Detroit February 09, 2021
9 Underrated Towns Around Detroit That Deserve A Second Look
You might think you’ve explored all that Metro Detroit has to offer, but there’s always a hidden gem or two tucked away in the mix. Our region offers everything from quaint waterfront villages to welcoming farm communities that will capture your heart. If you’re searching for fun and adventure near the Motor City, here are nine underrated towns that certainly deserve a second look.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
Situated just 20 minutes by car from Detroit, Berkley is a great option for those who enjoy shopping, strolling, and dining without venturing too far from the more bustling atmosphere of the Motor City. Throughout the year, Berkley hosts community gatherings like Winterfest, Summerfest, and its own classic car parade. There’s truly something here for every member of the family to appreciate.
Hop in the car and make the short jaunt to Southfield, a decidedly underrated community that certainly qualifies as a city and not a town - but its size doesn’t stop it from offering plenty of charm. From natural attractions like the Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve to impressive eateries like the utterly enchanting Bacco Ristorante, which serves impeccable Italian cuisine, there's much to enjoy.
Looking for a waterfront stroll or a camping destination? Algonac has you covered. Nature fans will love the chance to unwind and watch freighters pass along the spectacular St. Clair River. For an all-year camping option, check out the 1,450-acre Algonac State Park, which boasts options for hiking, cross-country skiing, and more. When it’s time to head home, the drive back to Detroit is just an hour long.
When you’re craving a dose of small-town charm complete with friendly faces, lovely boutiques, and overall delight, make your way to Lexington. This village sits approximately 90 minutes by car from Detroit and boasts beautiful waterfront views from Lexington State Harbor. Catch a show at Lexington Village Theatre, do some tasting at Old Town Hall Winery, or simply enjoy the calm vibe. You’re in for a real treat.
Take an hour-long drive to Metamora for another unforgettable adventure in one of the area’s underrated destinations. Stretch your legs among the fresh air Metamora-Hadley State Recreation Area, stop in for a dose of vintage charm at Metamora General Store, or satisfy your cravings at White Horse Inn, a history-rich gem that sits in a refurbished 1850s stagecoach station. What’s not to love?
You’ve likely visited Ypsilanti once or twice over the years, but have you ever stopped to truly appreciate its quirky charm? Often overlooked in favor of its more famous neighbor, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti boasts so many inventive eateries, fun shops, and quirky bits of local history. Stroll through Depot Town, do a bit of shopping at the whimsical Unicorn Feed & Supply, or snag a delicious meal from Sidetrack Bar and Grill. You might just find yourself falling in love with this unique community.
This small town sits just under one hour from the Motor City by car and perfectly combines rural town charm with natural adventures, local boutiques, and cozy coffee shops and restaurants. Enjoy a lovely walk at Mill Creek Park or check out Dexter-Huron Metropark for a more full-day excursion. Before calling it a day, enjoy tasty eats from Dexter Riverview Cafe.
Armada is especially worth exploring during the fall months, when its beloved Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill comes to life with autumn activities. Dig into donuts, enjoy fresh apple cider, or pick up apples by the bag to take home. In addition to the orchard, Armada offers a small but mighty downtown area and a slower pace of life that will delight visitors from the Motor City.
Take a 40-minute drive to Milford, an Oakland County treasure that deserves so much more attention that it receives. There’s an endless array of recreational options available at Kensington Metropark in every season, from sledding to hiking to golfing. Of course, nature isn’t for everyone, so be sure to check out Milford’s welcoming downtown area when you’re craving a different sort of adventure.
Have you spent time in any of these underrated spots near Detroit? Which is your favorite? We would love to hear about your experiences in the Facebook comments. Or, if you’d like to recommend another must-visit spot within driving distance of the Motor City, fill out our official nomination form
If you’d like to learn more about one of the spots on our list, be sure to read our feature article about
Ypsilanti, the most eccentric town near Detroit. Address: Milford, Milford Charter Twp, MI 48381, USA Address: Dexter, MI 48130, USA Address: Ypsilanti, MI, USA Address: Metamora, MI 48455, USA Address: Armada, MI 48005, USA Address: Algonac, MI 48001, USA Address: Lexington, MI 48450, USA Address: Berkley, MI, USA Address: Southfield, MI, USA