Reinhart Realtors: 14 Outdoor Spring Adventures in the Ann Arbor Area

This time of year, we are all itching to get outside and experience all that we love about the season, like the warmer temperatures, longer days, sunshine, and blooming flowers. To help you spend as much time outdoors this spring, we’re sharing some of our favorite outdoor activities in the Ann Arbor area, including both active ideas like kayaking and biking to some more laid-back activities, like sipping wine on a patio or strolling through a botanical garden.

See if you can check all of these outdoor adventures off your Ann Arbor spring bucket list!

See Wildflowers Along the Macomb Orchard Trail

Macomb Orchard Trail Michigan

The Macomb Orchard Trail is a 24-mile linear park that passes through wooded pathways, meadows and quaint towns. The trail is just over an hour away from Ann Arbor and well worth the drive — especially during the spring! Along the path, you’ll encounter a variety of wildflowers blooming at different times throughout the spring and summer.

There are a number of ways to tackle the Macomb Orchard Trail. You can take the trail from Shelby Township and head east to reach Richmond, or go west to connect to the Clinton River Trail, which goes into Rochester. No matter where you are on this scenic trail, you will enjoy beautiful surroundings along the way!

Go to a Farmers’ Market

The Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market is open all year long, with varying hours depending on the season. Starting in May, the market is open for extended hours on Saturdays (7 a.m.–3 p.m.) and on Wednesdays (7 a.m.–3 p.m.). Spring is an especially busy time at the market, which is packed with fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers, plants, eggs, meat, cheese, bread, honey, baked goods, and so much more. This 102-year-old institution is a producer-only market, featuring 120 vendors from Michigan and Ohio.

Go Kayaking on the Huron River

Kayaking on Huron River Ann Arbor, MI

Ann Arbor and its surrounding communities have developed along the banks of the Huron River amid countless lakes and ponds suitable for paddle sports. So, whether you want a challenging route down the river or a peaceful float atop a lake, you’ll find the perfect setting right here.

Some of the best places to get on the river can be found in Argo Park and Gallup Park, which are connected by the Huron River and home to the Argo Canoe Livery and the Gallup Park Canoe Livery, respectively. Want to learn more? We have a complete guide to kayaking in Ann Arbor!

Visit a Botanical Garden

Flowers are beginning to bloom! We love spending our weekends out in the garden, planting new plants, weeding, and watering our vegetable gardens. Get inspiration from other gardeners — and admire stunning displays of color — by visiting one of the many botanical gardens in the Ann Arbor area, from the nearby Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum to some destination gardens, like Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton or Cranbrook House & Gardens in Bloomfield Hills. Conveniently, we’ve mapped them all out so you can plan your garden adventures in Southeast Michigan this spring and summer!

Have a Picnic at a Park by the River

Picnic in Ann Arbor, MI

There’s nothing quite like dining al fresco during the summer — especially in a lovely park setting. And we have so many picnic-worthy parks in the Ann Arbor area, including a couple of riverfront parks with plenty of spots to host a picnic. Two of our favorites for picnicking include Island Park and Gallup Park, which each have picnic shelters, picnic tables, and of course, plenty of grass perfect for laying down a blanket. Pack your own lunch (or pick up some sandwiches to-go!) and head to the park for a scenic, relaxing meal immersed in nature.

Go for a Bike Ride

This time of year, biking is one of our favorite modes of transportation. From your neighborhood streets to local parks, A2 is chock full of great places to take a bike ride. The Border-to-Border Trail is a 20-mile scenic trail that starts in Hudson Mills Metropark, taking you through Dexter, Ann Arbor, and finally, Ypsilanti. But no matter where you start on this trail, you will love exploring everything Washtenaw County has to offer! We also love Waterloo State Recreation AreaOlson ParkLakelands Trail State Park and the Lower Huron Metropark — each offering a few fantastic places to ride.

Visit White Lotus Farms

White Lotus Farms Ann Arbor, MI

Photo Courtesy of Kat Tsomo via White Lotus Farms

A visit to White Lotus Farms will check several items off your springtime bucket list. You can stroll through the beautiful gardens, see the Koi pond, visit with the goats and llamas, and of course, get all your shopping done at their outdoor market, which has produce, prepared foods, frozen treats, meats, farmstand cheese, artisan bread and pastries, and more. You can shop their online store in advance or visit on Saturdays from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. to see what’s in store this week!

Tour the Chelsea Sculpture Walk

If you haven’t had a chance to see the outdoor sculpture gallery in downtown Chelsea, make sure you go before the sculptures are replaced at the end of May! This annual rotating exhibit features spectacular sculptures created by top regional artists, providing free contemporary art for Chelsea visitors and residents. You can see a map and get more information about each of the sculptures and the artists here before you go.

Go to Tulip Time Festival (May 7–15)

Tulip Time Festival Holland, MI

Photo Courtesy of Tulip Time Festival

If you happen to be reading this in early May, you’re in luck! Don’t miss the Tulip Time Festival, happening in Holland May 7–15. This nine-day event celebrates Dutch heritage, the Holland, Michigan community, and of course, one of nature’s most beloved flowers: the tulip. In fact, there will be more than 6 million tulips blooming throughout the city. But Tulip Time is more than just tulips — there will be local food, national entertainment acts, events and activities for all ages, and more. This exciting community event is worth the 2-hour drive to Holland! And if you need a place to stay, the Holland Area Visitors Bureau has a list of recommended places.

Visit a New Dog Park

Involve your fur baby in the fun this spring by taking them to a dog park so they can play and interact with new dog friends. The largest dog park in the city is Swift Run Dog Park, which has an off-leash area encompassing 10 acres, with separate sections for small and large breeds. This massive park is jointly managed by The City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County, and an annual off-leash dog permit is required in order to provide a safe environment for users and their pets. If you’re looking for a new park to try, consider one of these amazing dog parks near Ann Arbor!

Pet Animals at The Petting Farm at Domino’s Farms

The Petting Farm at Domino’s Farms Ann Arbor, MI

Photo Courtesy of The Petting Farm at Domino’s Farms

The story of Domino’s Farms dates back to 1925, when the Zeeb family built a working farm. In the early 1980s, the property was sold to the founder of Domino’s Pizza, Thomas S. Monaghan, to be used as a large office complex for the pizza chain. To honor the history of the property, he named the complex Domino’s Farms and created a farm-themed activity center for families called The Petting Farm. Today, you can visit The Petting Farm to meet alpacas, cattle, chickens, ducks, goats, llamas, peacocks, pigs, ponies, sheep, rabbits and Badger the cat! The hours of operation change mid-season so check here before you go.

Explore Waterloo Recreation Area

Waterloo Recreation Area offers more than 20,500 acres of outdoor paradise just minutes from Ann Arbor near Chelsea. The park is especially famous for its campgrounds, mountain biking trails and educational opportunities. Guests can walk or ride along more than 40 miles of multi-use trail, boat and fish, visit the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center, bike the DTE Energy Foundation Trail, rent kayaks and canoes, play on swimming beaches, camp, hunt, play disc golf on an 18-hole course, and even ride horses. There are 18 miles of horseback riding trails accessible to anyone, and Horse ‘N Around Stables offers guided trail rides and riding lessons.

Sip Wine or Beer at Northville Winery and Brewing Company

Northville Winery and Brewing Company Northville, MI

Photo Courtesy of Northville Winery and Brewing Company

Situated about 30 minutes northeast of Ann Arbor, Northville Winery and Brewing Company is a popular and worthwhile destination in the spring and summer! This family-run business is a taphouse serving their own wines, beers and ciders made in house, and also functions as a live music venue. Click here to see their hours and lineup for music and food trucks. Outdoor seating operates on a first-come, first-served basis!

Dine Outside

If your idea of “outdoor adventure” involves trying a new menu item on an outdoor patio, this one’s for you! To track down the nearest patio, check out The 15 Best Outdoor Patios in Ann Arbor, which includes a mix of restaurants, breweries and cocktail bars, all equipped with idyllic outdoor spaces. Some are covered, others are wide open, and all provide the perfect setting for snacking and sipping in the sun. One of the most popular places in Ann Arbor for outdoor drinking and dining is HOMES Brewery, a brewpub with a massive outdoor patio adorned with twinkling lights, shade sails, picnic tables and fire pits.