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Top Ten Outdoor Events near Detroit throughout July 2023

JULY IS OFF WITH A BANG! With our area's recreational opportunities exploding with incredible events this month, we have zeroed in on these "Top Ten Outdoor Events near Detroit" for navigating your perfect July in our region's outdoors.

Picture your perfect summer morning or evening in the Detroit region's idyllic outdoors. The sun is eagerly rising or lazily setting over your lakeside vista. The towering trees are reflecting a golden glow off of their uniform foliage. A fawn haphazardly chases after its mother. The consistent hum of the bullfrogs and song birds ease you into the day.

CRACK! Without warning, an explosion rips through the tranquil scene. While you remain shell-shocked for a moment, idling for a few heartbeats in fight or flight mode, an ensuing applause assures you that said explosion was not only intentional, but anticipated by a larger crowd.

"That's right," you say to yourself as a calmer mind prevails. "It's July."

Indeed, friends - the most explosive month of the year has arrived, both for pyrotechnics and outdoor events near Detroit! Regardless of whether you'll experience the quick startle of a firework exploding or a race gun firing, the woods, trails, and parks throughout the Detroit region will come ALIVE over the next several weeks. Bike relays, paddle races, trail events... you name the activity, Detroit's got a recreational event fine-tuned for it.

Without further delay, here are the Top 10 Outdoor Events near Detroit going down this month. We can't wait to see you out there!

1. Run on Island Time at the Kona Race

July 8th | Maybury State Park | 8:00 a.m.

Say Aloha to summer running! Kicking off July's outdoor events calendar this weekend at Maybury State Park, Kona Running will host its namesake annual "Kona Hawaiian Run"with 5K, 10K, and 15K events. Perfect for road runners looking to explore one of the Detroit region's most accessible parks, the race course will follow Maybury's main paved trail. Don't forget to stick around for a post-race celebratory luau featuring shaved ice, tropical snacks, and - of course - a post-trail brew!

2. Teach the Family to Fish Along the Detroit River

July 8th | Riverdance Park, LaSalle, ON | 8:00 a.m.

“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” While we've all heard this famous Lao Tzu quote, the exceptional team at the Essex Region Conservation Authority invites you not only to feed your families for a lifetime, but instill a lifelong appreciation for nature along the Detroit River!

Head over to Riverdance Park in LaSalle, Ontario with your loved ones for the "Detroit River Family Fishing Day." This event occurs during the province-wide "Ontario Family Fishing Event" week when residents can fish in Ontario waters without a mandatory license. Fishing equipment will be available for public use for free and there will be displays, giveaways and more!

3. Paddle the Beautiful Isle in the Belle Isle Classic

July 8th | Belle Isle Park | 8:00 a.m.

While Canadian families start peacefully casting lines into the Detroit River, the paddling action will start heating up just a few miles north around Belle Isle Park. Hosted by Paddleguru LLC, the world-class Belle Isle Classic event invites paddlers of all vessels to circumnavigate Belle Isle – both competitively and none-competitively - in any human-propelled water craft. This includes kayaks, canoes, SUPs, surf skis, prones... if you can paddle it, you can race it.

This event will occur rain or shine, so participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for the conditions and wear Coast Guard-approved PFDs (life vests). The total paddling reaches an estimated 6.7 miles, so aspiring paddlers should train to cover such lengths within a 2 hour cutoff time. There's also a 200 participant maximum for this event, so REGISTER TODAY if you are interested in participating!

4. Ride with Your Crew at the Tree Farm Relay

July 22nd | Lakeshore Park, Novi, MI | 8:45 a.m.

Cyclists of all interests, rejoice: July should be officially renamed "International Biking Month" due to the plethora of pedal-related events occurring on both sides of the border in the Detroit region. On our list, the first biking event of July involves the MCMBA-hosted "Tree Farm Relay" at Novi Lakeshore Park (formerly known as "Tree Farm"). This year marks the 18th annual riding of the Tree Farm Relay, featuring the outdoor event's unique 4-person team relay race. The course features lots of hills and passing zones, while the festival itself includes its customary tiki party and hundreds - if not thousands - of your new best friends and riding buddies!

5. Dabble with a Gravel Cycle at the De Ronde van Grampian Race

July 22nd | Upland Hills Farm, Oxford, MI | 9:00 a.m.

As the legions of mountain bikers start ripping through dirt in Novi, gravel bikers at the other side of Oakland County will start churning up some trails of their own! Setting off from Upland Hills Farm in Oxford, this year's De Ronde van Grampian gravel race will feature two distances: 25-mile and 50-mile courses consisting of 100% gravel. These routes travel through the natural rolling terrain in the area with amazing scenic views and special single and double tracks (keep an eye out for a Dutch Windmill out on the 50-mile course). Food will be available for purchase from Uncle Peter's Pasties Shelby.

6. Conquer the Michigander Bicycle Tour

July 22nd - 28th | Ann Arbor, MI

Did we already mention that July will be a month for biking across the Detroit region...? And of all of the outdoor events near Detroit that we have detailed so far, this particular event - the Michigander Bicycle Tour - takes home the gold as the most panoramic, physically-demanding, and profoundly rewarding experience on this list.

Setting off from Ann Arbor, the Michigan truly constitutes a whirlwind highlight reel of the best of the best of the Detroit region's outdoors. Navigating the seamless fluidity of our region's most expansive bike trail - the Great Lake-Lake Trails Route #1 - the Michigander leads participants through such beloved outdoor destinations like the Nichols Arboretum, Dexter-Huron Metropark, Waterloo Recreation Area, Mike Lakelands Trail State Park, Island Lake Recreation Area, Proud Lake Recreation Area, Stony Creek Metropark, the Clinton River Trail, Rouge Park, and Lower Huron Metropark.

The Michigander comprises of an expansive, multi-day event, so prospective participants are strongly encouraged to train and prepare for a true cycling expedition. Each day's ride reaches upwards of 40 miles per day, so participants should regularly ride at least 120 miles per week before embarking on a journey of this scale. That being said... if there's any singular event that will fundamentally enhance your appreciation for Detroit's outdoors, this is the event. Add it to the bucket list - it's now certainly on ours!

7. Get Jurassic at the Pterodactyl Triathlon

July 26th | Island Lake State Recreation Area | 6:00 p.m.

Completing an outdoor race of any kind typically represents one of the crowning achievements of a month well spent. With a triathlon - especially at a destination as idyllic and well-suited for swimming, biking, and running as Island Lake State Recreation Area - you get a 3-for-1 special that's a bucket list-worthy accomplishment. Anyone who's completed such a feat will back us up on this point.

As the temperatures continue to rise well into July, treat yourself to an unforgettable experience by diving into the cool waters of Kent Lake during the RF Event's Pterodactyl Triathlon race! The "Pterodactyl" represents the third installment of RF Event's summer-long "T-Rex Triathlon Series" - everyone's favorite mid-week triathlon race. We'll plan on seeing you at the beachhead!

8. Race for Summer's Favorite Beer at the Oberun 5K

July 28th | Ypsilanti, MI | 6:30 p.m.

Each of us have a moment when summer finally arrives. Obviously we mean on a metaphysical level, not a simple turn of the calendar. Maybe it's the taste of the first hot dog at Comerica Park, when the boat finally launches, or the crackle of a roaring campfire.

For me, it's that first swig of a bottle of Bell's Oberon Ale - Michigan's official summer beer. And there's truly no better way to celebrate mid-summer than planning a 5K race themed solely around said beer.

Bell's Brewery invites its faithful yet again this year to participate in the summer racing rite known as the "Oberun 5K." The 5K race concludes at a beer garden serving up none other than ice-cold Oberon beer. Participants will also earn a coveted bottle opener finisher's medal and a finisher's pint glass. Better yet, the race's after party taking place at Wiard's Orchard will feature bonfires, sand volleyball, corn hole, food trucks, and more beer. Proceeds from this event benefit the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative in support of the Border to Border (B2B) Trail.

9. Ride the Rocks & Roads Race Series

July 29th-30th | Malden Park, ON | 9:00 a.m.

Wait...did you really think that July would close out without another biking event? How about a double-header..?

That's right - to close out this month's extravaganza of cycling events, the teams at LETR Windsor and Cycle Culture have combined forces to host the "Rocks & Roads Race Series" at Malden Park! This cycling series will kick off with a 10K "time trial" race on July 29th, covering a course consisting of grass, gravel and dirt in a mix of single and double track. The course follows Malden Park's green novice trail, blue intermediate uphill, and red advanced downhill and flow trail.

The main event - the "Rocks and Roads Race Series Relay Race" - features teams of 1 person, 2 people, or teams of 3 or 4 people to complete as many laps as possible on the 10-kilometer course within the 6-hour time limit. But there's a twist: each rider will have to dismount and "pass the baton" to their teammate to continue the race.


Throughout July (and beyond!) | 11 Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas

Looking to FINALLY capitalize on July's beautiful weather and explore your local Michigan State Parks?? Perfect - we are ECSTATIC to invite YOU to join us on our brand new Guided Trips platform! The Expedition Detroit team is proud to represent the Michigan DNR's largest commercial provider of guided hikes, backpacking expeditions, and trail running coach across ELEVEN of the Detroit region's most pristine state parks and recreation areas. Each of our guides has the field experience, wilderness first aid training, park knowledge, and outdoor passion that you can - and should - expect from any world-class trail experience.

We will be gradually adding new guided summer trips over the coming weeks, as well as special trips like night hikes, photography-specific treks, and eventually guided snowshoe, mountain biking, and kayaking trips. So, stay tuned friends. We can't wait to host you on one of our trips soon!

P.S. Subscribers to our content get discounts on our Guided Services AND online store items.....


Do you host an upcoming outdoor event that you would like to be featured in a future article? If yes, then we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at to discuss Expedition Detroit feature opportunities.


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