Belle Isle Park is an island situated on the Detroit River between the United States and Canada. The 982-acre park was developed in the late-1800’s as a place for the residents of Detroit to relax and enjoy themselves. Belle Isle is home to a wide assortment of educational and recreational opportunities, which include an aquarium, conservatory, race track, beach, museums, and much more. There are many beautiful things to do on Belle Isle, and in this article we are going to discuss all of them.
If you’re coming to Detroit be sure to visit Belle Isle. We spent a full day here in our travels to the area and it was one of our favorite stops. The Great Lakes are full of incredible maritime history, and the Detroit River was a key thoroughfare for shipping routes.
In addition to this one-of-a-kind historic locale, the city of Detroit has many excellent things to do. If you would like to learn more about what you can expect when visiting the notorious DET, check out our appropriately titled article, An Honest Review for Visiting Detroit. We hope you enjoy.
If Belle Isle Park is the crown of Detroit, then the ASW Conservatory is the brightest emerald. It sits on 13 acres and features a lily pond on its north side, fronted by formal perennial gardens on the west. Inside you will enjoy an incredible collection of plants and arrangements. The conservatory is free to visitors.
UPDATE: The Conservatory is closed until May 2024 for renovations (link).
Sitting directly next door to the conservatory, the Belle Isle Aquarium is also free to visitors. We found the aquarium to exceed any expectations we had for a free exhibit. There are an abundance of fish to enjoy, including some odd ones, like an aoxoatle, albino african clawed frog, and a moray eel.
The best place to view the close proximity of Detroit and Windsor, Canada is at Sunset Point. This charming, unmanicured park was established on the western point of Belle Isle in 1911. Here you’ll find plenty of benches and tables to enjoy the view. The James Scott Memorial Fountain backdrops the park.
The Dossin Great Lakes Museum showcases the story of the Great Lakes, with a special emphasis on Detroit’s role in regional and national maritime history. Exhibits tell of more than 300 years, from the shipping fleets that rule the waterways to role of the Detroit River in the region’s industrial history.
Belle Isle Nature Center treats visitors to many wonders of nature. These include a bird observation window, an inside look at a beehive, and an opportunity to meet snakes, frogs, turtles, and other amazing animals. This is a great place for families to learn together.
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News Flash: The city of Detroit has a beach. Popular with Detroit residents for obvious reasons, Belle Isle Beach packs out in the summertime. The sand isn’t the best, but the water is calm and mostly clear. If you’re looking to beat the mid-west heat, the city of Detroit has got your covered.
We enjoyed this short nature trail that follows along the Blue Heron Lagoon to the easternmost point of Belle Isle. Along the path are several large pieces of artwork and the unmissable William Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse. A pleasant view of the Detroit River waits at the end of the half-mile trail (map).
Detroit is a tired city recognized for crumbling bricks and unfriendly citizens. We happily break down this unflattering perspective in our article, An Honest Review for Visiting Detroit.
City planners did a huge service for Detroit residents when they developed Belle Isle. Similar to Central Park in NYC, this island provides a needed respite from the hardened streets. It is place for leisure and learning; a chance to forget your stresses and have a picnic. Because everyone deserves a pleasant place to picnic.
Thank you for stopping by our website! We are the Hoffmann family, a full-time RV family that has split residence in Seattle, Washington and San Antonio, Texas. We have special needs children that we homeschool, and work travel assignments for the Veteran Affairs Hospital. If you would like to learn more about us, check out our Start Here and Biography pages. In the meantime, God bless and travel happy!
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