Visitors can take advantage of 12 miles of trails in the park, including a 2-mile interpretive trail. The park is also home to a 45-acre lake, which is ideally suited for anyone who wants a peaceful place to fish or canoe. 

Distance: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Ideal for: Outdoor lovers

Bay City, Michigan

Bay City

Located two hours away from Detroit, Bay City is located near the base of picturesque Saginaw Bay. This cozy waterfront city has a population of 40,000 and offers an endless variety of things to see and do.

Take a bike tour of the local breweries, sail the blue waters of Lake Huron on an Appledore Tall Ship. The city also provides access to approximately 100 miles of trails, which can be used for walking and cycling.

Distance: 2 hours 

Ideal for: Outdoor lovers

New Buffalo, Michigan

New Buffalo

New Buffalo is located three hours away from Detroit. It is a welcoming beach town with plenty of excellent shops and restaurants. 

Visitors can also take advantage of world-class casinos. Have fun at the New Buffalo beach where you can take advantage of lovely sunset and sunrises.

Stroll along the sand dunes in the beautiful Warren Dunes State Park or explore the many wineries, breweries, and shops here.

Distance: 3 hours 

Ideal for: Beach lovers


Detroit is blessed with countless opportunities to explore and as a resident of the city, you can hope over to the state lines of Ohio to explore the grand Cuyahoga National Park and many more destinations. 

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