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10 Places To Explore On Belle Isle That Will Make You Fall In Love With Detroit’s Hidden Gem

For locals, Belle Isle is the place to be for hosting family reunions, playing sports in the athletic field, kayaking, or cycling around the 982-acre island. As enjoyable as these activities are, there is so much more to Detroit’s Hidden Gem. Belle Isle’s has an extensive history; in the 1600’s, it was known as Hog Island. Prior to the French settlers, who used the land for their own purposes, it was inhabited by members of native American tribes.

It was given the name “Belle” in the 1700’s, when Antoine de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac, the founder of Detroit, named it after his daughter, Isabelle. The city of Detroit purchased the island in 1879 and it became a municipal park in 1882. As of 2016, the park is still owned by the city, on a 30-year lease with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to maintain and care for the park. The Michigan DNR and Belle Isle Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, have collaborated to protect and preserve this most valuable part of Detroit’s history.

There are many more special spots to be discovered on Belle Isle, this guide simply gives you the basics. All of these – and more – prove that this lovely little island is a hidden gem in Detroit. Have a wonderful time!