The 13 Best Playgrounds in Metro Detroit

By: Mark H. Stowers

Here they are! The 13 Best Playgrounds in Metro Detroit

Spring is in the air and it’s time to open the windows, air out the house and get the toddlers and kids in a local park. Michigan municipalities, counties and the state have a great mix of outdoor parks with amenities from simple to complex and everywhere in between. In Metro Detroit, there are plenty of hidden gems for your kids to exercise their imaginations and COVID restricted muscles. Here are our picks for the best playgrounds!

A playground can be simple or complex but needs to have one important ingredient – magic. The metro Detroit area has acres of magical playground space dedicated to children and those “young at heart.” In no particular order, here are some of the best magical playgrounds the region has to offer.

Jim Shaffer and Associates

Birmingham’s Booth Park – after winding through a myriad of shopping and eatery outposts, Booth Park is a great getaway for kids and adults. Created in 2007 through private donations, the park was built in the span of one week due to the many helping hands of residents. Located at Old Woodward and Harmon, you’ll find an expansive playscape, a labyrinth and tunnel for creative imaginations to wander, a turf hill/amphitheater that makes for a great sledding hill. In the summer, a piece of cardboard makes the hill ideal for warm weather sledding as well.

There’s also a rain garden and a trail that connects to the Rouge River Trail. The original intent of the area was to build an inter-urban railway system. When that didn’t happen, the Booth Family bought the acreage and donated it to the Cranbrook Foundation.

Inglenook Park in Southfield – This park features a playground designed to look like a farm, and is situated nest to a historic barn.

Fort Fraser at Steffens Park – This all wooden “wonderland” can be found in Fraser behind city hall near Garfield and 14 Mile. This sprawling wooden structure offers a launching pad for your kids’ imaginations. With slides, swings, monkey bars, plenty of places to climb and hide on top of tons of sand and kid-friendly dirt moving equipment, Fort Fraser comes to life for every kids. It features an outdoor ice-skating rink in season. There’s also Baseball Diamonds, Basketball Courts, Multiple Soccer Fields, Pavilions, Sand Volleyball Court and Tennis Courts. Look for concessions in season as well.

Hess-Hathaway Park in Waterford – This park has a traditional playground but also a historical farmhouse and farm animals!

Nelson Meade County Farm Park in Ann Arbor – More than 120 acres of a former farm were transformed into a park and playground for the whole family to enjoy. The farm themed playground invigorates every child’s imagination with a play structure, a net climber, swings and slides. There’s also a three-mile paved and natural trail for dog walkers, runners and more. There’s also an 18-station fitness trail. A community garden plot is operated through Project Grow.  

Beverly Park Playground in Beverly Hills – With separate structures for big kids and little kids, this park has sandboxes with a dump truck for kids to play with.

Best Playgrounds

Belle Isle Park in Detroit – an island of fun awaits on this 982-acre plot filled with rich history. Woods and beaches offer plenty of outdoor fun. Combine that with public landmarks, the Belle Isle Aquarium, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the magic of Detroit comes alive. The 2.5-mile-long island has more than seven miles of shoreline to enjoy.

Red Oaks Youth Soccer Complex Playground – This place is much more than soccer! Their play set has slides, towers, and climbers!

Scarlet’s Park in Commerce – a true destination for family fun that is an all-inclusive playground designed for kids with physical and mental handicaps to interact and play with everyone. It is definitely one of the best playgrounds we have. The dream of Scarlet Clark’s grandparents, former Channel 7 News Anchor and 104.3 radio personality Stephen Clark and his wife, Larenne for their granddaughter, Scarlet, who was born with CMA, a children’s version of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The barrier free, all-inclusive playground includes 18,00 square feet of childhood fun. A specialized rubber surface welcomes wheelchair and there are decks, tunnels, zip lines, sensory play equipment and much, much more to stimulate any child’s imagination in a very magical place. There are picnic facilities as well.

Jim Shaffer and Associates

Heritage Park in Farmington Hills – This is a HUGE park! They have a massive play area and a splash pad in the summer! They also have a Nature Discovery Trail for kids with over 4.5 miles of trails.

Mulberry State Park in Northville – This newer park has zipline chairs, a ropes course, an extra fast slide, and a firetruck!

David H. Shepard Park in Oak Park – The big draw to this park is the enormous wooden train and truck for kids to climb all over. They also have a more traditional play set as well.

Geary Park in Ferndale – Perhaps the only local free skatepark for kids, Geary park also features a traditional playscape.

The county and state offer several of our best playgrounds in their parks scattered across Metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan. Each one a magical place for the entire family to enjoy.

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