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Community Gardens in the Ann Arbor Area

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Through decades of history, our Ann Arbor area communities have been built around agriculture. As a result, our neighborhoods are home to thriving family farms, year-round farmers markets, several food and agriculture-based organizations, and dozens of community gardens.

This history has cultivated some of the most important organizations serving our communities, too! For example, Food Gatherers runs a Plant-A-Row program which invites gardeners anywhere to grow extra food for community food pantries. A few community gardens even have designated areas for Plant-A-Row and Food Gatherers.

We the People Growers Association is another force behind urban farming in Washtenaw County. This local farm business was founded by Melvin Parson, the man behind several community gardens in the area, and is working to build the We the People Opportunity Center, a world-class, nonprofit, urban farm in Ypsilanti. To find out how you can help, follow the team on Facebook here.

If you want to grow your own food, build community and help our local organizations, gardening is one of the best ways to do it. And while community gardens are great settings, these plots aren’t always easy to find. To help you find your new gardening home, we rounded up more than 35 community gardens operated by volunteers and organizations throughout Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Chelsea and Dexter.

Keep reading to learn more about each garden or organization, and keep in mind some sections have information on more than one garden site. Happy planting!

 

Click to jump ahead and find:

Gardens where you can grow your own food or gardens developed for educational + charitable purposes

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Gardens where you can grow your own food

 

Project Grow | Ann Arbor

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Photo courtesy of Project Grow

Project Grow is one of the driving forces behind urban farming and community gardens in the Ann Arbor area. This organization operates more than 20 garden sites around Ann Arbor, including plots at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Leslie Science and Nature Center, and West Park. On the list, you’ll also find three different Discovery Gardens which offer raised beds for limited mobility gardeners. To see the full list, click here.

 

Pittsfield Township Community Garden | Ann Arbor

The Pittsfield Township Master Plan includes initiatives to increase local food availability and their first community garden is working to do just that. Open Spring 2019, the Community Garden at Prairie Park will feature more than 15 different beds, six of which are located on an ADA Accessible surface. Other on-site materials include compost bins, an equipment shed, a pollinator garden and rain barrels. For more information on reserving your plot, click here.

 

Frog Island Park Community Garden | Ypsilanti  

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

The community garden at Frog Island Park is maintained by the adjacent neighborhoods at the north end, and plots are available to rent on a sliding scale. Open to all residents of the City of Ypsilanti and all skill levels, gardeners are welcome to grow both vegetable and flowers. For more information, check out the group, Frog Island Community Garden (FICG) on Facebook.

 

Parkridge Community Garden | Ypsilanti

Developed and maintained on city-owned land next to Parkridge Community Center, the Parkridge Community Garden is a hidden gem in Ypsilanti operated by a dedicated group of volunteers and community members. To find out how you can help cultivate the garden and when you can attend special events, join the group on Facebook here.  

 

Normal Park Neighborhood Association | Ypsilanti

With assistance from Growing Hope and nearby neighborhoods, Normal Park Neighborhood Association developed three community gardens around Ypsi, including Recreation Park Community Garden, West Middle School Community Garden and Midtown Community Garden, which was developed with the Midtown Neighborhood Association. Plots in these gardens are available through registration and are open to all skill levels for planting organic fruits, vegetables and flowers.

 

Chelsea Community Garden | Chelsea

The Chelsea Community Garden at Timber Town Park has plots available by reservation so residents can grow their own organic vegetables and flowers. And as a gardener in this tight-knit community, your household is expected to contribute at least six hours per plot in the gardening season to help with composting, mowing, weeding, administrative duties and more. For full details, click here.

 

City of Dexter Community Garden | Dexter

Dexter’s community garden is located at 7651 Dan Hoey Road and plots are assigned to residents on a first come, first served basis. They offer three different sizes and types of plots, which you can reserve here.

 

 

Gardens developed for educational + charitable purposes

 

Help Yourself Garden at University of Michigan School of Dentistry | Ann Arbor

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

The University of Michigan has several gardens on campus, including the Campus Farm available to students and interns. Many of these gardens aren’t open to community members, but the Help Yourself Garden at the School of Dentistry is open to everyone! Begun in 2014 as a community resource, the garden is maintained by staff, students and faculty from the School of Dentistry. Anyone walking by is welcome to plant, water and weed, take photos, and even harvest your own veggies to take home. For more information, click here.

 

Children’s Services Community Garden | Ann Arbor

This community garden began at the Washtenaw County Youth Center in 2008 by local celebrity Lisa Gottlieb. Today, the garden is directed and guided by a group of Washtenaw County Master Gardeners and community volunteers, but students do all the planting, tending, harvesting and cooking. Together, they grow more than 40 types of vegetables and 10 herbs.

 

Ypsilanti District Library | Ypsilanti

community gardens in the Ann Arbor area Michigan

Ypsilanti District Library maintains gardens at YDL-Whittaker, YDL-Michigan and YDL-Superior. These include a community vegetable garden, The Learning Garden and a pollinator garden developed specially for bees. Through these gardens, you can learn about growing and cultivating your own garden. The Learning Garden welcomes any aspiring gardeners to lend a hand and learn. Additionally, fresh produce is given away to library visitors during the growing season!

The Seed Library is another great resource for local gardeners at Ypsilanti District Library. Available to anyone at YDL-Whittaker and YDL-Michigan with or without a library card, this library is a collection of seeds that anyone can take from and contribute to.

 

The Farm at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor | Ypsilanti  

The land that is now home to St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor was once a family farm, and in 2010, they honored that history by breaking ground on one of the first hospital-based farms in the United States. Today, The Farm serves both as a staff community garden and as a tool for hospital patients and the community to learn, heal and eat locally grown food. If you want to taste the food for yourself, stop by the farmers market that pops up in the main lobby every Wednesday. To learn more about the educational opportunities and facilities on-site, click here.

 

Growing Hope | Ypsilanti

Growing Hope is a local organization that serves to improve our lives and our communities through gardening and through increased access to healthy food. The Growing Hope Urban Farm began with just 1.5 acres in 2008 and has grown into a community gathering space, educational facility and setting where vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers can flourish. To get hands-on at the farm, check out Growing Hops events here which include Farm & Garden Volunteer Days, cleanup days, special celebrations and more.

 

The Cooperative at Dawn Farm | Ypsilanti

This farm is located on 64 acres of the Dawn Farm property in Ypsi. When it began, the program served to put the land to better use and that mission has grown into a beautiful cooperative of varied growers, farmers and stewards who have built the perfect setting for flower growing, beekeeping, vegetable harvesting and even sheep raising. Currently, the land is home to an eight-acre food forest, bees, personal gardens, a market garden and Project Mow which is a sheep lawn mowing service. And the member program is driven by a gift and service system rather than a monetary one. Each member is encouraged to give back to Dawn Farm in an appropriate way of their own choosing, whether it’s through homegrown food, education, system design, community outreach or something else. To stay up-to-date on Cooperative events, follow the team on Facebook here.

 

 

Happy growing!

If we missed your favorite community garden, tell us about it in the comments below.

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The Best Dog Parks Near Ann Arbor, Mapped

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Washtenaw County and Southeast Michigan offer some of the best and largest parks in the state as well as lakes, river access, hiking trails, biking opportunities and more. But when you’re looking for off-leash opportunities for your dog, it can be tough to navigate the rules, permit requirements and available areas.

To help, we rounded up the Ann Arbor area’s best dog parks available to both residents and non-residents. We also included links to important rules and permit information where necessary.

Keep reading to find your dog’s new favorite play area and be sure to mark your calendar for the annual Doggy Dip at Rolling Hills Water Park! It happens every year around Labor Day and you can get more information here.

 

 

Brighton Recreation Area | Howell

Get directions | On-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Though not an off-leash area, Brighton Recreation Area offers one of the state’s only dog-friendly beaches. Available on a section of shoreline at Chilson Pond, dogs are welcome to play in the water but must be on leash and under control at all times. For more information on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources pet policy, click here.

 

Broadway Park | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Off-leash

Located in one of Ann Arbor’s best community parks, the off-leash dog play area at Broadway Park is nestled along the Huron River with a designed area for small and large dogs. For more information on the park, required permits, leash laws and other dog policies, click here.

 

Cady Street Dog Park | Northville

Get directions | Off-leash

The Northville park system currently includes two dog parks. The Cady Street Dog Park offers 0.7 acre of fenced-in play area behind the Northville Art House and has open hours every day of the week. A dog park membership, fee and mandatory education session are required before you and your dog can be admitted. That means the environment is kept safe for all dogs and owners! For more information, click here.

 

Canton Dog Park | Canton

Get directions | Off-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Available year-round to dog park members, Canton Dog Park offers six acres of fenced-in, outdoor space for dogs to run and play off-leash. The park’s separated sections are reserved for dogs under 20 pounds and dogs over 20 pounds so large and small pups can play safely, and owners are asked to keep watch over their dogs at all times. For membership information, click here.

 

Lyon Oaks Dog Park | Wixom

Get directions | Off-leash

Available year-round from sunrise to sunset, the Lyon Oaks Dog Park offers 13 acres of fenced play area, a separated small dog area, benches, shelter and picnic tables. All licensed dogs are welcome, and owners are asked to keep watch over their dogs at all times. To learn more about all the dog parks managed by Oakland County, click here.

 

Marv Gans Community Park | Northville

Get directions | Off-leash

The second of Northville’s dog parks, the off-leash play area at Marv Gans Community Park offers four acres of room to roam. The park also has its own parking lot for easy access. Before you and your dog can be admitted, a dog park membership, fee and mandatory education session are required. That means the environment is kept safe for all dogs and owners! For more information, click here.

 

Mill Pond Dog Park | Saline

Get directions | Off-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Boasting a whopping 54 acres total, Mill Pond Park is the largest community park in Saline. In addition to boat launches, sports fields and walking trails, visitors are welcome to enjoy the Mill Pond Dog Park. Covering one acre, it’s the only local park that offers off-leash water access, so water-loving dogs will definitely have fun!

 

Novi Dog Park | Novi

Get directions | Off-leash

Located behind the Novi Ice Arena, Novi Dog Park offers three acres of off-leash fun with a separate area for small and timid dogs which covers 3/4 of an acre. The remaining one and a half acres are available to all other dogs. To enter the park, you’ll need to take the dog park quiz and be approved for a membership; for more information, click here.

 

Olson Park | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Off-leash

One of three dog parks managed by the City of Ann Arbor, the dog run at Olson Park is conveniently located next to the parking lot. The fenced area is just one of the attractions in the 54-acre park. For more information on the park, required permits, leash laws and other dog policies, click here.

 

Paw Run Recreation Area | Dexter

Get directions | Off-leash

dog parks near Ann Arbor Michigan

Paw Run Recreation Area is a private, 18-acre dog park in Dexter. Located on quiet, private property, the park boasts nearly one mile of mowed trails, a play area with a pond, an agility yard, a secure double-gated entry system, seating for humans and water for both humans and dogs. For information on the required temperament test and the various types of memberships and passes available, click here.

 

Swift Run Park | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Off-leash

Swift Run Dog Park is jointly managed by The City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. Located at the northeast corner of the Swift Run landfill, the off-leash area covers ten acres making it the largest in the city. For more information on the park, required permits, leash laws and other dog policies, click here.

 

Where do you take your dog?

If you have a favorite place to take your dog in the Ann Arbor area, tell us about it in the comments below!

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Your Ultimate Guide to Dexter, Michigan

outdoor recreation in Dexter Michigan

Founded in 1824, Dexter has been built by Washtenaw County’s farm and agricultural heritage. Today, the community offers attractions that celebrate that history as well as a thriving village center. As the unofficial gateway to the area’s lakes and Metroparks, you’ll discover plenty of places to gather, refuel and rest—and you’ll find some of our favorites on this guide.

Keep reading to find out where you need to go, what you need to see, what you can do and which annual events should be on your calendar.

 

Jump ahead:

The Essential Eateries | Things to Do | Outdoor Recreation | Annual Events

 

 

The Essential Eateries

 

The Dexter Bakery

8101 Main St | Facebook

The Dexter Bakery best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Dexter Bakery

The home of mouth-watering jelly donuts, Instagram-worthy cupcakes, towering cakes, fluffy soft pretzels and freshly baked breads, The Dexter Bakery is a must-visit near Ann Arbor. In 2018, they were even named the Sweetest Bakery in Michigan through the Sweetest Bakery in America Contest! And they’ve been serving their treats in downtown Dexter for more than 100 years.

 

Hotel Hickman Chuckwagon BBQ

8050 Main St | Facebook

Located on Main Street and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, this local spot offers authentic chuckwagon cooking and cowboy culture. From full slabs of baby back ribs to BBQ pulled pork served Hotel Hickman baked buns, this is downhome cooking you’ll want to eat every day.

 

Dexter Riverview Cafe

8124 Main St | Facebook

One of the community’s beloved breakfast and lunch spots, Dexter Riverview Cafe is a locally owned and operated eatery. Their menu features fresh, homemade oatmeal, homemade biscuits and gravy, pita sandwiches, coneys, and more.  

 

The Fillmore Bar & Grill

7954 Ann Arbor St | Facebook

The Fillmore Bar and Grill Dexter Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Fillmore Bar & Grill

Located in a historic, former farmhouse in downtown Dexter, The Fillmore Bar & Grill is one of the newest additions to the dining scene in town. Inside their relaxed, cozy home, you can enjoy meals made from scratch using only fresh, house-made and locally sourced ingredients. And the drink menu includes craft beer and craft cocktails!

 

Joe and Rosie Coffee and Tea

8074 Main St | Facebook

This cafe, bakery and coffee shop is a Dexter original. They use organic and fair-trade products to create delicious sandwiches, hot soups and cravable pastries like freshly baked scones, vegan muffins, and tea biscuits you can pair with loose leaf teas.

 

Sushi Time

7050 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd Suite 100 | Facebook

A true hidden gem in the Ann Arbor area, Sushi Time is a family-owned business serving some of our favorite sushi and Asian fusion meals. Check out their enormous menu online here.

 

Chela’s

7065 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd | Facebook

Chela’s serves up authentic Mexican food from two locations: one in Dexter and one in Ann Arbor. Their huge menu of tasty dishes includes classics like barbacoa, al pastor and carne asada alongside vegetarian options and creative fusions.

 

 

Things to Do

 

Mindo Chocolate Makers

11061 Trinkle Rd | Facebook

Mindo chocolate Dexter Michigan

Photo courtesy of Anne Savage Photography via Mindo Chocolate Makers

Using only the highest quality ingredients, sourced directly from family farms in Ecuador, Mindo Chocolate Makers crafts true bean to bar chocolate. And while they’re crafting those delectable bars, they’re supporting local economies in chocolate-growing communities and promoting sustainable practices. Want to take a class or a tour? Click here.

 

The Encore Musical Theatre Company

3126 Broad St | Facebook

The Encore Musical Theatre Company puts together some of the best live shows in the Ann Arbor area. Typically, their calendar year includes six productions of both classics and new shows. To learn about their kid-friendly summer program, click here.

 

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

2319 Bishop Cir E | Facebook

Founded by Ron Jeffries in 2004, Jolly Pumpkin began in Dexter and now operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. In the Dexter brewery and tasting room, you can taste their sour beers, celebrate new releases, attend special events and more. The Dexter location is also a full-service restaurant, so if you get hungry, you can snag something from the locally sourced and sustainable menu. 

 

Zingerman’s Cornman Farms

8540 Island Lake Rd | Facebook

Located on 42 acres, Zingerman’s Cornman Farms is surrounded in all directions by flowers, vegetation and jaw-dropping landscape. As both a working farm and an elegant event venue, the space features an exhibition kitchen for events and culinary classes, a chef’s garden, a classic farmhouse, a four-season barn and a stunning tent pavilion. Led by Executive Chef and Owner Kieron Hales, the foods and the hospitality services are born from his experience in Michelin star kitchens and time spent living and cooking in 27 different countries. If you want to visit, check out their event calendar here which includes a monthly pancake pop-up.

 

Dexter Area Historical Society

3443 Inverness St + 8311 Island Lake Road | Facebook

The Dexter Area Historical Society is a nonprofit organization which works to preserve the history of the Dexter area. They do this through their two properties—the Dexter Area Museum and Gordon Hall—where they host public tours, educational opportunities and some of our favorite annual events.

 

Dexter Cider Mill

3685 Central St | Facebook

Open seasonally, Dexter Cider Mill is the oldest continuously operating cider mill in the entire state. Today, the team makes cider the same way it was made 120 years ago: using locally grown, hand picked apples on an oak rack press. Even their equipment is over 100-years-old! In addition to natural cider, fresh apples, doughnuts, apple nut bread, made-from-scratch apple pies, apple strudel, apple turnovers and hand rolled gingersnaps, you can also purchase homemade hard ciders made on-site.

 

Dexter Blueberry Farm

11024 Beach Rd | Facebook

Open seasonally from mid-July through August, Dexter Blueberry Farm is a local farm where you can pick your own fresh blueberries. And that tradition began all the way back in the early 1970s when the first field was planted.

 

Berry Hill Farm

12835 N Territorial Rd | Facebook

Berry Hill Farm has been growing raspberries since 1985. Today, you can pick your own raspberries and blackberries during harvest season from mid-July through October.

 

 

Outdoor Recreation

 

Dexter-Huron Metropark

Get directions

outdoor recreation in Dexter Michigan

This 120-acre park is located on the east side of Dexter along the Huron River. Heavily wooded and filled with wildflowers during the spring, the open space offers shady picnic areas, swings, slides, a softball diamond, fishing and convenient places to launch your canoe on the river.

 

Hudson Mills Metropark

Get directions

The setting for some of our favorite events throughout the year, Hudson Mills Metropark covers 1,536 acres and features some of the Huron River’s most picturesque scenery. Activities throughout the year include disc golf on two, 24-hole courses, golfing on the 6,560-yard, par-71 course, cross-country skiing, playing field and court games, camping, fishing, canoeing and so much more.

 

Mill Creek Park

Get directions

Mill Creek Park in downtown Dexter has a north side and a south side located on each side of Main Street. In Mill Creek Park North, you can explore 2.15 acres via the pedestrian path, over the pedestrian bridge and along the scenic Mill Creek which flows northeast into the Huron River.

 

Border-to-Border Trail

Get directions

Developed in partnership with Huron River Greenway, the Border-to-Border Trail is a non-motorized pathway that connects cities, parks, neighborhoods and trails throughout Washtenaw County. Eventually, the trail will span 70 total miles. And a section of those miles already connects downtown Dexter directly to the Metroparks system.

 

 

Annual Events

 

The Memorial Day Parade

May

Memorial Day Parade Dexter Michigan

Dexter’s Memorial Day Parade is hosted each year by Rotary Club of Dexter on Memorial Day. For more information on this year’s event, check out their website here.

 

Gordon Hall Days

June

Hosted by the Dexter Area Historical Society, Gordon Hall Days is an exciting and historic community event that features barn raising demonstrations, an antique market, tours of Gordon Hall, arts and crafts, kid-friendly games, animal demonstrations, afternoon tea inside Gordon Hall, the Dexter History Walk, a car show, food and live music. For information on this year’s event, click here.

 

Dexter Daze

August

For nearly 50 years, Dexter Daze has been providing an occasion for our communities’ families to come together and celebrate with artisans and crafters, local businesses and free entertainment. This event is put together each year by the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce

 

Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival

August

En plein air is the act of painting outdoors, and the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival invites artists and community members to do just that! Over the course of four days, local and visiting artists will paint in and around Dexter. Then, non-painters can view and purchase artwork at the three-day exhibit in Monument Park.

 

Dexter Summer Concerts

Summer

Every Friday during the summer, the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce hosts this summer series in the Monument Park Gazebo. The free shows start with the Dexter Community Orchestra, continue with other local bands, and include other live performances.

 

Apple Daze Festival

October

Apple Daze Festival Dexter Michigan

The Dexter Lions Club sponsors Apple Daze in celebration of Michigan’s most famous product: apples! In Monument Park during harvest season, the event includes hayrides, apple pie eating contests, a classic car show, games for kids, cider, doughnuts and candy apples, craft booths, and more.

 

Downtown Halloween Treats

October

On the day of Halloween, you can find Main Street businesses open for trick or treaters all day. Then, the holiday culminates in a kid-friendly party in Monument Park during the afternoon—all hosted by the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce

 

The Kroger A2 Turkey Trot

November

November 2018 events Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Greg Sadler Photography via Epic Races

Epic Races celebrates Thanksgiving with a race through Hudson Mills Metropark. This running and walking event features three different distances: a 5K loop around scenic Hudson Mills, a 10K course comprised of two 5K loops, and a quick mile fun run.

 

Dexter After Dark

December

An event hosted by the Dexter Area Chamber of Commerce, Dexter After Dark invites local businesses to stay open late and shoppers can enjoy special sales, giveaways, prizes and more to kick off the holiday season.

 

Holiday Hustle

December

This one-mile fun run and 5k in Dexter has become one of our favorite family traditions in the area. The hilly dash through the community allows participants to take in the neighborhood light displays and run in festive costume and lights, too! A portion from each registration is donated to local charities and race day participants can bring non-perishable food items to receive free raffle tickets.

 

 

Did you fall in love with Dexter?

If you want to find your permanent home in Dexter, Michigan, click here to see homes for sale in the area.

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Where to See Santa in the Ann Arbor Area this Holiday Season

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

From Ann Arbor to Dexter and all the way to Northville—Southeast Michigan knows how to welcome Santa Claus! With events and workshops popping up right after Thanksgiving and through Christmas Eve, you and your family will have plenty of opportunities to share your wish lists in person this holiday season.  

We rounded up the events, the brunches and the malls that will be hosting Father Christmas himself. Mark your calendars, check for registration or ticket requirements, and get those wish lists and festive sweaters ready!

 

Briarwood Mall | Ann Arbor

100 Briarwood Cir | November 16 – December 24 | Event info

From mid-November through Christmas Eve, Santa and his shop will be set up in Briarwood Mall every single day. Hours vary each day and there are FastPass options to skip the line. For more information, click here.

 

Three Cedars Farm | Northville

7897 Six Mile Rd | November 23 – December 16 | Event info

The farm fun at Three Cedars doesn’t stop after Halloween. Country Christmas turns the farm into a winter wonderland complete with Christmas trees, wreaths, hot cocoa, roping and photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The farm will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Click here for hours.

 

Southern Michigan Railroad | Clinton  

301 W Bartlett St | December 3 – 4 | Event info

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

Southern Michigan Railroad keeps this event small and inexpensive so the community’s kids can have a spectacular holiday experience. This December, hop on the train and enjoy a ride to meet Santa himself. From there, the train will take you back to your car for a 30 minute round trip. Book online today before tickets sell out and be sure to bring a toy for Toys for Tots!

 

Saline Rec Center | Saline

1866 Woodland Dr E | December 6 | Event info

The City of Saline is hosting three PJ’s & Stories with Santa events on December 6th. For just $8, kids in their coziest pajamas can enjoy sing-a-longs, crafts, photo opportunities, stories, and treats like milk, cookies and hot chocolate. Pre-register online here.

 

Maybury Farm | Northville  

50165 Eight Mile Rd | December 8 – 9 and 15 – 16 | Event info

Situated on 85 acres, this Northville farm has been a landmark in the community for more than 100 years. Here, children and families can experience the joy of animals, agriculture, farmland and forests year-round. Each December, the farm celebrates the season with Santa Visits. Available two weekends in December, families can come to the Holiday Open House to enjoy delicious treats like hot cocoa and cider, shop in the General Store, see the farm in the snow and meet Santa. There is no admission charge for this event but donations are appreciated.

 

Hudson Mills Metropark | Dexter

8801 N Territorial Rd | December 9 | Event info

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

The two Santa Central events at Hudson Mills Metropark on December 9th allow you and your family to meet Santa and take photos with your own camera. Then, you can all enjoy a hayride and make seasonal crafts to take home. For pre-registration information, click here.

 

Matthaei Botanical Gardens | Ann Arbor

1800 N Dixboro Rd | December 15 | Event info

Each year, Father Christmas himself comes to Matthaei Botanical Gardens for one day. A Visit with Father Christmas allows parents, kids, individuals and families to come to the gardens for free and get a great, festive photo with Santa.

 

Kensington Hotel | Ann Arbor

3500 S State St | December 15 | Event info

This year, Brunch with Santa is happening at Kensington Hotel on December 15th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Past events have included omelet stations, vegetarian options like the Michigan Apple Cherry Salad, potatoes, a dessert bar, and the always popular waffle and pancake topping bar.

 

Polo Fields Country Club | Ann Arbor

5200 Polo Fields Dr | December 16 | Event info

where to see Santa in Ann Arbor Michigan 2018

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on December 16th, guests to Polo Fields Country Club can eat, drink, visit and take photos with Santa! Prices are $36 for adults, $16 for children between 3 and 12, and free for children two years and younger. To see the menu, click here, and call (734) 998-1555 to make reservations.

 

Kerrytown Market & Shops | Ann Arbor

407 N 5th Ave | December 22 | Event info

In Kerrytown, you can visit Santa for free from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on December 22nd! They’re also hosting a Food Gatherers Can Drive so bring a can of food to donate, too.

 

Happy holidays!  

If you know of a place in the Ann Arbor area where we can see Santa, let us know in the comments below.

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The 17 Best Bakeries in the Ann Arbor Area

best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

It’s not every day you get a craving for freshly baked bread, a warm jelly donut, a fluffy soft pretzel, a scratch-made scone or a decadent macaron. If that list made your craving hit right now, then we have just the round-up for you, because our Ann Arbor area communities are home to some of the best makers and bakers around and they’re providing fresh baked goods that satisfy all those cravings and more.

Keep reading to learn where you can track down the best in local baked goods, including everything from downtown storefronts to online shops and businesses that can only be found at area farmers’ markets. Enjoy!

 

Avalon Cafe and Kitchen | Ann Arbor

120 E Liberty St | Facebook

Avalon International Breads originally opened their humble Detroit storefront in 1997 striving to offer artisan baked goods made with 100% organic flour. Today, they’ve developed the building blocks of the region’s agri-urban economy and operate five storefronts and restaurants total. Their first and only location outside of Detroit is located right here in Ann Arbor where they serve outstanding menus for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner alongside their breads, seasonal pies, cakes, cookies, scones, granola bars and more.

 

Benny’s Bakery | Saline

111 W Michigan Ave | Facebook

If you’ve ever felt a craving for seasonal donuts, fresh soft pretzels, warm cookies or chocolate éclairs filled with homemade vanilla custard, head to Benny’s. This Saline original churns out some of the best baked goods in Southeast Michigan and it’s all made fresh.

 

Big City Small World Bakery | Ann Arbor

500 Miller Ave | Facebook

Whether you’re in search of a custom cake, a holiday pie, a morning cinnamon roll, or just a sweet treat for yourself, Big City Small World should be at the top of your list. This hometown bakery makes everything in-house, from scratch and fresh every day; they even candy their own ginger for their orange-ginger scone and the apples in their apple pies come from local orchards!

 

Czechbox Bakery | Ypsilanti

Found at local farmers’ markets | Facebook

Regularly available at the Ypsilanti Farmers’ Market and Milan Third Thursdays, Czechbox Bakery is the only bakery of its kind in the Ann Arbor area. As a Michigan Cottage Food business providing heritage eastern European baked goods, founder and baker Gretchen Kopmanis creates authentic treats and breads seasonally based on Michigan produce. Check out the website to see what she bakes or to place an order and follow Czechbox on Facebook to track it all down.

 

Cupcake Station | Ann Arbor

116 E Liberty St | Facebook

The Cupcake Station has five locations in the Ann Arbor area, including one downtown. Made in-house and from scratch every day, you’ll find 24 unique flavors available each time you visit. Stop in to try creations like Cotton Candy Sweet Treat, Hot Fudge Sundae and Strawberry Sunshine.

 

The Dexter Bakery | Dexter

8101 Main St | Facebook

The Dexter Bakery best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Dexter Bakery

The home of mouth-watering jelly donuts, Instagram-worthy cupcakes, towering cakes, fluffy soft pretzels and freshly baked breads, The Dexter Bakery is a must-visit near Ann Arbor. In 2018, they were even named the Sweetest Bakery in Michigan through the Sweetest Bakery in America Contest! And they’ve been serving their treats in Downtown Dexter for more than 100 years.

 

Ed’s Bread | Saline

201 W Michigan Ave | Facebook

A local, family run and oriented business, Ed’s Bread is a staple of the Saline community and also happens to produce some of the tastiest baked goods in the area. Baked fresh from scratch, their lineup frequently includes muffins, huge cookies, fresh bread, bagels, and some of the best homemade granola in town.

 

Le Bon Macaron | Ann Arbor

209 S 4th Ave | Facebook

Le Bon Macaron best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Le Bon Macaron

Born from a love of French culture, Le Bon Macaron is a local, family business that offers two of the most charming cafés in Michigan: one in Grand Rapids and one in Downtown Ann Arbor. On the menu, you’ll find French press coffee and espresso from Rowster Coffee, fresh scones made daily, ice cream sundaes with Cone Appetit craft ice cream, French and Italian sodas made with handcrafted fruit puree and, of course, the macarons that have made them famous.

 

The Lunch Room Bakery & Cafe | Ann Arbor

2200 Fuller Ct #8B | Facebook

The Lunch Room best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of The Lunch Room

The Lunch Room Bakery & Cafe is the second location of the beloved, plant-based eatery The Lunch Room. As the headquarters of The Lunch Room Bakery, it’s where they make all their breads in-house from scratch. On any given day, the lineup of baked goods available to purchase includes breads, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, cakes, donuts and more. And they’re all vegan!

 

Mitten Made Cheesecakes | Ypsilanti

Found at Cream & Crumb | Facebook

As lovers and crafters of impeccable cheesecakes, this local business produces some of the best cakes in the region. Though you won’t find them in a brick-and-mortar store yet, you can find their cheesecakes at Cream & Crumb in Ypsi and follow the team on Facebook.

 

Pastry Peddler | Ann Arbor

619 Packard St | Facebook

This Ann Arbor shop is a small, locally-owned bakery that offers fresh baked goods with a focus on breakfast pastries. That means they’re the place to go to satisfy every croissant, danish, pillow puff, sticky bun or pasty craving.

 

Simple Pleasures | Ann Arbor

Found at local farmers’ markets + Earthen Jar | Facebook

The Simple Pleasures story began when Jasmine wanted her brother to enjoy the same pastries and sweet treats everyone else loved without straying from his strict vegetarian and eggless diet. Today, the venture has turned into a full-fledged baked goods business that caters to special diets, including gluten-free, vegan, eggless and sugar-free. You can find these sweets and breads sold at Earthen Jar in Ann Arbor and several farmers’ markets throughout the area.

 

Sweet Heather Anne | Ann Arbor

Online shop | Facebook

Sweet Heather Anne best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Cat Carty Buswell via Sweet Heather Anne

Sweet Heather Anne is perhaps the most photographed bakery in Ann Arbor thanks to the team’s jaw-dropping special occasion cakes, macarons and other special order treats. Though they ran their public dessert counter for six years, they recently had to reduce the hours to holidays and events. You can still shop their famous macarons and sea salt chocolate chip cookies online, order for your own special occasion treats, and swing by the dessert counter during holiday hours.

 

Tasty Bakery | Ann Arbor

416 W Huron St #24 | Facebook

A must-visit no matter what your diet, Tasty Bakery offers high-quality, gluten-free artisan baked goods that are indiscernible from any glutinous treat. Additionally, many of their cakes, cookies, bars, brownies, scones and breads are also soy free, organic, vegan and naturally sweetened. Swing by their bakery or find them at the year-round Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market to taste the difference for yourself!

 

White Lotus Farms | Ann Arbor

Found at local farmers’ markets | Facebook

White Lotus Farms is an Ann Arbor institution specializing in organic produce, homemade breads, artisan goat and cow’s milk cheeses and soothing botanicals. Showcasing the same passion for local, sustainable and handcrafted in every facet of the farm, the bakery produces some of the best breads in Michigan. While the bread is not certified organic, it is made with 100% organic grains and can be found at markets throughout the area, including Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, Argus Farm Stop, and Eastern Market in Detroit.

 

Yoon’s Bakery | Ann Arbor

2775 Plymouth Rd | Facebook

Housed in a charming storefront no Plymouth Road, Yoon’s Bakery is a Korean bakery based on the French style of baking. The team serves a unique selection of fresh baked goods that includes sweetbreads, savory breads, cakes and fluffy buns stuffed with things like homemade strawberry cream cheese. Yum!

 

Zingerman’s Bakehouse | Ann Arbor

3711 Plaza Dr | Facebook

Zingerman's Bakehouse best bakeries in Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Zingerman’s Bakehouse

After running Zingerman’s Delicatessen for ten years, owners Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig wanted to improve the flavors by baking their own breads. So, in September of 1992, they teamed up with Frank Carollo and just five other staff members to open the beloved Zingerman’s Bakehouse. Today, 130 staff members and partners make pastries, breads and other treats from scratch daily.

 

Do you have a favorite?

Let us know in the comments below!

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The 11 Best Places to See Michigan’s Fall Colors Near Ann Arbor

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

This article was updated on August 20, 2019 to reflect current information and up-to-date recommendations.

Michigan is famous for its fall foliage. You can encounter a kaleidoscope of color found in our state’s open spaces, along the shores of our lakes and rivers, across rolling hillsides, and even in our tree-filled cities—and no other city could be more tree-filled than Tree Town.

Though the state’s Gold Coast rates as one of America’s Best Color Drives, according to Travel and Leisure magazine (and we definitely recommend doing it at least once), you don’t have to travel outside of Ann Arbor for a Michigan fall color tour of equally epic proportions.

Right in the city, you can meander the sidewalks and parks of the Old West Side, Huron Parkway or the University of Michigan campus. But if you have a little extra time and a stronger craving for brilliant reds, oranges and golds, we recommend hitting up these regional parks, recreation areas, and even one railroad!

 

Gallup Park | Ann Arbor

One of the best ways to see Michigan’s changing leaves is to hop on a canoe and cruise down the Huron River. Ann Arbor’s canoe liveries—located in Gallup Park and Argo Park—are open through the end of October so you don’t even need to buy your own canoe or kayak! While you’re in Gallup Park, you’ll get the opportunity to explore the 69 acres that make up the town’s most popular recreation area. Amidst the trees, you can enjoy scenic walkways that traverse small islands and pedestrian bridges as well as more than three miles of asphalt trails available for biking, rollerblading, walking and running.

 

Nichols Arboretum | Ann Arbor

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum

The University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum began in 1907 and has developed into miles of trails and land home to collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. These plants transform during the fall to showcase some of the best colors in Southeast Michigan, including golds, reds and even inky purples.

 

Furstenberg Nature Area | Ann Arbor

Furstenberg Nature Area is a 38-acre park containing wetlands, woodlands, prairie and oak savannah just west of Gallup Park. Owned and maintained by the city since 1971, the open space offers a half-mile paved trail that loops through the park and a granular trail that goes through the prairie and woods then connects to a quarter mile of wetland boardwalk. The heavily wooded lands boast a huge variety of oaks, maples and other types of colorful trees.

 

Riverside Park | Ypsilanti

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Located on the Huron River in the center of Ypsilanti, Riverside Park consists of 13.8 acres and connects downtown Ypsi with Depot Town. Whether you’re fishing on the river, riding your bike, or walking along the trail during the fall, you’re guaranteed a glimpse of our state’s famous seasonal foliage.

 

Delhi Metropark | Ann Arbor

Located just five miles northwest of Ann Arbor, Delhi Metropark offers 52 acres of mature oak trees, open, grassy lawns, playgrounds, softball diamonds and more. Because the park is nestled against a bend in the Huron River, it has become a popular fishing and canoeing destination—both great activities during the fall! While you’re there, you may even spot a great blue heron, turtles or a white-tailed deer.

 

Southern Michigan Railroad | Tecumseh

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Southern Michigan Railroad

Each year, the Southern Michigan Railroad hosts Fall Color Tours, seasonal events that explore the area’s changing foliage from the comfort of a train car. Because the rides sell out every single year, the railroad offers a variety of seating options, dates and rides. Six dates are available throughout October 2019 and October 12th and 13th are scheduled during Tecumseh’s 26th Annual Appleumpkin Festival. For full details on these Fall Color Tours, click here.

 

Pinckney State Recreation Area | Pinckney

Covering a whopping 11,000 acres, Pinckney State Recreation Area is one of our favorite outdoor destinations in the Ann Arbor area. Known for its extensive trail system and chain of excellent fishing lakes, the park also offers over forty miles of multi-use trails, picnicking, playgrounds, beaches, a concession stand, boat launches and rowboat, canoe, paddleboat and kayak rentals.

 

Waterloo Recreation Area | Chelsea

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

The largest park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area consists of more than 20,000 acres. Across these grounds, you’ll find two modern campgrounds, a rustic campground, an equestrian campground, swimming beaches, several picnic sites, 11 fishing lakes, eight boat launches, 12 miles of interpretive nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, four rustic cabins, a yurt, equestrian trails, mountain biking trails, and the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center. While exploring these grounds during the fall, keep your eyes peeled for russet reds and blazing oranges!

For all the details on Waterloo, check out Everything You Can Do in Waterloo Recreation Area.

 

Brighton Recreation Area | Howell

Covering 4,947 acres, Brighton Recreation Area is a hilly, outdoor paradise interspersed with a number of picturesque lakes, 19 miles of trails and a full-service riding stable open through early December. When you reserve a trail ride with Brighton Recreation Riding Stable, you can explore Michigan foliage on horseback!

 

Hudson Mills Metropark | Dexter

Combing serene woods with the calm waters of the Huron River, Hudson Mills Metropark offers 1,536 acres of land home to an 18-hole golf course, two 24-hole disc golf courses, a three-mile, paved hike and bike loop, and the nearly five-mile West River Trail which connects to the Hudson Mills loop and takes hikers and bikers on a journey that ends in downtown Dexter.

 

Independence Lake County Park | Whitmore Lake

Independence Lake County Park is one of Washtenaw County’s favorite open spaces thanks to 360 acres, 3.5 miles of hiking and biking trails, two miles of paved trails and, of course, fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Stroll along the lakeshore to get accustomed to the bright, changing colors then head to the edges of the Indy and Woodcock prairies to see the best color in the park!

 

Do you have a go-to fall foliage destination?

Tell us about it in the comments below and we can add it next year! 

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18 Pumpkin Patches, Apple Orchards and Cider Mills You Can Visit Near Ann Arbor

pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

NOTE: This post was updated on September 24, 2019 to include current information for the fall season.

Southeast Michigan and our Ann Arbor area communities have been built on a strong agriculture history. As a result, we’re blessed with year-round farmers’ markets, local agriculture experiences, and plenty of places to pick a pumpkin and sip fresh apple cider every fall.

To prove it, we rounded up 18 local spots where you can pick your own pumpkin, pick your own apples, watch your cider being pressed, eat a pumpkin donut, an apple donut and a cinnamon sugar donut, then enjoy festive, farm activities. This fall, make a trip to one (or more!) of these family farms and you’ll want to come back every year.

 

 

Alber Orchard & Cider Mill | Manchester

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Alber Orchard & Cider Mill is located just 30 minutes west of Ann Arbor in Manchester. Over the years, their tractor-drawn hayrides, 5-acre corn maze, you-pick pumpkin patch, kids play area, free straw maze and animal area have become family favorites. While visiting, you can also enjoy tours of the vintage cider press, fresh pressed and specially blended apple cider, and delicious, crisp heirloom and family favorite apples. There is no admission charge to enter Alber Orchard, but there are fees for some activities.

 

Blast Corn Maze | Dexter

Get directions | Facebook | Pumpkins

Blast Corn Maze is a famous seasonal destination in the Ann Arbor area. The huge, 10-acre corn field contains 3.5 miles of corn maze trails with three exits available for a short, medium or long journey. After you successfully traverse the maze, the whole family can pick a pumpkin from the you-pick pumpkin patch, take photos with farm props, test out the corn cannon, drive pedal cars and more.

 

Coleman’s Corn Maze | Saline

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Coleman's Corn Maze pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Coleman’s Corn Maze

A trip to this family-owned and -operated farm includes three professionally designed corn mazes with five miles of challenging trails, hayrides, some of the best seasonal donuts in the region, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, you-pick apples, a petting barn and more. Though these mazes aren’t haunted, you do have the opportunity to find your way through after dark—just bring a flashlight!

 

DeBuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch | Belleville

Get directions | Facebook | Cider + pumpkins

DeBuck's Corn Maze pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of DeBuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

Open to the public every fall, DeBuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch offers more than 15 acres of winding corn maze trails, a 20-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch, family-oriented fall attractions and hands-on field trips. During your visit, be sure to order up a delectable festival treat from Linda’s Country Kitchen; the menu includes homemade cinnamon sugar donuts, pulled-pork sandwiches, apple cider, nachos and more.   

 

Dexter Cider Mill | Dexter

Get directions | Facebook | Apples + cider

Just 20 minutes northwest of Ann Arbor, Dexter Cider Mill is the oldest continuously operating cider mill in the entire state. Today, the team makes cider the same way it was made 120 years ago: using locally grown, hand-picked apples on an oak rack press. Even their equipment is over 100 years old! In addition to natural cider, fresh apples, doughnuts, apple nut bread, made-from-scratch apple pies, apple strudel, apple turnovers and hand rolled gingersnaps, you can also purchase homemade hard ciders made on site.

 

Donahee Farms | Plymouth

Get directions | Facebook | Cider + pumpkins

This working farm in Plymouth has more than 80 acres of pumpkins! During the fall, families can also enjoy hay rides, fresh apple cider, seasonal donuts, a hay maze and other activities. And when you’re not visiting during the fall season, you can find their produce, flowers and pumpkins at the Ann Arbor and Northville farmers’ markets.

 

Erwin Orchards | South Lyon

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

A famously fun destination in South Lyon, Erwin Orchards offers a you-pick raspberry patch, you-pick sweet cherries, a huge you-pick pumpkin patch and you-pick apples with 15 different varieties. Available seasonally, you can also enjoy award-winning, fresh pressed, unpasteurized apple cider or raspberry cider paired with apple spice and pumpkin donuts!

 

Lesser Farms and Orchard | Dexter

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Lesser Farms and Orchard is a family-owned and -operated farm. Though you can’t pick your own here, you can find some of the region’s best plums, apples, fresh pressed cider, homemade jams and jellies, beeswax candles, raw, local honey and pumpkins!

 

Lutz Orchard | Saline

Get directions | Apples + pumpkins

Located on 12 acres in Saline, this real, working farm offers fresh picked apples available seasonally, squash and pumpkins. During the fall, you’re invited to pick your own apples and meet the farm animals!

 

Maybury Farm | Northville

Get directions | Facebook | Cider

Maybury Farm pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Maybury Farm

Situated on 85 acres, this Northville farm has been a landmark in the community for more than 100 years. Here, children and families can experience the joy of animals, agriculture, farmland and forests year-round. During the fall, the farm fun gets festive with the Great Pumpkin Festival—a two-day family festival in October—and the corn maze, a festive adventure that continues through October before the farm closes up to prepare for Santa. Because they partner with Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill & Winery, you can also enjoy homemade donuts and fresh apple cider during your visit!

 

Obstbaum Orchards | Northville

Get directions | Facebook | Apples + cider

Famous for their cherry juice concentrate, Obstbaum Orchards is a 40-year-old apple orchard and cider mill nestled in Salem on the outskirts of Northville. On autumn weekends, everyone is invited to taste fresh apple cider, seasonal donuts, and homemade apple pies, and enjoy hay rides and more fall fun.

 

Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill & Winery | Northville

Get directions | Facebook | Cider

Parmenter's Cider Mill pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill & Winery

With no admission fee and free parking, Parmenter’s in Northville is a great fall destination near Ann Arbor because they offer their own treats and they partner with neighboring places like Maybury Farm and Northville Winery and Brewing Co. for even more fun. Located within the historic homes of Cabbagetown, the urban cider mill offers year-round cider and you can watch it being pressed on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. During weekends through September and October, you can also step inside the Nut Hut where they make candied almonds, the Fudge Hut where they make fresh fudge, and the Chow Mill where they serve hot dogs and kielbasa.

 

Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill | Plymouth

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Since 1977, Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill has been the local destination where families can enjoy fresh-pressed, award-winning apple cider, fresh-made donuts, crispy caramel apples, icy apple cider slushies, fresh baked pies and a fun farm experience that includes wagon rides, a children’s animal park, a cider mill garden and October pumpkin picking.

 

The Pumpkin Factory | Belleville

Get directions | Facebook | Pumpkins

Located just 30 minutes from Ann Arbor, The Pumpkin Factory is a family-friendly Halloween farm complete with a corn maze, a pumpkin patch and haunted hayrides through the fall season.

 

Three Cedars Farm | Northville

Get directions | Facebook | Cider + pumpkins

Three Cedars Farm pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Three Cedars Farm

Beginning Labor Day weekend each year, Three Cedars Farm offers old-fashioned fun for all ages. Farm activities include a you-pick pumpkin patch, a 7-acre corn maze, a barn yard play land with live animals, hay rides, train rides and reservable bonfire sites. Inside the Donut Hut, you can taste fresh, homemade donuts, freshly pasteurized cold apple cider, hot cider, coffee and icy apple cider slushes.

 

Wasem Fruit Farm | Milan

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

During the fall season, Wasem Fruit Farm offers more than a dozen varieties of apples you can pick yourself, you-pick raspberries available in September and early October, you-pick pumpkins in October, and pears! During your fall visit, you’ll get the chance to taste plain, apple, blueberry and pumpkin donuts paired with some of the best, fresh cider in the region! Follow Wasem Fruit Farm on Facebook for the most up-to-date information about you-pick availability.

 

Wiard’s Orchard & Country Fair | Ypsilanti

Get directions | Facebook | Apples, cider + pumpkins

Wiard's Apple Orchard pumpkin patches apple orchards near Ann Arbor Michigan

Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard was founded in Michigan by George Wiard in 1837 and has become one of the region’s most beloved fall destinations. Covering nearly 100 acres and located just minutes from Ann Arbor, attractions include the seasonal Wiard’s Country Fair, an agri-entertainment park that offers orchards, a cider mill, you-pick apples, a corn maze, a you-pick pumpkin patch, an apple cannon, giant inflatables, pony rides, hayrides, a petting farm, miniature golf, a haunted barn, children’s play areas and even more. Step inside the Country Store and Bakery to taste fresh cider, seasonal donuts, fresh baked pies, jams, jellies, honey and apple salsas. And return to Wiard’s on weekend nights in October for Night Terrors, one of our favorite haunted attractions near Ann Arbor.

 

Wing Farms | Ann Arbor

Get directions | Facebook | Cider + pumpkins

Founded in 1852 by James Wing, Wing Farms has lasted for more than 150 years and five generations and is still going strong today. Comprised of 205 acres, including the homestead, the family produces primarily corn, soybeans and rye as well as giant pumpkins available to pick every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the fall season. To get to the pumpkin patch, you’ll hop on a free hayride and you can enjoy fresh apple cider, too!

As an added bonus, Wing Farms raises their own turkeys and every bird is all-natural, non-GMO, antibiotic free and hormone free. Consider picking up your Thanksgiving turkey at Wing Farms come November!

 

Do you have a favorite fall destination?  

Tell us all about them in the comments below!

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Your Ultimate Guide to 20 Craft Breweries in the Ann Arbor Area [Interactive Map]

The best craft breweries in Ann Arbor

Since exploding in the 1990s, the Michigan craft beer scene has been enjoying a resurgence in craft, style and sheer number of breweries available. And beer lovers around the entire state have been enjoying it, too!

In Ann Arbor, we celebrate the industry with some of the state’s best breweries, with several hidden gems and with local, neighborhood spots we come back to again and again. To show off our community’s love for drinking local, we rounded up the must-try spots in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Saline, Chelsea and even Milan. Enjoy!

734 Brewing Company | Ypsilanti

15 E Cross St | Facebook

Ypsi born and Ypsi brewed, 734 Brewing Company is a new Depot Town staple. Home to a spectacular patio and even more spectacular beers, it’s a must-visit on every craft beer tour.

 

Arbor Brewing Company | Ann Arbor + Ypsilanti

114 E Washington St, Ann Arbor + 720 Norris St, Ypsilanti | Facebook

When the Greffs opened the doors to Arbor Brewing Company in 1995, it was the first brewpub to open in Ann Arbor and only the fifth brewpub to open in the entire state of Michigan. On a trip to Belgium, the couple was further inspired to innovate and they brought the first sour program of its kind to the state of Michigan. Today, you can stop in the original Ann Arbor brewpub or swing by the Ypsilanti brewery.

 

Biercamp | Ann Arbor

1643 S State St | Facebook

Biercamp Ann Arbor craft breweries

Photo courtesy of Biercamp

Biercamp has been one of Ann Arbor’s unique and best little shops since they opened in 2011. That’s when the meat shop showed us what good, natural meat is all about. Everything is made by hand in small batches using unique ingredients and family recipes. And all the meats come from farms where animals are raised humanely with no antibiotics, hormones, growth promoting drugs or artificial ingredients. The same care and attention is applied to their beer program. In the combination shop, taproom and beer garden, you can taste their small-batch craft beers which are also made in-house and by hand.

 

Bløm Meadworks | Ann Arbor

100 S 4th Ave #110 | Facebook

Blom Meadworks Ann Arbor craft breweries

Photo courtesy of Synecdoche Design via Bløm Meadworks

Bløm (pronounced bloom) is a hyper-local meadery right in the heart of Ann Arbor. Their session meads and ciders are light, dry, carbonated and sessionable. Unlike many other meaderies and cideries, every ingredient is sourced from Michigan and their mead is fermented like a dry craft cider so it’s not as thick or as sweet as other meads you may have tried.

 

Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery | Ann Arbor

207 E Washington St | Facebook

BBQ and beer is a winning combination that has been tried and tested over the centuries and the Blue Tractor team is just about as knowledgeable as you can get in both categories. On the food menu, you’ll find classic smoked meats and barbecue dishes alongside unique, world-influenced meals. On tap, you’ll find six rotating selections every day, including award-winners which have snagged numerous gold, silver and bronze medals at competitions across the nation.  

 

Chelsea Alehouse Brewery | Chelsea

115 S Main St | Facebook

Originally located in Chelsea’s historic Clocktower Complex, Chelsea Alehouse Brewery opened in 2012 and relocated to downtown Chelsea in 2018. Their new interior features red brick walls and cozy booths, their food menu includes tacos, burgers, mac & cheese and fresh salads, and the beer list focuses on American and English style ales made for every beer drinker.

 

Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse | Ypsilanti

307 N River St | Facebook

This coffee bar and tap house is a Ypsilanti favorite. Built around the mantra, “craft, community and cause,” you’ll find some of the best craft coffee and craft beer, regular community events, and support of worthy causes. They’ve been featured on guides like The 16 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor and The 16 Best Coffee Shops in the Ann Arbor Area so you know you’re in for a treat.

 

Edelbrau Brewing Company | Ann Arbor

719 W Ellsworth Rd #2 | Facebook

Edelbrau is a term that has been used for hundreds of years to describe high-quality beer and this Ann Arbor team brews bold beers in homage to that tradition. Their beverages are served unfiltered without pasteurization or synthetic additives and each one is produced sustainably in a way that enhances the craft, the community and the industry. Stop in the brewery and taproom to learn what mindful brewing tastes like.

 

Grizzly Peak Brewing Co. | Ann Arbor  

120 W Washington St | Facebook

Grizzly Peak Brewing Co Ann Arbor craft breweries

Photo courtesy of Irene Tomoko Sugiura via Grizzly Peak Brewing Co.

A landmark in downtown Ann Arbor, Grizzly Peak began serving craft beer in August of 1995 from their century-old building with wood floors, tin ceilings and exposed brick walls. The kitchen produces scratch-made pub eats and the brewhouse produces classic beers in a wide range of styles. To see what’s on tap right now, click here.

 

HOMES Brewery | Ann Arbor

2321 Jackson Ave | Facebook

At HOMES, they take the brewery experience to a whole new level because they pair their brews with a food menu full of modern and inventive Korean food. Perfect for sharing, we recommend an order of Kimchi Fries, Pork Belly Bao Buns and maybe even a flavor-packed rice bowl. And, of course, don’t skip a flight of HOMES original brews.

 

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales | Ann Arbor + Dexter

311 S Main St, Ann Arbor + 2319 Bishop Cir E, Dexter | Ann Arbor Facebook + Dexter Facebook

Founded by Ron Jeffries in 2004, Jolly Pumpkin began in Dexter and now operates pubs and tap houses in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Traverse City, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. Each location — whether full-service pub or casual hangout — offers its own character, menu and lineup of sour, aged Jolly Pumpkin beers.

 

Original Gravity Brewing Co. | Milan

440 County St | Facebook

Original Gravity is Milan’s original brewery. Though Brad Sancho just opened this microbrewery in 2008, it’s the town’s only craft brewery and serves as the local destination for beer, community and fun. Focused on creating an outstanding taproom experience, their space has old-school arcade games, board games, televisions and delicious deli sandwiches.

 

Pileated Brewing Company | Ann Arbor  

2290 S Industrial Hwy | Facebook

Since their beginning, the brewing team at Pileated Brewing Company has been driven by experimental brewing. As a result, they produce beers inspired by traditional style but which have been innovated through ingredients, additions and more. So when you stop in, don’t expect to find a typical beer but do expect to find a new favorite! Because everything here is hand-stirred, hand-bottled, naturally unfiltered and bottle conditioned.

 

Pointless Brewery & Theatre | Ann Arbor

3014 Packard St | Facebook

If you like your craft beer served with improv comedy, then Pointless Brewery & Theatre is the perfect place to be. And if you’ve never had craft beer served with improv comedy, move this Ann Arbor original to the top of your to-do list. The taproom where you can try beers brewed on-site and enjoy frequent events is open Wednesday through Sunday. To see the theatre and improv show schedule, click here.

 

Salt Springs Brewery | Saline  

117 S Ann Arbor St | Facebook

Salt Springs Brewery Saline, Michigan restaurants

Photo courtesy of Salt Springs Brewery

Named for Saline’s ancient, historic salt springs, this hometown brewery is housed in a beautiful, 116-year-old former church. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive settings in Southeast Michigan, you can enjoy true-to-style ales, wine and cider alongside locally-sourced food with stunning stained glass as the backdrop.

 

Stony Lake Brewing Co. | Saline

447 E Michigan Ave | Facebook

Husband and wife team Jerry and Heidi founded Stony Lake Brewing Company in 2014. Named after their favorite place on earth and inspired by their favorite microbreweries, they offer big beers with an emphasis on American Ales and fresh clean flavors, as well as hard ciders, wines and select sodas.

 

Townies Brewery | Ann Arbor  

2350 W Liberty Rd | Facebook

Located on Ann Arbor’s west side, Townies Brewery opened in 2018 in the old home of Glasshouse Brewing. New owners Dan and Patty Arban have completely reimagined the space and the building with new additions to the decor and to the patio. Swing by for a beer flight and enjoy our city’s newest brewery alongside frequent live music and a community atmosphere.

 

Unity Vibration | Ypsilanti

93 Ecorse Rd | Facebook

Dedicated to health, unity and community, this Ypsi favorite serves up kombucha tea and kombucha beer. Similar to a Lambic fermented in oak-barrels with hops and whole fruits, Unity kombucha beers are gluten-free, vegan, organic, bottle conditioned and raw. So whether you’re craving a belly-friendly tea or a unique craft beer, visit the taproom to try a small-batch and handmade beverage.

 

Wolverine State Brewing Co. | Ann Arbor  

2019 W Stadium Blvd | Facebook

Wolverine Brewing Co Ann Arbor craft breweries

Photo courtesy of Brit Hueter via Wolverine State Brewing Co.

Wolverine State Brewing’s flagship beer, Wolverine Premium Lager, was born out of a desire for an outstanding, approachable beer that was true to Michigan character. Today, this Ann Arbor craft brewery is still operating as the first and only all-lager microbrewery in the state of Michigan. That means, when you stop in, you’ll get the opportunity to explore absolutely everything a lager can do — from the solid, approachable flagship to innovative, ingredient-driven and aged creations.

 

Ypsi Alehouse | Ypsilanti

124 Pearl St #100 | Facebook

Located in the historic Centennial Center Building, Ypsi Alehouse serves a seasonally rotating menu of pub-inspired eats, craft beers brewed to highlight the finest locally sourced ingredients, and ciders and wines made on-site. As the headquarters of Mishigama Craft Brewing, you’re sure to find something to love here.

 

Do you have a favorite?

Do you have a go-to brewery further outside the Ann Arbor area? Or is there one in town that we missed? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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The 15 Essential Ann Arbor Area Events to Attend August 2018

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

The culmination of summer fun in Southeast Michigan, August brings some of the season’s most highly anticipated festivals, races and events. Taking place in communities throughout the region, you can enjoy live music, tractor pulls, parades, craft fairs and even a United States Air Force air show!

Peruse our top picks for August events below and mark your calendars so you don’t miss a second of the action.

 

 

Arts + Culture

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

 

Milan Bluegrass Festival | Milan

August 1 – 4 | KC Campground

Featuring both well-known bluegrass bands and up-and-coming acts, Milan Bluegrass is a can’t-miss music festival in Southeast Michigan. The 2018 event features five different bands each day and a special guest on Saturday! For the full concert experience, we recommend camping on-site with KC Campground.

 

Sonic Lunch | Ann Arbor

June 7 – August 30, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Downtown Ann Arbor

Since 2008, Sonic Lunch has been bringing free, outdoor concerts to the streets of downtown Ann Arbor every summer. Suitable for all ages, the 2018 concert series kicked off on June 7th and continues through August with shows on August 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th. All shows begin at 11:30 a.m. and you can see the full lineup here.

 

Ton-Up | Ypsilanti

August 12, 12 – 10 p.m. | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

Ton-Up Motorcycle and Music Festival is returning to Ypsilanti for the ninth year this August! Serving to promote and educate the public about the art, science and history of the motorcycle, motorcycle safety, and awesome music, this one-day event will bring vintage and custom motorcycles, scooters and mopeds to ABC in addition to local music and tons of fun.

 

Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival | Dexter

August 13 – 18 | Monument Park

En plein air is the act of painting outdoors, and the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival invites artists and community members to do just that! Over the course of four days, local and visiting artists will paint in and around Dexter. Then, non-painters can view and purchase artwork at the three-day exhibit in Monument Park.

 

Ann Arbor Blues Festival | Ann Arbor

August 17 – 18 | Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds

In August 1969, several thousand blues lovers gathered in a small field in Ann Arbor for the first ever Ann Arbor Blues Festival where they sang and danced along with blues legends that included B.B. King. This August, it all comes back to the Washtenaw Farm Council Fairgrounds for an all-ages music event you don’t want to miss. Buy your tickets here.

 

DIYpsi | Ypsilanti

August 18 – 19 | Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

An indie art fair like none other, DIYpsi is a handmade art fair that takes place in Ypsilanti’s business districts once each summer and winter. Alongside incredible homemade foods and drinks, you’ll find unique handcrafted gifts that are sold by and in support of local, Ypsilanti artists!

 

 

Community Celebrations

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

 

Ann Arbor Pride | Ann Arbor

August 3 – 5 | Kerrytown  

Originally called OUTFest, Ann Arbor Pride has been showcasing equality and LGBTQ support for decades. Throughout the Kerrytown District this August, you can enjoy a parade, face painting, family-friendly activities, presentations, a silent auction and more. Proceeds from the event benefit the Jim Toy Community Center.

 

Dexter Daze | Dexter

August 10 – 11 | Various locations

For nearly 50 years, Dexter Daze has been providing an occasion for our communities’ families to come together and celebrate with artisans and crafters, local businesses and free entertainment.

 

Saline’s Summerfest | Saline

August 10 – 11 | Various locations

Returning to the streets of downtown Saline this month, Saline’s Summerfest is a hometown celebration like none other. In 2018, the event promises even more food, fun, music and memories but with all the local flare we’ve come to love.

 

Chelsea Community Fair | Chelsea

August 21 – 25 | Chelsea Community Fairgrounds

One of our favorite community events in the region, the Chelsea Community Fair includes a rodeo, multiple tractor pulls, livestock competitions and auctions, demolition derbies, a local merchant tent, and more.

 

YpsiFest | Ypsilanti

August 24 – 26 | Riverside Park

In 2018, the Ypsilanti Heritage, Arts, and Entertainment Festival will be bigger and better than ever before. There will be two stages in the music, entertainment and beer tent, more arts and crafts vendors as well as a juried competition, an expanded Magical History Tour, a larger children’s entertainment area, and so much more! To stay up-to-date on everything coming this year, follow the team on Facebook.

 

Thunder Over Michigan Air Show | Ypsilanti

August 25 – 26 | Willow Run Airport

Presented by Wayne County Airport Authority at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, this family event is bringing the United States Air Force Thunderbirds to Southeast Michigan. The air show will feature presentations from Team Oracle and Quicksilver P-51D as well so buy your tickets today and don’t miss it. Kids 15 years and younger are admitted for free!

 

Saline Community Fair | Saline

August 29 – September 3 | Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds

Every year, the Saline Community Fair brings together the community to celebrate Saline’s favorite activities, local vendors and organizations. This year’s event will feature tractor pulls, carnival rides, racing and derbies, rodeo presentations, livestock and animal competitions and so much more.

 

 

Sports

Ann Arbor Michigan events summer August 2018

 

Ann Arbor Triathlon | Ann Arbor

August 4, 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Pinckney Recreation Area  

The third and final event in the Wolverine State Brewing Company Series of Races, the Ann Arbor Triathlon is the culmination of all your training, all your running, all your biking and all your swimming. Beginning at Halfmoon Lake in Pinckney State Recreation Area, you’ll swim the waters of Halfmoon, bike the country roads of the surrounding rural area, then run the 5-mile classic Poto Trail course to complete the challenge. If you’re ready, register online here.

 

Run Manchester | Manchester

August 4, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Downtown Manchester  

Run Manchester is the fun, race event that kicks off Manchester Street Festival. Starting in historic downtown Manchester racers will run through quaint neighborhoods, past award-winning schools and finish back downtown for cold drinks, live music, a vintage car show, a kids corner, duck races, a pancake breakfast and more!

 

 

Happy August!

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The 15 Swimming Holes Near Ann Arbor You Need to Visit This Summer

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Our home state of Michigan — The Great Lakes State — borders four of the Great Lakes and contains more than 11,000 inland lakes. So, when you’re looking for a summer swimming destination, this is a good place to be.

And in the communities around Ann Arbor, we get to take advantage of countless swim beaches, state parks and pristine waters. To help you on your water-themed summer adventures, we rounded up a handful of the best options around Ann Arbor. From just a few minutes away to about two hours away on the shores of Lake Michigan, these should all be on your summer bucket list!

 

Independence Lake Park | Whitmore Lake

Distance from Ann Arbor: 12 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission

Operated by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, Independence Lake Park offers countless, year-round attractions. During the summer months, the park’s 360 acres feature trails for biking and hiking as well as fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Featuring both a small dock and a boat launch, you can take off in your kayak or leap off the dock into the water. When you’re done, you can sunbathe on the beach or continue the water-themed fun at Blue Heron Bay Spray Park, which features water canons, geysers and water slides.

 

Rolling Hills Park | Ypsilanti

Distance from Ann Arbor: 14 miles | Get directions

Ypsilanti’s Rolling Hills Park is a 439-acre park and one of the most recreational-diverse destinations in Washtenaw County. Anyone looking for swimming adventures and water-themed fun can enjoy a splash in the waves, a float on the lazy river, or a ride down the slides of the Water Park.

 

Van Buren Park | Belleville

Distance from Ann Arbor: 16 miles | Get directions

Van Buren Park Beach is one of Southeast Michigan’s most popular spots for lake swimming. Just a 20 minute drive from Ypsilanti, the entire park offers hiking trails, three play structures, picnic areas, pavilions, horseshoe pits, a volleyball court, a basketball court, grills, a community garden, restrooms and, of course, the beach with its own concession stand for snacks and refreshments!

 

Pinckney State Recreation Area | Pinckney

Distance from Ann Arbor: 20 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Covering a whopping 11,000 acres, Pinckney State Recreation Area is one of our favorite outdoor destinations in the Ann Arbor area. Known for its extensive trail system and chain of excellent fishing lakes, the park also offers over forty miles of multi-use trails, picnicking, playgrounds, beaches, a concession stand, boat launches and rowboat, canoe, paddle boat and kayak rentals.

For swimmers, there are two public beaches, one at Silver Lake and one at Halfmoon Lake. A third beach at Bruin Lake is only open to campers and you can see a list of available campgrounds here.

 

Brighton Recreation Area | Howell

Distance from Ann Arbor: 19 miles | Get directions

Covering 4,947 acres, Brighton Recreation Area is a hilly, outdoor paradise interspersed with a number of picturesque lakes. The best swimming lake can be found at Bishop Lake. The remodeled, universally accessible beach features a beach house with vending machines, picnic shelters and a sand volleyball court.

In addition to the lake and beach attractions, Bishop Lake is also home to Jump Island! This lake waterpark features an inflatable iceberg, inflatable slides, runways and more so you can slide, run, walk and play atop the water.

 

Waterloo Recreation Area | Chelsea

Distance from Ann Arbor: 22 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

The largest park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area consists of more than 20,000 acres. Across these grounds, you’ll find two modern campgrounds, a rustic campground, an equestrian campground, swimming beaches, several picnic sites, 11 fishing lakes, eight boat launches, 12 miles of interpretive nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, four rustic cabins, a yurt, equestrian trails, mountain biking trails, and the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center.

Day-use swimmers should head to the public beach at the Portage Lake Unit. And registered campers can also take a dip at the beach accessible from the Sugarloaf Campground.

 

Island Lake Recreation Area | Brighton

Distance from Ann Arbor: 22 miles | Get directions

At 4,000 acres, Island Lake Recreation Area offers a bit of northern Michigan just 30 minutes from Ann Arbor. In addition to mountain biking, hiking, boating and fishing areas, you’ll find two beaches available for swimming. There’s one at Kent Lake and one at Spring Mill Pond, a spring fed pond with more than 100 feet of sandy beach!

 

Kensington Metropark | Milford

Distance from Ann Arbor: 25 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Just 40 minutes from Ann Arbor directly above Island Lake Recreation Area, Kensington Metropark is one of the most popular parks in the state of Michigan. Throughout 4,486 acres, you’ll find an 18-hole golf course, a 27-hole disc golf course, a nature center, a farm center, beautiful picnic areas as well as scenic hiking and biking trails for hours of enjoyment.

And, on the 1,200-acre Kent Lake, you can swim at Martindale or Maple beaches, get soaked at the Splash ‘n’ Blast, or just spend the day fishing, boating and picnicking along the water.

 

Highland Recreation Area | White Lake

Distance from Ann Arbor: 37 miles | Get directions

Offering 5,900 acres of forest, marshes and lakes in the rolling hills of Southern Michigan, Highland Recreation Area is a destination for equestrian riders, mountain bikers, hikers and boaters during the summer months. Boat access can be found on four lakes within the park for fishing and recreational boating and swimmers can enjoy the public beach on Teeple Lake!

 

Seven Lakes State Park | Holly

Distance from Ann Arbor: 43 miles | Get directions

An hour north of Ann Arbor, Seven Lakes State Park is made up of farmland, rolling hills, forested land and 230 acres of water. During the summer months, you can rent or bring row boats, canoes and paddle boats, or embark on a hike across more than six miles of trails. Near the swim beach, you’ll find a boat launch, a concession stand for snacks, restrooms and changing courts as well as horseshoes, volleyball and playground equipment!

 

South Beach Park | South Haven

Distance from Ann Arbor: 140 miles | Get directions

One of the most popular beaches for swimming along the southern shores of Lake Michigan, South Beach Park offers concessions, a playground and historic memorials in addition to the sandy swimming beach. Just steps from the beach, visitors can enjoy the skatepark or walk out onto the pier to watch the sunset against the beautiful South Haven Lighthouse.

 

Grand Haven State Park | Grand Haven

Distance from Ann Arbor: 165 miles | Get directions

Swimming beaches and lake near Ann Arbor Michigan

Within three hours of Ann Arbor, Grand Haven State Park is the furthest on our list, but offers some of the best views. The 48 acre park consists entirely of sandy beach with Lake Michigan bordering on the east and Grand River bordering on the north. From the beach, you can dip your toes in the water and enjoy scenic views of Lake Michigan and the Grand Haven pier and lighthouse.

 

Just keep swimming!  

In the comments below, let us know where you’re headed this summer.

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