Summer beyond the backyard

By Kathleen Quandt

Staff Intern

Parks in and around the Rochester Hills area have a lot to offer the public this summer. With activities ranging from hiking and bicycling to baseball and soccer, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the fresh air of the season.

Rochester Hills has 14 parks that total over 900 acres and feature tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields, trails and picnic areas among other things.

Emily Olson, a park attendant at Thelma G. Spencer Park said that the park is frequently visited during the warmer months.

“Before Memorial Day most people are fishing and after Memorial Day there are families with kids here for the beach — people rent boats,” Olson said.

Spencer Park is wooded with many picnic tables and grills on the grass next to the beach with is a volleyball net. The park also has a colorful play area for kids and a beach house.

“There are three miles of trails,” Olson said. “One trail goes around the beach, the other goes into the wooded areas. “The trails are dirt and cedar and are mostly for jogging and walking.”

“The beach isn’t open until Memorial Day, that’s when it gets busy,” Olson said. “But people do come to the beach before it’s open. Almost every weekend we’re busy but holidays are busier.”

Olson also said that most visitors should bring towels, blankets, lunches and food to grill with them.

Spencer Park also has rowboat and paddleboat rentals, a handicap-accessible fishing pier, boat launch and beach, tennis courts, horseshoe pits and multipurpose sports fields. According to, park hours are from 10 a.m. to dusk and is located at 3701 John R Road in Rochester Hills.

Earl E. Borden Park is made up of mostly playing fields with bleachers and picnic tables. This sports complex offers four lit ball fields, five full-size soccer fields (including one lighted World Cup field), four tennis courts, three basketball courts, a seven-station batting cage, two roller-hockey rinks, a playground and 30 acres of wooded wetlands and nature areas.

Borden Park is home of the Festival of the Hills and fireworks, a Fourth of July celebration. According to park hours are from 8 a.m. to dusk and the night game

curfew is 11:30 p.m. and is located at 1400 E. Hamlin in Rochester Hills.

Bloomer Park has several play areas in the grass with picnic tables and grills. The park offers mountain biking, fishing, hiking, nature paths, volleyball and a multipurpose sports field.

The park is the home of the Mike Walden Velodrome, the only velodrome in Michigan. This one-eighth mile bike track is the fastest in the country. Park hours are 8 a.m. to dusk and is located at 45 John R Road in Rochester Hills according to

Addison Oaks County Park is located nine miles north of Rochester in Leonard and has a scenic willow tree lined drive that leads to the park area. This park has two lakes and spring fed ponds.

Jan Pung of the communications marketing office at the Oakland County Parks and Forestry Office said that the park sees a high number of visitors once the heart of summer arrives.

“As soon as the weather is good, Addison definitely gets an uptick in visitors until Memorial Day when people start camping in large numbers,” Pung said.

Activities at Addison Oaks include swimming, boating, picnicking, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and special events including the annual Addison Oaks Mountain Bike and Hand Cycle Challenge.

“I would say that the primary [programs] are the mountain bike races in the spring and fall,” Pung said. “The campground recreation program is entertainment, various types of bands, activities for kids. The big event is the Fourth of July fireworks that draws thousands of people.”

Camping is also available on 174 modern sites with six group-camping areas. Park hours are from 8 a.m. to sunset and located at 1480 West Romeo Road in Leonard according to

Located in Shelby Township, Stoney Creek’s is a long, hilly drive through the woods with several picnic areas off to the sides. There is a trail on the side of the road where people walk, jog and rollerblade.

Rachel East, a receptionist at Stony Creek, said there are a variety of events that people enjoy at the park.

“There’s a lot of family reunions and picnics, company picnics and school groups,” East said.

Amenities at the park include a nature center, a hike/bike trail, beaches surrounding a 500-acre lake, an 18-hole golf course, boat launch facilities and a disc golf course. Park hours from May 1 – Sept. 30 are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Oct. 1 – April 30 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Those who attend the park can pay a $4 fee for a day pass or $20 for an annual sticker according and is located at  to The park is located at 4300 Main Park Road.

Metro Beach is located in Mt. Clemens on Lake St. Clair and features a one-mile shoreline and 1,600-foot boardwalk. This recreational facility is fun for boaters, swimmers and anglers.

“We have a large clientele that bring their boats in,” said Jeff Linn, who is the assistant park superintendent at Metro Beach. “We have a par-three golf course and a lot of picnics also. Right now, just at Metro Beach, we’re at 1.5 million visitors annually.”

The marsh area is a top bird watching site where there are plenty of waterfowl. Park features also include a swimming pool, spray park, marinas, nature center, adventure golf and picnic areas. Park hours are May 1 – Sept. 30 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Oct. 1 – April 30 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. according to and is located at 31300 Metro Parkway.

“We’re open every day of the year, but certainly our most busiest times are April through November,” Linn said.