Metro Detroit’s Must-Visit Playgrounds: Adventures Beyond Your Backyard

August 22, 2023
Innovation Hills Climbing Playground

Photo courtesy of the City of Rochester Hills

Summertime in Metro Detroit is short, so making the most of our sunny, beautiful days is of the utmost importance. Spending the day at a park can be the highlight of any family’s summer, but keeping the kids occupied is absolutely the first priority. The key to any great park is a fantastic playground, especially from a kid’s point of view. Obviously, your local playgrounds get a lot of love: a short walk or drive from home, kid-friendly activities, and the comfort of familiarity. But how about switching it up from time to time? These playgrounds might be a little bit of a trip from where you live, but they will keep your kids busy for hours, and keep you coming back again and again…

Scarlet’s Playground 

Scarlet’s Smile was created with the mission of building a playground that is completely barrier-free so all kids are free to play and have fun in the ways they are able. The playground features double-wide ramps that make wheelchair passage a breeze, tunnels, ziplines, sensory play equipment, swings, and many more activities kids will love. Additionally, this playground has gazebos and picnic areas for families to enjoy. Larenne Clark, President of Scarlet’s Smile and Scarlet’s grandmother tells us, “Scarlet’s Playground is an all-inclusive playground named after my granddaughter Scarlet Clark (aged 10) who was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and is in a wheelchair. We wanted to create a place for all children to play together and was thoughtfully designed for children of all abilities.”

Location: Dodge Park 5, South Commerce Road, Commerce Township


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Innovation Hills Park has a 3-acre nature-themed playground for families to appreciate. This park is a destination, with an inclusive playground, waterfall, fishing spots, and kayak landing. The 110-acre park has been consistently updated and is not a place you’d want to miss. “The park is a place that is fun for all, where people can escape into nature on glow-in-the-dark paths and scenic boardwalks, and where people of all ages and abilities come to expand their creativity, imagination, and health all at the same time,” says Rochester Hills Mayor, Bryan K. Barnett.  

Location: 2800 W. Hamlin Road, Rochester Hills

Innovation Hills Playground sandbox with playscape in the background
Photo courtesy of the City of Rochester Hills

Booth Park 

Booth Park is home to one of Metro Detroit’s most-loved playgrounds. The playscape is designed with several different play areas including a fort and a train which make it perfect for kids of all ages. There are plenty of things to climb, slide, and swing on to keep kids happy for hours. The highlight might be the astroturf hill, where a piece of cardboard makes the perfect sliding surface to take a ride from top to bottom. 

Location: Southwest intersection of Old Woodward and Harmon, Birmingham

Maybury State Park Trailhead Playground

The Trailhead Playground is an inclusive playground with plenty of space for kids to run and play. There are three separate play sections featuring slides, rope ladders, and climbing activities with varying difficulties. As a bonus, there is a dedicated zipline area built with two separate runs perfect for races. As it is a state park, a State Park Pass is required for entry, but can be purchased when you arrive. 

Location: Enter off of 8 Mile Road, the playground is accessible from both Maybury State Park and Maybury Farm in Northville

Lakeshore Park

The Lakeshore Park near the shores of Walled Lake has a completely new playground. There is something for kids of all ages to enjoy. From slides to seesaws to climbing ladders and a merry-go-round that includes room for sitting and standing, the two play structures have plenty of spots to play. This is the largest of Novi’s city parks and has three picnic shelters available for use during your trip to the playground. 

Location: 601 South Lake Drive, Novi

Hess Hathaway Park

Located in Waterford, the playground at Hess Hathaway is a farm lover’s dream. The whole playground is enclosed with plenty of shade to allow for comfort and peace of mind during your visit. Kids will love playing in the barn-themed playground and getting to explore the expansive nature trails. If that’s not enough, there is also an animal exhibit farm! This park also frequently hosts community events that may interest your family.

Location: 825 South Williams Lake Road, Waterford

This article has been updated to include new information. The original article was authored by Katie Goncalves.