With so many great things to do in Flint Michigan, there’s no shortage of opportunities to explore this vibrant town!
As the largest city in Genesee County, Flint has plenty of ways for you to get fresh air. Start with this list of the best outdoor things to do in Flint Michigan when planning your next East Michigan adventure in Genessee County.
Much of downtown Flint is walkable, allowing you to see several of the 100+ murals that the Flint Public Art Project has organized.
Also, the area has the largest county park system in Michigan — more than 11,000 acres of parks and protected lands with hiking and walking trails. The county is home to several golf courses, farms, and unique attractions on top of that.
Here are just a few of our favorite outdoor things to do in Flint Michigan...
Explore Flint Michigan Parks & Beaches
Especially in the summer, a day at the beach is the perfect way to spend time with your family. Bluebell Beach rests on the south end of Mott Lake near the Flint River Michigan mouth. The Ruth Mott Foundation is kind enough to supply shade kites, and pavilions on the property are available to rent.
Along with fun in the sand and lake water, kids can play on the Splash Pad, which uses city water and features various play structures. Additionally, the beach offers access to the Flint River Trail.
Stepping Stone Falls
Where the mouth of the Flint River meets Mott Lake, you’ll find Stepping Stone Falls. This park and picnic area is one of the most scenic outdoor things to do in Flint and Mid Michigan.
If you like biking, running, or walking, The Flint River Trail runs right next to the falls, which features multicolored lights. The park is ideal for stargazing in the summer or taking a break from the everyday grind.
Flushing County Park
About 20 minutes northwest of downtown Flint, Flushing County Park is a 105-acre gem with cross-country skiing (ungroomed) and hiking trails. Paved pathways are sprinkled throughout the park, including to the rentable pavilions and vault toilets.
It has several picnic tables and grills, ball diamonds, tennis courts, and a small dog park where your furry family members can run free.
Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary
About 20 minutes south of downtown Flint, the Dauner Martin Nature Sanctuary in Fenton is a 155-acre park. It’s one of the few Michigan Nature Association sanctuaries where your dog can walk with you.
The sanctuary has 4.5 miles of hiking trails through varied terrain, including pine groves, hardwood forests, and several boardwalks over wetland areas. An array of bird species inhabit the park, along with other wildlife and various plant species.
Enjoy the Numerous Trails for Biking, Hiking, & Skiing in Flint & Nearby
Flint River Trail
As the main pathway for biking and hiking through the city, the Flint River Trail is one of the best outdoor things to do in Flint. It stretches east from Saint Paul School, runs past Kettering University and then heads north, crossing the river and passing the University of Michigan-Flint.
After crossing the river again, the trail splits in two directions — to Bluebell Beach on the west side of Mott Lake and to Stepping Stone Falls on the east side. The east split continues north along the Flint River through the Genesee County Recreation Area before turning east toward the Goldenrod Disc Course in Davison.
If you prefer to bike the trail, it’s easy to get a ride through the Flint Bike Share program. You can find bike locations through the free Zagster Mobile App, and use the app to unlock the bikes at the lockbox.
Fun Fact: The Flint River Trail is part of the Iron Belle Trail system, which extends for more than 2,000 miles through 48 Michigan counties, connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum
Protecting 383 acres of picturesque landscape, the For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum is only about 10 minutes east of downtown Flint.
The land was once used for a dairy farm but has been open as a park since 1970. You can take advantage of miles of hiking trails, and enjoy the meadows, ponds, and wildlife.
The Arboretum takes up 116 acres and is home to a collection of gardens with 157 plant species. While you’re here, check out the barrier-free treehouse and apiary on the property. You can learn more about the preserve at the Visitor’s Center.
Flushing Riverview Trail
If you’re visiting Flushing, consider biking or walking the Riverview Trail. The 1.4-mile nonmotorized path follows the Flint River north from the Main Street Bridge to Flushing County Park, meandering through forest and wetlands. The path crosses Cole Creek via a 72-foot bridge and the Flint River via a 200-foot bridge.
Mt. Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort
About 15 minutes south of downtown Flint, the Mt. Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort is located in Groveland Township. Established in 1956, it was the first ski area in Southeast Michigan to offer snowmaking.
It has 2 Sunkid Wonder Carpets, 5 rope tows, 7 chairlifts, and 19 ski trails. You can rent all of your ski and snowboard equipment at the resort, and the Bavarian lodge has 2 cafeterias, a lounge with 2 fireplaces, and a separate fireplace room.
Experience Flint River Canoeing, Kayaking, & Boat Tours
Flint River Water Trail
One of the most attractive outdoor activities in Flint for locals and visitors alike is canoeing and kayaking the Flint River Water Trail. In 2018, it was one of the first eight water trails to receive the designation in Michigan. The 73-mile water trail has 24 access sites.
You can paddle through natural environments, urban areas, and small towns. You stand a chance of seeing a wide range of wildlife as you paddle — bald eagles, bluegills, dragonflies, great blue herons, smallmouth bass, turtles, and more.
If you prefer to have a guide for your paddle adventure, you can book kayaking tours with Kayak Flint. There’s even a program — iKayak — for disabled individuals to go kayaking with certified paddle instructors and recreational therapists.
Johnny Panther Quests Ecotours
For one-of-a-kind outdoor things to do in Flint River Michigan, book an ecotour with Johnny Panther Quests. In particular, the Fall Color Tour is a 2 or 3-hour boat ride that offers stunning scenes of the changing leaves.
The best time to go is about the second week of October when the colors peak. However, several other boat tour options are available.
Play a Round of Golf, Mini Golf, & Disc Golf in Flint
Swartz Creek & Kearsley Lake Municipal Golf
Open to the public since 1938, the Swartz Creek and Kearsley Lake Municipal Golf courses have some of the best greens in the county.
Managed by the Flint Golf Course, the Swartz Creek course has 27 holes, while the Kearsley Lake course has 18 holes. When you finish your round, you can relax at the bar with drinks and a fresh food menu.
Flint Golf Club
Since 1918, the Flint Golf Club has offered a private, family-oriented experience for all ages. It has previously been voted the top golf course in Genesee County. The course was designed by Willie Park Jr., winner of the Open Championship in 1887 and 1889.
As a private club, members have access to fine dining, an outdoor pool, and nine other golf courses in Michigan.
Mott Park Disc Golf Course
One of the newer outdoor things to do in Flint is playing a round on the Mott Park Disc Golf Course.
It was established in 2017 on the former Mott Park Golf Course, and the layout was designed with help from the Flint Town Flyerz, the local disc golf association. Some of the baskets require throwing your disc across the Flint River.
Cops & Robbers – Great Escape
For a more childlike experience, go mini-golfing at the Cops & Robbers – Great Escape in Flushing. This 18-hole course features a cave and a waterfall. When you’re done, you can enjoy a cup or cone of delicious ice cream.
Try Unique Outdoor Things to Do in Flint MI
The Mounds ORV Park
A premier off-road vehicle park in the Great Lakes region, The Mounds ORV Park is about 15 minutes northeast of downtown Flint in Mt. Morris.
You can traverse dirt, mud, rocks, sand, and water all in one place while driving your ATV, dune buggy, Jeep, motorcycle, or pickup. This off-roading playground has been delivering fun for all ages since 1971.
BMX Track at Richfield County Park
Among the 345 acres of Richfield County Park in Davison is a BMX Track. Along with riding motorbikes on the track, you can ride fat tire bikes and mountain bikes.
The park features ball diamonds, a canoe launch, cross-country ski trails, a snowmobile area, tennis courts, and more as well.
US-23 Drive-In Theater
For a break from adventurous outdoor activities, head to the US-23 Drive-In Theater in Fenton (about 10 minutes south of downtown Flint). It has been open since 1952 and features 3 screens that show double first-run movies.
The concession stand serves traditional movie snacks, such as popcorn, cotton candy, and sodas. You can order corn dogs, pizza, burgers, and more too.
Capt. Phogg Balloon Rides
If you’re looking for truly unique outdoor things to do in Flint, you can’t miss Capt. Phogg Balloon Rides in Fenton. A leader in ballooning for 50 years, Captain Phogg offers beautiful hot air balloon rides over Mid Michigan. You’ll see a handful of state parks, woodlands, lakes, and various wildlife.
Each ride lasts about 45 minutes to 1 hour, but the whole experience is about 3 hours. It includes setting up the balloon, packing up the balloon after landing, and returning to the showroom, where you can celebrate the experience with juice or champagne.
Attend Flint Area Sports & Racing Events
Do you like watching sports? Head to Kettering University’s Atwood Stadium. It hosts a variety of high school sports events, including baseball games, boxing matches, and football games.
The stadium is home to the Flint City Bucks, a local soccer team that has won 4 North American Championships. The stadium hosts non-sports events as well, such as concerts and political speeches — John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke there.
Auto City Outdoor Event Center
For a more fast-paced sports event, head to the Auto City Outdoor Event Center (also known as Auto City Speedway). It’s located about 15 minutes north of downtown Flint in Clio and is one of the most exciting speedways in the Midwest.
Visit Farms & Orchards in the Flint Area
Founded in 1926, Montrose Orchards about 25 minutes northwest of downtown Flint offers a handful of family-friendly activities. First, you can take a hayride tour of the orchard, which includes doughnuts and apple cider.
Then, you have the option to purchase a pumpkin, which you get to pick. Also, you can pick fresh blueberries and attend one of its special events throughout the year.
A farm offering some of the most fun outdoor things to do in Flint, Flushing Farms is the ultimate family destination. With the price of admission, you get to test your skills in 3 corn mazes, 2 inflatable obstacle courses, the Hippity Hop Ball Raceway, and straw mounds.
In addition, the price includes the bounce house for kids, the petting zoo, unlimited barrel train and wagon hayrides, and a doughnut with a glass of cider. You can turn in your wristband before you leave to get a discount on a U-pick pumpkin. In the evenings, you can go through the corn mazes with a flashlight.
Mueller’s Orchard and Cider Mill
In Linden, Mueller’s Orchard and Cider Mill is about 25 minutes southwest of downtown Flint. This farm has been family-owned since 1941. It offers family and kids activities and weekend events, such as a fall corn maze, pumpkin patch, and tours.
During your visit, you can get some freshly made doughnuts and pressed cider. Other locally made products are available in the market.
Heavenly Scent Herb Farm
Housed in a 1910 barn with a European-storefront-painted facade, Heavenly Scent Herb Farm in Fenton is a distinct destination. While you can find an array of products inside, exploring the grounds is the main attraction.
You enter through iron gates, and as you walk through a gazebo, you can hear falling water from the nearby fountain. The faerie garden is decorated with miniature treasures. Other accents include pergolas, hanging baskets of flowers, statues, and benches.
Tour Flint Michigan Historic Sites
Glenwood Historical Cemetery & Arboretum
On the Michigan and National Registers of Historic Places, the Glenwood Historical Cemetery & Arboretum was founded in 1857 and features amazing architecture and funerary art.
A lot of influential Flint residents made the cemetery their final resting place — such as Civil War veterans, governors, automobile and carriage pioneers, and lumber barons. You can respectfully tour the grounds and take in the picturesque scenery.
Carriage Town Historic District
One of the most historic outdoor things to do in Flint is visit the Carriage Town district, which is the city’s point of origin. The name represents the time when the city was the carriage capital of the country. In fact, it was dubbed the Vehicle City in 1905.
During that time, Durant Dort Carriage Company was the largest horse-drawn carriage producer in the world. A historic marker stands outside the building that housed the company, which is credited with being the birthplace of General Motors in 1908.
Tour Tip: You can find Flint Public Art Project murals on some of the buildings around the Carriage Town Historic District.
A 34-acre property, the Applewood Estate is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1916 as a self-sustaining farm and home to the Charles Stewart Mott Family.
You can tour the grounds, which feature an orchard, rose and perennial gardens, and a barn, chicken coop, gatehouse, and greenhouse. In the house, you can see collections of photographs, diaries, and other objects.
Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad
For a trip back in time, visit Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad. This authentic, early 1900s Great Lakes town has more than 34 historic structures.
You can learn about various trades from costumed individuals around the town, watch a show at the Colwell Opera House, or hop on a range of vintage amusement rides. You can even take a 40-minute Huckleberry Railroad train ride or 45-minute Mott Lake cruise on the Genesee Belle.
On top of that, the village hosts several fun events throughout the year — Halloween Ghosts & Goodies, Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic, Day Out With Thomas, Ladies Night Out, and Railfans Weekend.
Did we miss any of your favorite outdoor things to do in Flint MI? Let us know in the comments!