Picnicking combines two great things about Michigan into one handy package: Food and outdoor fun. Since Michigan has plenty of great outdoors, all you have to do next is pack up your basket, blanket and lunch. Just keep a weather eye out for those bears! Here are the 15 best picnic spots in Michigan.
Marquette is among the best thanks to two primary features: Not only is it laden with great sights and places to settle in for a picnic, it's also got access to a complete college town's array of restaurants and food sources. Food and scenery together in one place adds up to prime picnicking territory, and that's just what you'll have in Marquette.
Head on up to Mears for one great picnicking possibility in Silver Lake State Park. While most state parks make excellent picnic choices, Silver Lake State Park has the added distinction of offering both mature forest land and over 2,000 acres' worth of sand dunes, allowing users the option of picnicking in the woods or on the beach right in the same place.
It might surprise you to think that one of Michigan's best picnic spots could be in Detroit, but Cadillac Square easily qualifies as one of the best around. There's a terrific farmer's market in Detroit, which is good for finding picnic food, but Cadillac Square is also near Campus Martius, which is a major destination in its own right. So the combination of food, picnic space—complete with chairs and benches—and nearby attractions makes for a surprising urban take on the picnic.
Heading to Coldwater? Make it a picnic with Coldwater's Waterworks Park. Featuring a variety of amenities from baseball diamond to horseshoe pits, and even access to the Sauk River—which is known as a destination for fishermen as well as a natural beauty—Waterworks Park is just one of several great options in Coldwater for those looking for a nice place to settle in and picnic an afternoon away.
Head up to Eagle Harbor Township to check out Isle Royale National Park, a park that provides some amazing natural beauty to check out during your meal. The scenery is going to make this one that's tough to miss. Through in one of the best-preserved lighthouses in the state and you'll get something of an adventure thrown in with your picnic at no extra charge.
While most any beach will do well for a picnic in Michigan—and there's no shortage of beachfront ground in a state so full of lakes—Pier Cove Beach combines natural beauty with infrastructure to be a great entry in the list. After all, Pier Cove isn't far from Saugatuck, and this beachfront town has plenty of exciting food options going for it to let you customize your picnic your own way.
This one also made an appearance on our top 15 romantic places, but it also gets a special nod for being an amazing picnic destination. While this destination in Allegan offers a lot of dining options, it's the picnic lunch that makes this one especially good for those looking for a picnic spot. The picnic lunch, geared toward two people, includes cheese, crackers, fresh-baked bread, fruit, cookies, an assortment of “finger foods” and even a complimentary beverage. Though you'll need 24-hour notice on this one, anyone looking for something impressive in a picnic will want to keep this one in mind.
Grand Rapids is home to this surprisingly urban picnic option. There are tables here for anyone to set up, and of course all the dining options anyone could ask for. The real selling point on Rosa Parks Circle, however, is the occasional concerts that crop up in the summer months, making it an attractive option by offering up a comparatively inexpensive dinner and a free show on top of it. Hard to beat that for a picnic!
Come on out to Columbia Township near Jackson for Clark Lake County Park, a fine example of picnic opportunity. Not only does it boast a set of tables with benches and grills, it also has playground equipment, swimming access, a fishing site and even a boat launch to let you enjoy a picnic in any of a variety of fashions.
A multi-level waterfall featuring various levels of drop and water pressure, it's a great natural show right in the middle of one of Michigan's biggest urban centers. Already regarded as a popular destination for picnickers, the end result is a great visual experience coupled with some great opportunities to find a lunch therein.
Covered bridges aren't all that well-known, even in Michigan, and one example of where to find one is the Langley Covered Bridge just outside of Centreville. At last report, it's the longest remaining wooden covered bridge in the entire state, so those who have a picnic here can enjoy a little lunch in the shadow of history. Throw in plenty of places to find picnic food, and you'll have a fine opportunity here.
Oh, Traverse City, you've done it again. Clinch Park Marina—which recently got something of an update—not only offers a park-like setting to enjoy, but it's also not far from the beach and Grand Traverse Bay, which features its own sights to enjoy. Top it all off with the nearby availability of Moomer's Ice Cream and it's a complete package that's hard to beat for a summer picnic.
Parks do well for picnics, sure, but what about a zoo? Just ask the folks at Grand Rapids' John Ball Zoo, who will be happy to point out the picnic and playground areas right at the zoo's very gates. That's a great point to keep in mind, but the zoo will actually offer picnic space within the zoo itself, so those who want to check out the local wildlife can do so right in the midst of a picnic itself.
Head to Portage for one of the best parks and picnic destinations in Michigan, Oakland Drive Park. Recently renovated with some new playground equipment, there will be no shortage of options for the kids to blow off some steam. In fact, the playground recently picked up three of the area's tallest slides, so a fun ride is about assured. A soccer field, a baseball diamond, and even wooded trails offer fun options for the young and the young at heart alike.
While an orchard might come to mind at apple cider season, Wiard's Orchard goes one step farther by offering up company picnic options through the rest of the year. Not far from Detroit, those setting up a picnic with Wiard's get access to two different sites, the Nature Site and the Party Barn. A reservation means exclusive use, and with food and games included, it's a package about as complete as could be asked for.