The parks and beaches in Michigan definitely fill up this time of year. Looking for a little-known state park where you can canoe, ride your bike, fish, hike, and more?

READ MORE: These Are Michigan's Top Ten Beaches 

Michigan State Parks

According to the Michigan DNR, Michigan has a whopping 103 state parks that offer modern lodging to rustic camping and so many outdoor activities.

Some of the more well-known parks include Warren Dunes State Park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Grand Haven State Park, Saugatuck Dunes State Park, and Ludington State Park.

Island Lake Recreation Area, Michigan has named Island Lake Recreation Area the best little-know state park in Michigan!

Michigan DNR
Michigan DNR

I'll be honest and say I'd never heard of it before!

Island Lake Recreation Area is located in Brighton, Mich. The sprawling 4,000 acre park features meadows, mature hardwood forest, four lakes, and the Huron River, which is part the National Water Trail System.

There are so many activities at Island Lake Recreation Area, you'll never get bored: fishing, kayaking, hiking, camping - there's even shooting range and a hot air balloon launch point.

It's great for biking too, as the park has a 4-mile, paved trail which connects to the Kensington Metropark Bike Trail and the Huron Valley Trail, which are also paved.

READ MORE: Check out What's Being Called Michigan's Most Accessible State Park

Plus, Island Recreation Area makes a huge effort to be accessible. They have "track chairs" for those with mobility challenges. They can be used in sand and snow and up to eight inches of water! The chairs are first-come, first-served and free to use.

There's also a wheelchair accessible pier.

The park has a rich history too! In 1922, it was one of 11 parks gifted to Michigan in honor of the Dodge Brothers. Before that, it served as a camp for Michigan soldiers during the Spanish American War.

Baseball legend Babe Ruth once visited and was busted for out-of-season fishing at Pine Island Recreation area back in the day.

LOOK: Lake Michigan Beach Named One of the Best 'Secret' Beaches in U.S.

Northern Michigan's South Manitou Island has been named among the best 20 "secret" beaches in the U.S. by Southern Living Magazine.

Within Sleeping Bear Dune's National Lakeshore, South and North Manitou Island are part of an island chain in Lake Michigan that extends north to the Straits of Mackinac. 

According to the National Park Service, "The island consists of a ridge of tilted layers of limestone, buried under a blanket of glacial debris. It features unique sand dune formations, 10 miles of beaches, and a grove of old growth white cedars that date back over 500 years."

Gallery Credit: Janna

Hidden Gems of Michigan's Upper Peninsula

No matter what you're into - dining, boating, hunting, outdoor sports, and everything in between, you'll find something you'll love in these small towns in Michigan's Eastern Upper Peninsula.

Gallery Credit: Wendy Reed, Townsquare Media

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