Things To Do in Grand Rapids If You Love the Outdoors
Thanks to the hotspot's ideal proximity to Lake Michigan and outdoor recreation, I found Grand Rapids to be perfect for travelers like me: outdoor enthusiasts who want a combination of nature and wellness, gastronomy, and walkable cities.Experience Nature Trails & Wildlife Up-Close At A Nature Center Just a 12-minute drive from downtown Grand Rapids, you can visit a wooded haven with over 264 acres of nature and six miles of trails.
Some of the animals I saw included turtles, snakes, owls, an osprey, turkey vultures, hawks eating their prey (mice), and a bobcat hiding in the shade for a nap. Most of these animals call the Blandford Nature Center their home because they cannot survive in the wild (due to severe injuries or other circumstances). Grab a map and take your own adventure along well-maintained trails while listening to the songs of birds sweeping over you. In the winter you can explore the Blandford Nature Center's trails with cross-country skis and rented snowshoes.
Visit The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Four miles from center city, you can escape to Grand Rapids' most acclaimed outdoor attraction: The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. With over 10 million visitors since its opening, and 158-acres of handicap-accessible sculpture and horticultural experiences, the destination is a botanical favorite - and for good reason.At the park, I fulfilled my outdoor wellness fix with a serene walk through what is now my favorite Japanese Garden in the country. The eight-acre sanctuary weaves contemporary sculpture with traditional Japanese garden elements, and was designed by Hoichi Kurisu: a Japanese landscape designer born in Hiroshima and trained in Tokyo.Besides its elaborate gardens, you'll love the outdoor amphitheater, 1930's-style farm, tropical conservatory, and internationally-acclaimed sculpture park.
Go Canoeing On The Grand River When I tell you two bald eagles were soaring above our heads as we canoed down the river, I mean two-bald-eagles-soared-above-our-heads-as-we-canoed-down-the-river! We'd both seen eagles before, but this time was different. It wasn't just gliding by as we drove down a highway. It didn't flap its wings in a faraway distance, making us question our own eyes. They were right there. Clear as day. No one else was on the water that Thursday afternoon, so we became less distracted with chitter chatter and more connected with the nature around us. Halfway through, when we finally spotted the nest and its watchful owners, it felt surreal.If you have a bit of time for an adventurous excursion in Grand Rapids, I definitely recommend the 6.5-mile route down the Thornapple and Grand Rivers in a canoe or kayak with GR Paddling.
Take A Stroll Along Riverside Park Grand Rapids has an elaborate network of parks and trails that are perfect for outdoor and fitness enthusiasts looking to feed our daily step and exercise goals. True story: my most frequent quote lately is, "Hold on, let's walk one more loop - I've got to get my Fitbit steps in."To make the most out of your stay in the city head to the large urban park, Riverside Park and stroll their walking and biking trail along scenic views of the river, ponds, and nature. With 100-acres of land and many areas dedicated to community activities, picnics, and sports (we even briefly watched a little league baseball game), Riverside Park is an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts. We spent a couple of hours walking their paved White Pine Trail and passed plenty of locals and visitors grilling, picnicking, launching their boats into the Grand River, and more. There were restrooms, scenic views, and plenty of parking.