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Fall for Michigan State Parks

There’s really nothing better than a perfect fall day or weekend in Michigan. Here are a few ideas to help you plan a day trip or weekend getaway that incorporates Michigan State Parks, trails and other outdoor spaces.

And, while you’re out there, don’t forget to tip your hat to 100 years of state parks. Visit Michigan.gov/StateParks100 to learn a little history, share your photo and story for the memory map and much more.

Fall color mapping – One well-known signature of Michigan’s great outdoors is fall color. As one of the most wooded states in the country, with more than half of its 36 million acres of land forested, Michigan offers plenty of opportunity to enjoy fall foliage. Check out Pure Michigan’s fall travel season map to help you project where and when fall foliage will peak.

Day trips – If you’re looking to head out for the day, there are plenty of day-trip itineraries in Michigan’s 103 state parks. Enjoy picnicking, hiking, biking, geocaching, fishing, horseback riding and so much more.

Geocaching – Geocaching is a fun way to explore some of the state’s most beautiful places, while looking for hidden treasures at the same time. All you have to do is download the geocaching app to your smartphone (or download coordinates to your GPS unit) and then use your phone to navigate to a series of 100 new cleverly hidden caches as part of the Michigan State Parks Centennial GeoTour.

Camping and alternative lodging options – Go fall camping and enjoy cooler temperatures, longer nights and a colorful backdrop. You can also take advantage of alternative lodging options like cabins, yurts and lodges – typically plentiful during the fall season – in Michigan state parks. Visit MiDNRReservations.com to make a reservation.

Trails – Explore hundreds of miles of state trails and experience the changing color and falling leaves as you explore on foot, horseback, mountain bike, canoe or ORV.

Stargazing – For those who prefer stargazing, six state parks feature dark sky preserves that are farther removed from big-city light sources and have limited light pollution. There also are plenty of excellent night-sky viewing opportunities across more than 15,000 square miles in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DarkSky.

Harvest festivals – Campsite decorating, pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, haunted trails and other fall-inspired activities await both campers and day-use visitors in more than 30 state parks that host fall festivals. Although these festival weekends are typically pretty popular, there are still some camping opportunities available. A schedule of remaining state park harvest festivals is available at Michigan.gov/HarvestsAndHaunts.