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Belle Isle Park, Detroit

(4.1/5 based on 550+ reviews on the web)
Belle Isle, officially Belle Isle Park, is a 982acre island park in the Detroit River, between the United States mainland and Canada. Owned by the City of Detroit, it is managed as a state park by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources through a 30-year lease initiated in 2013. Belle Isle is the largest city-owned island park in the United States and is the third largest island in the Detroit River after Grosse Ile and Fighting Island. It is connected to mainland Detroit by the MacArthur Bridge.The island is home to the Belle Isle Aquarium, the Belle Isle Conservatory, the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, the Detroit Yacht Club on an adjacent island, the James Scott Memorial Fountain, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, a Coast Guard station, a municipal golf course and numerous monuments. It also previously housed a Nature Center where visitors were able to traverse wooded trails and view wildlife natural habitats, a former Belle Isle Zoo, riding stables and the Detroit Boat Club. The island includes a half-mile (800 m) swimming beach.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It is a beautiful daytime place to visit;.much of it is really well groomed. Too bad it isn't safe in the evenings. 
  • We have been here several times with our young child and even took our cousin there when he came for a visit. They have kayaks (fun!) and canoes and paddle boats and parks...! And let's not forget the...  more »
  • Always take visitors to Belle Isle. Beautiful in all seasons. Views of downtown Detroit and downtown Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Mature trees, public sculpture, lakes, ponds, a zoo, a beach. Scott Fount...  more »
Google
  • One of the best parks in the country. Must see: Historic aquarium, Tropical and Cactus rooms in the conservatory, Scott Fountain with views of Detroit and Canada, Casino. Rent a kayak and paddle the island. Swim at the beach. Fly a kite near the lighthouse and then enjoy the sweeping view of Lake St Clair. Play on the playscape and take a ride on the giant slide.
  • Enjoy your state parks! I hadn't been to Belle Isle in probably 20 years; was pleasantly surprised by the whole island. The aquarium is amazing, if not just for the architecture. The conservancy is the stunning. The old lighthouse is worth a stroll. And don't miss the fountain - it's operational again!
  • Not sure I should mention this but the Strand, the little beach just down the road from the yacht club is one of Detroit's best kept secrets. Clear, cool water protected from the river's strong currents. Decent sand. Shade trees, picnic tables, and charcoal grills just off the beach itself. Public bathhouse with showers and changing benches. Crowds are quite light. Downtown residents, Wayne State students, hipsters, and a sampling of just about any other Detroit demographic you could imagine.
  • The park is beautiful, well kept. Right between Detroit and Windsor. I go to the Grand prix every year. The race on Belle Isle is unlike any other. The wooded trail makes for enjoyable walks/jogs. The golf range is very open and has a great view near the water. The Detroit boating and yacht club are very welcoming and happy to have you there. I only wish there were more/any water fountains for when it get really hot out.
  • This is by far my favorite local park. Of the many parks I've travelled to, Belle Isle is the one that is most special to me. Yes it's raw, and at times been considered extremely dangerous. Unfortunately most of the glitz & glamor it once possessed is lost in its history but if you look closely you can still see signs of her past beauty. Despite whatever people in the suburbs may say, Belle Isle is still in a league all to its own. I view Belle Isle as Alive, and full of life. She's had her good days and lord knows her bad days. The signs of her true age may be abundantly obvious but she's still strong with what she has to offer and although weaknesses are apparent from years of people walking all over her, she still can devour the competition for best park to hang out at. As with so much of Detroit, you can see it one of two ways, an old neglected beat up park, or a park full of life with some much to offer. When I cross over that bridge heading towards Belle Isle I always feel a sense of her lost past, for instance like when Houdini jumped from the original Belle Isle bridge (not the same one used today)during one of his death-defying stunts. Belle Isle has soul and a history unlike any other park I've ever been to and I encourage everyone to visit without any predetermined reservations just like you would when you were a kid. Enjoy!!