While there are plenty of great pool options in and around Ann Arbor, warm temperatures can happen before they open for the summer or after they close. Fortunately, there are several parks and playgrounds that have creeks, rivers, or lakes that can be visited year round. This list includes only locations without a vehicle admission fee. Note: None of these locations have lifeguards. Use your own judgement and properly supervise your kids.
The Argo Cascades offer kayaking and tubing as the Huron River bypasses the Argo Dam. The canoe livery is typically open late April to early October, but you can always bring your own tube, kayak, or canoe. Even if you don’t plan to tube or kayak, there are shallow pools near the rock jetties that are perfect for splashing.
Plymouth Parkway Park
A small creek runs through Plymouth Parkway Park and there is a great section for wading near the playground. Check out our Playground Profile for more information on the playground.
Mill Pond Park in Saline
Saline’s Mill Pond Park is right on Mill Pond. However I recommend the small creek for wading and splashing on hot days. Since it is separate from the main river, you don’t have to be as worried about your kids wandering out too far especially if they are young.
Ann Arbor’s Island Park is on the Huron River. There are shallow areas with slow moving water that are perfect for kids to wade with supervision.
The new Centennial Playground at Gallup Park has a small water feature and is also right on a slow moving section of the Huron River. However, it is not the best section for wading.
Parker Mill Park
I have not been to Parker Mill Park in years. But, one of our readers has suggested it as a good place for splashing. Parker Mill Park is a county park east of 23 along the Huron River. Explore their trails, fishing opportunities, and find places to splash. Their grist mill is also open for public tours on select fall Sundays.
What parks do you like to head to for some splashing on hot days? Some of the Metro Parks and Independence Lake have wading/swimming areas. However, these have a vehicle admission fee (either annual or daily).