Up North Parks
Up North is truly an outdoor paradise. Besides all the outdoor activities you will find on Up North Entertainment’s website’s other pages, there are parks. A lot of parks, national, state, county, city, township and village parks are available throughout Up North. Up North parks may offer sandy beaches on one of the many body of waters throughout the area, playgrounds, sports complexes, pavillions, picnic areas, walking loops and trails for biking, hiking and XC skiing and many other recreational opportunities. Below are links to all the municipalities from federal parks to local parks that will provide information for their recreational facilities.
Whether you are lucky enough to live here or visiting and looking for something to do outside, pick a community and go explore all that Up North has to offer.
National parks contain many of our nation’s most treasured landscapes, from the majestic mountain ranges of Alaska to the vast prairies of the Everglades. There are seven National Parks in Michigan, 4 are in Northern Michigan; Isle Royale in Houghton, Keweenaw in Calumet, Pictured Rocks in Munising/Grand Marais, Sleeping Bear Dunes in Benzie and Leelanau counties and a 5th, North Country Trail, a trail that currently runs from North Dakota to New York and passes through both the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan.
Information on Michigan state parks and recreation areas, trails, campgrounds, accessible recreation, events and much more. A Recreation Passport is required for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, and most boating access sites and state trailheads. The Parks and Recreation Division protects, preserves, acquires and manages Michigan’s state parks, cultural and historic resources within state parks, trails, state forest recreation, and boating access sites.
Explore natural areas and preserves offering hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, snowshoeing, and more in the Grand Traverse region.
The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservacy’s mission is protecting natural, scenic, and farm lands – and advancing stewardship – now and for future generations. For nearly three decades, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy has protected and cared for more than 40,000 acres of land and 124 miles of shoreline along the region’s exceptional rivers, lakes and streams. Fully accredited by the Land Trust Alliance, the Conservancy is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.Their service area includes Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Manistee Counties.
Conserving the Land, Water and Scenic Character of Leelanau County. The Leelanau Land Conservancy was started over 30 years ago with the mission of preserving the Leelanau Peninsul undiminished, and cherished by all for generations to come. Explore over 20 natural areas and preserves offering hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, snowshoeing, and more.
The mission of the Little Traverse Conservancy is to protect the natural diversity and beauty of northern Michigan by preserving significant land and scenic areas, and fostering appreciation and understanding of the environment. Their service area includes Chippewa, Mackinac, Emmet, Cheboygan, and Charlevoix counties. In the early 1970s, the Little Traverse Conservancy was founded as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization to take action. More than 270 private properties have been given permanent protection with conservation easements and more than 200 nature preserves open to the public. Several partnerships with local units of government have protected additional lands now open to the public.
Their mission is to advocate for and facilitate the development and maintenance of a safe, multi-use, year-round recreational trail system in Northern Michigan; and to promote the maintenance and use of these trails for the benefit of all. Top of Michigan Trails Council has a network of about 300 miles of existing or soon-to-be constructed trails. Find trails along old railroad corridors for biking, running, hiking, and other trail activities.
The Mission of the Walloon Lake Trust and Conservancy is to conserve, care for and connect people to the lands, lakes and streams within the Walloon Lake watershed now and forever.
Benzie County, located in the northwestern portion of Michigan’s lower peninsula, is a rural, thickly forested county scattered throughout with beautiful, high-quality lakes and rivers. One of the County’s many assets is recreation, with countless year-round opportunities for activities like camping, boating, swimming, hiking, fishing golf, hunting, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, or simply enjoying nature. Spring and summer provide a background for community events like the Solstice Festival, Shakespeare in the Park, and the Salmon Festival, along with popular outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. Autumn color tours and hunting season draw visitors and residents alike to Benzie County’s hilly forests, while winter snows bring snowmobiling, skiing, ice fishing, and snowshoeing, making Benzie County a four-season playground.
Charlevoix County is located in the northern part of the lower peninsula, east of Lake Michigan and traversed by US-31 and US-131. In addition to the mainland, the county includes the Beaver Island group of islands some 25 miles offshore in Lake Michigan. The county is 421 square miles and is the state’s third smallest. Lake Charlevoix, the third-largest in the state with a surface area of over 17,200 acres, is in Charlevoix County. The county seat is Charlevoix. The retail and service industries dominate this tourist economy, though there is some manufacturing of automotive stampings, wiring devices, and engineering and scientific instruments. Fisherman’s Island State Park and the Mackinaw State Forest occupy much of the land. Skiing, hunting, fishing, and boating are all offered in abundance in the county.
Cheboygan County, “Michigan’s Shoreline County” Containing miles of beautiful shores along the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Huron; The Inland Waterway, Burt Lake, Mullet Lake, Black Lake, Douglas Lake and dozens of additional inland lakes. Cheboygan County is a great place to live and work, containing some of Michigan’s most visited tourist destinations and recreational assets as well as home to agricultural, health care, paper products, marine contracting, steel fabrication and hundreds of additional small businesses available to serve you.
Emmet County is located in the northwestern most part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The county consists of a total of 295,040 acres, which includes: 197,677 acres of forested land; 10,400 acres of inland water; and 68 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, making Emmet County one of the more scenic counties in the state of Michigan. Because of our natural amenities, Emmet County has remained committed to providing world-class parks and recreational opportunities to our residents and visitors.
Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide array of park facilities and programs for its citizens and guests to enjoy throughout Grand Traverse County, including indoor recreational opportunities. Grand Traverse County residents and visitors enjoy some of the most beautiful countryside in the Midwest. Its landscapes features rolling and hilly forest uplands, extensive wetlands and low areas, numerous inland lakes and streams, and the shorelines of East and West Grand Traverse Bay. The Boardman River, considered one of the top trout streams in Michigan, bisects the County as it outlets into the Bay. The influence of glacial activity is clearly evident in the outwash plains and steep gravel and clay slopes that make up the majority of the southern two-thirds of the County. With 1,071 feet in elevation and 620 feet in depth in Grand Traverse Bay, these geographies lend special character to the County – lofty vistas of the bay, lakes, farmlands, and deep wooded valleys.
Kalkaska County is located in the northwestern part of the Lower Peninsula. It is bounded on the north by Antrim County, on the south by Missaukee County, the east by Crawford County, and the west by Grand Traverse County. With over 275 miles of streams and rivers, and with at least 85 lakes, Kalkaska is a prime area for fishing and boating activities. Its abundance of forest land and trails offer additional pportunities for camping, hiking, hunting, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, or just enjoying nature in its pristine state.
Leelanau County was named “One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth” and with its hundreds of miles of shoreline, thousands of acres of forest, world-class dunes, and many inland lakes and rivers, Leelanau County has a wealth of recreational opportunities to offer residents and visitors. The County is home to a substantial portion of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Leelanau State Park.
There are three county-maintained parks, and all townships and villages maintain park property as well. In addition, private and non-profit entities, such as the Leelanau Conservancy and Saving Birds Through Habitat, offer outdoor recreational and educational opportunities to the public.
Manistee County is located on Lake Michigan, a part of northwestern Michigan. Historic Manistee, the Victorian port city, is the county seat, with the downtown on the state and national Historic registers, and a riverwalk running through downtown to Lake Michigan. Coastline villages include Onekama, Arcadia, Bear Lake, Copemish, Kaleva, Brethren, and Wellston. The county is a paradise for water and sports enthusiasts and is known as the “Fishing Capitol of the Midwest.” Lakes within the county include Portage, Bear Lake, and Manistee Lake.