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This Is the Only Good Place to Visit in Detroit

Of all places in the United States you could visit, Detroit likely isn’t on your bucket list. Many people don’t know much about Detroit. It’s a massive city with a high population. There are a few sports teams, and Eminem was born and grew up in Detroit.

Other than that, you may not hear many intriguing things about the city. However, there’s at least one incredible place to visit in Detroit; Belle Isle Beach.

Belle Isle State Park is the place to start if you’re looking for a fun and relaxing day with the family in Detroit. Check it out! 

About Detroit

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan, and it’s 27th in the U.S. regarding population. The 2020 census showed that Detroit has a population of approximately 640,000 people. Metro Detroit (the city and surrounding suburbs) has a population of roughly 4.3 million people. 

Detroit is most famous for being the center of the U.S. automobile industry, hosting manufacturing plants for General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis North America. \

It is a prominent port city on the Detroit River, which is a busy connector route between the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The city is deeply rooted in the industrial business. 

What Is Detroit Known for?

Visitors know Detroit for various aspects, depending on your circle. In music culture, people know Detroit for the rise of stars like Eminem, Kid Rock, Xzibit, and Motown.

In business, it’s an excellent hub for the automotive industry. Detroit’s nickname, Motor City, USA, stems from the city’s roots in the auto industry. However, visitors don’t know it as the best place for tourism and relaxation. 

Couple sitting together on Belle Isle Beach with Detroit Skyline in the background.
Relax on Belle Isle Beach when visiting Detroit, Michigan.

What Lake Is Belle Isle Beach On?

Belle Isle Beach isn’t on a lake at all. It’s on a little island in the Detroit River, and the Detroit River links to the Great Lakes system. The closest lake to the island is Lake St. Clair. 

If you look at a map, you’ll see that Belle Isle Beach sits next to the U.S.-Canadian border. The border is south of the island. From one view, you can see the Detroit skyline. From another viewpoint, you can see the shores of Canada. 

Pro Tip: We uncovered the Most Underrated Beach in Michigan you should visit on your next adventure.

One would imagine the beach is popular because it’s the only beach you can access in Detroit. Of course, there are numerous reasons people love Belle Isle Beach. 

Belle Isle Beach is part of the much larger Belle Isle Park. The park spans nearly 1,000 acres of protected land, rich with wildlife and lush greenery. It’s a beautiful place to go if the concrete jungle brings you down. 

The island has much to keep you and the family busy. There’s a conservatory, an aquarium, a museum, a giant slide, athletic fields, picnic areas, tennis courts, the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, and a beach.

At the beach, you can rent a watercraft to go out on the river and have a little more fun. The island is a fresh breath of air for those living in the Detroit area. 

Grandma and three grandkids swimming in Belle Isle Beach
Let your little ones splash around while at Belle Isle Beach.

Can You Swim at Belle Isle? 

You should look forward to swimming if you visit Belle Isle. The beach is a sweet spot to set up shop and let the kids splash around. There’s a kiddie play area separate from the beach, so you can let them play more freely. 

If you have a four-legged pal along for the adventure, the park has space for them, too! There’s a small swimming space for dogs at the end of the main beach. 

Is Belle Isle Beach Clean?

There’s much to be said about the cleanliness of the beach. In general, the place looks clean. They regularly collect trash, and the sand is relatively safe from random debris. 

However, it’s wise to look into the safety of the water before you swim. The park officials have closed it in the past due to high levels of E. coli in the water. The beach is on a river, though, so the water is constantly moving and changing. 

Pro Tip: Check out these 7 Underrated Michigan Tourist Attractions while traveling through Michigan.

Man sitting on sand on Belle Isle Beach
Soak up the sun while spending the day at Belle Isle Beach.

Is Belle Isle Beach Free?

Yes and no. If you’re driving, you pay to go onto the island and into the park area. There is close parking, but it’s pretty limited. It’s not unusual for the island to close for a few hours to any vehicle traffic, so visitors have a chance to clear out. If you walk or cycle onto the island, it’s free.

You’ll pay anywhere from $12-$18, depending on how you purchase your park pass. If you’re on a motorcycle or moped, it’s only $6-$11 per vehicle. 

Is Belle Isle Beach Worth Visiting? 

There’s too much beauty on the island to ignore. Visiting the park and Belle Isle Beach are worth the trip. If you’re a local, escaping city life is good for the soul. If you’re a tourist, you must see what they’ve done with the area. Just be sure to check the island’s social media page before heading out so you don’t have any surprises once you arrive. 

Have you ever visited Detroit on your adventures? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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