Driving time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Mileage: 63 miles

You can choose to make this into a driving tour, or you can select a park at which to spend time, depending on your schedule. The good news, all of these parks circumvent the busyness of Metro Detroit – and they are beautiful places to visit, allowing you to reconnect with nature  while still being within easy reach of the city. These parks share a lot in common, so it might make sense to picnic at one, fish at another, and play at yet another.

Marshbank Park
2805 Hiller Road, West Bloomfield Township

This 80-acre park sits along the picturesque Cass Lake, which is the largest lake in Oakland County. Amenities include two universally accessible playgrounds, ball fields, soccer field, fishing pier, nature trail, and several shelters. If you have a canoe or kayak, there is a spot to launch into Cass Lake.

Plymouth Township Park
46640 Ann Arbor Trail, Plymouth

Take your pick of four shelter areas (available to rent for larger events through the township office). The one next to the playground might be the one to pick if you have young ones who want to play. Bring along the fishing poles, too, as there is a fishing pond and a dock (ADA accessible). Next door is an 18-hole golf course. Open dawn until dusk.

Heritage Park
1150 S. Canton Center Road, Canton

This beautiful oasis has a variety of activities, including pavilions and a gazebo as well as a musical playground with several hands-on instruments and a playground near the north pavilion. The big attraction, however, is the newly renovated splash playground is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day throughout the summer. A nearby like has an inviting trail around it, making it a perfect outdoor excursion – and perhaps bring a picnic blanket along to eat al fresco in the “traditional” way, on the ground.

Elizabeth Park
4650 Elizabeth Drive, Trenton

The next park is the oldest park in Wayne County as well as the first county park to be so designated in the state. Located on the shore of the Detroit River, this “island” park has some of the best views around, especially along its 1300 feet of riverwalk. Go fishing or simply spend time watching the river traffic, including Great Lakes freighters. There are two picnic shelters and three bridges to visit, too.

Bishop Park
1 Superior Blvd., Wyandotte

Located in downtown Wyandotte and another picnic spot found along the Detroit Riverfront, this downriver city park is ideal for family picnics. There’s also a nearby concession stand, playground, basketball court, and fishing pier. There are several tables and shelters from which to choose. The play area offers enough diversion for children of all ages.

Picnicking seems like a lost art. Few of us have wicker baskets and fill them to the brim with delicious foods to eat. Break from the ordinary and take the time to slow down, dine outdoors, and spend some time together. These five parks near Detroit are just some of the few in the area, and only a drop in the bucket among all the choices across the great state of Michigan.