Belle Isle

Who woulda thunk there’s an island in Detroit, Michigan that belongs on everybody’s bucket list?

The 982-acre Belle Isle Park was colonized by the French in the 1700s, originally named Pig Island for the livestock they let openly roam. It became the estate of an American General after the War of 1812, was renamed in honor of the Governor’s daughter in 1845, and in the early 1900s was re-imagined as an island park for the people of Detroit. It became a State Park of Michigan in 2014 following Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy in 2013.

Aside from making the perfect picnic spot, highlights of visiting the island include hiking trails, biking trails, a botanical garden, conservatory, aquarium, nature center, fountain, and museum. It’s also a popular location for special events such as seasonal concerts and races.