Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Midland County, MI

  • Published 2022/10/19

Midland County in Michigan is a top choice when it comes to immersing yourself in the great outdoors while having a breadth of activities available at your fingertips.

The seat of the county is Midland.

The name of the county originated from the fact that the county is located near the center of the Lower Peninsula of the state of Michigan.

Midland County was established in 1831.

The 2020 census indicates that the population of Midland County was 83,494 that year.

The US Census Bureau reports that Midland Count has a total land area of 516 square miles, and the county has 12 square miles of water.

Check out Midland County if you like parks and physical activities, especially winter sports.

To help make up your mind, here is a list of the 15 best things to do in Midland County, Michigan:

Visit the Garden of Glass at Dow Gardens

A studio at Dow Gardens

Craig Sterken /

Dow Gardens is a botanical garden where you can admire the flora endemic to Midland County, Michigan.

You can visit Dow Gardens at Eastman Avenue.

This garden is famous for its beautiful and well-maintained walking trails lined with greenery.

A bridge over the waters of Dow Gardens

John McCormick /

If you plan to visit Dow Gardens, make sure to check out their memorable Garden of Glass Exhibit.

Other things you can visit in Dow Gardens include their gift shop, where you can get nature-related memorabilia, and their Canopy Walk, wherein you can get an elevated view of the plants that grow in the garden.

If you want to get some photos of Midland County flowers and if you are in the area during fall, come visit Dow Gardens.

Vibrant tulips at Dow Gardens

Craig Sterken /

Experience the Canopy at the Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens

The Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens is a separate park adjacent to Dow Gardens.

You can check out this place at Eastman Avenue.

The park was opened in 2004.

The Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens is famous for having the longest canopy walk in the United States, with the entirety of the canopy measured at 1,400 feet long and elevated 40 feet above ground level.

Guests can enjoy the meadows and the vast trees that fill the whiting forest.

Within the park grounds, you can find suspended nets in the trees where you can lounge around.

There is a cafe inside the park where you can get food and refreshments while your kids enjoy the playground.

There is also a water feature where kids can cool off and play with rubber ducks.

Other points of interest in the park include an apple orchard and meadows where you can take a walk.

Head to the Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens if you want to check out their canopy walk.

Make Your Kids’ Day at Plymouth Park

Plymouth Park is one of the many parks you can visit during your stay in Midland County.

Plymouth park is located along Wheeler Street.

A notable feature of this park is its various play areas for children of different ages.

There are fences that separate the play area for toddlers and the playground for older children.

The park features a spacious wooden play area for children.

There are picnic facilities and pavilions for rent if you need a place to have a meal.

Come to Plymouth Park, where kids of all ages can find something to enjoy.

Watch a Show at the Midland Center for the Arts

Exterior of Midland Center for the Arts

Jake Novak, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

The Midland Center for the Arts is the spot most often reserved for concerts and theater shows in Midland County.

You can visit the Midland Center for the Arts at St. Andrews Road.

This location is known for its theater, which hosts various music events and drama shows in the area.

Aside from its spacious theater, the Midland Center for the Arts also has a bunch of exhibits on display.

Their exhibits include materials on history, science, and the arts.

Kids in particular enjoy the dinosaur collection that the center has on display.

Check out if the Midland Center for the Arts has any shows or concerts that will interest you during your stay.

Appreciate the Great Outdoors at Chippewa Nature Center

The Chippewa Nature Center is a nonprofit animal sanctuary for the wildlife of Midland County.

The nature center is situated along Badour Road.

Chippewa Nature Center comprises over a thousand acres of rivers and forests.

People often come here to take in the beautiful nature vistas and take photos of the various animals living on the grounds.

Go bird watching while you ride the kayaks available for guests to rent.

There are also various interactive learning activities provided for families that visit the nature area.

One example is the Nature Day Camp, where kids learn the importance of nature and how humans can positively and negatively impact its condition.

Other facilities include a mud kitchen area for children and The Homestead, where you can take photos of the farm animals that the nature center takes care of.

Take a walk in their lovely heirloom garden if you want to get immersed in nature.

Visit the Chippewa Nature Center to gain a greater appreciation of the environment.

Go Biking at Stratford Woods Park

Stratford Woods Park is a recreational space in Midland County where you can enjoy water activities and sports.

Stratford Woods Park is located along Ashman Street.

The park is popular due to the beach within the park grounds.

The beach is connected to Kiwassee Lake, a small manmade lake in Midland County.

You can find volleyball nets near the beach if you want to play ball.

Take a quick jog around the park grounds by following the various walking trails.

Another highlight of this park is its BMX track.

Biking enthusiasts will be sure to enjoy this part of Stratford Woods Park.

If you are getting hungry, there are grills that are available for park visitors to use.

If the weather is unfavorable, you can rent the pavilions within the park grounds.

If you love biking and BMX, make a point to include Stratford Woods Park in your plans.

Check Out the Scenic River Views at The Tridge

View of The Tridge at night

John McCormick /

The Tridge is a three-way wooden footbridge built over the Chippewa and Tittabawassee rivers.

The Tridge was completed in 1981.

The footbridge has since become a landmark for the city and a famous tourist spot.

People visit The Tridge to take photos of the scenic river views and to go for walks.

You can rent kayaks in the area if you want to go kayaking in the waters near the footbridge.

Pathway of The Tridge

Craig Sterken /

The rivers are also a nice place to go fishing.

If you have your dog with you, there is a nearby dog park that you can utilize.

A seasonal farmers market is held near the footbridge if you want to try out some local Midland County produce.

Occasionally, outdoor concerts are held here after dusk.

Visit The Tridge to admire the rivers that flow through Midland County.

Aerial view of The Tridge

Tyler Dittenbir /

Learn about Local History at Sanford Centennial Museum

Sanford Centennial Museum is the place to be if you are interested in learning more about the history of Michigan.

You can find the museum along Smith Street.

Sanford Centennial Museum is a great place to take your kids and if you would like to get more information about the locality.

The museum focuses on the rivers that pass through Michigan, which historically have been used to transport wooden logs.

The museum has historic buildings where guests can go inside and look at the various artifacts on display.

Sanford Centennial Museum has recorded accounts of the floods that have historically affected the area.

Learn more about the river overflow in 2020 and the kinds of equipment and stumps extracted during the aftermath.

Make space in your itinerary for Sanford Centennial Museum to learn more about Michigan and the significance of rivers to its logging industry.

Practice Some Disc Golf at Sanford Lake Park

Sanford Lake Park is another outdoor park you can check out in Michigan if you are looking for a place with beach access.

You can come to visit Sanford Lake Park along Irish Street.

The park is known for its beach access.

This is where you can enjoy recreational activities such as boating, swimming, and beach volleyball.

If you need to quench your thirst, make your way to their concession stands to get your fill of refreshments and snacks.

If you plan on having a nice barbecue with your family, grills are available for public use.

If you are an avid disc golf player, Sanford Lake Park has a full disc golf course you can utilize.

Make a trip to Sanford Lake Park if you want a park with beach access and a disc golf course.

Learn More about Flowers at Dahlia Hill

Dahlias in full bloom at Dahlia Hill

In His Image /

Dahlia Hill is a protected garden space in Midland County.

Dahlia Hill can be found on Orchard Drive.

Atop the hill, guests can explore over 1.4 acres of terraced gardens.

Vibrant dahlias at Dahlia Hill

In His Image /

The park is famous for its large selection of dahlia plants.

The park grows over 3,000 dahlia plants every year.

Dahlia Hill is an ideal area to go for a stroll and to grab some memorable pictures of your visit to Midland County.

Take pictures of the wide varieties of flowers and plants that Dahlia Hill has on display.

White dahlias at Dahlia Hill

In His Image /

Once you finish circling the park, make sure to stop by their museum to learn more about all the different kinds of flowers and plants that you were able to see.

To support the park, purchase some merchandise and souvenirs from their store.

Head over to Dahlia Hill if you are interested in learning and taking photos of various types of flowers.

Bright dahlia at Dahlia Hill

Emily Swierzbin /

Play a Game of Hockey at Emerson Park

Emerson Park is a park in Midland County that features various sporting facilities for visitors.

Emerson Park is located along Main Street.

The park is equipped with a softball stadium and baseball fields.

There are volleyball nets set up for guests to use near the river.

This park is best known for its inline skating rink, which doubles as a hockey rink.

Other notable features of the park include the various walking trails, designated picnic areas, and several playgrounds for children to discover.

Park guests can try out the horseshoe pits in the park, although you will need to bring your own horseshoes to throw.

Visit Emerson park if you want to go ice skating or if you want to play some hockey games.

Experience Winter Sports at Midland City Forest Park

Midland City Forest Park is the premier destination in Midland County for winter sports.

The park is situated along Monroe Road.

The park is famous for its various winter sporting facilities and equipment.

You can rent out skis, ice skates, and sleds to use within the park.

Their sledding hill is a favorite for kids to slide down using the toboggans for rent.

Grab some snacks and hot drinks in the concession stands within the park grounds.

If you need a warm place to hang out, there is a chalet with wood tables and benches for you to lounge in.

If you aren’t into winter spots, Midland City Forest Park is a great place to go for walks due to the trails that circle the park grounds.

You may also opt to explore the trails by biking.

Visit Midland City Forest Park to get the best cross country skiing experience in Midland County.

Challenge Yourself at the Pere Marquette Rail Trail

Daytime view of the Pere Marquette Rail Trail

O. David Redwine, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Pere Marquette Rail Trail is a rail trail in Midland County located along a repurposed railroad along the Pere Marquette and Flint lines.

You can visit the Pere Marquette Rail Trail near Sanford.

This place is famous for its paved trail that stretches for over 30 miles.

On this trail, visitors can go jogging while enjoying the scenic views.

A more popular option is to complete the entire trail via biking,

Visit the Pere Marquette Rail Trail if you want to challenge your biking stamina.

Go Horseback Riding at Pine Haven Recreational Area

Pine Haven Recreational Area is one of the many outdoor parks located within Midland County.

You can visit Pine Haven Recreational Area at Maynard Road.

The park is best known for being a great place for hiking due to its walking trails.

Pine Haven is also a great alternative if you are looking for a place to go cross-country skiing in Midland County.

If you would like to explore the park on horseback, check out the equestrian trails within the park grounds.

If you are looking for a place to go horseback riding in Midland County, make a stop at Pine Haven Recreational Area.

Catch the Fireworks Show at Chippewassee Park

Chippewassee Park is a park in Midland County where guests can take in the natural beauty of Michigan.

You can find Chippewassee Park along Golfside Drive.

The park is famous for holding the yearly fourth-of-July fireworks for Midland County.

In terms of amenities, park visitors with children can take them to the several play areas on the grounds.

Chippewassee Park is great for families because of their clean and spacious picnic areas.

Pavilions are available for rent if you require shelter from the weather.

Explore the great outdoors on their walking trails that branch out from the park entrance.

If you are in Midland County during the fourth of July, stop by Chippewassee Park to witness the fireworks show.

Final Thoughts

Next time you have time off work, come and explore the many places Midland County has to offer.

Immerse yourself in the great American outdoors in the numerous parks within Midland county.

Explore these parks on foot, on your bike, or even on horseback.

Admire nature while you stroll along the trails lined with beautiful flowers on Dahlia Hill.

Check out the longest canopy walk in America at the Chippewa Nature Center.

Get into winter sports like cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and hockey at Emerson Park and Midland City Forest Park.

If any of the abovementioned things caught your eye, Midland County, Michigan, might just be the place for you.

When planning your next trip, check out this list of the 15 best things to do in Midland County, Michigan.

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