Known for their rolling landscapes and 52 inland lakes, the Irish Hills – near Jackson, Michigan – draw people from all over the region.
First-time visitors are pleased to discover three inviting outdoor destinations right in the heart of the Irish Hills. Located within just 5 miles of each other, three Michigan state parks – Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve, Hayes State Park and Cambridge Junction Historic State Park – are waiting to be explored. These parks offer experiences and amenities including a farmers market, birding hikes, a historic site, lush natural spaces, and so much more. All that’s missing is you!
Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve
This is Michigan’s newest state park! Defined by its scenic lake, which inspires the serene setting the park is known for, Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve features a popular, 5-mile walking trail, excellent bird watching and gorgeous views that keep photographers coming back.
Hayes State Park
Located on the southern shore of Wamplers Lake, Hayes State Park attracts the most activity of these three destinations. It features a modern campground and is perfect for those who want to swim, boat, fish, hike and picnic. There also are opportunities for geocaching, metal detecting and much more.
Cambridge Junction Historic State Park
A visit to Cambridge Junction Historic State Park feels like a walk back in time. The park is home to Walker Tavern Historic Site, a reconstructed 1840s barn, vintage baseball games, concerts, and a bustling, open-air farmers market every Sunday from Memorial Day through mid-October.
One more reason to explore this three-park destination…
Just 25 miles away, you’ll find Lake Hudson Recreation Area near the Ohio border. Here you’ll find a Designated Dark Sky Preserve, a rustic campground, a no-wake lake, a large swimming area, a boat launch, plenty of trails and a picnic shelter. The park also offers opportunities for hunting and fishing (especially muskie), geocaching, metal detecting and other outdoor recreation fun.