The first phase of a multi-tiered (and multi-million dollar) renovation of the Detroit Riverfront originated on the east side of the region, encompassing such iconic Detroit destinations as Hart Plaza, GM Plaza, Detroit Port Authority and the Riverwalk Garden behind Atwater Street. For those who work in Detroit, the East Riverfront represents the perfect route for a mid-day jog along the Detroit River, both the Ambassador Bridge and skyline of Windsor, ON looming in the distance.
Even more exciting than this current level of investment and invigoration to this riverfront region is what is coming next: developing the West Riverfront to create the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park. A design team has been selected to transform this area into a gathering place for everyone in the Metro-Detroit region. The Riverfront has become one of the most prominent symbols of Detroit's continued growth and evolution. Anyone who has ever watched their toddler splash in the tiny fountains behind the Ren Cen or felt a breeze from the Detroit River as they went around the riverfront carousel knows how magical it can be to stroll through this part of the city.
Lake St. Clair (Lac Sainte-Claire)
In 1679, French emplorers first navigated the shallow freshwater of Lake St. Clair, a large body of water that serves as a deep blue welcome mat for both Ontario, Canada and the east coast of Macomb County, Michigan. While most of the lake is as deep as a typical suburban home is tall, there is a deep shipping channel dredged to allow for the meandering giants of water bound trade. While this body of water is a part of the Great Lakes system, its petite size means that it is rarely referred to with the reverence used for the other Great Lakes.
Best Beaches on Lake St. Clair
There are so many wonderful sandy little nooks to hide away in along the coast of Lake St. Clair. One of my favorites is the one that I grew up only minutes away from: Lake St. Clair Metropark. They've recently installed a new play area which makes the wooden climbing features of my youth (read: splinter-factories) pale in comparison. In addition, they maintain a nature center and a beautiful walkway through the coastal marsh. The breezes that cut across the open waters here make it a popular place for kite surfers.
Several of the best beaches are accessible only by boat. One of the most enduring in popularity is Gull Island, ON. The sandbar here extends at least one hundred and fifty feet and provides the perfect perch for a lazy day watching freighters meander along the shipping channel. There is enough land for an impromptu camping trip, so remember to bring bug spray! Just be wary of heading out here the weekend of Jobbie Nooner, a Martis Gras-like festival on water that tends to be one of the less - ahem - "family friendly" events of the year.
We also love Walter and Mary Burke Park in New Baltimore, MI. The fact that New Baltimore's main streets are eminently walk-able only adds to the charm of this little downtown. Kayaks and SUP rentals are available all summer long. A playground directly on the beach lets small sandy toes quickly navigate from the monkey bars to the sand bars without Mom and Dad having to move their gear nary an inch. Even better? They host both movies and yoga on the giant lawn, using the Caribbean colored waters as the perfect backdrop to either a relaxing morning or night.