Botany and Beauty on Belle Isle
It's America's largest city-owned island park, and it's right in downtown Detroit. Belle Isle is home to an aquarium, a beach, a museum of Great Lakes maritime memorabilia, and the romantic Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, which holds one of the largest collections of orchids in America. Pack a picnic and take in a view of downtown Detroit just across the river.
By Jessica S., AFAR Contributor
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Getaway to an Island Without Leaving Detroit
Just a very short drive from downtown Detroit, Belle Isle lies in the middle of the Detroit River between the United States and Canada, a 982-acre island park that offers something for everyone from a single person looking for solace to families with children looking for green space where children can roam. It is the largest city-owned island city park in the United States. Visit the isle via the MacArthur Bridge which connects it to the mainland. There is no access from Canada without going through Detroit. Once you're on Belle Isle, you'll find the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, a Nature Center, the James Scott Memorial Fountain designed by Cass Gilbert and a half-mile (800 m) swimming beach. It is also the home of the Detroit Yacht Club and Boat Club as well as a US Coast Guard Station. Soccer games frequently occur on the island's many public fields because of the Detroit Futbol League, family picnics are a regular occurence and even the Grand Prix have all taken place on Belle Isle. It's a wonderful place to watch the sun set over Detroit's skyline and it's an ideal place to be close to nature while still staying within the city limits of The Motor City!
By Kirsten Alana, AFAR Local Expert
Belle Isle, Detroit, MI, USA