So Much More to Explore: Parks to Visit This Summer

Visiting parks is a great way to connect with nature and enjoy local ecosystems. This summer, visit some nearby parks to learn more about the natural world.

National Parks: 2-4 Hour Drive

More than 84 million people visit national parks each year. National park rangers or other federal employees of the National Park Service prevent the removal of nature and preserve the natural ecosystems in these protected lands. Some fun things to do while visiting national parks include watching the animals, touching the plants, or exploring the different landforms. Two national parks near us are Cuyahoga Valley and Indiana Dunes.

Cuyahoga Valley is in Ohio. It attracts more than 2.2 million visitors a year. It is a two-and-a-half-hour drive away. You can see the 65-foot-tall Brandywine Falls around the Cuyahoga River.

Indiana Dunes is in Indiana and on 15 miles of the Lake Michigan shoreline. It attracts more than 2.1 million visitors a year. It is a four-hour drive away and is known for its beautiful summertime sunsets.

County Parks: 15-30 Minute Drive

County parks are areas of land that are protected by the county government. We have 83 counties in Michigan. Canton is in Wayne County, but we are bordered by Washtenaw to the west, Oakland and Macomb to the north, and Monroe to the south. Anyone can visit a county park, but some discounts are only for people who reside in the same county as the park.

William P. Holliday Forest & Wildlife Preserve is a Wayne County park. It is part of the Tonquish Creek watershed. This park is also the historic site where Chief Tonquish bravely saved his son’s life in 1819. While visiting, you will see the deciduous woods, wetlands and meadows. Deciduous woods mean the trees will lose their leaves in the fall. Visiting now during the summertime is a great chance to see their bright green leaves.

Rolling Hills Park is a Washtenaw County park. It has nature trails, a fishing pond, disc golf, and a water park. Bring a swimsuit to enjoy the water park’s wave pool, lazy river, and slides. If you look carefully, you may be able to spot a great blue heron or hummingbird. These birds are very active in the summer. 

Town Parks in Canton 

Canton has seven parks. They include Barchester Park, the Canton Dog Park, Flodin Park, Freedom Park, Griffin Park, Heritage Park, Independence Park, Kopper Park, Preservation Park and Victory Park. You can also enjoy green spaces along trails like the Lower Rouge Trail.

At Heritage Park, you can enjoy the summer concert series. Visit Flodin Park, and you'll find a 0.3-mile-long trail along Fellows Creek. Fellows Creek is a 13-mile-long waterway, and its water eventually flows into River Rouge. The Lower Rouge Trail in Canton also flows into River Rouge. The water around us flows into each other through different waterways or water systems. This is why it is so important to respectfully enjoy our parks and make sure we pick up garbage. 

Since 1986, the Friends of the Rouge (FOTR) has helped clean the Rouge River. The Friends of the Rouge also organize Lower Rouge River Water Trail paddle trips. Register to secure a spot in the guided paddle for all experience levels. You have the option to bring your own kayak or canoe or rent one. Trips provide route guidance and transportation back to the start of the trail. They will host one paddle trip in July and another in September.

  • Outdoor Afro Paddle Trip – July 15, 2023, 9:00 AM-noon. Paddle from Commerce Court to the Morton Taylor Trailhead in Canton on the Lower Rouge. Outdoor Afro is an organization committed to creating unique outdoor recreation experiences for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.
  • Industrial Paddle Trip – September 15, 2023, 9:30 AM-12:30 PM. Paddle the Industrial Channel of the Rouge River beginning at Melvindale’s Kessey Field House and ending at Belanger Park in River Rouge on the Detroit River. See the original Ford Rouge Complex, one-of-a-kind drawbridges, and the new Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Visit the Friends of the Rouge website for more information and registration.