When I moved to Michigan, Walled Lake was the first place that really helped me adjust to the “culture shock” of relocating from the east coast. I quickly found myself mesmerized by lake life, and felt comforted by this body of water as though it were welcoming me to a new stage in my life. In a way, it was–I had left almost everything I knew 500 miles away in Virginia, and it was time to embrace my new surroundings. Three years later, I still hold Walled Lake near and dear to my heart, and feel it is only fitting to share why you might love it, too!
While much of Walled Lake is reserved for private home and boat access, there are a few places where the general public is welcome to spend the day! If it’s recreation you’re looking for, start at Lakeshore Park: an area filled with bike trails, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and an underground tunnel that connects to a small beach on the lake’s south side. Or, if you’re craving a little peace and quiet, circle around to Pavilion Shore Park, where bird and boat watching won’t be interrupted by noisy beachgoers. If you’re more into the downtown atmosphere, head north to Mercer Beach. This spot is great for picnicking, swimming, and duck feeding (make sure to bring bread crumbs!). While you’re at Mercer, don’t forget to browse the shops across the street or catch a bite to eat at Bayside Sports Grille, The Corner Carhop, or Blue Bliss Frozen Yogurt. Plus, Mercer Beach is the prime spot to watch Walled Lake Thunder, an annual hydroplane race that can be heard for miles at the beginning of the summer.
Stretching Your Legs
When you want an hour or so to yourself, take a lap around the lake. The road that winds through the lakeside neighborhood includes a bike lane for non-car folk. The view of the water is incredible! See swans bob in the water and sailboats glide in the distance as you build up some muscle, and you’ll start to reconsider that indoor gym membership.
Sunsets on Walled Lake are hands-down the best I’ve seen in Metro Detroit (and I’ve got an Instagram photo collection to prove it). Each nighttime event is a fiery display of unique color combinations, always majestic and always eye-catching. Find a bench and stay a while–you’ll see trees turn into silhouettes as the sky transforms and the sun slinks beneath the horizon. This setting, occasionally followed by late-night summer fireworks, is a fool-proof recipe for a perfect Michigan evening.
Now, I realize that native northerners probably realize this without my mentioning it, but Walled Lake doesn’t take a break from being awesome after the leaves change and the geese fly south for the winter. The lake during colder months is a vision of beauty, like a solid sheet of glass (sometimes covered in snow and fog) stretched out before you. Many locals enjoy ice fishing, playing ice hockey, and even riding their trucks over the frozen lake (I haven’t quite worked up that kind of courage yet), and it’s fun to see how everyone makes the most of the space regardless of what season we’re in.
Which Michigan lakes hold a special place in your heart? Comment below with your favorites!