Where to dip your toes this summer

A kayak about to zoom through man-made rapids

Kayaking in the summer is a great way to enjoy a day. Janelle Franklin | Washtenaw Voice



Staff writer

Washtenaw Community College students are surrounded by water on three sides and have these summer months to take full advantage of the thousands of inland lakes and river systems.

Water Parks:

With almost 50 water parks in Michigan, there are days worth of visits to these man-made water features this summer.

For those looking for a place to cool off around WCC, listed are the top 5 water parks within 30 miles of campus:

  • Veterans Memorial Sports Complex – Ann Arbor
  • Rolling Hills County Park – Ypsilanti
  • Independence Lake County Park – Whitmore Lake
  • Summit on the Park – Canton
  • Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center – Belleville
  • Splash-N-Blast – Milford
  • Splash Universe Water Park Resorts – Dundee


The Huron River while traveling through Ann Arbor. Evans Koukios | Washtenaw Voice

The Huron River while traveling through Ann Arbor. Evans Koukios | Washtenaw Voice

River and lake:

Michigan is blessed with tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, according to Michigan Department of Natural Resources; 2,091 miles on 16 rivers or segments of rivers have been designated into Michigan’s Natural River System.

These rivers stretch across the state, and even more undocumented rivers are waiting to be explored this summer. Just to name a few – the Muskegon River on the west side of the Lower Peninsula , the Au Gres river on the far east and the Dean River which boasts waterfalls in the northern Upper Peninsula

The Huron river is right next to campus that is part of the NRS.

Try hopping on the river for an afternoon of floating at one of the many parks as it winds through Dexter, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

The Huron River has 38 water quality monitoring sites in its watershed area, according to the Huron River Watershed Council.

Along the Huron River there are many boat launches to drop canoes, kayaks, or inner tubes; some have spots for grilling or camping.

According to the Huron River Water Trail website, where there is a map, there are 17 launches between Dexter and Ford Lake in Ypsilanti.


Fishing holes:

Wind from the west, fish bite the best.

Wind from the east, fish bite the least.

Wind from the north, do not go forth.

Wind from the south blows bait in their mouth.

-Weather Proverb


Michigan has more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline to fish from, but if you need a more localized fishing experience, the Huron River above Barton Pond is classified as top quality warm water, according to the DNR.

Below Barton Pond, check out the Arb, one of Ann Arbor’s parks where University of Michigan students drop a line near the riverfront landing.

There are 10 DNR posted shore fishing locations in Washtenaw County, sites like Crooked Lake, with access available in Pinckney and Waterloo recreation areas; Geddes Pond with access in Gallup Park; and Rolling Hills County Park off of Bemis Road in Ypsilanti.

Across the state there are 30 hotspots recommended by the organization, All About Fishing. Interactive maps are available online.

With the proper license, anglers can grab a pole, a rod, a spear, or a bow and head out to try for the perfect cast.


For boating and swimming:

Boat rentals within 30 miles of campus:

  • Argo Livery
  • Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery
  • Klave’s Marina
  • Kensington Metropark boat rental

Of the recorded 11,000 plus inland lakes in Michigan, some are large enough to hold swarms of boats and party-goers, some have crystal clear water and some have large sandbars.

Lake St. Clair in Detroit offers a spot for cool times during the hot summer.

June 24 is the start of Jobbie Nooner, a floating boating festival. bring a boat or jump on with friends, it will take place about an hour from campus.

Torch Lake is host to July 4 gatherings that had attracted an estimated 10,000 people in 2015.

Torch Lake has a sandbar that is popular all summer long and is about a four-hour road trip from campus.

A slightly smaller gathering on a still large lake is held at the sandbar of Diamond Lake on Independence Day weekend. Diamond Lake is in the middle with around a three hour road trip from WCC.

The lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan boast 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, if you are looking for endless blue water and miles of beach to explore head to one of our coasts and enjoy no salt, no sharks, so, no worries.



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