All summer long I've been wanting to go to the beach. It's summer! That's what you do! But living on the east side of the state, I can't just run off to Lake Michigan every spare day I have like I used to when I lived in Kalamazoo. (Which makes me very sad.) I only went swimming in a pool once when I went to Kalamazoo to visit friends and family, even though my apartment complex has a very nice pool right next to my building. To be fair, though, I was prevented from swimming for the month of August by my fresh tattoo, Erasmus. (He was quite scaly and needed much time to properly heal.)
Knowing my desire to go to a beach, my boyfriend Greg looked into local beaches for me, and we decided on one at the Kensington Metropark where Greg used to go as a kid. Kensington also has boat rentals and a disc golf course, among other things, so we figured we could easily spend our Labor Day there, Labor Day being the unofficial end of summer in Michigan when most public pools and apparently metropark beaches close for the season.
It only costs $5 to get into a metropark for the day, or $25 for a season pass. In my experience, metroparks are HUGE. I've now been to two, and I've enjoyed my experiences both times. The west side of Michigan does not have such things. There were State parks and a couple county parks growing up, but Kalamazoo's county parks have nothing on Metro Detroit's metroparks. We drove around for a few minutes before we found the swimming beach (as opposed to the boat launch area), where there is also a water park for a modest extra charge.
The restrooms and changing areas are quite nice and clean, though I was a little disappointed the showers were not private. There is also a picnic area, and the beach is quite sandy. After enjoying the water, Greg retrieved our picnic basket from the car and we had a lovely lunch on the beach. (I love that I am dating someone who not only has his own picnic basket, but a complete setup that includes a cutting-board for bread and cheese.)
After lunch, we changed out of our suits and drove across the rode to the disc golf course, which was $2 per person. I've never been to a disc golf course that charges before, but I have also never been to a course like this one. It's called Black Locust, and the first hole starts at the top of a hill. Well, that's where the professional launch is, anyway. The amateurs like me and Greg carefully make our way down the hill to the bottom. It's a hell of a view from the top, though, and it was really tempting to throw my disc from up there, even if it didn't make it very far.
Unfortunately, the course was also extremely busy, and we had to wait after every hole. This was Labor Day, though, so other days would hopefully be less crowded. There are something like 27 holes in all. Greg and I only ended up doing 13 because it was hot, humid, and I was in extreme need of water by that point. (We didn't bring it with us – again.)
After a day of swimming and disc golf, we headed towards home, picking up ice cream along the way, and watched The City of Lost Children (in the original French, of course). All-in-all, I say it was a very successful Labor Day.