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Eight Undiscovered Parks & Beaches

August 30, 2013
Eight Undiscovered Parks & Beaches

Ready for a long weekend and a quiet, out-of-the-way place to relax or log some calming beach time? The Ticker has found eight lesser-known parks and shorelines in the TC area that are perfect for escaping the crowds.

When Clinch Park and West End Beach are clogged with sun worshippers, savvy locals make a quick trip to East Bay Park. It offers everything you need to enjoy a summer day, including a playground, picnic tables and clean restrooms.

The TC Parks and Rec Department oversees two tiny parks with alphabetical names. “A” Park lies off Timberlane and Arrowhead Drives. At less than one-tenth of an acre, “C” Park is the city’s smallest park and is the only city park other than East Bay Park with direct access to East Grand Traverse Bay. For more info on city parks, click here.

A short drive north on Old Mission Peninsula are a pair of spots perfect for relaxing. The Pyatt Lake Nature Area features a hiking trail, boardwalks and two observation platforms overlooking pristine wetlands and offers an excellent opportunity to view one of the most botanically diverse areas in GT County. On the east shore is Haserot Beach Park. Popular with Old Mission locals, but largely unknown to visitors, it features a wonderful sandy beach on a protected bay, restrooms, picnic area, playground and boat launch.

One of Grand Traverse County’s least heralded parks is the Maple Bay Natural Area, a 450-acre property that straddles both sides of US-31 North toward Elk Rapids. The property is known for its beautiful sunflowers planted on both sides of the highway as well as wonderful hiking trails leading to a serene beach. A trail descends the bluff to sensitive dune zones, which are home to a number of endangered plant species. The trail is two miles round-trip. To learn more about county parks, click here.

Fifteen years ago Garfield Township had no parks at all, but now it boasts almost 500 acres of parkland in five scenic, though little-known, parks. One of the least visited is Miller Creek Nature Reserve, 66.5 acres tucked behind Office Depot and Aldi behind the bustling Grand Traverse Crossing on South Airport Road. It features hiking trails along Miller Creek, a tributary of the Boardman River. Hikers might want to check out another township site, Kids Creek Park, with 20 acres of former buffalo pasture that’s been transformed into a relaxing trail area tucked between the Great Wolf Lodge and Kohl’s west of US-31.

“There’s a fish pond there that’s been stocked and there are fishing decks. We’re inviting kids to come out and fish,” says Township Deputy Planner Brian Vandenbrand. “Youngsters, only, please.”
 


Most Recent Comments

 
Bill on October 9, 2013 1:50pm

The comments on this are true. Traverse Magazine had an article a few years ago about this beach being a hidden gem and have tried to go there a few times since then. It was awfu. The magazine must have needed something to write about. It's crowded, the traffic is dangerous, and the outhouse is foul. There are way better beaches in the area closer to Traverse.

Tom on September 3, 2013 12:16pm

Shhh. Keep quiet. And tell Mario Batali to shut his gob.

Danielle on September 1, 2013 4:59pm

Agree with Sarah on Haserot parking. The unaccustomed drivers flying around those curves, in either direction, on Old Mission Rd makes parking on the roadside dangerous.

Beth on September 1, 2013 2:09pm

I agree with "R". I am a central FL native who is familiar with the extra taxes charged in certain tourist areas, for hotel rooms, etc. Tourists visiting Disney, Universal, Sea World and other area attractions contribute to keeping up the local infrastructure with the higher taxes they pay - not the residents.

sarah on September 1, 2013 11:58am

At Haserot we have one outhouse for hundreds of people, no running water, five picnic tables, two grills, and a very shallow boat launch. But the best kept secret about Haserot, that these articles ignore to mention is the very, very limited parking, forcing cars to line the small narrow streets. Which in itself is scary as these families pile out of their cars and run towards the water, darting across the roads to get there, unknowingly parking in some of the healthiest poison ivy that grows along every road in our little village. A parting gift a little something to take home.

Cathy on August 30, 2013 10:44pm

Hazarot Beach was jammed with people in July when I was there. And the "restrooms" is a single outhouse. Not nearly enough for the number of people there.

TH on August 30, 2013 4:22pm

Us locals need to keep some parks to ourselves. In reading over this, I have learned that many a place where I sought solitude is no more. Sad.......

Julie on August 30, 2013 12:59pm

Craig, united I stand with you. The media may as well erect billboards around the State and beyond as to where our lesser known paradises are.( or have they?)

danielle on August 30, 2013 12:34pm

There are still a few undiscovered gems but most are off M-22 as you circle around Leelanau north of Suttons and north of Leland. In Traverse? Good luck.
Can't really blame anyone, or even the media. For the majority of residents (though not the retirees) the positives of heavy tourism far outweigh the negatives.

R on August 30, 2013 11:02am

Once again, I am advocating we all vote no to any more property tax increases to fund maintenance and road work for our tourists. Let's increase sales tax and hotel occupancy tax so they help pay for their trash pick up, grounds maintenance and other road work as they wear out our used to be beautiful peaceful parks, etc. Residents' property tax is already too high and we can't even enjoy our parks anymore as they are full of tourists.

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