Belle Isle Park
Pick a sunny afternoon to spend on Belle Isle, a 928-acre park-island situated in the Detroit River between Detroit and Canada. After you cross over MacArthur Bridge, bear right at the fork onto Sunset Drive. As you approach the eastern tip of the island, there’ll be parking spots along the edge of the river. From here, you get the best view of the city across the way. It’s also a good place to stop and play and/or picnic if you have littles in tow. (The beach stretch will be mostly empty if you come in the fall or winter but don’t skip over it.) If you keep driving around the perimeter of the island, you’ll pass Lake Tacoma and come toward the aquarium and conservatory in the middle. The aquarium (open only on the weekends from 10am to 4pm) is a famed building, designed by Albert Kahn in 1904. Right next to the aquarium is the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, which is divided into five houses by fauna type. There are also plenty more outdoor activities on the island—the marshy forest is threaded with a nature trail, you can rent bikes, take out a kayak, or stop at the playgrounds or athletic fields.