Land or Lakes, Winter or Summer, Outdoor Fun Abounds in Kalamazoo

Mayors' Riverfront Park
Mayors' Riverfront Park

Minnesota may be the land of 10,000 lakes, but Michigan claims the true top honors: more than 11,000 lakes dot the state.

So why does Michigan get the short end of the lake-fame stick? Maybe Minnesota was quick to claim the slogan. Or maybe “Land of 11,000 Lakes” just wouldn’t look as good on a license plate.

Marketing snafu not withstanding, Michigan is the place to head if you’re a water sport connoisseur. In particular, Kalamazoo is a water-lover’s dream come true. The city boasts more than 83 lakes in and around its borders. Between the fishing and the tubing and the dog paddling, you could wile away a lifetime of weekends.

For the land-loving outdoorsy folks, Kalamazoo offers 55 parks that cover nearly 1,300 acres. Residents and visitors can take advantage of walking and hiking trails, playgrounds or one of more than 100 tennis courts throughout the city. Golfers also enjoy the city’s three golf courses.

When the weather turns cooler, there’s always the polar bear club. But if the risk of hypothermia makes you nervous, you could just head for the Echo Valley Winter Sports Park nearby, which offers tobogganing, tubing and ice skating from December through March. The Kal-Haven Trail, which runs 38 miles from Kalamazoo to South Haven, is open to snowmobilers. Hikers and bikers enjoy the trail in the summer, as well.

The city is also home to a number of sports teams including the Michigan K-Wings of the United Hockey League, the men’s and women’s United Soccer League teams and a variety of sports at Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College.

Whether you’re out play or just to watch, Kalamazoo will keep you entertained.

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