Welcome to August - the pinnacle of Detroit's peak recreational season! With our area's outdoor opportunities exploding with incredible events this month, we have zeroed in on these "Top Ten Outdoor Events near Detroit" for navigating your perfect August in our region's outdoors.
August is my favorite month of the year. Alright, that conclusion may come from a place of bias - it is my birthday month.
Personal celebrations aside, this final month of pure summer has always struck me as a 31-day period of opportunity. With summer's bliss starting to fade, August provides a reality check that our recreational time spent frolicking in the Detroit area's warm weather bliss is a fleeting sensation. We at Expedition Detroit absolutely love the new genres of adventure that the colder months bring, but for a significant proportion of our recreational community, the end of summer means the start of the southward migration.
Stated differently, August is the perfect month to capitalize on every summertime recreational goal. Have a particular mountain bike trail that you have been eyeing to ride? Awesome - now is the time to rip it. Still have yet to dust off the paddle board and explore the Huron or Clinton Rivers? Grab your paddle and hit the river, the weather is perfect. Looking for one last great adventure to close out your summer? Fill up your pack and hit the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail or Chief Pontiac Trail, August is prime time for Detroit region backpacking.
The outdoor recreational magnitude of a month like August can often appear overwhelming - especially when the Detroit area's parks, waterways, trails, and campgrounds are dialed in for peak season traffic. That's where we come in with our curated list of "Top Ten Outdoor Events" to help navigate the flurry of outdoor activity occurring over this month.
Without further delay, here are the Top 10 Outdoor Events near Detroit going down in August. We can't wait to see you out there!
1. Float your Zen at a Paddleboard Yoga Class
Throughout August | Island Lake and Pinckney State Recreation Areas | 6:00 p.m.
Do you identify as a yogi? How about a SUPer? Let's raise the stakes a bit - how about BOTH?
If you answered "yes" to any of those questions - or aspire to - then the Michigan DNR has the perfect event series lined up for you this month! Head over to Island Lake and/or Pinckney State Recreation Areas throughout August to find your zen during an Eclipse Yoga "Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) Yoga" session. These SUP Yoga sessions will involve paddling out, anchoring down, completing an hour of yoga on the boards, and then paddling back in to shore with your new best yoga friends. Eclipse Yoga provides participants with paddleboards and life jackets. Come connect with your breath, on the water, unplugged in nature.
Island Lake sessions meet at the Spring Mill Pond, while Pinckney sessions meet at Silver Lake Beach. The price per session is $35 and you can register HERE.
2. Gaze into the Cosmos at a Dark Sky Preserve
August 11th | Point Pelee National Park | 7:30 p.m.
The days may be reaching peak length as we approach the Summer Solstice this month, but the stars at Point Pelee National Park - the single best stargazing destination in the Detroit region - are still shining as bright as ever! Point Pelee's "Dark Sky Nights" are especially catered towards star-gazing tourists willing to brave near-freezing temperatures at night, with amenities including extended visitor hours (the park is open ALL NIGHT on August 11th-12!), seasonal star charts, and the combined natural beauty of the park and the cosmos.
3. Conquer the Elements at the Watermoo Ultra Gravel Cycling Race
August 11th | Waterloo State Recreation Area | 7:00 a.m.
The Watermoo is not your typical gravel race. The Watermoo is a 111-mile gravel cycling adventure - or dare we say expedition. The race occurs mostly on gravel, some tarmac, and a road "that is no longer a road" with a river crossing in the farmlands of southeastern Michigan. It will be an honest challenge for most, an unforgettable experience that riders will surely be proud of completing, and is part of the Ultra Michigan Gravel Race Series.
4. Marvel (and Paddle) under the Perseid Meteor Shower
August 12th | Huron Meadows Metropark and Leamington, ON | 8:00 p.m.
Dark skies mean amazing stargazing opportunities - and when it comes to stargazing, absolutely nothing beats an unforgettable meteor shower! This month, the Detroit region's skies will be treated to the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, including a special viewing event hosted by Huron Meadows Metropark. Our friends across the border at the Pelee Wings Nature Store - just outside of Point Pelee National Park - will also host a special BBQ, paddling, AND meteor shower viewing event. Hard to imagine a better trio!
5. Celebrate Trail Town Life at Milford Memories
August 13th | Milford, MI | 8:30 a.m.
Trail Towns truly are what make the Detroit region a world-class outdoor destination. From Amherstburg to Brighton and beyond, these communities provide the recreational foundation that supports our trails, parks, waterways, forests, wetlands, and so much more. And of these Trail Towns, the small town of Milford, Michigan - and its annual primetime event, "Milford Memories" - constitutes a key fixture in the Detroit region's rapidly growing outdoor ecosystem.
While Milford Memories at its core consists of a summer arts, music, and food festival, the festival also properly caters to the town's outdoor enthusiasts. On Sunday, August 13th, the festival sponsors its annual 5K Run, including an "Adventure Run" option with additional fitness challenges like jumping rope and push-ups, starting at 8:30 a.m. Milford Memories then hosts a "Blind Canoe Race" event at 12:30 p.m. where teams of three paddle through an obstacle course, while one team member calls out directions to the two blindfolded paddlers.
6. Retrace History at a War of 1812 Battlefield
August 13th | Lake Erie Metropark | Ann Arbor, MI
Did you know that the Detroit region constituted a pivotal theater during the War of 1812? In fact, one battlefield of the war is literally feet from the boundaries of Lake Erie Metropark! The park invites you to join an interpreter for a special program highlighting the historical significance of the War of 1812, including the key roles that Detroit area combatants and civilians alike played in the conflict. For more information on the War of 1812, you should absolutely consider combining this experience with a visit to River Raisin National Battlefield - the closest National Park site to Downtown Detroit!
7. Bark in the Park with your Trail Pup
August 19th | Outdoor Adventure Center, Detroit, MI | 12:00 p.m.
Calling all Trail Pups and their proud owners! The DNR's Outdoor Adventure Center invites you to bring your four-legged best friend to their "Dog Days of Summer" event. Dog Days will consist of a fun-filled day of games, agility runs, frisbee toss, hikes, and water games. A Trail Pup photo station and swimming pools will also be available for large and small dogs. All dogs should be friendly with people and other dogs, and current vaccines, licenses and leashes are required.
8. Get Jurassic at the T-Rex Triathlon
August 23rd | 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 August's heat continues to bake the Detroit region this summer, treat yourself to an unforgettable experience by diving into the cool waters of Kent Lake during the RF Event's T-RexTriathlon race! The "T-Rex" represents the fourth and FINAL installment of RF Event's summer-long "T-Rex Triathlon Series" - everyone's favorite mid-week triathlon race!
9. Gain Life-Saving Skills at a Summer Survival Event
August 26th | Oakwoods Metropark | 10:00 a.m.
August constitutes the tail end of peak camping and backpacking season. The single month where the most outdoor enthusiasts hit the trails for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, a notable portion of such enthusiasts may find themselves ill-equipped physically, mentally, or materially for the grand adventure they had planned.
Thanks to the Metroparks, there's no reason why you should ever find yourself in that demographic! Head over to Oakwoods Metropark for their Summer Survival event. This two hour interactive experience will provide a crash-course on survival basics specifically purposed for warm weather wilderness situations. Aspects covered will include fire starting, shelter building, and water collection.
10. COME EXPLORE WITH US!
Throughout August (and beyond!) | 11 Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas
Looking to FINALLY capitalize on August'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!
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 email@example.com to discuss Expedition Detroit feature opportunities.