Social Distancing in West Michigan’s Great Outdoors

Practicing safe social distancing is an important part of life right now, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay confined to the house! Michigan’s great outdoors are beginning to show signs of Spring, and offer a perfect place to spread out and get some fresh air.

We strongly recommend that you follow all current advisories in place from state/local/federal government, and be smart when traveling outdoors. These advisories include keeping a safe social distance (6’ or more) from others, not congregating (even in outdoor spaces), and regularly washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

Additional Resources:

Augusta: Kellogg Bird Sanctuary 

The grounds will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to hike their trails, offering space to maintain the CDC recommended six foot social distancing. If you are not a member, please use the green honesty box for your admission (cash only). To keep the flock safe, please do NOT bring in your own waterfowl feed, bread, etc. Sanctuary staff will be on site every day caring for the birds.

Battle Creek: Leila Arboretum

Leila Arboretum, in Battle Creek is the perfect place to “get out and spread out” during this time of social distancing. Walk your dog. Play a round of disc golf. Fly a kite. Photograph signs of spring. Run the 1-mile loop. Enjoy a picnic of carry-out food from your favorite restaurant. Wander about the 8’-20’ tree carvings in the Fantasy Forest. Walk and meditate in the Peace Labyrinth Garden. Play Pokemon Go. Join Leila Arboretum in their 85 Acre park (with free admission) and avoid feeling cooped-up by the quarantine. Make an effort to get outside each day.

Benton Harbor: Sarett Nature Center

Come enjoy the trails at the Sarett Nature Center! The building will be closed, but the trails will be open and free to use. Check back on the Sarett Nature Center Facebook Page regularly, as they are planning a variety of activities to help the community practice social distancing in the outdoors. They currently have a “Storybook Hike” posted along the trails, where families can follow the panels through the woods to read a book along their hike. Watch for more activities soon, like scavenger hunts, geocaches, and more.


As the weather starts to warm up, Charlevoix’s many acres of parks are the perfect place to breathe in fresh air and sunshine! Also, check out the historic walking tour throughout downtown and at historical sites. Stroll along the shores of Lake Michigan to see if you can find both Charlevoix and Petoskey Stones! It’s a great way to spend a sunny afternoon at the beach.    

Grand Rapids: Blandford Nature Center

The trails at Blandford Nature Center remain open, and Blandford hopes you continue to take advantage of them. Their trails, habitats, and green spaces offer the restorative, healing, and stress-relieving power of connecting with nature, so they encourage you to get outside!

Grand Rapids: Robinette’s

You probably know they have great cider and donuts, but did you also know that Robinette’s has some great outdoor trails? Here’s a link to their trails, which you can still enjoy while practicing social distancing. You can also still pick up or order their bread, donuts, baked goods, sandwiches, and wine while you’re there!

Hastings: Historic Charlton Park

All Parks Commission grounds, trails, and recreational areas remain open at this time for enjoying the outdoors and some fresh Michigan air. These include the Historic Charlton Park Recreation Area and Trails, McKeown Bridge Park, and Paul Henry Thornapple Trail sections. They continue to emphasize that you maintain the social distancing guidelines when using outdoor amenities and follow all CDC and Barry/Eaton District Health Department COVID-19 guidelines for preventing exposure. Please check back regularly for any updates and/or changes to operational procedures.

Hastings: Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is a nature center, environmental education center, and biological field station located on 742 acres with nine miles of hiking trails located ten miles south of Hastings. The trails at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute are open for use from dawn to dusk.

Hickory Corners: Kellogg Manor House

To honor social distancing the Manor House will be closed for daily visitors until further notice, however the KBS grounds will remain open. Pick up a historical walking tour brochure on the white office doors at the Manor and enjoy the fresh air.


The team at Pure Ludington has put together some creative ways to get out, spend time with your family and enjoy Ludington’s natural resources – while maintaining six feet of distance and following proper hygiene. They have ideas on local activities like hiking, taking a smart phone tour of their cultural trails, or checking out digital materials from the library. They also recommend that you check out their COVID-19 update page for updates on how you can support local businesses during this time.

Ottawa County Parks

With over 7,000 acres and 100+ miles of trail, visiting an Ottawa County park is a great way to combat cabin fever while practicing social distancing. And, the parks are free to use! Visitors should be conscientious of social distancing (staying 6′-10′ apart from others) while visiting parks, especially at busier ones such as Rosy Mound Natural Area, Olive Shores, and Grand Ravines. If you stop by one of these parks and the parking lot is over half full, consider exploring a new park. Limit your group to under 10. Please do not congregate. Be aware that hard surfaces such as playground equipment, handrails, and benches are not disinfected. Wash your hands before and after visiting a park.

Ottawa County Parks will also bring nature to you through videos and Facebook Live programming.

Statewide: Golfing

Many area golf courses are currently open for the season. Click though for updates from the below courses, and check with the golf course directly for any restrictions or amenity closings they may currently have on site.

Statewide: Michigan State Parks

Michigan’s outdoors are here for you. The Michigan DNR encourages you to get outside, but be ‘COVID-19 smart, safe and solo.’ Although the public contact areas (restroom buildings, shooting ranges, visitor centers) at many DNR-managed facilities are temporarily closed, people are still welcome to enjoy the public outdoor areas at state parks and recreation areas, state game and wildlife areas, state forests, state trails and, of course, lakes, rivers and streams. For the duration of the COVID-19 situation, the DNR is waiving the need for the Recreation Passport for entry at state parks and other destinations. Explore things to do on the DNR’s website for inspiration; check out their YouTube channel for how-to videos; and get hunting and fishing licenses at the new license system website. Closer to home, you could soak up some sun on the back deck, walk around the block, or jog the nearest local trail. No matter how you enjoy the outdoors, the DNR urges you to practice effective “social distancing” and other measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and keep you, your family, and your community safe