12 Parks in Lansing, Michigan

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Lansing, the capital city of Michigan, is home to numerous beautiful parks perfect for recreation, events, and exploring nature. From riverside parks to community parks and nature preserves, Lansing’s green spaces offer something for everyone. This article explores 12 fantastic parks in Lansing that should not be missed.

Park NameHighlight/Feature
Hawk Island ParkYear-round activities, dog park, swimming, trails
Frances ParkRose garden, scenic views, walking paths
Woldumar Nature CenterWildlife viewing, nature trails, educational programs
Fenner Nature CenterEnvironmental education, interactive exhibits
Crego ParkFishing, boating, expansive natural areas
Scott Woods ParkSecluded trails, peaceful woodland setting
River TrailExtensive trail system, connects multiple parks
Granger Meadows ParkSports fields, winter sledding, playground
Hunter ParkCommunity garden, pool, sports facilities
Magnolia ParkNature area, playground, picnic shelters

Whether you want to go for a tranquil walk surrounded by nature, have a picnic with family, enjoy community festivals, or play sports with friends, Lansing’s city and regional parks have it. The parks boast amenities like playgrounds, sports facilities, walking trails, gardens, pavilions for rent, and so much more. Plus, most parks are pet and family-friendly.

So get ready to explore forests, wetlands, rivers, and prairies in Lansing’s lush parks system. Here are 12 of the best parks in Lansing to add to your Michigan bucket list.

1.Riverfront Park

Name and Location: Riverfront Park in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: Overlooking Lansing’s Grand River downtown, this riverside park opened in 2008 spanning 12 acres with scenic river walkways, gardens, an amphitheater and playground area as a vibrant community public space.

What to Expect: Strolling pathways to enjoy river views and seasonal gardens. Hosts festivals, summer concerts at the performance pavilion. Site features a water playscape, carousel and mini train ride for kids.

Visitor Information: Free access. Open daily from 6am-10pm. Paid parking available along adjacent city streets. Visitor info kiosk onsite provides maps.

As the name suggests, Riverfront Park rests on the banks of the Grand River as it flows through downtown Lansing. The 25-acre park has paved walking paths that provide lovely views of the river as well as attractions like the City Market pavilion and concert stage. The Riverfront Park Trail connects to other paths, allowing you to walk for miles along the waterfront.

Bring your fishing pole any time of year and cast your line into the Grand River from Riverfront Park’s shore. You can catch fish like smallmouth bass, pike, walleye, catfish, and more. The park also features a boat launch, so feel free to bring your own non-motorized watercraft for floating down the river.

With its central location and river access, Riverfront Park is popular for annual events in Lansing like Common Ground Music Festival, Silver Bells in the City, the Lansing Jazz Fest, and more. Pack a blanket, snacks, family and friends because Riverfront Park throws a great community party!

2.Fenner Nature Center

Name and Location: Fenner Nature Center in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: Set across 154 acres of preserved wilderness owned by the Lansing School District, this nature area features pine forests, ponds, wetlands and over 5 miles of hiking trails with naturalist programs offered.

What to Expect: Explore forests, meadows and lake ecosystems along self-guided dirt trails. Interpretive stations explain interesting flora and fauna. Building hosts wildlife exhibits, gift shop and seasonal Discovery programs.

Visitor Information: Free access daily 8am-6pm, Nature Center open 9am-5pm. Some trail sections steep or rugged. 2020 E Mount Hope Ave location, call (517)483-4224.

If you want to immerse yourself in Michigan forests, wetlands and prairie ecosystems, head to Fenner Nature Center. The 150-acre nature preserve offers over 7 miles of hiking and skiing trails that wind through woodlands, meadows and fen marshes.

As you explore the trails, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like white-tailed deer, foxes, turtles and migratory songbirds. The nature center also features bee hives and a butterfly garden.

In addition to exploring on your own, Fenner Nature Center offers guided trail tours, school programs and summer nature camps for kids. Visit their Nature House with educational exhibits about Michigan’s flora and fauna.

The best part? Admission to Fenner Nature Center is free! Just be sure to stay on marked trails to protect the local ecosystems. With so much natural beauty, you may just forget you’re minutes from downtown Lansing.

3. Parks in Lansing, Michigan

For a beautiful beachfront setting, outdoor recreation and stunning Lansing city skyline views, spend the day relaxing at Hawk Island County Park. As part of the larger 680-acre Groesbeck Park that spans Lansing and Lansing Township, Hawk Island sits on the county’s largest lake – Lake Lansing.

At Hawk Island, stretch out on sandy beaches, swim in clear waters, rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, cast your fishing pole from three fishing piers, and enjoy a picnic in the shade. The park also features playgrounds, volleyball courts, concessions and modern bathhouses.

Bring your binoculars while visiting Hawk Island to spot osprey nesting on platforms installed around Lake Lansing. Let the kids participate in free educational programming at the park’s osprey hacking tower and songbird banding station.

4.Moores Park

Name and Location: Moores Park in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: One of Lansing’s first city parks established in 1905 spanning 53 acres, Moores Park offers diverse recreational amenities like its historic carousel, pools, athletic fields, fishing and pathways through scenic forests.

What to Expect: Outdoor pool, playgrounds, basketball court, Diamond ball field for games. Forested nature trails offer river views, birdwatching and cross country skiing. Site hosts summer camps, events.

Visitor Information: 1000 Northland Drive. Park open daily 6am-10 pm, facilities like the zoo and pools have separate seasonal hours and fees detailed online.

Moores Park brings 80 acres of recreation opportunities and natural landscapes to northeast Lansing. Named after former Lansing mayor Ralph C. Moores, the park provides visitors pursuits like hiking wooded trails, canoeing the Grand River, playing sports on athletic fields and courts and skating at the Lou Gehrig Memorial Ice Rink during winter months.

Moores Park contains the region’s only Boundless Playground, allowing children with disabilities to play side-by-side with friends and siblings. Other playgrounds throughout the park also provide fun for kids.

Adults can break a sweat on Moores Park’s basketball and tennis courts or simply take in sweeping views of the Grand River from atop Lookout Bluff. With so much to experience year-round, your entire family will enjoy time spent at Moores Park.

5.Hunter Park

Name and Location: Hunter Park in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: Acquired in 1920, this 95-acre community park located centrally features diverse recreational facilities like sports fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, shelter rentals and 1.4 miles of scenic wooded hiking trails.

What to Expect: Outdoor amenities include basketball court, baseball diamonds, volleyball net, disc golf course and open green spaces plus Circuit training stations installed along trail routes through the park interior.

Visitor Information: 1400 E Kalamazoo St. Park open daily 6am-10pm, trails dusk to dawn. Restrooms available seasonally. No fee for access, nominal rental rates for shelters.

As one of Lansing’s largest parks at 144 acres, Hunter Park promises plenty of outdoor recreation amid beautiful surroundings. Shady forests, wetlands, wildflowers in the summer, cross-country skiing in winter and even indoor ice skating make Hunter Park a unique getaway minutes from downtown.

Follow nearly 2 miles of trails to spot wildlife, identify trees and plants, and maybe even spy vestiges of old farm equipment marking Hunter Park’s history as a turn-of-the-century dairy farm. Other trails cater to mountain bikers too.

Inside Hunter Ice Arena, lace-up your skates and practice figure skating elements or play some pickup hockey on a NHL regulation-size indoor ice rink. When you need a break, enjoy concessions with your friends and family in the lobby.

Outside the rink, Hunter Park features athletic fields, playgrounds, picnic shelters and courts for sports like tennis, pickleball and basketball. You’ll also find boat launches onto the Red Cedar River unwinding through the park.

6.Frances Park

Name and Location: Frances Park in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: Dating from the early 1900s, this scenic linear city park set across 22 acres encompasses sparkling bodies of water known as the Lansing River Trail system, walking paths and preserved wetland areas with diverse wildlife.

What to Expect: Paved recreational trail encircles the central lake area. Benches situated along pathways with river access points. Resident birds, turtles, ducks can be spotted from shorelines and pedestrian bridges crossing the waterway.

Visitor Information: 2701 Moores River Dr location. Leashed pets permitted. No swimming allowed but fishing is popular. Park open daily from 6am-10pm year-round.

Located along the Grand River on Lansing’s east side, Frances Park offers 98 acres of recreational facilities and nature areas to help you relax, have fun and enjoy natural scenery.

Athletes can play softball, baseball, soccer, basketball, volleyball, pickleball and more at some of Frances Park’s 16 athletic fields and courts. The park even has a professional disc golf course winding through the landscape, perfect for spending time with friends or some friendly competition.

When you need a break, walk the extensive trails weaving near the riverfront and through peaceful woods and meadows. Have a picnic, walk the dog, push the kids on swings, or cast your fishing line into the Grand River from Frances Park for bass, walleye, catfish and more.

From family gatherings to community sports games, Frances Park brings people together to enjoy the outdoors in Michigan’s capital city.

7.Cavanaugh Park

Name and Location: Cavanaugh Park in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: Dating from the 1920s, this small neighborhood city park encompassing just 3 acres provides open greenspace with playground equipment and basketball half-court catering to local families and residents nearby.

What to Expect: Children’s play area has climbing structures, swings, slides. Adjacent basketball court and open field turf offer spaces for casual games and free play for all ages. Grassy areas to relax picnic.

Visitor Information: Located between Kalamazoo St and John St. Free access daily 6am-10pm. On-street parking available bordering the park site.

Situated along the Red Cedar River, Cavanaugh Park spans 31 acres in southwest Lansing. Linked to nearby paths like the Lansing River Trail, the park offers paved walking loops bordered by wildflower gardens, forests and wetlands. You might spot heron, turtles and other wildlife while exploring the park.

Families with kids love visiting the Cavanaugh Park playground, featuring exciting equipment like rock walls, rope-net climbers, tube slides and more. Have a picnic under the shade canopy while watching the kids play. There are also sand volleyball courts and half-court basketball for friendly recreational games.

8.Burcham Park

Name and Location: Burcham Park in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: Part of Lansing’s central greenspaces since the 1920s, this intimate 8 acre neighborhood park features pleasant walking paths encircling a central pond inhabited by ducks and geese alongside playground and picnic spots.

What to Expect: Paved loop trail spans 0.4 miles around the pond perimeter, crossing a footbridge. Benches located alongside the path offer rest while enjoying pond views and natural scenery.

Visitor Information: 2700 Etna Street location. Open 24 hours daily. Public restrooms not available onsite but nearby facilities open seasonally.

Burcham Park brings 82 acres of recreation space, natural areas and important history to south Lansing. Established with land donated by longtime Lansing mayor Max Burcham Jr, highlights today include trails, gardens, a Miracle Field for wheelchair athletes and the nation’s first Rolloff recycling facility.

As an environmental leader, Lansing installed its groundbreaking Rolloff recycling center in Burcham Park back in 1971. Although closed today, interpretive signs in the park explain how the prototype facility revolutionized recycling practices nationwide.

Burcham Park also houses the headquarters of the Lansing Parks and Recreation department, including Miracle League Lansing’s accessible custom baseball/softball field. People with disabilities can now play with friends and families.

Visitors also love walking the park along the red pine trail to see songbirds or following Interpretive Garden’s path past flowers, shrubs, sculptures and plaque’s describing important figures in Lansing’s story. With lush nature, recreation and historical relevance, Burcham Park educates residents and welcomes all.

9.Elmhurst Park

Name and Location: Elmhurst Park in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: Developed in the 1920s, this 6.5 acre mini park offers neighborhood open space with amenities like tennis and basketball courts catering to families in Lansing’s eastern region seeking recreation locally.

What to Expect: Features playground equipment for both younger and older children, swingsets, climbing apparatus, slides. Adjacent tennis and basketball courts provide areas for casual games with friends.

Visitor Information: Located between Webster St and Elm St. Open daily with lighted facilities from 6am-10pm. On street parking available bordering park site. No restrooms on location.

Elmhurst Park packs exciting recreation opportunities into a petite neighborhood park in south Lansing. Families frequent the park to enjoy amenities including creative playground equipment, walking paths, a splash pad, sand volleyball court and half basketball court.

Kids love burning energy on Elmhurst’s Berliner Seilfabrik playground featuring unique equipment like a 14-foot Wolpertinger triple slide perfect for racing friends. Neighboring swing-sets, crawling tubes and balancing beams round out the fun.

Cool down on hot summer days at Elmhurst Splash Pad! The colorful water playground includes dump buckets flowing down flowers, mini water cannons and rain tree showers for endless aquatic amusement. Parents can relax while kids stay active.

Pack a ball to bounce with friends on Elmhurst basketball court or get some friendly competition going on the sand volleyball court. With welcoming recreation for all ages, Elmhurst Park rocks life in Lansing!

10.Patriarche Park

Name and Location: Patriarche Park in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: Opened in 1920, this city recreational greenspace spans 150 acres encompassing sports fields, courts, trails and one of Michigan’s first public 9-hole golf courses catering to both seasoned and novice players.

What to Expect: Park features open spaces for soccer, football, frisbee plus a disc golf course threading through wooded areas. Affordable municipal golf course open to public play year-round.

Visitor Information: 1900 E Cavanaugh Rd. Park facilities open 6am-10pm daily. Golf course hours vary seasonally, call (517)483-4311 for tee times and rates.

Named for late Lansing mayor Terry Patriarche, this innovative 44-acre park connects people and nature on Lansing’s east side using thoughtful design focused on accessibility, conservation and recreation.

Patriarche Park features nearly 2 miles of walking paths including an accessible loop trail perfect for people with disabilities. Interpretive stations describe plant species, wildlife, wetlands and sustainable efforts allowing everyone to engage with nature.

Accessible recreation facilities also encourage inclusive play for people of varying abilities. Patriarche Park’s playground includes specialized equipment like reclined swings and a wheelchair-accessible carousel. Sports courts and open play-fields provide space for wheelchair sports too.

With adjacent wooded areas and a 5-acre prairie, Patriarche Park balances recreation needs with habitat conservation and environmental education. From songbirds fluttering through the prairie to kids laughing on play equipment, Patriarche Park represents diverse nature and community in Lansing.

11.Saginaw Park

Name and Location: Saginaw Park in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: Developed 1909, this scenic 17 acre community park situated downtown is bisected by the winding Saginaw River offering lovely riverfront views, walking paths and access for anglers casting their lines.

What to Expect: Paved recreational trail follows the Saginaw River shoreline, linking up with other area pathways. Benches provided alongside to observe pretty waterway scenes and riparian vegetation up close.

Visitor Information: 300-398 N Capitol Ave location. Pedestrian bridge crosses river providing looping routes. Open daily 6am-10pm year-round for walking, fishing and reflection.

Resting on the Grand River north of downtown Lansing, Saginaw Park brings over 5 acres of urban waterfront perfect for fishing, festivals and family fun. Developed from a former industrial site, Saginaw Park today replaces waste with natural beauty and community pride.

Cast your line into the Grand River from Saginaw Park any time of year and try hooking bass, walleye, perch or steelhead during runs. The park provides plenty of shore access and a fishing pier extending into the river.

Beyond fishing, Saginaw Park offers riverside trails, playground equipment, picnic shelters and concert stages for events like Common Ground Festival and the Lansing JazzFest. Visitors also come to play basketball or sand volleyball on on-site courts.

With park amenities and easy Grand River access, Saginaw Park lets you dip your toe in Michigan’s beauty while remaining downtown.

12.Woldumar Nature Center

Name and Location: Woldumar Nature Center in Lansing, MI

History and Significance: Set across 158 scenic acres, this nonprofit nature education center features pine and hardwood forests interlaced with ponds, wetlands and prairie areas, offering over 5 miles of trails and diverse programs.

What to Expect: Self-guided hiking paths range from easy to challenging. Interpretive signage identifies interesting ecological features. Seasonal events include bird banding, wildflower walks, school field trips and summer day camps.

Visitor Information: Open daily 8am-5pm year-round. Nature Center trails free access, $5 vehicles on weekends. Group programs should be scheduled ahead by calling (517)699-2018.

Escape into pristine wilderness teeming with wildlife less than 10 minutes from downtown Lansing. Woldumar Nature Center protects nearly 260 acres of globally rare habitats including pine barrens, oak savanna, prairie fens, wetlands and mature forests that attract songbirds, waterfowl, turtles and native insects like butterflies.

More than 5 miles of hiking and skiing trails allow you to spot wildlife and learn about habitats via interpretive signs and self-guided tour booklets. Hang hummingbird and seed feeders outside the visitor center too for up-close sightings.

Beyond exploring trails, visitors to Woldumar join guided hikes, summer nature camps for kids and educational programming about the region’s ecosystems and wildlife rehabilitation. Rent the historic Clerget Farmstead for weddings or private events as well.

Dedicated to conservation and hands-on learning for all ages, Woldumar Nature Center in southwest Lansing immerses you in Michigan’s natural heritage. Come make memories and new discoveries!

Conclusion

Lansing overflows with incredible city, state and regional parks prime for exploration and making lasting memories. From downtown riverfront parks like Riverfront Park and Saginaw Park to expansive recreation destinations like Moores Park and Frances Park or conservation sites like Fenner Nature Center and Hunter Park, Lansing offers access to vibrant natural areas and opportunities to play.

Which fantastic Lansing, Michigan park will you visit first? Grab your walking shoes, fishing pole, picnic blanket, friends and family then head to one of Lansing’s beautiful parks to discover fun adventures that await you!

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