Looking for a fun summer thing to do in Lansing Michigan? We recommend adding a visit to the Lansing River Trail to your summer bucket list in Michigan. This trail not only showcases some beautiful scenery along the Red Cedar River in Ingham County, but it is also close to many additional things to do in Lansing.
Location of Lansing River Trail
The heart of the Lansing River Trail is in the Crego Park area, along the Red Cedar River. The trail stretches east to the Michigan State University campus, north to the Old Town area, and south around Hawk Island Park to South Waverly Road. This all adds up to over 16 miles of paved trail to enjoy.
History of Lansing River Trail
The thought and planning of the trail spanned from the 1960s until 1975 when the first section opened. Then, it earned the designation of a National Recreation Trail in 1981. In 1983 the longest extension took place on an overgrown riverbank railroad bed, beginning the southern branch. Next, construction of the trail transitioned to following the Red Cedar River east to the MSU campus in 1985.
Where To Park Near the Lansing River Trail
Cars are not permitted on the Lansing River Trail. So, where do you park your car? Luckily, there are numerous areas to park and access the trail. Choose from:
- Clippert Street parking lot
- Hawk Island parking (parking fee)
- Kruger Landing
- Lot 56/Cesar Chavez Plaza
- Maguire Park
- Moores Park
- Oakland Avenue parking lot
- Potter Park (parking fee)
- Saginaw Stree parking lot
So Many Things To Do in Lansing
If you need to rent a bike for your visit to the Lansing River Trail, the MSU Bikes Service Center has you covered. While you’re at the eastern section of the trail, visit the MSU Broad Art Museum on the MSU campus. You get to enjoy the contemporary art at this museum with free admission. Less than 5 minutes from the eastern end of the trail, stop in at Sansu Sushi for some delicious Japanese food. This gorgeous restaurant offers a unique dining experience with different styles of seating.
Near the heart of the trail, the Potter Park Zoo is a fantastic place to stop and visit. It houses over 500 beautiful animals including mammals, birds, and reptiles. Plus, you can access the zoo right from the Lansing River Trail. Close by is the Blue Owl Coffee Shop, which is a great place to stop for coffee, tea, and treats.
If you continue on to the northern section of the trail, stop in Old Town for shopping, dining, and fun events. This unique and artistic section of Lansing is definitely worth seeing. While you’re there snag dinner at UrbanBeat for an ever-changing menu and beautiful atmosphere. If barbecue is more your style, check out Meat BBQ. Just like the name suggests, it offers plenty of meat options as well as delicious sides like 5 different styles of french fries.
In addition, there are numerous parks to visit along the trail including:
- Crego Park (heart of trail)
- Hawk Island Park (parking fee)
- Maguire Park
- Trager Park
Lansing Michigan Lodging Options
If you’re wanting to make the Lansing area your home base for this summer’s Michigan bucket list adventures, here are a few places you might consider staying in the area:
- Radisson Hotel Lansing At The Capitol
- Courtyard by Marriott Lansing Downtown
- Lansing Home: Between MSU and Old Town
Want to camp instead? The Cottonwood Campground is very close to the southern branch of the Lansing River Trail. It offers a variety of site options from RVs to tents with lots to do. Plus, pets are welcome.
We've included local campgrounds in most of the #MIAwesomeList posts to help you get the most out of your Michigan summer bucket list adventures!
No RV? No worries. You can save up to 25% on your travel costs this summer by renting an RV through RVshare!
Whether you want to pull it behind you or have it all set up at your destination, renting an RV is the best way to enjoy all your summer adventures in Michigan!