It’s no secret that Michigan is known as the Great Lakes State. We’re undoubtedly lucky to have access to some of the most beautiful bodies of freshwater in the world — and Detroit is within driving distance of several of them. Here are nine gorgeous lakes in the Motor City area that you simply must explore as the weather gets warmer.
1. Lake Huron
This one is a no-brainer. If you’re from the Detroit area, Lake Huron should be first on your list of must-visit lakes. Whether you’re catching a gorgeous sunrise from a cottage on the coast, exploring the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, or taking a dip in the waters along Michigan’s "thumb," you won’t be disappointed.
2. Whitmore Lake
This delightful inland lake near Ann Arbor is a quaint and quiet spot to spend a summer afternoon. Take a hike through the lovely Whitmore Lake Preserve or try your hand at fishing on the water. No matter how much time you spend in the area, you’ll be completely charmed.
3. Orchard Lake
This 795-acre lake in West Bloomfield Township is another fabulous spot for a day of natural exploration. Dine at a charming eatery near the shoreline, hit the water from the public access boat ramp, or use your binoculars to check out Apple Island, which sits smack dab in the middle of the lake!
4. Lake St. Clair
Tucked between Detroit and Canada, Lake St. Clair is a true gem of the region. With over 160 miles of shoreline to explore, it’s nearly impossible to visit Lake St. Clair without becoming completely enamored. Take a swim in the refreshing waters, lounge on the sand at Lake St. Clair Metropark, or enjoy a barbecue cook-out at Marine City Beach. No matter where you access it from, Lake St. Clair is sure to delight .
5. Cass Lake
Located just one hour by car from Detroit, Cass Lake is another charming body of water tucked away within a quaint Michigan community. This lake is the perfect spot to do some fishing with the family, as it boasts plenty of public space for dock access and boat launching. Northern Pike, walleye, perch, and more await you during your visit to Cass Lake.
6. Lake Orion
Covering over 500 acres, this lovely lake in Oakland Township is another awesome spot for outdoorsy types from the Motor City. Take a drive or walk along the water, make use of the public boating areas, or toss in your line to catch a few fish. No matter how you spend your day at Lake Orion, you’ll certainly leave feeling ten times calmer.
7. Addison Oaks County Park
This sprawling park near the town of Leonard offers not one, but two wonderful little lakes to explore. Make a day of it as you try your hand at disc golf, picnic on the stunning grounds, or rent a boat to take out on the water with your loved ones in tow. It doesn’t get much more relaxing than this.
8. Kent Lake
This 1,200-acre lake in Oakland County can be accessed at Kensington Metropark, which is simply overflowing with natural charm. Hike along the lake and keep your eyes peeled for waterfowl and other wildlife — there’s no telling what you might see at this one-of-a-kind Detroit-area destination.
9. Lake Erie
We’ll end this list how we started it: with another no-brainer! Lake Erie is perhaps the most under-appreciated Great Lake that borders Michigan, and we’d like to change that. Make the short trip to Lake Erie Metropark in Brownstown Charter Township, where you’ll find all the fixings for a perfect day at the beach. You’ll enjoy meadows, stunning waterfront views, and plenty of space to stretch your legs. Does it get much better than that?
Tell us: did we exclude any of your favorite lakes in the Detroit area? We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section below!