Belle Isle Summer Adventures

dog in water, flooded lake

Finally! Summer is here, with bright sunshine and temperatures crawling above 80 degrees. Honestly, it’s a tad bit too warm for a Norwegian like me. Fortunately, we live just a short drive from the beautiful Belle Isle, an island park located in the middle of the Detroit River, which makes it perfect for refreshing activities.

I can’t explain how much I love Belle Isle. Surrounded by water, seven miles of shoreline with multiple swimming spots, 982 acres of winding canals, grassy fields, forested wetlands and huge trees. And of course lots and lots of wildlife (we’ve seen a coyote, foxes, turtles, deer, beavers, so many weird and beautiful birds; there’s even a bald eagle’s nest!).

After weeks of rain, the island is flooded by historically high water levels. Lots of fun for Ellie the dog, but the weeping willows standing in deep water was an eerie sight.

The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory


A couple of days ago we inflated our kayak and moseyed across the island up and down the inland canals. Belle Isle has this really unique wet-mesic forest, which almost makes it feel like you’re submerged in a tropical rainforest. So crazy beautiful!

The canals intertwine through the forest, into lakes and out to the Detroit River, so you can easily spend a whole day floating on the water. Bring some snacks and drinks, but remember: CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF, goddammit! We saw a lot of trash and plastic bags in the canals, so sad and embarrassing…

kayak on canal with bridge across
turtle in canal
cayak on canal

Aaaand, we’re actually moving even closer to Belle Isle in a couple of weeks, so it’ll be easier to bike or walk there. Can’t wait!

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