The autumn season in Michigan brings many small delights, spectacular views, and a variety of fall fun. As the leaves change their colors to warm hues of a sunset, Michigan residents and travelers alike find themselves enjoying every bit of the landscape. In whatever region you visit, you’ll be sure to find remarkable events, eateries, driving routes, tours, and places to enjoy the splendor of all the fall colors while breathing in the crisp autumn air.
Stunning Fall Colors in Southern West Michigan
One of the best ways to see the fall colors of West Michigan is to experience it from the sky! The Timber Ridge Ski Area chairlift will be open for rides, giving riders a gorgeous view of Gobles and the surrounding landscape. If you’re looking for more adventurous fun at Timber Ridge, head to their Timber Fall Crawl event on October 13th for Jeeps and other vehicles that like to off-road. There are multiple trails for all abilities. Afterward, wind down with your family and friends at the bar with food and drinks!
The Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings is offering plenty of educational and fun-filled experiences for you this fall. Year-round they host exciting activities and learning experiences, including everything from establishing a backyard wildlife habitat to nature hikes. On October 14th, visit the institute for a delicious meal and learning program for brunch. From the dining room, you’ll see all the wonderful autumn colors in nature, especially if you take a small walk through nature. Visit their website to RSVP for the event!
The River Country Tourism Council is hosting the Three Rivers Area Fall Color Tour, a scenic, fun-filled drive with a wide variety of destinations and activities along the way. On October 14th, witness all the magical autumn colors while hiking and walking through great parks, sanctuaries, and preserves. Along this drive, you’ll be able to experience tons of family fun at any one of the 13 stops, from hayrides to campfires. Enjoy all the festivities including live music, wines, local food, and games.
One of the best ways to witness the fall foliage is driving along the rural roads of Michigan’s southwestern region. During the weekend-long event Arts and Eats, take a self-driving tour to discover Allegan, Hastings, Van Buren, and other surrounding counties. Beginning Saturday, October 20th, over 60 West Michigan artist studios and galleries are participating in the exciting 8th Annual Arts and Eats. While visiting, be sure to make a pit-stop at one of the many locally owned restaurants, wineries, farms, and markets for great food and fun!
Another way to enjoy the autumn colors of the City of Hastings is along some of Barry County’s most scenic gravel roads and trails during the Founder’s Fall Fondo. This is a fantastic family event where all ages and abilities can experience the 22, 36, or 62-mile courses which was also used for spring’s Barry-Roubaix Killer Gravel Road race. During the Founder’s Fall Fondo event, you can explore all the southwestern rural region has to offer.
Fennville’s most iconic farm-to-table restaurant and bar, Salt of the Earth, is the perfect way to wind down after a long day of seeing the fall colors ablaze through the Allegan Woods. Enjoy in-house concerts every Sunday at 6 PM.
In the heart of Berrien Springs, Lemon Creek Winery should be on your list of destinations this fall. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the fall colors with the surrounding landscapes and their beautiful vineyard. You’ll be able to enjoy a glass (or a bottle) of one of Michigan’s delightful wines outside. The incredible aromas of grapes and autumn are the perfect pairing. For more activities, take a stroll in their orchard and don’t forget to pick some fresh apples.
In the Saugatuck area, you’ll be able to see the all the fall colors as a true Michigander. There is something for everyone here, whether you enjoy hiking, driving, boating, or biking. The Star of Saugatuck is a riverboat that offers rides along the Kalamazoo River into Lake Michigan. If you’d like to fully immerse yourself in the fall fun, try hiking through the 13 miles of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park or take a refreshing bike ride along Blue Star Highway.
Anywhere you look, you’ll find all the wonderful fall colors Michigan has to offer. After a long day in Saugatuck, rest up and relax with Lakeshore Lodging. While you’re in the area, you can experience bountiful apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and all the colors of autumn. It’s the perfect place for a gateway or a staycation.
In South Haven, visit the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum to learn about America’s “Father of Modern Horticulture,” and a pioneer of “New Agrarian” philosophy. Experience a taste of history as you walk through the gorgeous National Historic Site, garden, and park where you’ll see brilliant fall colors. Throughout the year, the museum hosts events that celebrate Bailey’s life and work. Be sure to make this a stop in your fall color travels for a dose of history and fun!
Bell’s Brewery has amazing tours in both Kalamazoo and Comstock locations this fall. Driving along the route between the two, you’ll experience the full bloom of fall foliage. After spending time at the original brewery and Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo, head to the Comstock location to enjoy many of their events going throughout the season!
As a local resident or traveler, enjoy the amazing home to more than 100 lakes, including two chains of lakes, in Coldwater Country. For a unique fall color experience, get out on the water to see the fantastic fall foliage. In Coldwater County, you’ll be able to launch a boat, kayak, or canoe at one of the many public access points. If you’re in town for a brief visit, you can rent a boat from one of the area’s marinas to experience a new perspective of Mother Nature’s magnificent fall color show.
As the fall color tour season begins to emerge, you’re invited to bring the family out to explore the backcountry roads along the Lake Michigan shoreline stretching throughout Van Buren and Allegan Counties. Nestled along a 30-mile stretch of Michigan’s “Fruit Belt” region lies a collection of orchards, farms, and vineyards known as Lakeshore Harvest Country. The shoreline area is bound to thrill you with its incredible landscape, agricultural presence, and fun places to explore!
Enjoy the fall colors along the banks of the Black River in South Haven aboard the Michigan Maritime Museum’s Lindy Lou cruise as you recapture the golden days from the late 1890s through the 1930s. The Lindy Lou makes daily cruises through October (with permitting weather). Tickets for the guided cruise are $20 per person and include admission to the Michigan Maritime Museum.
Charming Fall Colors in Central West Michigan
The White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau have teamed up, so gather your family and friends to experience the vibrant fall colors during this free, self-guided tour! Every Saturday in October from 10am to 4pm, you’ll have the opportunity to visit stops along the tour to win great prizes, partake in local activities, and enjoy everything the autumn season has to offer. Refreshments will be served at both the Muskegon and Whitehall Depots and kids will receive a free pumpkin that they can decorate on-the-spot. You can pick up a map at either the historic Union Depot in Muskegon or at the White Lake Area Chamber for this great tour.
In the land of the Great Lakes, we have plenty of fun water-activities this fall. The Mecosta County Fall Color Tour is offering self-guided canoe and kayak trips down the historic Muskegon River. On this tour, you’ll be able to see all of nature’s changing foliage. You will be able to see the majestic colors of Mecosta County and embrace the Muskegon River’s “big rapids.”
Right on the cusp between the central and southwestern regions of West Michigan, lies the charming city of Holland. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the season, and one of our favorites is to experience the fall colors as you climb the dunes of Mount Pisgah, a towering dune east of Holland State Park, which is accessible via a boardwalk and stair system. With its apex 157 feet above Lake Michigan, the boardwalk culminates with scenic views of Lake Macatawa, Lake Michigan, and Big Red. This area is surrounded by a heavily wooded area that features vibrant hues of oranges, reds, and yellows. If you prefer to view the fall colors from the comfort of your car, there are a variety of routes within the Holland area to enjoy the scenery, too!
Be sure to visit Kayla Rae Cellars during your time in the small town of Rockford. There, you’ll find a delicious glass of wine or cider in their wine bar and tasting room. Afterward, walk along the White Pine Trail for an incredible view of autumn’s changing colors. If you’re looking for one of Michigan’s many water tours, you can launch your kayak or canoe to paddle the Rogue River. Rockford is home to scenic views of both their dam and charming downtown.
West Michigan is home to some of the state’s most beautiful farms and agricultural lands. The Lewis Farm and Petting Zoo in New Era is the perfect stop along the beautiful drive between Muskegon and Ludington. Make sure to visit the market for freshly-made apple cider and donuts. Pick up some delicious Michigan apples, or grab a bag of their homemade kettle corn for a road trip snack! If you have the whole day to spend exploring, visit the farm’s corn maze, pumpkin patch, and take a wagon ride to see all the fall colors.
Mt. Pleasant Convention & Visitors Bureau invites you along the banks of the Chippewa River to either take a leisure kayak or canoe tour. Along the shoreline, you’ll be able to experience the area’s incredible fall foliage. Spend the day exploring over 1,000 acres of the city and Isabella County parks. This area is filled with opportunities to unplug from the hustle and bustle of life and embrace the tranquility of the outdoors.
Explore the autumn foliage in the city of Ludington by car or foot, then head up M-22 or along US-10 as you continue your fall color tour. When you’re in need of rest from all your adventure, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Ludington can be your base as you explore all of West Michigan’s fall beauty.
In the heart of mid-Michigan, take a leisurely cruise on the Michigan Princess Riverboat this October. They operate small hour-and-a-half long lunch trips (almost) every day. Along the shores of the great Grand River, cruise a very scenic stretch of the amazing fall colors just west of Lansing.
Enchanting Fall Colors in Northern West Michigan
High atop Schuss Mountain is a spectacular view of Mother Nature’s annual color show. Throughout the fall season, you can experience amazing colors in Bellaire from Shanty Creek Resort’s purple chairlift. The scenic chairlift rides operate on October 6th, 13th, and 20th. Discover the charm and beauty of Northern Michigan from above with rides starting at $5 per person, which includes freshly-made cider and donuts while enjoying the views from Schuss Mountain.
In the northern part of Michigan, ride the Crystal Clipper chairlift at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville to view the glorious fall colors from above. During this ride, you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of three counties! There, you can witness Benzie County transform into a kaleidoscope of color while enjoying the song stylings of John Pomeroy atop the mountain. At Crystal Mountain, there is plenty of fun to go around on the top-of-the-mountain attractions, including live musical entertainment, a family sandbox, snack bar, cash bar, and more. October rides for the chairlift are $7 per person, but ages 8 and under are free with a paying adult on October 12th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 26th, and 27th.
Fall is a relaxing season in northern Michigan as temperatures are comfortable and traffic is light, which makes for the perfect getaway. Inland Seas Education Association is hosting a wonderful autumn tour on Saturday, October 13th from 1pm to 3pm. Michiganders and travelers alike can enjoy the beautiful fall colors from the deck of the 77′ schooner Inland Seas as she sails around Suttons Bay. On this sail, participants may help the crew in raising the sails and steering the ship, or just sit back and relax while taking in the wonder our Great Lakes provide us.
In Walloon Lake, Hotel Walloon is centrally located to some of the best areas to see the beautiful fall foliage. Nearby Tommy’s Walloon will be offering Fall Color Tours right off of Walloon Lake every Friday and Saturday through October 20th. So, grab your friends and enjoy the beautiful lake as it changes through the seasons.
During the weekdays, visit the enchanting Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail for their “Hunt for the Reds of October” event. It’s the perfect stop along your fall color tour; tickets are $10 which includes a signature, souvenir wine glass, a complimentary red wine pour at each winery, and a $5 donation to the American Red Cross.
A crisp Northern Michigan fall day is something to behold. Treetops Resort in Gaylord offers some of the prettiest hardwood forests in the state. Foliage will glow with hues of orange, red, and yellow in the upcoming days of this magical time of year. Starting in late September, Treetops is offering a Countdown to Color opportunity for $126 per couple which includes one-night accommodations, a guided color tour of the Jones Masterpiece golf course, cups of warm hard apple cider, a welcome gift, and a resort-wide coupon book. Fall Color Tours are available for non-guests for $25 per person. So, unwind, de-stress, and breathe in the fresh fall air with your favorite friends, significant other, or family.
In the charming city of Charlevoix, one of the best ways to experience the fall colors is to drive around Lake Charlevoix. The colorful route takes you through both Boyne City and East Jordan. All your autumn dreams will come true after a day of exploring northern Michigan’s countryside. Downtown Charlevoix is the perfect spot for a little local shopping, dinner, and drinks!
Based out of Charlevoix, the Beaver Island Boat Company welcomes you to autumn, island style! Take a wonderful, 32-mile boat ride into mighty Lake Michigan to visit the rustic and secluded Beaver island. Here, you’ll be able to stroll the streets with a cup of cider, say hello to the friendly locals, and learn why island life is so unique. The boat ride will surely be breathtaking while you dock in Paradise Bay with all the vibrant, warm fall colors and lighthouses in the distance. Escape to America’s Emerald Isle and discover the beauty of fall in Northern Michigan.
Northern Michigan is the perfect place to relax and enjoy all of autumn’s splendor. Visit WaterFire Vineyards in Kewadin for a spectacular view of fall foliage. Here, you’ll find the treasures of northern Michigan while drinking a glass (or bottle) for a great wine tasting experience.
This fall, enjoy all the splendors of Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay. In northern Michigan, fall colors tour opportunities are bountiful and beautiful. They offer unparalleled packages at the luxurious inn, providing exceptional experiences on the family-owned 160-acre estate. You will find a little something for everyone at Black Star Farms, from their winery and tasting room to their café, equestrian facility, and many indoor/outdoor activities.
Fall in love with Sault Ste. Marie in the amazing Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP) this autumn. Off the beaten path, there are many historic and nature-filled places to see while driving through the EUP. Among some of the most marvelous fall colors, you’ll be able to travel to Tahquamenon Falls on the Curly Lewis Highway. The tall trees line the road as if you’re in a tunnel of beautiful autumn foliage.
In the lower peninsula, the northwest part of Michigan is where you’ll find outstanding views of the fall colors in the Petoskey area. In Petoskey, you’ll be able to travel along the famous scenic routes of Northern Michigan, including the Tunnel of Trees drive from Harbor Springs through Good Hart to Cross Village. Other fall activities are in full-swing in Petoskey such as biking, hiking, golfing, and ziplining. You’ll be sure to find something fun for everyone! In mid-October, cities like Boyne City, Bay Harbor, Petoskey, Alanson, and Harbor Springs experience peak colors that set the environment ablaze with oranges, reds, and yellows.
In the greater Petoskey area, you can explore the Bay View Wine Trail for all your fall-fun activities. It is part of the Tip of the Mitt American Viticultural Area (AVA), which has over 2,760 square miles to experience the fall colors of Michigan. Here, you’ll find the home of ten wineries that feature unbelievable views of the surrounding landscape.
In Thompsonville, the Crystal Adventures Lodging and Rentals is offering amazing lodging rates and tours from now until autumn comes to a wintery end. For a little excitement, ride along some Michigan trails on an ATV for a beautiful, fun-filled color tour. You’ll be able to stay and play in northern Michigan’s playground with Crystal Adventures.
For a great in stay in Cadillac, visit Coyote Crossing Resort for amazing fall color tours. Nestled on 50 acres and surrounded by the Manistee National Forest, this resort can be your autumn destination with many outdoor activities. During your time here, explore and discover the magic of northern Michigan.
On the historic and charming Mackinac Island, you’ll find the beautiful Island House Hotel. With a variety of packages, you’ll be sure to find something for everyone. It’s one of Michigan’s most unique ways to celebrate fall. After a long day of cycling, walking, and enjoying the shops, you can rest up and relax as you experience all of fall’s colors.
Traverse City has been a beloved destination for Michiganders for years. The amazing fall colors of Michigan are easy to see while driving along M-22 through the Grand Traverse Bay to Northport. Discover charming, little towns like Empire while you’ll experience all of northern Michigan. Be sure to visit the world-famous Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore which Good Morning America called “the most beautiful place in America.” Every fall, the landscape changes miraculously into a stunning vision of warm colors that contrast perfectly against the deep blue of Lake Michigan.
Between the azure arms of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay lies one of Northern Michigan favorite fall color tours. Stretching 19 miles north and only four miles wide at its broadest point, along M-37, is Old Mission Peninsula. The area is home to nine distinct wineries that comprise the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula. Along with wine tasting, enjoy the fall scenery, beautiful beaches, exquisite restaurants, and a historic lighthouse. This fall, discover the beauty of the Old Mission Peninsula and experience its award-winning wineries.
While it is difficult to pick the best spot to see fall colors in northern Michigan, Grass River Natural Area in Bellaire offers a variety of ways to enjoy the vibrancy of the fall color explosion. Take a paddle down Grass River or rent a pontoon boat and observe the colors from the river. If you prefer a more relaxed way of sightseeing, Grass River Natural Area has viewing platforms to enjoy a double dose of color with the mirror reflection on the water. Make sure you take the time to walk the Fern Trail or Rail Trail to experience the bright yellow burst of color of the tamarack trees, a deciduous conifer that loses its needles every fall. No matter how you cut it, there are many ways to experience fall color at Grass River Natural Area.
The contrasting evergreen and hardwood forests of Northeast Michigan are remarkable, well into the late autumn. A place for nature enthusiasts and families, Grayling is a charming city to experience the brilliant fall foliage. With scenic backroads, you can immerse yourself in Michigan’s playground. You’ll find many visitors and locals biking or hiking through Hartwick Pines State Park or canoeing down the world-famous AuSable and Manistee Rivers. The colors are phenomenal to experience along the river while local canoe liveries are open, and the weather is still warm enough to enjoy a pleasant, Michigan afternoon.
As the days grow colder, the colors get warmer in Marquette County. Venture north and choose a fall color driving tour to see all the miraculous colors in full effect. If you’re wanting to partake in more activities, use your time to hike to a waterfall or the top of a scenic vista to enjoy the view. The memories you make in Marquette will last long after the leaves have scattered. With so many opportunities to enjoy autumn colors in Marquette, you’ll never find yourself bored. It is the perfect spot for families, active individuals, and visitors alike!
In one of Michigan’s most famous areas, visit the Mackinac State Historic Parks for a stunning view of Fort Mackinac or take a ferry to the charming island of Mackinac to find the best fudge in the area, restaurants, and shops. For any of the parks, you’ll see Mother Nature’s gorgeous fall colors.
Throughout the Mackinaw City area, acres of woodlands surround scenic trails that are ideal for exploring during the fall color tour season. In the Straits of Mackinac, the area offers some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities in the Midwest, including 600 acres of forested lands in with the Headlands, four miles of trails, and two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, as well as the Wilderness State Park that has 12 miles of designated foot trails. Through these trails, you’ll dive deep into Mother Nature’s masterpiece. The drastically warm color changes of the evergreen and hardwood trees will astonish any visitor. Be sure to visit Mill Creek for shorter trails, and drive along a stretch of the North Country Scenic Trail, which follows the shoreline from Harbor Springs to Mackinaw City for a more tranquil gateway.
The Cheboygan area has more miles of trails than any other county in Michigan. In the fall, the area’s trails turn to beautiful shades of the fall colors. The North Central State Trail, North Eastern State Trail, and the Iron Bell Trail all come right through Cheboygan and intersect at the area’s trailhead. In addition to the trails on land, the waterways connect via rivers and lakes from Lake Huron in Cheboygan to Lake Michigan on the other side of the state.
Throughout West Michigan
Michigan has become well-known for incredible craft beer. The Michigan Brewers Guild proudly represents over 250 craft breweries from around the Great Lakes State. Michiganders love the fall season, so it is the perfect time to visit your favorite brewery and check out the fall colors along the way.
Near West Michigan
Across from Michigan’s beloved Sault Ste. Marie and a short drive over St. Mary’s River, you can experience the Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada. The Art Gallery of Algoma offers a Fall Colour Painting Tour which includes a guided tour of the exhibition and a painting lesson that is inspired by the surrounding fall colors and the Group of Seven style.