Royal Oak Explore Local With RVshare

Why We Love Travel

Suggest a Local Tip

From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.

Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.

Benefits of Traveling Locally

While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:


More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.


Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.


Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.


Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.


More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.

Explore Local: Royal Oak, Michigan

With its trendy shopping and dining areas, multiplicity of parks and green spaces, and friendly folks, Royal Oak, Michigan is so much more than a suburb of Detroit. If you’re looking for the top things to do, see, and explore in Royal Oak, read on — because we’ve got ‘em covered for you!

*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.

Parks in Royal Oak, Michigan

Folks in Royal Oak are lucky to be so close to some incredible natural spaces! Here are some state and national parks to add to your itinerary in the Royal Oak, MI vicinity.

Bald Mountain State Recreation Area

Boasting some of the steepest hills and most rugged terrain in all of southeastern Michigan, Bald Mountain State Recreation Area is a must-visit for those looking for intense day hikes and backcountry camping opportunities. Encompassing more than 4,600 square miles, this stunning wilderness is only a half hour’s drive from downtown Royal Oak.

Island Lake Recreation Area

Another sprawling countryside located within an easy drive of all the urban fun southeastern Michigan has to offer, Island Lake Recreation Area consists of approximately 4,000 acres of landscapes that will leave you thinking you magically teleported to the UP. Nestled along the Huron River, this recreation area is connected to Kensington Metropark by bike trail.

Maybury State Park

Beautifully wooded and featuring gently rolling hills, Maybury State Park is open to those who wish to explore on foot as well as by bicycle, horseback, or cross-country skis in the winter. Located in neighboring Northville Township, this park is only 20 miles or so from Royal Oak and can be reached in just a 30-minute drive.

Proud Lake State Recreation Area

Another preserved green space located along the Huron River, Proud Lake State Recreation Area offers over 20 miles of trails popular amongst hikers and equestrians, as well as ample waterfront for fishing, swimming, and boating. Campgrounds and camper cabins are available, and guided interpretive events are offered year-round by park rangers.

William C. Sterling State Park

Well-known for its status as the only Michigan state park lying along Lake Erie’s mighty shores, William C. Sterling State Park includes over 1,300 acres of countryside and a full mile of sandy beach, making it a great spot for hikers and bikers as well as those looking to sun, swim, or boat. Lakefront camping is also available, and lucky anglers will be able to reel in their own dinners of walleye, which run rampant in the waters.

William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor

Small but mighty, William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor encompasses just over 30 acres in the heart of Detroit, where it offers a strollable waterside to visitors along with picnic shelters, a 52-slip harbor and more. The park is convenient to many downtown Detroit attractions and makes for a great spot to rest and relax during a day trip into town.

Bald Mountain State Recreation Area

Hiking in Royal Oak, Michigan

Although Royal Oak is close to major urban centers, it’s also not far away at all from some excellent outdoor recreation opportunities. Here are some of the best hiking trails near Royal Oak, MI for folks looking to get familiar with the area on their own two feet.

Tenhave Woods Nature Trail

Running less than a full mile in length, Tenhave Woods Nature Trail is aptly situated in Quickstad park, and provides a quick and easy option for folks in Royal Oak looking to get outside in a flash. Short and flat, this trail is perfect for an amiable stroll or a quick jog, and is also a good spot for birdwatchers. 

Clinton River Park Loop

Running just about six miles and seeing less than 100 feet in elevation gain, the Clinton River Park Loop is easy enough to be doable but challenging enough to count as a workout… and one that will leave a smile on your face. Wind your way through lush green woods (or a winter wonderland, depending on when you go) and along a riverside, admiring the beautiful flora that lines the path along the way.

Back Nine Loop

At just over five miles and almost 500 feet of elevation gain, the Back Nine Loop is a solidly moderate hike, and the perfect opportunity for a beginner looking to get in better shape and unlock more challenging hikes in the future. Tucked inside Stony Creek Metropolitan Park and featuring a lovely lakeside, this is a great natural getaway right in the midst of the urban wilderness.

West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve Trail

The West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve Trail runs just over two miles and sees about 150 feet in elevation gain, making it an easy-to-moderate hike that’s achievable for most adventurers. The trail features beautiful wooden boardwalk areas and runs through an area inhabited by deer and other wildlife, so it’s a great option if you’re hoping to make some furry, feathered, or four-legged friends. (Just be sure to keep your distance!)

Highland A-B-C-D MTB Loop

This trail may look like alphabet soup on paper, but once you get out in the woods, you’ll find a beautiful and rewarding trek through classic Mighican woods, including an excellent opportunity for wildlife spotting. Running about eight miles altogether and seeing over 700 feet of elevation gain, Highland A-B-C-D MTB Loop is considered a hard hike, and is also popular amongst mountain bikers — so be sure to leave plenty of room for them to get by!

Restaurants in Royal Oak, Michigan

In need of a bite to eat? Royal Oak offers a wide range of cuisines served by an array of wonderful restaurants. From Italian to Mexican to Indian and everything in between, here are some of the very best restaurants in Royal Oak.

Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina

Looking for fine Italian dining — and the kind of pizza you won’t soon forget? Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina serves up literally dozens of authentic, Neapolitan pizza options, including an array of white pies as well as pastas, salads, small plates and more. Almost anything on the menu can be made gluten free and vegan, and there’s even a nutella pizza on offer for dessert. Seriously: how can you not go?

Mesa Tacos & Tequila

Offering all of your favorite Mexican dishes and a range of delicious tequilas to boot, Mesa Tacos & Tequila is a favorite amongst Royal Oak locals looking for something authentic, rich, and spicy. Offering a week-nightly happy hour and brunch specials, this is a great place to eat and make merry just about anytime.

Jolly Pumpkin

A warm and welcoming taphouse, Jolly Pumpkin is known for its vegan-friendly sour beers as well as its lengthy menu of innovative pub eats, many of which are also fit for vegetarians and plant-based eaters. One favorite both carnivores and their meatless friends can agree on is the falafel burger, which is topped with garlic aioli and served on a toasted challah roll.

Redcoat Tavern

This place serves up what are widely regarded to be the best burgers not only in Royal Oak, but in all of the Detroit metro — which is to say, you’ve gotta get there. British-American (as its name implies) and a community favorite for years, we highly recommend Redcoat Tavern and its whole array of sandwiches and sides.

Localeur Insider Tip

Clare Perreault

Ronin Sushi

Ronin is one of the longest surviving restaurants in Royal Oak, which says a lot about its ability to consistently deliver good service and food in a dimly lit, lounge-y atmosphere. This is a fun place to take a date because sushi is always a conversation starter, and also because they have awesome craft cocktails and you can get cozy if seated on one of the leather couches. Ronin has some of the best sushi in the area, with the chefs on display amid the open-kitchen layout. Love this place!

Ale Mary’s Beer Hall

If you want a casual dinner setting, Ale Mary’s is a fun bar and restaurant with a great assortment of beers on tap: It’s not super trendy, but it’s not a dive. The bartenders are really great about helping explain all the beer and get you something that you like, and the food is comfort-American with entrees like mac and cheese, fried pickles, and burgers. They also have some delicious unexpected items like Asian sesame wings and spiced butternut squash soup.

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Activities in Royal Oak, Michigan

Eating and enjoying the great outdoors are just the beginning when it comes to exploring Royal Oak. Here are some more of our favorite things to do in town this weekend — or whenever.

For Kids and Families

Royal Oak is a fantastic place to raise a family, and there are many great family-friendly activities to choose from that delight visitors of all ages. Here are just a few options.

Detroit Zoo

Home to more than 2,000 animals representing 230 species of mammal, amphibian, bird and reptile, the Detroit Zoo is a well-known haven for animals and animal lovers alike… and the perfect place to spend an afternoon with the fam. Tickets are reasonably priced, but you can save even more by booking yours online ahead of time. Discounts are available for kids and seniors!

John Lindell Ice Arena

While there’s certainly no shortage of outdoor ice skating opportunities in this area come winter, sometimes, you want to hit the ice even under the hot rays of summer sun. Good thing the John Lindell Ice Arena offers public skating sessions for just $5 ($3 for seniors and skaters aged 5 and under), as well as learn-to-skate classes as well as sessions specifically for preschoolers.

At Night

We’ve covered lots of great things to do in Royal Oak during the daytime — but don’t worry, there’s plenty to get into at night, too! Whether you’re looking for things for couples to do in Royal Oak or just headed out on a solo nighttime adventure, here are some of our top options in town after dark.

Luxury Lanes and Lounge

Multiple lanes are just the start at Luxury Lanes and Lounge, which also offers a full bar, delicious casual dining, and a generally festive atmosphere. Birthday parties for both adults and children can be organized, as can company outings and other special events.

Drag Queen Bingo

Cocktails, comedy, and the chance to win big — that’s what you’ll find (along with a heck of a great time) at Drag Queen Bingo. Along with premium top shelf spirits and a short list of beer and wine, this place also serves “adult” smoothies and milkshakes, turning your drink into a dessert, and a small selection of snacks such as wings, cheese sticks, and french fries.

Cheap Things to Do in Royal Oak

It’s true: you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg (or much of anything) to enjoy yourself in Royal Oak. Here are a few low-cost options to consider.

The Rust Belt Market

Voted the best place to buy original artworks and local crafts in the entire Detroit metro, The Rust Belt Market is a sprawling marketplace that takes place on Saturdays and Sundays where local artisans gather to sell their wares. The space is also home to a full bar and offers rentable locations for large gatherings — and although you’ll probably find something you want to buy, you can definitely meander and window shop without spending a dime!

Landmark Main Art Theatre

Ah, a trip to the movies — great for a date night or family outing, both affordable and accessible, and a classic good time. At Royal Oak’s Landmark Main Art Theatre, new releases as well as indie and foreign films are on the roster, and are screened in a beautiful and intimate environment that feels a lot cozier than what you’d expect at many of the larger, big-box theatres. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Free Things to Do in Royal Oak

Want to get out and explore… but don’t want to get out your wallet? Here are some totally cost-free ways to get more familiar with Royal Oak, MI.

Detroit Institute of Arts

Otherwise known as DIA, the Detroit Institute of Arts offers free admission to residents of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, though those from outside the area will have to pay an affordable fee to gain entrance. Given the breadth and scope of the exhibitions inside, this is a deal at any price, but particularly for those who don’t have to pay a dime!

Local Parks

Along with all the state parks and preserves listed above, the Royal Oak area is also home to quite a few local parks and greenspaces open to explore free of charge, including:

  • Belle Isle Park
  • Grant Park
  • Lawson Park
  • Memorial Park
  • Quickstad Park
  • Starr Jaycee Park
  • Wagner Park

Any of these facilities is an excellent opportunity to amble around, enjoy a picnic, meet a friend or go for a quick run. The choice is yours!

Localeur Insider Tip

Clare Perreault

Main Art Theatre

One of Royal Oak’s little gems is its original movie theater, The Main Art Theatre. This is where you can catch indie films from all the major film festivals and even lesser-known local projects like documentaries and short films. About once a month they do a midnight movie on Friday and Saturday; it’s usually a classic like The Wizard Of Oz, Rocky Horror Picture Show, or a theme night depending on the time of year (think Home Alone the week before Christmas). The midnight movie is a fun little date adventure because you can share in your mutual love (or hate) for whatever is being shown – and who doesn't love to stay up past their bedtime?

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Wellness in Royal Oak, Michigan

Spas in Royal Oak

Taking care of yourself is important — and it sometimes involves enlisting the help of some professionals. Here are the best salons and day spas in Royal Oak, Michigan so you can get your pampering on! 

Pure Life Day Spa

Maybe you’re in need of a good, old-fashioned massage or facial — or maybe you’re looking for something a little bit harder to find, like eyelash extensions, eyelash or brow tinting, waxing, or even reiki. No matter what you’re after, you’ll find your service at Pure Life Day Spa, and it’ll be offered with a smile and a warm demeanor to boot. 

About Face Beauty

A well-done spa service really can be like an about face: transformative, a positive change. (And, of course, it’s all about your face!) However, contrary to its name, About Face Beauty actually offers rejuvenating services for the full body, from hydrating to red light therapy and so much more. Check it out for yourself!

Best Gyms & Yoga Studios

Ready to get sweaty? Staying in shape will help you feel as good as you look, gaining strength, confidence, and energy. Here are the best gyms and yoga studios for those looking to up their game in Royal Oak.

Retrofit Studio

Offering all the equipment, training, and motivation you need to meet your goals, Retrofit Studio is more than just a gym — it’s a community. Members can take advantage of these unique group classes that are specifically designed to help you meet your personal goals, all in a non-intimidating, welcoming atmosphere.

Fitness 19 Royal Oak

One thing’s for certain: if your gym is more convenient to your location and needs, you’re more likely to go — and Fitness 19 Royal Oak wants to offer you that convenience. With a wide array of cardio and strength equipment as well as personal trainers, a kids’ room and more, this is your one-stop shop for getting in shape in a hurry.

Yoga Shelter Royal Oak

Anyone who’s done yoga knows it offers a unique kind of shelter: the shelter you can only seek within yourself. Offering a range of classes suited to a variety of different fitness, ability and interest levels, Yoga Shelter Royal Oak creates a nurturing environment for yogis to find their strength and get centered.

Day Trips near Royal Oak, Michigan

While there’s certainly no reason for you to grow bored in Royal Oak, there are also a plethora of other wonderful areas to explore within an easy day’s drive. Here are some prime spots for day trips and weekend getaways near Royal Oak, MI

Grand Rapids

Known and beloved by those from the Detroit area for its numerous breweries and art galleries, Grand Rapids makes for an easily-accessible day trip as well as a relaxing place to take a long weekend — especially if you add on a quick drive to one of the many smaller neighboring communities the area offers to explore, such as Saugatuck, Douglas, Fennville and Holland. Along with the towns themselves, this area is also chock full of state parks, shorelines, and other preserved natural spaces to explore. Check out our guide, here!

Ann Arbor

Known as a college town and one of the most literary places in the midwest, Ann Arbor also boasts one of the nicest Main Streets in America, teeming with art galleries, boutiques, eateries, bars and more. Interspersed with green spaces, Ann Arbor is close enough to pack a picnic and call it a day, spending some time near sunset meandering amongst its quaint city streets.

As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Royal Oak that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Royal Oak? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.

Grand Rapids

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