Best Places to Visit Lake Michigan Guide for 2023

oval beach saugatuck lake michigan

The Best Places to Visit Lake Michigan Have Unique Attractions and Appeal

When it comes to touring Lake Michigan, one of the largest freshwater bodies of water in the Western Hemisphere, you’ll find an array of remarkable spots that will certainly entrance you. Lake Michigan is home to attractions in the lower peninsula like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and charming beach towns like Holland and Grand Haven. The best places to visit Lake Michigan can boast something for everyone along the scenic shoreline.

To help you decide which of these idyllic destinations along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan suits you best, I’ll briefly cover the unique attractions each location has to offer. Enjoy the beach life at Traverse City’s beautiful beaches, experience sun-soaked relaxation at Ludington State Park, or plan for solitude amidst natural surroundings in the Upper Peninsula. Your Lake Michigan vacation can be as unique as you are!

Enthusiasts looking for outdoor adventures will find Silver Lake Sand Dunes particularly appealing, with breathtaking views across Lake Michigan at the crest of the 450 foot high summit. Or ride the roller coasters or bumper boats at a nearby adventure amusement and water park for family fun!

Importantly, I’ve included wheelchair accessible locations at several beaches around Grand Traverse Bay, ensuring an inclusive travel guide for all visitors seeking the best places to visit Lake Michigan in every season. As a native to the state, I can assure you Michigan has something to draw just about anyone in.

best places to visit lake michigan
Image by WOKANDAPIX from Pixabay

Closer to Chicago lie New Buffalo, Saugatuck, and Holland offering cultural immersion in their downtown areas as well as wine-tasting experiences at local wineries. Whether you’re soaking up culture in museums or unwinding at local wineries, these Michigan gems near Chicago have something for everyone. Don’t miss your opportunity to escape and explore all the Lake Michigan beaches offer!

Note: The high season for visitors to the coast of Lake Michigan occurs between Memorial Day through Labor Day. Many Lake Michigan beaches and attractions will be crowded with throngs of visitors. Plan your summer vacation accordingly!

Table of Contents

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Warren Dunes State Park

For those seeking a summertime escape, this Lake Michigan state park offers an array of activities centering on its sandy shoreline and impressive dunes. Six miles of hiking trails round out the offerings that attract over one million visitors each year.

Camping at Warren Dunes State Park

The combination of towering sand dunes and 3 miles of sandy Lake Michigan beach makes Warren Dunes an ideal spot for camping. There are two camping areas – the Mt. Randall modern/dunes (with electrical at all sites and modern restrooms with showers) and the Hildebrandt semi-modern, which is more rustic (with vault toilets and no electrical service available). There is a concession and camp store at the entrance to Mt. Randall camping area.

Want more information on camping and reservations at Warren Dunes? Click here.

Not a camper? Choose a place to stay and book nearby Warren Dunes with our interactive map:

Check out our complete write-up on great places to stay in the New Buffalo area if you’d like to investigate other places to stay close by.

Saugatuck: The Perfect Getaway Near the City of Chicago

Escape the hustle and bustle of Chicago and head to Saugatuck, one of the most charming Lake Michigan beach towns within a convenient drive of Chicago.Click To Tweet 

Discover Saugatuck’s Downtown Area

Saugatuck is a charming town that offers a lot of attractions for visitors.

oval beach saugatuck lake michigan
tb2bfit, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stroll through Saugatuck’s picturesque waterfront and explore its unique shops, art galleries, and delightful eateries. You won’t be disappointed.

Relaxing at Saugatuck’s Oval Beach

Saugatuck is a charming town that offers a lot of attractions for visitors. Of all the beaches along Lake Michigan, Oval Beach is one of my personal favorites. In Saugatuck’s downtown area you’ll find a variety of art galleries, shops, and restaurants; don’t miss the ice cream!

Finding the perfect rental in Saugatuck

Part of Saugatuck’s charm to visitors is that it offers a wide variety of vacation rentals. You could choose a charming cottage, a rustic cabin, or a family-sized house, depending on your preferences. This is perfect for those who want a more individual vacation experience outside of a traditional hotel.

Use our interactive map to find and book the perfect place to stay:

Exploring the Charming Town of Holland

The town of Holland, nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, is a gem waiting to be discovered. Known for its Dutch heritage, it offers visitors an array of unique attractions and shopping opportunities.

Discover Holland’s Dutch Heritage

Experience Holland’s Dutch heritage through its architecture and attractions like the Windmill Island Gardens. Don’t miss the vibrant farmers market, where you can find fresh produce and handmade crafts.

Discovering Nelis’ Dutch Village

Step back in time with a visit to Nelis’ Dutch Village. This theme park offers a glimpse into 19th-century Netherlands with authentic buildings, traditional crafts, and even a petting zoo.

Check out our post on finding the Best Place to See Tulips in Holland Michigan.

Shopping at the Renowned Holland Bowl Mill

Looking for a unique souvenir or gift? Check out the Holland Bowl Mill, one of America’s last commercial wooden bowl mills. Their beautifully handcrafted bowls are a perfect memento of your trip.

Recreation at Holland State Park

Holland State Park is one of the most beautiful state parks in Michigan. Visitors can bike down the miles of trails, enjoy a game at the volleyball courts, take in scenic views of Lake Michigan, or relax on the beach.

Grand Haven State Park – A Hub for Water-Based Activities

If you’re a fan of activities on the water, then Grand Haven is the place to be. This picturesque town along Lake Michigan’s shoreline offers an array of exciting attractions and landmarks.

Visiting the Grand Haven Musical Fountain

A must-see attraction in Grand Haven is the Grand Haven Musical Fountain. This mesmerizing spectacle combines music, lights, and water choreography into one unforgettable show that enchants visitors every evening during summer months.

Experiencing Nature at Galien River County Park

Beyond its urban charm, Grand Haven also provides opportunities for nature exploration. The Galien River County Park, with its boardwalks winding through wetlands and forests, offers a serene escape from city life. Whether you prefer kayaking down tranquil rivers or simply enjoying scenic views from observation decks, this park has something for everyone.

In addition to these highlights, don’t forget about sailing tours on Lake Michigan or fishing trips off the pier – both popular pastimes among locals and tourists alike.

Check out the best things to do in Grand Haven.

Use our interactive map to find and book a place to stay in Grand Haven:

Experience Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon

At Pere Marquette Park, you’ll want to check out the Pere Marquette Lighthouse Museum, and the Muskegon Channel with the USS Silversides, a WWII era submarine. Visitors with differing abilities will appreciate an accessible walkway to the beach. This location is popular with kite-boarders and paddlers.

Places to stay in Muskegon:

Silver Lake Sand Dunes for Adventure Enthusiasts

If you’re an adventure enthusiast, the sheer enormity of Silver Lake Sand Dunes are sure to provide adrenaline-pumping vacations.

Breathtaking Geological Attractions of Silver Lake Sand Dunes

The Silver Lake Sand Dunes offer a unique landscape that’s perfect for thrill-seekers. Whether it’s sandboarding down steep dune faces or taking a scenic drive along the shoreline, there are plenty of ways to experience these natural wonders firsthand.

See our write-up on 10 Fun Things to Do in Silver Lake.

Pack your stuff and prepare for an extraordinary excursion. Check out and book places to stay in Silver Lake with our interactive map:

Ludington State Park – A Solitude Seeker’s Paradise

If you’re craving a peaceful escape, look no further than Ludington State Park. Nestled near the historic Big Sable Point Lighthouse, this state park boasts pristine Lake Michigan beaches that offer more tranquility than other popular spots.

Experience a tranquil haven at Ludington State Park, where the picturesque views and calming ambiance make it an ideal spot for anyone seeking peace. Take a peaceful walk along the shoreline, observe avian life, or just take in the stunning scenery. Click To Tweet 

History buffs won’t want to miss a visit to the nearby Big Sable Point Lighthouse. This iconic beacon has been guiding mariners since 1867 and offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from its tower.

But Ludington State Park isn’t just a pretty face. For those seeking an outdoor escape, Ludington State Park offers a variety of activities such as fishing, hiking trails and camping facilities.

Discover great places to stay in Ludington and book with our interactive map:

Traverse City and Its Beautiful Beaches

For a beach retreat, Traverse City is an ideal destination with its picturesque sandy beaches perfect for scaling the dunes at North Beach. This charming town on Lake Michigan’s shoreline is known for its stunning white-sand beaches that are perfect for dune climbing.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes State Park extends beyond North Beach. With over 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and numerous hiking trails, it provides endless opportunities for nature lovers. Whether you prefer bird watching, fishing, or just relaxing by the water, this state park has something to offer everyone.

Dune Climbing at North Beach

North Beach, located within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is one of the top attractions near Traverse City. The park offers an unforgettable experience with its forests, bluffs, lakes, and miles-long sandy beach. Climbing the dunes can be strenuous, but the run back down to the shore is exhilarating!

Check out places to stay in the Traverse City area, and book with our interactive map:

Wheelchair Accessible Locations

If you’re organizing a journey to Michigan and require wheelchair access, Traverse City and other locations within the Michigan State Park system have it all sorted out.

The shoreline of these areas has been designed with wheelchair users in mind, with accessible beach walkways and beach wheelchair rentals ensuring that everyone can experience their beauty regardless of mobility levels.

Some notable accessible locations include Traverse City State Park, where paved trails provide easy access to scenic views of Lake Michigan. Beyond accessibility features, the area boasts an array of attractions, such as wineries, art galleries, and gourmet restaurants, making it an ideal vacation spot for all travelers.

Other accessible beach access locations in the Lake Michigan State Park system are: Grand Haven State Park, Holland State Park, Interlochen State Park, Ludington State Park, Mears State Park, Muskegon State Park, Petoskey State Park, Warren Dunes State Park, and Wilderness State Park.

A Day Out in Manistique

Last but not least is Manistique, one of my favorite small towns situated right on Lake Michigan’s shore offering picturesque views and plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking and bird watching. Escape the clamor of urban life and relish in the serenity of nature in the Upper Peninsula northwest of the Mackinac Bridge.

Manistique is a gateway to one of Michigan’s natural wonders, Kitchi-Iti-Kipi Spring, called the “Mirror of Heaven” because of its crystal clear water in Native American lore. You’ll want to leave the beach for a day to see it!

Close by is the Garden Peninsula, with the historic Fayette Townsite. On the water’s edge of the east shore of Big Bay de Noc, this is the first ghost town I ever visited and one of my favorite historic sites. With thoughtfully laid out historic buildings, it is a great place to get the kids interested in history.

Book your family vacation in or around Manistique using our interactive map:

What makes Lake Michigan a great vacation spot?

Visitors can explore the sandy beaches and picturesque towns all along the coast. They can also visit more than 100 lighthouses, which evoke the extensive maritime history of the Great Lakes. Or, just chill out, one of the most popular activities visitors can do on their summer vacation.

What are the best beach towns to visit on Lake Michigan?

Petoskey, Traverse City, and Saugatuck are among the most popular destinations. Our write-up of top 5 beach towns on Lake Michigan includes: Leland, Bay View (Petoskey, Saugatuck, Manistique, and Charlevoix.

Discovering the charm of Petoskey

Petoskey is a charming town that offers a lot of attractions: art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and a marina. Petoskey also has a beautiful beach that’s perfect for relaxing and swimming.

Find and book a great place to stay in Petoskey:

Exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near Traverse City

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of Lake Michigan’s most popular destinations, with vast sand dunes to climb, several trails of varying difficulty to hike, and cold, crystal-clear water to swim in, if you dare!

Which state parks are a must-visit on Lake Michigan?

Ludington State Park, Warren Dunes State Park, and Holland State Park are among the most popular destinations.

Discovering the beauty of Ludington State Park

Between Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan, Ludington State Park has sand dunes, miles of trails, and a relaxing beach.

Exploring the sand dunes at Warren Dunes State Park

Visitors to Warren Dunes State Park can climb the dunes, hike miles of trails, or swim in Lake Michigan.

What are the best Lake Michigan beaches?

Grand Haven State Park Beach, Silver Lake State Park, and Saugatuck Dunes State Park beach are among the best.

Relaxing at Grand Haven State Park beach

Grand Haven State Park, where the Grand River flows into Lake Michigan, has one of the best beaches in Michigan. Visitors can relax, swim, or take a walk along the pier.

Exploring the sand dunes at Silver Lake State Park

Silver Lake State Park is a great place to climb, hike or explore on an off-road vehicle. The park also has a beautiful swimming beach.

Sunbathing at Saugatuck Dunes State Park beach

Saugatuck Dunes State Park beach is one of the best beaches in Michigan. Visitors can relax on 2.5 miles of sand, swim and sunbathe, or hike 13 miles of trails.

Wineries near Traverse City, the northern Michigan shoreline, and Muskegon’s beaches are among the most popular destinations for Michigan travel other than the ones mentioned above.

Visiting wineries near Traverse City

Traverse City is known for its wineries. Visitors can take a tour of the wineries, sample the local wines, and learn about the winemaking process. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon in Michigan.

See our comprehensive write-ups on wineries you’ll want to visit:

Best Leelanau Peninsula Wineries and Vineyards Guide

Michigan Wineries and Vineyards Guide: Michigan’s Best Wine

Exploring the Northern Michigan shoreline

The northern Michigan shoreline is one of the most beautiful in the country. Visitors can explore the charming towns, take in the natural beauty of the area, or relax on the sandy beaches.

Check out our write-up on Best Northern Michigan Beaches to Visit This Summer

Relaxing at Muskegon’s beaches

Muskegon is a beautiful town that offers a lot of attractions: sandy beaches, unique shopping, and a marina.

Where can I find the best Lake Michigan rentals and campgrounds?

Michigan has many great rental properties and campgrounds along Lake Michigan.

Check out our write-ups on great places to visit in Michigan with recommendations and interactive maps you can use to find places to stay:

13 Best Places to Stay in New Buffalo Michigan

5 Best Small Towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan

Best Northern Michigan Beaches to Visit This Summer

Camping at Ludington State Park or Warren Dunes State Park

Ludington State Park and Warren Dunes State Park are great camping destinations in Michigan for a family getaway along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Campers can pitch a tent or park their RV, and enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan with lots of amenities, including hiking trails, picnic areas, family-friendly beaches and playgrounds.

Hiking at Silver Lake State Park or Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Warren Dunes State Park, Silver Lake State Park, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offer miles of hiking trails that wind through the beautiful sand dunes with great Lake Michigan views.

Which location on Lake Michigan has a 26-mile long beach?

Wilderness State Park near Mackinaw City has 26 miles of pristine, natural shoreline and a wide variety of campsites and cabins.

Discover the Best Fit for Your Interests on the Scenic Shores of Lake Michigan

I have traveled around the world to around 50 countries, and I can attest the Lake Michigan shore is an ideal place to plan a great getaway at one of the most scenic destinations within the largest freshwater system in the world. With gorgeous beaches, magnificent sand dunes, charming towns, and year-round activities for visitors, the best places to visit Lake Michigan will provide a lifetime of memories to savor.

beautiful lake michigan scenery

Best Northern Michigan Beaches to Visit This Summer

northern michigan beaches

There are Michigan Beaches on the Great Lakes to Explore for Everyone!

When it comes to breathtaking beauty and outdoor adventure, Northern Michigan beaches are truly unparalleled. Boasting miles of pristine sandy shores along the Great Lakes, beaches in Michigan offer something for everyone – from family-friendly activities to serene spots for relaxation.

In this blog post, we will uncover the beauty of Northern Michigan’s coastal beaches and explore their many offerings. Discover South Manitou Island’s intriguing shoreline with its shipwreck sites and ghost towns, or embark on an unforgettable journey through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s diverse hiking trails.

For those seeking a more laid-back experience, Stearns Park Beach offers plenty of leisurely activities while Clinch Park Beach provides a vibrant atmosphere at the heart of Traverse City. And if you’re searching for a hidden gem among larger counterparts, Leland’s Vans Beach is sure to impress with its charming picnic spots and awe-inspiring natural beauty.

But there are many beautiful beaches to explore besides those on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Some might argue that the best beaches in Michigan lie on the “sunrise side” of the state along the sandy shores of Lake Huron. We cover fantastic state parks and municipal beaches in the area where you can grab a bite to eat, sunbathe to your heart’s content and even launch a boat.

Still others say that if beach goers want to experience Michigan’s best beaches this summer, they should head to the Upper Peninsula. With miles of shoreline along Lake Superior, the U.P. boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the state. You can while away summer days relaxing in the sand at the beaches we recommend here, too.

Make a beach vacation a priority and dive into our comprehensive guide on Northern Michigan beaches to visit this summer. You’ll uncover the best beach in your perfect destination for an unforgettable coastal getaway on the perfect stretch of sand.

northern michigan beaches

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Discover South Manitou Island’s Stunning Shoreline

Located in the pristine waters of Lake Michigan, South Manitou Island is a must-see destination for beach lovers. With three miles of sandy beaches and unique sand dune formations, this island will leave you breathless. Southern Living Magazine even recognized it as a top beach destination.

Plus, with ten miles of pebble beaches, stunning views of the lake, and miles of hiking trails, this is one of the best places to see Michigan beauty on display.

Explore Shipwreck Sites

The waters surrounding South Manitou Island are home to approximately 50 shipwreck sites dating back centuries. These underwater treasures offer fascinating glimpses into maritime history and provide excellent opportunities for scuba diving enthusiasts or snorkelers looking for adventure beneath the waves. For more information on guided tours and dive charters, check out Manitou Dive Charters.

Visit the Island’s Historic Lighthouse

The historic South Manitou Island Lighthouse is one of the island’s main attractions. Constructed in 1871, this iconic edifice is a reminder of the island’s remarkable maritime legacy. Visitors can climb the tower for stunning panoramic views of Lake Michigan and learn about its fascinating past through guided tours provided by park rangers.

Geoffrey George, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

For nature lovers, South Manitou Island offers lightly traveled hiking routes that wind through old-growth white cedar forests and uncrowded campgrounds perfect for those seeking solitude. Plan your trip to this incredible destination by checking out ferry schedules, camping reservations, and other essential details.

Key Takeaway: 

South Manitou Island in northern Michigan is a top beach destination with three miles of sandy beaches and ten miles of pebble beaches to explore. Visitors can also discover shipwreck sites, ghost towns on wagon tours, and the historic South Manitou Island Lighthouse while enjoying lightly traveled hiking routes through old-growth white cedar forests or relaxing on the sand.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Empire Beach, an Iconic Lake Michigan Beach

Looking for adventure and relaxation? Look no further than Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This northern Michigan gem offers more than just stunning views. You can hike through the forest or climb the famous dunes themselves.

And don’t forget about the nearby pristine shorelines like Empire Beach – perfect for family exploration along beautiful Lake Michigan.

sleeping bear sand dunes northern michigan
Image by JulesKeeper777 from Pixabay

Hit the Trails

With over 100 miles of trails, Sleeping Bear Dunes has something for everyone. From easy walks along boardwalks to challenging hikes up steep sand dune slopes, you’ll find a trail that suits your skill level and interests. Check out popular trails like:

  • Dune Climb Trail: A strenuous but rewarding 3.5-mile round trip hike that takes you to the top of the towering dune formations with stunning views of Lake Michigan.
  • Cottonwood Trail: A moderate 1.4-mile loop through diverse habitats including forests, wetlands, and open dune landscapes.
  • Alligator Hill Trail: An easier 9-mile network of interconnected loops offering panoramic vistas of Glen Lake and Sleeping Bear Bay.

Explore Empire Beach with Your Family

If you’re looking for the perfect beach day, head to Empire Beach. This picturesque shoreline is ideal for families thanks to its shallow waters, sandy beach, and convenient facilities like restrooms, picnic tables, and a playground. The calm waters make it an excellent spot for swimming or wading with young children.

For those interested in water sports, Empire Beach also offers kayak rentals to explore the nearby coastline. If you prefer staying on land, take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline while searching for unique stones like Petoskey stones – Michigan’s state stone – or simply relax on the soft sand while soaking up some sun.

In addition to its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, Empire Beach is located just a short drive from the charming village of Empire. For those looking for a place to stay, the nearby village of Empire provides various shopping, dining and accommodation options. It’s the perfect base for exploring all that Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has to offer.

Key Takeaway: 

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan offers stunning views, towering sand dunes, hiking trails for all skill levels, and nearby beaches like Empire Beach – perfect for family exploration. The calm waters of Empire Beach make it an excellent spot for swimming or wading with young children, and the village of Empire is a great base to explore the area’s natural beauty and recreational opportunities.

Relax at Stearns Park Beach on Lake Michigan

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and unwind at Stearns Park Beach in Ludington, Michigan, an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, or beachcombing.

Things to Do at Stearns Park Beach

  • Sunbathe: Soak up some rays on the sandy shores while reading your favorite book or magazine.
  • Swim: Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Michigan. Don’t forget your sunscreen.
  • Picnic: Enjoy a lunch with family or friends at one of the many picnic tables scattered throughout the park.
  • Play Volleyball or Basketball: Challenge someone to a game on one of the nearby courts.
  • Fish or Boat: Rent a boat from Ludington Harbor or cast a line and try your luck at fishing.

Attractions Near Stearns Park Beach

  • Port of Ludington Maritime Museum – Learn about the rich maritime history of the area and explore interactive exhibits.
  • Big Sable Point Lighthouse – Climb to the top for stunning views of Lake Michigan and surrounding dunes.
  • Downtown Ludington Shopping District – Browse through unique shops, galleries, and boutiques in this charming downtown area.
  • Ludington State Park: Hike miles of trails or rent a canoe to paddle along Hamlin Lake’s scenic shoreline.

Whether you spend your time at Stearns Park Beach or explore the nearby attractions, Northern Michigan’s natural beauty will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Gather your swimsuit and towels, then set off for an extraordinary excursion on the shoreline along Lake Michigan.

Relax and unwind at Stearns Park Beach in Ludington, Michigan. Soak up the sun, swim in Lake Michigan’s crystal-clear waters, or explore nearby attractions. #NorthernMichiganBeaches #TravelTips Click to Tweet

Clinch Park Beach – Traverse City’s Heart

Located in the heart of Traverse City, Clinch Park Beach offers a beautiful and convenient spot for families to enjoy a day by the water. With easy access from various attractions around town, this popular beach provides an excellent opportunity to unwind after exploring all that Traverse City has to offer. Just a short walk away is West End Beach, another family-friendly destination with plenty of space for waterside games and relaxation under sunny skies.

Family-friendly activities at Clinch Park Beach

  • Swimming: The clear waters of Lake Michigan make for perfect swimming conditions during warm summer months. Lifeguards are on duty during peak season, ensuring safety while you splash around.
  • Sandcastle building: Soft sand makes it easy to create impressive sandcastles or dig moats with your little ones.
  • Kayaking and paddleboarding: Rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards from nearby rental shops like The Outfitter Harbor Springs.
  • Picnicking: Pack a lunch and enjoy eating al fresco on one of the many picnic tables scattered throughout the park area surrounding the beach.
  • Volleyball: Bring your own ball or rent one from local vendors – there are several volleyball courts available for public use along the shoreline.

Attractions near Clinch park beach

  • The Great Lakes Children’s Museum provides an immersive, stimulating experience tailored to the interests of young ones aged 1-10.
  • City Opera House: This historic venue hosts various performances and events throughout the year, including concerts, plays, and comedy shows.
  • Traverse City State Park: Just a short drive away from Clinch Park Beach is this beautiful state park offering camping facilities, hiking trails, and even more opportunities for beach fun on Lake Michigan.

With its convenient location in the heart of Traverse City and numerous family-friendly activities available both at the beach itself and in surrounding areas, Clinch Park Beach is an excellent destination for your next northern Michigan getaway. Whether you’re interested in swimming or building sandcastles by the water’s edge or exploring local museums and parks nearby – there’s something here to suit every member of your family.

Key Takeaway: 

Clinch Park Beach in Traverse City is a popular and convenient spot for families to enjoy swimming, sandcastle building, kayaking, paddleboarding, picnicking and volleyball. With its location near various attractions like the Great Lakes Children’s Museum and Traverse City State Park, it offers something for everyone on their northern Michigan getaway.

Leland’s Vans Beach – A Tiny Gem Among Larger Counterparts

Vans Beach is perfect for those looking for something smaller but equally picturesque. This little beach is a popular stop nestled among its larger counterparts. It affords fantastic picnic opportunities coupled with breathtaking Lake Michigan vistas sure to impress any visitor regardless of size preference when choosing their ideal coastal retreat location within northern state lines.

Picnic Spots at Leland’s Vans Beach

One of the best ways to enjoy a day at Leland’s Vans Beach is by packing a delicious picnic and finding the perfect spot along its sandy shores. Relax in the picturesque setting of Lake Michigan’s shoreline while indulging in your picnic. If you’re feeling adventurous, take your lunch on one of the nearby hiking trails that offer even more incredible panoramas.

  • The Sand Dunes: Find a secluded spot among the dunes where you can enjoy your meal while taking in panoramic views.
  • Nearby Picnic Tables: Grab one of the available tables close to parking areas if you prefer convenience over seclusion.
  • Hiking Trails: Take advantage of nearby trails like Whaleback Natural Area or Clay Cliffs Natural Area, which provide unique vantage points overlooking both water and land features.

Breathtaking Views and Natural Beauty of the Beach

The natural beauty surrounding Leland’s Vans Beach makes it an unforgettable destination for anyone visiting Northern Michigan. With its crystal-clear waters reflecting vibrant shades of blue and green, this small yet captivating shoreline provides endless opportunities for exploration and relaxation amidst a picturesque backdrop.

Visitors can take advantage of the following activities to fully immerse themselves in the stunning surroundings:

  1. Sunset Watching: Vans Beach is known for its incredible sunsets, which paint the sky with vibrant colors as they dip below Lake Michigan’s horizon. Be sure to stick around until dusk and witness this breathtaking display of nature’s beauty.
  2. Photography: This beach is great for capturing beautiful images, whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer. From sweeping landscapes to close-ups of unique flora and fauna, there’s no shortage of subjects worth snapping.
  3. Hiking and Exploring: Venture beyond the shoreline by exploring nearby hiking trails that showcase even more natural wonders. Trails like Whaleback Natural Area or Clay Cliffs Natural Area offer diverse terrain and scenic vistas perfect for adventurers looking to connect with nature on a deeper level.

In addition to these activities, Leland’s Vans Beach also provides easy access to other attractions within Northern Michigan, such as charming small towns like Leland itself, historic lighthouses, wineries, and much more. If you’d rather spend the day away from town, head south on M-22 to Good Harbor Bay Beach, a secluded Lake Michigan beach known for spectacular sunsets and aurora hunting.

Key Takeaway: 

Leland’s Vans Beach is a small yet picturesque gem among larger counterparts in Northern Michigan. Visitors can enjoy picnics with breathtaking views, explore nearby hiking trails for panoramic vistas, and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of crystal-clear waters reflecting vibrant shades of blue and green while watching incredible sunsets.

Beaches in Northern Michigan on the Lake Huron Side

Northern Michigan’s Lake Huron beaches offer some of the best scenery, recreational activities, and opportunities for relaxation in the state. From Port Huron to Mackinaw City, there are many beaches to explore, each providing unique charm and attractions.

Cheboygan State Park

One such beach is at the Cheboygan State Park in Cheboygan, Michigan, featuring five miles of beautiful sandy beaches. The bay’s shallow waters warm quickly, making it an excellent swimming beach. The park also offers trails for hiking and biking and a boat launch in Duncan’s Bay for boating and fishing adventures.

Oscoda Beach Park

Not too far from there, Oscoda Beach Park offers another great beach destination. Its appealing environment serves both relaxation-seekers and active vacationers with equal charm.

Hoeft State Park

Next, Hoeft State Park beach in Rogers City offers a sandy spot that spans one mile, perfect for sunbathing and swimming in shallow water. The park is set against a backdrop of rolling dunes and dense woods, creating a picturesque setting for outdoor activities. The park also boasts miles of trails for mountain biking and hiking, playgrounds, volleyball pits, and a trail that connects to the Huron Sunrise Trail.

Lakeside Park in Rogers City

For a more urban beach experience, Lakeside Park in Rogers City provides not only a charming beach but also various recreational facilities. These include two playgrounds, volleyball and basketball courts, and fishing spots. The park also has food and ice cream stands, and during the summer, it often hosts concerts at the bandshell.

Beaches in Alpena

In Alpena, you’ll find Starlite Beach and Mich-E-Ke-Wis Park. Starlite Beach is a long sandy beach popular with families due to its proximity to numerous amenities such as play structures, a picnic area, public restrooms, and a splash park. Mich-E-Ke-Wis Park, just down the road from Starlite Beach, offers more beachside fun and activities.

These are just a few of the best Northern Michigan beaches on Lake Huron, each promising a blend of natural beauty and enjoyable activities for the whole family. From the tranquility of secluded spots to the bustling beach towns brimming with activities, Lake Huron has something for every beachgoer.

Top Beaches on Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula

Northern Michigan beaches on Lake Superior offer an exceptional combination of raw beauty, pristine waters, and diverse natural landscapes, providing a tranquil escape for travelers looking for either adventure or relaxation. Whether you’re an avid rock hunter, a seasoned kayaker, or just in search of a peaceful place to lay your towel and soak up the sun, there are several notable beaches that deserve to be at the top of your must-visit list.

Twelvemile Beach

Twelvemile Beach, as the name suggests, stretches out over twelve miles and provides beautiful ocean-like views with each turn. This secluded and spectacular spot is characterized by its golden dunes, lush green nature, and white sandy beach facing the lake. Recent years have seen improvements in its campground facilities, offering a more comfortable camping experience without losing the wild, untouched feel of the beach area. A plethora of hiking paths nearby make it an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts. Moreover, boating, particularly kayaking, is a popular activity, with several guided tours leading through the amazing Pictured Rocks area.

Sand Point Beach

If you’re searching for something family-friendly and widely renowned, consider Sand Point Beach. Known for its fine golden sand and deep blue lake water, it offers a wide range of activities like swimming, scuba diving, and picnicking. The beach is also wheelchair accessible, making it an inclusive spot for everyone. Do keep in mind that it tends to get crowded in the afternoon due to its popularity, so arriving early might give you a quieter experience.

Sable Falls Beach

For a different, more nature-immersed experience, Sable Falls Beach is a unique choice. This rocky beach is bordered by unspoiled nature, but its main attraction is the stunning Sable Falls that cascade into Lake Superior, offering a truly exceptional sight. A hike to the top leads to a viewpoint that overlooks the falls and lake, and another path leads down to the beach and the famous sand dunes.

Other Lake Superior Beaches

The Lake Superior shoreline also offers several other noteworthy beaches, such as Miners Beach, Chapel Beach, Hurricane River Beach, Lake Superior Overlook Beach, and Sable Beach, within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Many of these beaches offer stunning views, tranquil atmospheres, and opportunities for camping near the beach, making for a perfect lakeside escape.

Remember that Lake Superior’s water temperature doesn’t typically warm up even in summer, often ranging from the upper 50s to the upper 60s[2]. So, while swimming is possible, be prepared for a refreshing, if not chilly, dip.

FAQs in Relation to Northern Michigan Beaches – People Also Ask:

Where to Find the Clearest Water in Michigan?

Escape to Torch Lake in Northern Michigan for a Caribbean-like experience with crystal-clear turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and perfect swimming and boating conditions. Learn more about Torch Lake.

Which Michigan Beach Looks Like the Caribbean?

Escape to Torch Lake in Antrim County, Michigan, for a tropical paradise experience with vibrant turquoise waters and soft white sand on what might be the most famous of all the inland lakes in Michigan.

What Makes Northern Michigan Famous?

Discover the picturesque landscapes of Northern Michigan, including vast forests, pristine lakes, and beautiful beaches along the Great Lakes shoreline. Don’t miss popular attractions like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Mackinac Island, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, as well as charming small towns like Traverse City and Petoskey.

What Are Michigan’s Prettiest Beaches?

Northern Michigan Beaches Offer Something for Everyone

Beaches in Northern Michigan are plentiful and varied, with unique characteristics. If you’re looking for the best fit, the following summarizes what we’ve covered in this post:

Escape the daily grind and explore the shipwreck sites and ghost towns of South Manitou Island’s stunning shoreline.

Experience the natural beauty and family-friendly adventures of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s hiking trails and attractions.

Relax and unwind at Stearns Park Beach while exploring nearby attractions.

Enjoy the many activities and perfect family atmosphere of Traverse City’s Clinch Park Beach.

Take in the breathtaking views and natural beauty of Leland’s Vans Beach.

Swim, boat and fish in the welcoming waters of Cheboygan State Park or Oscoda Beach Park.

In Rogers City, choose from Hoeft State Park or Lakeside Park for a wide variety of activities and amenities.

Alpena boasts two attractive beaches: Starlite Beach is one and Mich-E-Ke-Wis Park is the second.

Take in the ocean-like views at Twelvemile Beach.

Join other revelers and visit one of the most popular beaches on Lake Superior: Sand Point Beach.

Immerse yourself in nature at Sable Falls Beach, one of the best beaches to get away from it all.

Info on Silver Lake – One of the Best Beaches in Michigan

See our write up on 10 Fun Things to Do in Silver Lake – Silver Lake Sand Dunes is another West Michigan destination with great beaches on Lake Michigan.

Discover the Best Beach Towns on Lake Michigan

See our writeup on the 5 Best Small Towns on Lake Michigan.

For more information on Northern Michigan beaches, check out these credible sources: and

Best Leelanau Peninsula Wineries and Vineyards Guide

Leelanau Peninsula Wineries Produce World-Class Wines

Picture yourself strolling through picturesque acres of vineyards in northwest Michigan, glass of wine in hand, as you embark on a journey to discover the hidden gems of Leelanau Peninsula wineries.

In this blog post, we’ll take you on an unforgettable tour of the Leelanau Peninsula wine trail – from Sleeping Bear Loop to Northern Peninsula Loop and Grand Traverse Bay Loop. Along the way, we’ll introduce you to some notable wineries that offer not only exquisite boutique wines but also unique experiences beyond your typical tasting room visit.

We will delve into the fascinating history of Leelanau Peninsula’s wine industry and explore how it has evolved over time. You’ll learn about Bernie Rink’s pioneering efforts in vine and grape cultivation and how the unique climate of this region shares similar characteristics with other renowned wine-producing areas across North America.

Furthermore, we will discuss various grapes grown on the peninsula including European Vinifera Grape varieties, French-American Hybrid Grapes, and Native Variety Grapes – each of these varietals contributing their distinct flavors to create exceptional local wines that are unique to Leelanau Peninsula wineries.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Last but not least, our guide will highlight exciting events and attractions along the wine trail such as Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes or annual festivities like Sips & Soups event or Toast The Season event – ensuring your visit to these incredible Leelanau Peninsula wineries is truly memorable.

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The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail: A Scenic Adventure

Are you ready to embark on a wine lover’s dream?

The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail offers an unforgettable experience, showcasing Michigan’s thriving wine region north of Traverse City and its stunning landscapes.

Let me guide you through the three distinct loops that make up this incredible trail:

Sleeping Bear Loop

This picturesque loop takes you along Lake Michigan’s coastline, offering breathtaking views of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore while visiting award-winning wineries such as Good Harbor Vineyards and Chateau Fontaine.

Northern Peninsula Loop

A true gem for Pinot Noir lovers, this loop features boutique wineries on the Peninsula like Verterra Winery and Brengman Brothers nestled among rolling hills and lush forests.

Grand Traverse Bay Loop

Last but not least, explore Suttons Bay area wineries like Aurora Cellars, French Valley Vineyard, Bel Lago Vineyards, and Leelanau Cellars while soaking in the beauty of Grand Traverse Bay – one of North America’s largest freshwater bays.

Craving some wood-fired pizza with your Cabernet Franc? Many tasting rooms offer delicious food pairings or even outdoor patios overlooking vineyards. The tasting room staff will ensure you have a memorable experience.

Book a guided tour to 4 Leelanau wineries and leave the driving to someone else!

best leelanau wineries

Embark on a wine lover’s dream with the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail in Michigan. Explore award-winning wineries and stunning landscapes. #LeelanauPeninsulaWineTrail #MichiganWinesClick to Tweet

Notable Wineries Along the Trail

Attention, wine lovers. Let’s dive into the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, which boasts a delightful mix of well-established and newer wineries.

Get ready to explore gems like Aurora CellarsBlustone VineyardsGood Harbor Vineyards, and Laurentide Winery. But wait, there’s more. You’ll also find amazing wines at Chateau Fontaine, Verterra Winery, Brengman Brothers French Valley Vineyard, Bel Lago Vineyards, and Leelanau Cellars.


  • Aurora Cellars: Boutique wines crafted with love – don’t miss their estate-grown Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc.
  • Laurentide Winery: Tasting room staff that make you feel right at home as they guide you through your tasting experience.
  • Verterra Winery: An outdoor patio perfect for sipping on a glass while enjoying views of Lake Michigan and North America’s largest freshwater dune system.
  • Leelanau Cellars: Tasting room on the sandy beach of beautiful Omena on West Grand Traverse Bay with spectacular views.
  • Blustone Vineyards: Modern, sleek tasting room that offers panoramic views of the vineyard.
  • Good Harbor Vineyards: Delicious wines crafted from estate-grown grapes – their Good Harbor Fishtown White is a must-try.

These wineries showcase clean, crisp, and balanced flavors due to their cool climate location on the Leelanau Peninsula. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail and its unique offerings.

leelanau wineries grapes
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Plan your visit today and enjoy a wine-tasting adventure in Northern Michigan.

Explore the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail and indulge in boutique wines with stunning views of Lake Michigan. Plan your visit now. #MichiganWineTrail #LeelanauPeninsulaWineriesClick to Tweet

Unique Offerings at Black Star Farms & Shady Lane Cellars

Let’s dive into the extraordinary experiences offered by two standout wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail.

Black Star Farms is a must-visit destination, boasting more than just exquisite wines.

This picturesque estate features a charming bed-and-breakfast-style inn, perfect for an unforgettable getaway. But that’s not all. You can also explore their scenic hiking and biking trails or indulge in equestrian activities at their on-site facility.

Moving along to Shady Lane Cellars, this gem sets itself apart, Shady Lane Cellars is one of only two SIP certified establishments outside California. Their commitment to sustainability in winemaking shines through with 100% estate-grown grapes used in crafting award-winning wines.

A visit to these unique Michigan wineries will leave you with lasting memories of your time spent exploring Michigan’s wine country. Cheers to discovering new favorites while supporting sustainable practices in the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula.

leelanau peninsula wineries
Image by robinsonk26 from Pixabay

Explore Michigan’s wine country on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. Visit Black Star Farms and Shady Lane Cellars for unique experiences and award-winning wines. #MichiganWineCountry #LeelanauPeninsulaWineriesClick to Tweet

Exploring Other Beverage Options in Leelanau County

While the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail is undeniably amazing, let’s not forget to take time to explore other fantastic beverage options within this beautiful region.

Buckle up and get ready for a delicious adventure.


The peninsula boasts several craft breweries offering unique flavors and experiences. One of the best is Hop Lot Brewing Co., located in Suttons Bay. They offer an outdoor beer garden with fire pits and live music during summer months – perfect for enjoying their diverse selection of brews.


If you’re more into ciders than beers, fear not. You’ll find delightful cideries like Tandem Ciders, which specializes in artisanal hard ciders on tap made from locally-grown apples. Their tasting room is housed in a charming red barn – talk about picturesque.


Last but certainly not least, spirits aficionados will also find their haven on the Leelanau Peninsula. Northern Latitudes Distillery, for example, crafts small-batch spirits using local ingredients such as Michigan cherries or maple syrup. Enjoy a glass of their signature Deer Camp Vodka or Manitou Passage Rum.

So, there you have it – the Leelanau Peninsula offers a diverse range of beverage experiences to suit every taste. Don’t forget to explore these delightful breweries, cideries, and distilleries nestled among the picturesque vineyards of this beautiful region.

Explore more than just wine on the Leelanau Peninsula. Discover craft breweries, artisanal cideries and small-batch distilleries. Cheers to a delicious adventure. #LeelanauPeninsula #CraftBreweries #ArtisanCideries #SmallBatchDistilleriesClick to Tweet

leelanau peninsula wineries and vineyards

Award-Winning Wines and Unique Blends

Let’s talk about the hidden gem of Michigan, the Mawby Elm Valley Estate Vineyard.

Established in 1976 by Larry Mawby, this 14-acre vineyard has been producing award-winning estate grown wines for decades.

Fun fact: Elm Valley is known for its clean, crisp flavors in every glass thanks to Leelanau Peninsula’s unique cool climate.

Moving on to another local favorite – Two K Farms.

This innovative winery also produces hard cider alongside their delicious wines.

Their signature creation? The Leelanau Radler – a blend of estate Riesling and heirloom apple juice that will leave your taste buds dancing with delight.

  • Elm Valley Estate Vineyard: Experience award-winning wines from one of Michigan’s oldest vineyards.
  • Two K Farms’ Leelanau Radler: Sip on a unique blend of wine and cider crafted from locally grown ingredients.

Beyond just these two gems, there are countless other wineries along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, each offering an unforgettable experience in beautiful Northern Michigan settings.

“Discover award-winning wines and unique blends at the hidden gems of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula wineries, Elm Valley Estate Vineyard and Two K Farms. #TravelMichigan #WineTrail”Click to Tweet

Wine Events and Entertainment on the Peninsula

Leelanau Peninsula is not just about Leelanau wine; it’s also a hub for events and entertainment.

With over ten year-round wine events, there’s always something happening to keep you entertained.

To make your trip even more memorable, consider attending one of their year-round events like Sips & Soups or Toast to the Season – just check out their events calendar for more information.

But wait, there’s more!

Beyond these fantastic events, many wineries host live music performances throughout the year.

A perfect example is Live from Hilltop at Shady Lane Cellars every Sunday and Thursday during summer evenings – what a better way to unwind?

If outdoor activities are your thing, Rove Estate has got you covered with their tasting room located atop Leelanau County’s highest point.

You’ll find fire pits, dance areas, trail loops – all designed to make your visit memorable while enjoying some of North America’s finest wines in an idyllic setting overlooking Lake Michigan.

“Experience more than just wine at Leelanau Peninsula. Enjoy year-round events, live music performances, and outdoor activities while sipping on North America’s finest wines. #LeelanauPeninsulaWineries #TravelMichigan”Click to Tweet

National Recognition for Leelanau Peninsula Wines

Did you know that the Leelanau Peninsula wine region has been making waves on the national stage?

In both 2018 and 2023, it was nominated by USA Today’s poll, ranking second place behind Finger Lakes and Lodi respectively. This recognition showcases the growing prominence of this must-visit destination among wine enthusiasts and tourists alike.

  • Unique Lake Effect Climate: The Leelanau Peninsula’s cool climate conditions are influenced by its proximity to Lake Michigan, resulting in clean, crisp wines with real varietal character.
  • Award-Winning Wineries: With a diverse selection of wineries offering everything from boutique wines to estate-grown grapes, there is something for everyone along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, including Good Harbor Vineyards.
  • Breathtaking Scenery: Visitors can enjoy stunning landscapes while sipping on their favorite glass of Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc at one of many outdoor patios overlooking vineyards or lake views.

If you haven’t yet experienced the magic that is Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula wineries, now is definitely the time to plan your visit.

Use our interactive map to find and book places to stay:

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready to explore the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula wine trail – a true gem of North America’s wine scene.

“Discover award-winning wineries and breathtaking scenery at Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula wine trail – a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts. #LeelanauPeninsula #WineTrail #TravelMichigan”Click to Tweet

FAQs in Relation to Traverse City and Leelanau Peninsula Wineries

How many wineries are in Leelanau Peninsula?

There are over 25 wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula, each offering unique wines and experiences. The peninsula is divided into three wine loops: Sleeping Bear Loop, Northern Peninsula Loop, and Grand Traverse Bay Loop. You can explore these scenic routes to visit various vineyards and tasting rooms.

What is the oldest winery on the Leelanau Peninsula?

Boskydel Vineyard was the first commercial winery established on the Leelanau Peninsula in 1965 by Bernie Rink. Although Boskydel closed its doors in 2017, it was a driving force in pioneering Michigan’s wine industry.

Who owns Leelanau Winery?

The term “Leelanau Winery” refers to any of the numerous individual wineries located within the region rather than one specific establishment. Each of these establishments has different ownership structures ranging from family-owned businesses like Brengman Brothers Winery, to larger entities such as Black Star Farms.

Why are there so many vineyards in Traverse City?

Traverse City’s location along Lake Michigan provides an ideal climate for grape cultivation due to its moderating effect on temperatures throughout both winter and summer months. Additionally, the Leelanau Peninsula’s latitude is similar to famous wine regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, allowing for successful growth of various grape varieties. This combination of factors has led to thriving Traverse City wineries.


Exploring the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail is an experience not to be missed. This trail has three distinct loops showcasing some of Michigan’s best wineries, making it the perfect way to enjoy the Traverse City Area. Notable wineries like Black Star Farms and MAWBY Sparkling Wine House offer unique wine tastings, while Rove Estate and Leelanau Cellars provide picturesque locations for visitors.

The history of the Leelanau Peninsula wine industry is fascinating. Bernie Rink’s pioneering efforts led to a thriving community of Northern Michigan wineries. Visitors can also enjoy attractions like Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and events such as Sips & Soups along the way.

If you’re looking for a memorable getaway filled with delicious wine and beautiful scenery, make sure to visit Leelanau Peninsula wineries by booking your trip through Meet Me in Michigan.

Click for our comprehensive guide to the best wineries to visit in Michigan.

best leelanau wineries

Michigan Wineries and Vineyards Guide: Michigan’s Best Wine

pouring wine

Michigan Wineries Should Be On Your List

If you’re looking to explore some of the best wineries in the United States, then Michigan wineries should definitely be on your list! With over 140 wineries across the state, Michigan boasts some of the best vineyards and wine regions in the country. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or just looking for a fun and relaxing vacation spot, the Michigan wine industry has something for everyone.

michigan wineries and vineyard
Image by robinsonk26 from Pixabay

Table of Contents

What Makes Michigan Wineries Stand Out?

One of the things that makes Michigan wineries unique is their location. Most of the wineries are located in the beautiful northern part of the state, where vineyards stretch for miles and the views are breathtaking.

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These wineries are often situated in areas with rolling hills that provide the perfect environment for grape growing. Additionally, many of the wineries are located near Lake Michigan, which provides a unique lake effect microclimate that is ideal for grape growing even at the northern latitude along the 45th parallel.

Another thing that sets Michigan wineries apart is the state’s wine trail. Beginning in Traverse City and stretching across the northern part of the state, Michigan’s wine trail is a must-visit for any wine lover. The trail guides visitors through some of the most beautiful vineyards in the area, and allows them to taste a variety of great wine from different wineries.

Northern Michigan’s Wine Trails

The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail is a drive consisting of three loops on the western side of Grand Traverse Bay. The Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail has 10 potential stops, and the Petoskey Region Trail has 14. On the northeastern side by Lake Huron, the Sunrise Side Wine & Hops Trail has half a dozen stops. Visitors can opt to stop at not just one but multiple wineries and spend days if they want to sample the wine varieties that the region offers. Click here for more details.

Beautiful Northern Michigan Vineyards

Northern Michigan has become a destination worth visiting for its acres of vineyards and award-winning wineries. The region is home to a variety of special grape varieties that grow on its rolling hills and overlook Lake Michigan that affect the flavor of each wine giving it distinct taste and aroma.

Traverse City: The Perfect Wine Country Destination

Traverse City has emerged at a top-notch wine tasting travel destination. Apart from the impressive winery choices, this region is favorable for its landscape, classy dining experience, and public beaches in downtown Traverse City.

Top Northern Michigan Wineries You Can’t Miss

When it comes to Michigan’s best wineries, there are a few that you absolutely can’t miss. These wineries consistently receive high praise from wine enthusiasts and critics alike, and offer a variety of wines to satisfy any palate.

Chateau Grand Traverse – A Flying-Themed Winery

Located in the heart of Traverse City, Chateau Grand Traverse is known for producing some of Michigan’s best wines, including their popular Riesling. The winery is also known for its sparkling wines, which are perfect for any special occasion.

Located on the picturesque Old Mission Peninsula, Chateau Grand Traverse is a family-owned winery that offers visitors an unforgettable experience with its aviation theme and diverse wine offerings. Specializing in Rieslings, this estate also produces other grape varieties native to Michigan, ensuring there’s something for every palate.


The Story Behind the Aviation Theme at Chateau Grand Traverse

The flying-themed atmosphere of Chateau Grand Traverse pays homage to the founder’s passion for aviation. Edward O’Keefe Jr., a pilot himself, wanted to incorporate his love for flying into his Old Mission winery. As you explore the tasting room and grounds, you’ll find various aircraft memorabilia and artwork adorning the walls – creating a unique ambiance that sets it apart from other Michigan wineries.

Beyond its exceptional wines and captivating theme, Chateau Grand Traverse hosts numerous events throughout the year designed to enhance your visit further. One such offering is their affordable five-wine flights which allow guests to sample an array of carefully selected wines without breaking the bank:

  • Riesling Flight: Featuring five distinct Rieslings showcasing different styles and vintages.
  • Estate Flight: A well-rounded selection of delicious wine = reds, whites, roses, and sparkling produced on-site using estate-grown grapes.

In addition to these tasting options, there are wine dinners held regularly at their onsite restaurant, The Inn & Restaurant. These events offer a multi-course meal expertly paired with Chateau Grand Traverse wines, providing an unforgettable dining experience. Be sure to check their events calendar for upcoming wine dinners and other special happenings.

For a more in-depth experience, explore the winery’s seasonal tours and learn about Chateau Grand Traverse’s history and sustainable practices while taking in the surrounding scenery. Offered seasonally, these guided excursions provide insight into the history of Chateau Grand Traverse and its sustainable vineyard practices while allowing guests to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

No matter your reason for visiting, Chateau Grand Traverse offers an unparalleled Michigan wine-tasting experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression on both novice and seasoned enthusiasts alike.

michigan chardonnay vineyard
Andrew McFarlane, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Black Star Farms Wineries and Tasting Rooms

Michigan’s Black Star Farms winery operates two wineries and three tasting rooms, offering visitors a diverse wine-tasting experience. Built on the bones of an architecturally refurbished cherry orchard operation, this destination provides a unique atmosphere for sampling award-winning wines.

Black Star Farms is a unique winery that offers not only wine but also farm-to-table dining and comfortable accommodations. The winery is known for its fruit wines, including paw paw fruit wine, which is a must-try for any visitor.

Exploring the history behind the cherry orchard operation

The origins of Black Star Farms date back to when it was a thriving cherry farm in Michigan. The founders saw potential in transforming the land into vineyards while preserving its rich agricultural heritage. Today, you can still find remnants of its past as you explore their picturesque property that seamlessly blends modern architecture with rustic charm.

Wine varieties available at the two wineries of Black Star Farms

Their flagship winery is located on Leelanau Peninsula, where they produce various reds, whites, sparkling wines, and fruit-based spirits using locally sourced grapes. Some popular options include Pinot Noir Reserve, Riesling, and Sirius Raspberry Dessert Wine.

  • Suttons Bay Estate: Situated near Traverse City, Suttons Bay Estate offers breathtaking views of Grand Traverse Bay while showcasing estate-grown wines such as Chardonnay Musque and Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling.
  • Old Mission Peninsula: The Old Mission Peninsula location features a cozy tasting room where visitors can sample wines like Arcturos Pinot Blanc and Sirius Cherry Dessert Wine, made from Montmorency cherries.

Black Star Farms also offers various events throughout the year, such as wine dinners, vineyard tours, and harvest celebrations. Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or new to the world of Michigan wines, Black Star Farms provides an unforgettable experience for all who visit.

Chateau Chantal Winery

If you’re looking for a beautiful view paired with fantastic wines, then Chateau Chantal is the place to be! Chateau Chantal is a unique and comprehensive wine development located in Northern Michigan. Situated 12 miles north of Traverse City, Michigan on the beautiful and historic Old Mission Peninsula, the 65-acre site is situated a beautiful ridge with sweeping views of Grand Traverse Bay, offering an immersive outdoor tasting experience in Northern hospitality.

The Chateau is known for producing a wide variety of wines. These include white, red, pink, and bubbly. Club members can receive discounts on their purchases, but the winery also maintains reasonable prices for non-club members. They offer a 5% discount for everyone who orders six or more bottles and a 10% discount for 12 or more bottles.

In addition to the winery and vineyards, Chateau Chantal operates a bed and breakfast, offering a unique combination of hospitality services. Ranked #4 of 21 B&Bs / inns in Traverse City according to TripAdvisor reviews, it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5, showcasing its high level of customer satisfaction.

Special Experiences at Chateau Chantal

  • Wine dinners: a multi-course, wine-pairing experience prepared fresh by their talented in-house chef. The dinner starts with a vineyard tour at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner seating at 6:30 pm. These dinners are held outdoors on their expansive patios which have spectacular views.
  • Jazz at Sunset: Every Thursday evening in July and August during the scenic sunset hours of 7-9:30 pm, this family-friendly event provides a charming ambiance for wine enjoyment accompanied by local musicians and their special guests.
  • Cinq a Sept: Visitors can take home their smooth, barrel-aged spirit, Cinq á Sept. This unique brandy is distilled from fermented Northern Michigan grapes and spends five years maturing in French oak barrels, gaining a rich caramel flavor and a golden color
wine dinner
Image by Elle Katie from Pixabay

Shady Lane Cellars: A Hidden Gem in Suttons Bay

Shady Lane Cellars is a destination estate winery located on the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan. Established in a region rich in wine-making history, the winery is situated on a historic centennial farm, lending it a unique charm and significance. Michigan has been producing wine for over 50 years and Shady Lane Cellars is one of the more than 100 wineries contributing to the state’s position as the sixth-largest wine-producing state in the United States.

Unique Wines at Shady Lane Cellars

The winery produces white wine, red wine, rosé wine, and sparkling wine, each one unique and specially crafted. These wines are made from 100% estate-grown grapes, and include Grüner Veltliner; sparkling, skin-fermented and dry Rieslings; Pinot Gris; Muscat, Pinot Noir Rosé; Pinot Noir; Blaufränkisch (Lemberger in German); and Cabernet.

Special Experiences at Shady Lane Cellars

  • Friday Night Live: Featuring a varied lineup of local musicians, the winery provides a charcuterie and hot soup menu to pair with its wines.
  • Father’s Day Cookout: Planned with Dad in mind, this event will feature a brat and Gruner Veltliner pairing with a cigar lounge.

Note: Wines from Shady Lane Cellars and Chateau Chantal are available downstate in additional tasting rooms operated by Michigan by the Bottle in Auburn Hills, Royal Oak, and Shelby Township.

Grossnickle Farm – Conservation and Sustainable Wine-Growing Practices

Steve and Lori Grossnickle own a 100-acre farm devoted to conservation efforts while practicing sustainable wine-growing techniques. Visitors can learn about eco-friendly practices used in producing high-quality wines while enjoying picturesque views of rolling hills covered with vines.

Eco-Friendly Initiatives Implemented by Grossnickle Farm

At the heart of Grossnickle Farm, you’ll find a strong commitment to preserving the environment through various green initiatives. Some of these include:

  • Solar Power: The farm utilizes solar panels for energy, reducing its carbon footprint and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  • Rainwater Collection: A rainwater collection system is employed to minimize water waste, ensuring that every drop counts when it comes to irrigating their vineyards.
  • Natural Pest Control: Instead of using harmful chemicals, they rely on natural predators like birds and insects for pest control, maintaining a healthy ecosystem within their property.
  • Biodiversity Preservation: By planting cover crops between rows of vines, they promote biodiversity among plant species which helps prevent soil erosion and maintains overall soil health.

Wines Produced Using Sustainable Farming Methods at Grossnickle Farm

Their dedication towards environmental stewardship extends into the winemaking process as well. At Grossnickle Farm, visitors have the opportunity to taste an array of wines produced using sustainable farming methods. Some popular selections include:

  1. Aged in oak barrels, Grossnickle Farm’s Chardonnay offers a full-bodied taste experience with creamy and buttery nuances.
  2. Pinot Noir: Known for its versatility, this red wine boasts fruity notes of cherry and raspberry with hints of earthiness.
  3. Dry Riesling: This aromatic white wine features crisp acidity balanced by flavors of green apple, pear, and citrus fruits.

Grossnickle Farm’s commitment to conservation and sustainable practices not only benefits the environment but also results in high-quality wines that showcase the unique terroir of Michigan. Visiting this sustainable winery gives you a chance to back local companies while savoring exquisite wines that were crafted with consideration for both your taste and the environment.

oak barrel
Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Top Southern Michigan Wineries You Can’t Miss

St. Julian Winery – Michigan’s Oldest and Largest Producer

Established in 1921, St. Julian Winery holds the title of Michigan’s oldest and largest winery, with a legacy that spans over a century. Continuously growing and innovating since its inception, St. Julian offers visitors an opportunity to explore a diverse range of wines crafted using traditional techniques while embracing modern trends.

The Rich History Behind St. Julian Winery

The story of St. Julian began when Mariano Meconi, an Italian immigrant passionate about winemaking, founded the winery in Windsor, Ontario before relocating it to Paw Paw, Michigan during Prohibition for better access to local grape varieties. Today, under the leadership of his grandson David Braganini as president until his passing in 2016 and now led by Nancie Oxley (the first female head winemaker in Michigan), St. Julian continues to thrive and appears on every list of Michigan’s favorite wineries.

Unique Wine Varieties and Styles Available for Tasting

With over 60 products available across various styles such as reds, whites, sparkling wines, and ciders, there is something for every palate at St. Julian’s tasting rooms located throughout Michigan including their main location in Paw Paw, as well as FrankenmuthDundee, and Troy. Some of their popular offerings include:

  • Braganini Reserve Wines: A premium collection named in honor of David Braganini, featuring varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
  • Gunga-Din Ciders: Crafted from Michigan-grown apples, these ciders are available in both traditional and unique flavors like cherry and blueberry.
  • Cock of the Walk Red & White Blends: These easy-drinking blends showcase St. Julian’s commitment to producing approachable wines for every taste preference.

In addition to wine tastings at their various locations, St. Julian also hosts a variety of events throughout the year including live music performances on weekends during summer months and special releases exclusive to their Wine Club members. So whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or new to the world of wine tasting, there is something for everyone at this historic winery that has been delighting visitors with its diverse selection for over 100 years.

Lemon Creek Winery: Award-Winning Wines and More

Lemon Creek Winery, nestled in the heart of Michigan’s wine country near Berrien Springs in southwestern Michigan, has a long and rich history. With over 160 years of grape and fruit growing experience, the winery is both family-owned and operated, boasting a tradition that has remained intact for more than a century and a half. This historic vineyard is known for its estate-grown wines, bottled to this day by the Lemon family themselves, illustrating a strong connection to their roots and commitment to maintaining high-quality standards.

Lemon Creek Winery is esteemed for the production of an extensive range of wines, with around 30 different wines produced annually. The winery specializes in French red varietals and German whites, showcasing an intriguing blend of traditional European winemaking techniques with local terroir. Their commitment to quality and excellence has been recognized on numerous occasions, with the winery receiving multiple international gold medals, in addition to several regional and state awards.

Special Events at Lemon Creek Winery

Lemon Creek Winery has a packed schedule for 2023, filled with a variety of events and activities.

The winery’s events kick off with the Memorial Weekend Wine & Art Festival. This is a free event that serves as a celebration of local art, music, and, of course, wine. Approximately 25 vendors are expected to display a variety of mediums, including painting, jewelry, stonework, ceramics, and woodworking, among others.

Throughout June, the winery will host a series of music events. The winery will celebrate its 39th Annual Father’s Day Festival on June 18th. In addition to these specific events, the winery’s calendar includes other activities such as wine tastings, U-pick fruit farm offers, and culinary events throughout the year.

pouring wine
Image by Zsanett Mezei from Pixabay

Fenn Valley Vineyards

Fenn Valley Vineyards is a prominent family-owned and operated vineyard and winery complex established in 1973 on a 240-acre farm, situated just five miles away from Lake Michigan between Grand Haven and Holland in West Michigan. The site for the vineyard was chosen with care by evaluating local weather patterns, climate conditions, and the composition of the soil.

Since the beginning, Fenn Valley Vineyards’ objective has been to produce world-class wines and ciders using fruit grown along the shore of Lake Michigan. This focus on using local resources and attention to the quality of their products has resulted in national recognition for their fruit wines. They have experimented with a variety of grapes with the goal of making European-style table wine, which has a more delicate finish.

Wines available from Fenn Valley Vineyards

  • Flavored – Spiced – Fruit Wine: Peach and Honey, Cranberry, Red Currant, Cherry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Mulled
  • White Blend: Muscat Ottonel, Moscato, Lakeshore Demi-Sec, Vino Blanco, Sonata
  • Red Blend: Nouveau, Briarwood, Lakeshore Ruby
  • Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay
  • Riesling: Sparkling, Sweet, or Dry

The range of wines showcases not just dedication to quality and tradition, but also versatility in catering to various wine preferences and palates. Wines span different styles, from robust red blends to light and refreshing white blends, and from the aromatic Riesling to the crisp Pinot Grigio.

Discovering Michigan’s Best Wine Regions

Michigan is divided into three main wine regions that produce different varieties of wine. Each region is unique, with its own climate, soil, and grape varieties.

Leelanau Peninsula Wineries

The Leelanau Peninsula has some of the best wineries in Michigan, known for exceptional Riesling wines. This region is perfect for visitors who prefer medium-bodied white wine. Leelanau’s vineyards are located on hillsides that overlook Lake Michigan, providing excellent growing conditions for the grapes.

Check out this tour of several wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula.

leelanau county
David Benbennick, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Old Mission Peninsula Wineries

Old Mission Peninsula is known for its cherry orchards, but it also has an array of vineyards that produce red wine and white wine. The cool climate in this region overlooking Grand Traverse Bay creates the perfect place to grow Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc varieties of grapes.

Check out this tour of several wineries on the Old MIssion Peninsula.

old mission peninsula
Notorious4life at English Wikipedia, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Southwest Michigan Wineries

The Southwest Michigan wine region is located near the shores of Lake Michigan, and the region’s grape growers take advantage of the moderating effect of the lake. The area’s vineyards are planted with a variety of grapes, including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

Michigan Wine Tasting Tips

When it comes to wine tasting in Michigan, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Michigan wine tasting experience.

The Best Wine Varieties to Try in Michigan

Michigan is known for producing some fantastic Riesling wines. In addition to Riesling, Michigan is also known for its Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir varieties.

Not-to-Miss Paw Paw Fruit Wines

If you’re looking for something unique to try, be sure to check out the pawpaw fruit wines in Michigan. Black Star Farms is one winery that offers this unusual and delicious variety.

Where to Find Sparkling Wine in Michigan

If you’re a fan of sparkling wine, then Michigan is the place to be! Many wineries, including Chateau Grand Traverse, offer a variety of sparkling wines that are perfect for any special occasion.

Note: Summer isn’t the only season to enjoy Michigan wines. Why not combine a wine-tasting trip with the Best Time to See Fall Color in Michigan?


What is Michigan Wine Country?

A: Michigan Wine Country is a region in the state of Michigan where many wineries and vineyards are located. It is known for its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and delicious wines.

What is the best wine region in Michigan?

A: The best wine region in Michigan is located in the northern part of the state. This region includes the Leelanau Peninsula and Old Mission Peninsula, which have the largest concentration of wineries.

What are some of the best wineries in the state?

A: There are many great wineries to visit in Michigan, including Chateau Grand Traverse, Chateau Chantal, Shady Lane Cellars, Tabor Hill, Round Barn, Fenn Valley Vineyards, Lemon Creek Winery, and Chateau Aeronautique Winery.

What are the Michigan Wine Trails?

A: The Michigan Wine Trails are wineries and vineyards in the state of Michigan that have banded together to promote tourism and the local wine industry. There are several wine trails in Michigan, including the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail and the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail.

What is the best way to explore Michigan’s wineries?

A: The best way to explore Michigan’s wineries is by taking a scenic drive through the region and stopping at various wineries along the way. Many wineries offer a wine tasting room, tour, and wine dinner.

What kinds of Michigan grapes are grown?

A: Many different kinds of wine grapes are grown in Michigan, including Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer.

What is ice wine?

A: Ice wine is a type of dessert wine made from grapes that have been left on the vine until they freeze. The grapes are then harvested and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a sweet, concentrated wine. Michigan soil – terroir in wine lover parlance – is ideal for this wine.

Are there any wineries in Traverse City?

A: Yes, there are many wineries in the region around Traverse City, including Chateau Chantal, Chateau Grand Traverse, and Shady Lane Cellars.

What is the Pure Michigan wine campaign?

A: The Pure Michigan wine campaign is a marketing initiative aimed at promoting Michigan’s wine industry and encouraging tourism from throughout the Great Lakes region to the state’s wineries and vineyards. Making wine a promotional tool to bring visitors has been a successful tactic for more than ten years.

How many wineries are in Michigan?

A: There are over 140 wineries in Michigan, with new ones opening every year. Producing wine is the dream of many aspiring vintners!

Wine Tastings Prove the Best Michigan Wineries Will Win You Over

In conclusion, Michigan’s wine country has so much to offer visitors. With its stunning vineyards, award-winning wineries, and unique wine varieties, it’s no wonder that the Michigan wine scene is rapidly gaining recognition among wine enthusiasts. So, plan your trip to Michigan for a good time to enjoy the best wine that the state has to offer!

Best Time to See Fall Colors in Upper Michigan

best time to see fall colors in upper michigan

There’s no better time as the fall harvest season in Michigan gets underway and colors begin to change to consider a memorable fall trip. As the best time to see fall colors in upper Michigan approaches, nature enthusiasts and travelers alike eagerly anticipate the brilliant display of foliage that adorns this picturesque region.

Throughout the fall, the dazzling array of bright reds, deep oranges, and vibrant yellows creates a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor adventures or leisurely drives through Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula’s scenic landscapes.

best time to see fall colors in upper michigan
Image by sjsecretary from Pixabay

Plan the Perfect Time for Michigan Travel as Fall Colors Peak

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into considerations that affect the best time to see fall colors in upper Michigan. These factors determine peak fall colors and underscore the importance of using a reliable fall color map.

Fall is the Best Time to Visit Certain Destinations

Discover some of Upper Peninsula’s stunning destinations like Copper Harbor Lighthouse and the Porcupine Mountains, as well as color in the Northern Lower Peninsula along Tunnel of Trees M-119 Scenic Highway and River Road Scenic Byway. Autumn colors make their natural beauty even more spectacular.

We also unveil must-visit places in Michigan for seeing the best fall colors, such as Palms Book State Park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore area. Our guide will help you plan your trip during the best time during peak season and choose among the best places to see fall colors in upper Michigan.

upper tahquamenon falls fall colors michigan
Image by Meg Bell from Pixabay

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2023 Michigan Fall Color Prediction Map Shows Times for Fall Transitions

The updated 2023 Michigan Peak Fall Color Map predicts peak fall colors in Michigan 2023 to occur between October 9 and October 29. This map is an essential tool for leaf-peeping enthusiasts to pinpoint the times for fall colors and for planning their trip to witness the stunning autumn hues in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

Factors Affecting Fall Colors in Michigan As They Change

Temperature, sunlight and precipitation all play a role in the transformation of autumn hues. In general, Michigan in the fall has cool nights with sunny days encouraging the development of brilliant fall foliage. Leaves begin to change color in September; however, early frost or heavy rainfall can shorten the display period or dull the display.

To ensure you experience Michigan’s best fall colors during your visit, it’s crucial to keep track of these factors affecting peak times and plan accordingly for the best places to enjoy fall color viewing.

upper tahquamenon falls fall colors in michigan
Image by Jason Gillman from Pixabay

Importance of Using a Reliable Fall Color Map to See Michigan in Her Autumn Glory

Weekly updates on changing conditions across different regions in the entire state help travelers make informed decisions about when and where to go for optimal leaf-peeping experiences. By referring to such resources before embarking on your journey through picturesque landscapes adorned with bright reds, deep oranges, golden yellows – all set against clear blue skies – you’ll be able to enjoy every moment spent exploring beautiful places throughout both the upper and lower peninsulas.

  • Lake Superior: The largest Great Lake provides a stunning backdrop for enjoying spectacular views along its shoreline as leaves change color from late September into early October.
  • Tahquamenon Falls: One of Michigan’s most famous waterfalls becomes even more breathtaking surrounded by vibrant autumn foliage during peak color season.
  • Lake Michigan: Sweeping vistas from the heights of Sleeping Bear Dunes along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive provide outstanding views during peak fall color in west Michigan.
  • Lake Huron: Multiple lookout points along US-23 and the River Road Scenic Byway are perfect places to picnic.

In conclusion, using a reliable fall color map like the 2023 Michigan Peak Fall Color Map is essential for planning your perfect autumn getaway. Keep an eye on changing conditions and explore popular destinations in both the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula to make the most out of your trip.

Key Takeaway: 

The 2023 Michigan Peak Fall Color Map predicts peak fall color to occur between October 9 and October 29, making it an essential tool for leaf-peeping enthusiasts planning a fall getaway. To ensure the best experience, keep track of factors affecting fall color change such as cooler temperatures, sunlight, and precipitation. A reliable Michigan Fall Color Blog offers weekly updates on changing conditions across different regions in the state to help travelers make informed decisions about when and where to go for optimal leaf-peeping experiences.

Seeing the Best Fall Colors in the Upper Peninsula

In the first week of October, visitors can expect peak colors in the Upper Peninsula (UP). This region boasts some of Michigan’s most breathtaking landscapes and offers a variety of popular destinations for leaf peepers to explore.

Must-visit locations in UP for Fall Foliage

  • Copper Harbor Lighthouse: A historic landmark with panoramic views of Lake Superior and surrounding foliage, this is one of the best places to visit to see colors against the blue water backdrop.
  • Brockway Mountain: A scenic drive offering the best views of Copper Harbor and one of the best spots to view fall colors from an aerial perspective.
  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: Explore miles of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along Lake Superior, including the iconic sandstone cliffs that give this area its name. Visit their official website here.
  • Tahquamenon Falls State Park: Home to two majestic waterfalls surrounded by picturesque forests, this park showcases breathtaking views of beautiful colors during the autumn months, particularly from vantage points by the Upper Falls. Learn more about Tahquamenon Falls and other natural attractions in Michigan.
  • Palms Book State Park: See Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan’s largest natural spring at over 200 feet across and 40 feet deep from a self-operated observation raft.

Accommodations amidst nature’s beauty

For those seeking an immersive experience in the natural beauty of Michigan, a variety of accommodation options are available. Some popular choices include:

  • Pictured Rocks Inn & Suites: A comfortable hotel located near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, offering easy access to hiking trails and other outdoor activities.
  • The Deer Drop Inn: This cozy vacation rental offers a serene retreat in the heart of UP’s wilderness. You’re “in the middle of nowhere, but in the middle of everything.”
  • Keweenaw Castle Resort Grand Suite: A luxurious suite fit for a king and queen with floor to ceiling views of Lake Superior.

Explore Upper Peninsula’s vibrant fall foliage. Visit Copper Harbor Lighthouse, Brockway Mountain, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore & more. #Michigan #FallColors #TravelTipsClick to Tweet

best places to see michigan fall color

Discovering Northern Michigan Peak Fall Color

In the second half of October, northern lower Michigan transforms into a kaleidoscope of brilliant fall foliage. The region offers numerous popular spots for visitors to explore and enjoy the vibrant colors that paint the landscape.

Best Time to See the Fall Colors in Northern Michigan

The peak color in this area typically occurs between mid-October and late October. However, it is essential to keep an eye on Michigan’s Fall Color Map for updated predictions on when you can witness these stunning hues at their best.

Attractions Worth Visiting For Fall Color Viewing

  • Hartwick Pines State Park: With over 9,000 acres of forested land near Grayling town, Hartwick Pines provides ample opportunities for hiking amidst vibrant fall foliage. Discover more about Hartwick Pines State Park by visiting its official website here.

Discover and book places to stay near Hartwick Pines:

  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: This national lakeshore boasts miles of sandy beaches and towering sand dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan adorned with bright reds, oranges, and yellows during the fall season. Find more information about Sleeping Bear Dunes here.

Find and reserve places to stay near Sleeping Bear:

  • Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail: Traverse through rolling hills covered in vineyards while enjoying a wine tasting tour amidst stunning autumn scenery. Check out the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail’s official website for more details on wineries and events by clicking here.

Check out accommodations along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail:

  • Tunnel Trees M-119 Scenic Highway: Take a leisurely drive through dense forests showcasing brilliant fall foliage along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. More details about the “M-119 Tunnel Of Trees” can be discovered in our post: Scenic Tunnel of Trees Michigan Best Time to Visit.
ocqueoc falls
Photo Credit: Tony Faiola from Mid-Michigan, U.S.A., CC BY 2.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Ocqueoc Falls: The largest waterfall in Lower Peninsula surrounded by lush forests – perfect for hiking or picnicking amidst nature’s beauty. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the spectacular colors Michigan’s northern lower peninsula displays. It’s a great time to visit at this enchanting time of year.

“Experience the vibrant fall foliage of Michigan’s northern lower peninsula. Discover stunning attractions and plan your visit during mid to late October. #TravelMichigan #FallColors”Click to Tweet

Scenic Drives for Leaf Peepers

For those who prefer scenic drives rather than hikes, Michigan offers a variety of picturesque routes to witness the beautiful fall colors. One such route is the M-22 highway, which stretches across northern lower peninsula from Manistee to Arcadia. This stunning drive showcases landscapes along Lake Michigan’s shoreline accompanied by numerous opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and kayaking.

Must-drive Routes during Fall Season

  • M-119 Tunnel of Trees: A breathtaking stretch between Harbor Springs and Cross Village that features a canopy of trees arching over the road, creating a tunnel-like effect. Find more information here.
  • Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive: Located within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a 7.4-mile loop offering panoramic views of Lake Michigan and brilliant fall foliage.
  • Brockway Mountain Drive: Situated in Copper Harbor on the Keweenaw Peninsula, Brockway Mountain Drive provides spectacular vistas overlooking Lake Superior and surrounding forests ablaze with color.
  • River Road National Scenic Byway: Following the Au Sable River through Huron-Manistee National Forests in the northeastern Lower Peninsula, the River Road Scenic Byway presents an array of deep reds and bright oranges against a backdrop of pristine waters.

Tips for Planning a Road Trip

  1. Prioritize your must-see destinations: Create an itinerary that highlights your favorite fall destination spots while also incorporating lesser-known gems.
  2. Check the weather forecast: Fall weather can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to plan for potential rain or snow. Check the National Weather Service website for potential weather updates before setting out.
  3. Pack essentials: Bring a camera, binoculars, comfortable clothing layers, and snacks to make your road trips more enjoyable.
  4. Fuel up: Ensure your vehicle is in good condition and has enough gas before embarking on long drives through remote areas with limited services available.

Taking a scenic drive during Michigan’s fall color season is an unforgettable experience that showcases the Great Lakes State’s natural beauty at its finest. With numerous routes to choose from and breathtaking landscapes around every corner, there truly is no better way to enjoy fall in Michigan than by hitting the open road.

Key Takeaway: 

Michigan offers several picturesque routes to witness the vibrant fall colors, including M-22 highway and must-drive routes such as Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, Brockway Mountain Drive, and River Road National Scenic Byway. To plan a road trip during Michigan’s fall color season, prioritize your must-see destinations, check the weather forecast for potential rain or snow, pack essentials like a camera and snacks while ensuring your vehicle is in good condition with enough gas before embarking on long drives through remote areas with limited services available.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Adventure

A breathtaking experience awaits in the western Upper Peninsula at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Michigan’s second-largest state park. Check out the Observation Tower at Summit Peak, the highest point in the park, from which you can see Isle Royale and the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior on a clear day.

Unique experiences at Porcupine Mountains

The Porcupine Mountains offer a variety of unique experiences for visitors to see peak colors, including hiking through crisp fall temperatures along the Escarpment Trail, exploring picturesque waterfalls like the Manabezho Falls and Nawadaha Falls, and marveling at Lake Superior’s stunning shoreline from atop Lake of the Clouds Overlook. The park is also home to several historic sites such as Nonesuch Mine ruins and old-growth forests that showcase Michigan’s rich history.

Other must-do activities within the park

  • Hiking: With over 90 miles of trails, hikers can explore diverse landscapes ranging from dense forests to rugged cliffs. Popular trails include Big Carp River Trail, Little Carp River Trail, and Government Peak Loop.
  • Camping: Immerse yourself in nature by staying overnight in one of the many campgrounds available within the park. Options range from rustic backcountry campsites to modern cabins with amenities like electricity and indoor plumbing.
  • Fishing: Anglers will find plenty of opportunities for fishing on inland lakes and streams, as well as along the Lake Superior shoreline. The waters in the area are known to contain a variety of species, including brookies, rainbows and salmon.
  • Wildlife Viewing: The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife such as black bears, white-tailed deer, bald eagles, and even moose. Keep an eye out for these majestic creatures while exploring the park’s trails and scenic overlooks.

In addition to its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park also hosts various events throughout the year like the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, making it a perfect destination for visitors seeking both adventure and entertainment during their Michigan fall color tour.

Key Takeaway: 

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Upper Michigan is a must-visit destination for fall color tours. Visitors can hike through vibrant fall colors along the Escarpment Trail, explore picturesque waterfalls like Manabezho Falls and Nawadaha Falls, marvel at Lake Superior’s stunning shoreline from atop Lake of the Clouds Overlook, camp overnight in one of the many campgrounds available within the park and participate in various events throughout the year like Porcupine Mountains Music Festival.

fall colors in michigan
Image by kurtschwoppe from Pixabay

FAQs in Relation to Best Time to See Fall Colors in Upper Michigan

What is the Best Week for Fall Colors in the Upper Peninsula Michigan?

The best week for fall colors in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan typically falls between late September and mid-October. However, peak foliage can vary depending on factors such as temperature, rainfall, and elevation. To get accurate predictions closer to your visit, check a reliable Fall Foliage Map. Generally speaking, the last week of September should be your best bet.

Which Michigan Spot is Named the No. 1 Best for Fall Foliage?

M-22 Highway has been named one of America’s Best Scenic Autumn Drives by USA Today due to its stunning lakeshore scenery and vibrant autumn hues. The highway stretches from Manistee to Traverse City along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, with abundant small town stops along the way.

What are the Best Weeks for Fall Colors?

The best weeks for fall colors in Michigan generally range from late September through October, with peak foliage occurring at different times across the state. To plan your visit accordingly, it’s best to refer to a Michigan Fall Color Prediction Map that provides updated information on peak color periods.

What Month do the Leaves Change Color in Michigan?

In Michigan, leaves typically begin changing color around mid-September and continue throughout October. Peak foliage varies depending on location within the state and environmental factors such as temperature and rainfall. Past peak viewing in early November can still be spectacular, but as weather conditions can become less predictable, earlier in the season would be a better time.

best time to see fall colors in michigan

Conclusion: Fall in Michigan is Spectacular!

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience amidst nature’s splendor, Michigan is one of the most outstanding locations in the world you could choose during autumn. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula fall display and its Northern Lower Peninsula natural attractions offer some of the most breathtaking foliage in the country.

To plan your trip to coincide with the best time to see the colors in Upper Michigan, use a reliable 2023 Michigan fall color map. There is something for everyone during autumn in Michigan, from exploring lighthouses and scenic drives to hiking through state parks and enjoying boutique accommodations.

13 Best Places to Stay in New Buffalo Michigan

bridge to New Buffalo Harbor

Planning a getaway trip to New Buffalo, Michigan? You’re in for a treat! This charming and friendly lakeshore city offers exciting activities and attractions for everyone to enjoy. From its thriving downtown area with a picturesque marina to its beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan, New Buffalo delivers.

But before you set out to explore everything in the area, you need to find the perfect place to stay. Our guide to the best places to stay in New Buffalo, Michigan, intends to help you out with just that! If you’re on a budget or looking for a more luxurious experience on the New Buffalo beach, we’ve got you covered, so read on!

best places to stay new buffalo michigan

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Getting to New Buffalo

If you’re coming from Indiana, Chicago, or another place in the state of Michigan, know that New Buffalo is located in Berrien County, in the southern part of Western Michigan, just north of Michigan City, Indiana on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Blue Water train from Chicago to Port Huron and the Wolverine train from Chicago to Detroit both stop at the Amtrak railroad station, which is located in the central business district.

beachfront best places to stay in new buffalo michigan
“Anywhere on the Beach” has got to be among the best places to stay in New Buffalo Michigan – Image by cher1959 from Pixabay

Note: Train buffs will want to visit the New Buffalo Railroad Museum adjacent to the Amtrak station. Open on weekends, it has three restored railroad cars along with photographic exhibits. This attraction is often overlooked in favor of other activities, but we think it’s not to be missed.

amtrak train
Tim_kd5urs, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Motorists will find the city conveniently located off I-94; use the US-12 exit if you’re westbound or the first exit past the New Buffalo Welcome Center just inside the state line if you’re eastbound.

location of berrien county on the map of michigan
By David Benbennick – The maps use data from, specifically countyp020.tar.gz on the Raw Data Download page. The maps also use state outline data from statesp020.tar.gz. The Florida maps use hydrogm020.tar.gz to display Lake Okeechobee., Public Domain,

What Are the Best Hotels in New Buffalo Michigan?

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New Buffalo

If you’re looking for a top-rated hotel in New Buffalo Michigan, you can’t go wrong with the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New Buffalo. This 3-star hotel has received rave reviews for its exceptional service, clean and spacious rooms, and great amenities like complimentary continental breakfast, free wi-fi internet, and indoor pool and hot tub.

The Harbor Grand

For a more luxurious stay, check out The Harbor Grand, a boutique hotel located right on the harbor. Their elegant guest rooms are on par with luxury hotels you’re used to, and feature plush bedding and private balconies with stunning views of the waterfront. Many have fireplaces and spa tubs, and each guest is provided with a comfortable spa robe while at the facility. Outdoor terrace dining and a relaxing spa retreat with a full array of personal service treatments are just a few of the luxury amenities at this thoughtfully designed hotel, one of the great resorts in the region.

New Buffalo Michigan Harbor
Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites New Buffalo

Family-friendly hotels are also abundant in New Buffalo Michigan. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites New Buffalo, affiliated with the IHG hotel family, is a popular choice among families, with its spacious rooms and complimentary buffet breakfast. All the amenities business travelers expect from the Holiday Inn Express & Suites brand are here: self-service laundry room, a business center, heated indoor pool and whirlpool, and fitness center.

What Are the Best Places to Stay in New Buffalo Michigan on a Budget?

New Buffalo Inn & Spa

If you’re looking for the best low-priced accommodations in New Buffalo Michigan, consider staying at the New Buffalo Inn & Spa. This cozy inn offers affordable rates and convenient access to the downtown area. Rooms feature Keurig coffee makers and smart TVs.

The Baymont by Wyndham New Buffalo

The Baymont by Wyndham New Buffalo is another great option, with its comfortable rooms, free continental breakfast, complimentary wireless internet access and short drive to Lake Michigan and outlet shopping.

Quality Inn Near Interstate I94 – Best Low Cost Option of Hotels in New Buffalo MI Near Four Winds Casino

If you want to to keep costs low and find hotels with the best deals in New Buffalo Michigan, keep an eye out for special promotions and discounts for non-refundable reservations, etc. The Quality Inn Near Interstate I94 offers affordable rates, free breakfast, and easy access to popular attractions like Four Winds Casino Resort and the Galien River County Park.

While average prices are climbing for the guest on a tight budget, your stay doesn’t have to be expensive and low prices at New Buffalo hotels can be had. There are plenty of cheap hotels in New Buffalo Michigan to choose from. To find the best time to book the cheapest hotels in New Buffalo Michigan, consider traveling during the fall or winter months when tourism levels lower. 

What Are the Most Convenient Hotels in New Buffalo Michigan?

If you want a hotel room close to the heart of the action, there are several hotels in New Buffalo Michigan that offer convenient access to the downtown area. The Baymont by Wyndham New Buffalo and Quality Inn Near Interstate I94 are both located just a short drive from the city center, making it easy to explore all of the shops, restaurants, and attractions. For those looking to soak up some sun at the shore, The Harbor Grand is located near Lake Michigan.

bridge to New Buffalo Harbor
Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

New Buffalo Bed and Breakfast: The Neighborhood Hotel

If you’re looking for something a bit more intimate, the Neighborhood Hotel is an adults-only, nine-room bed and breakfast inn located right in downtown New Buffalo, a ten-minute walking distance from the beach Their cozy rooms feature free wifi, Ralph Lauren linens, flat screen TVs with Netflix, air conditioning and mini-fridges. Choose a terrace room or one with a balcony. Fresh-baked cookies are often available in the common area, too. Note that their free parking area can fill up quickly, so plan accordingly.

If you’re planning on visiting Galien River County Park, consider staying at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites New Buffalo, the Quality Inn Near I94 or the Fairfield Inn. These hotels are just a short drive from the park, making it easy to explore its hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities.

What Is the Best Lakeside Resort in New Buffalo Michigan?

The Harbor Grand (Again)

If you want to experience the ultimate in lakeside living, then consider staying at one of the top-rated lakeside resorts in New Buffalo Michigan. The Harbor Grand Resort offers luxurious accommodations with views of the New Buffalo harbor. The Harbor Grand hotel features full resort amenities such as a luxury day spa, sophisticated dining, relaxing common areas and atmospheric rooms with views, fireplaces and hot tubs.

new buffalo beach
Kevin Dooley, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What Are the Best Vacation Rental Options in New Buffalo Michigan?

If you’re looking for a home away from home in the New Buffalo area, then a vacation rental might be the perfect option for you. Lakefront vacation rentals are particularly popular in New Buffalo Michigan, with a remarkable option like the New Buffalo Lakefront House, which is directly on the beach with a saltwater swimming pool and hot tub.

For an in-town experience, the Bradford New Designer Luxury Cottage has a heated pool and sleeps 12, perfect for a multi-generational family vacation or a friends group getaway. Located in a serene residential neighborhood, shops and the beach are just steps away.

stray dog restaurant new buffalo michigan
Kevin Dooley from Chandler, AZ, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For the quintessential Lake Michigan cottage experience, check out the Charming Cottage or the Tallgrass Cottage. These homes feature all the amenities you need, kitchen facilities, comfortable sleeping, and relaxing ambiance.

If you want to be near Four Winds Casino New Buffalo, consider staying at one of the vacation rentals located nearby. The charming Storybook Cottage and the tranquil Deer House both offer easy access to the casino and all its games and amenities.

Tip: For atmospheric eats in New Buffalo, check out the Stray Dog Bar & Grill, Redamak’s, and Oink’s Dutch Treat.

redamak's new buffalo
Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Still Undecided? Use Our Handy Interactive Map to Choose and Book Your Stay

As you can see, there are plenty of amazing places to stay in New Buffalo Michigan, no matter what your budget or preferences may be. Whether you’re a business traveler, a family on holiday, or just looking to explore the area, you’re sure to find the perfect place to call home during your stay.

Note: For other ideas to New Buffalo’s North, check out our post on the 5 Best Small Towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan

Best Camping Sites Upper Peninsula Michigan Offers

lower tahquamenon falls

Camping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is akin to paradise for every kind of camping enthusiast. The area offers an array of camping choices, from state parks to national forests to lakeside campgrounds to RV parks to rustic campground options.

Whether you’re looking for stunning fall scenery or a summer beach vacation, Upper Peninsula’s camping destinations have recreation for everyone. Here’s our guide to camping at some of the best camping sites Upper Peninsula Michigan offers:

What are the top state park campgrounds in Upper Peninsula Michigan?

Reserve your site at any state park at Michigan State Parks and Harbors online system.

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1. Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Top Upper Peninsula Camping Destination

Any list of the best campgrounds in the Upper Peninsula will rate Tahquamenon Falls State Park as among the most picturesque places to camp in the state of Michigan. The 40,000-acre park features two stunning waterfalls and more than 35 miles of hiking trails, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers. Visitors can also enjoy fishing, canoeing, and kayaking on the Tahquamenon River. It’s no small coincidence that the mailing address for this park is Paradise, Michigan.

The Upper Tahquamenon is over 200 feet wide, and is the second-largest waterfall east of the Mississippi in the United States. The Lower Tahquamenon Falls is a group of five waterfalls clustered around a footbridge-accessible island. The four-mile hike between the Upper Falls and Lower Falls is a favorite among trekkers but is a short drive for those who are differently abled.

tahquamenon falls
Image by Jason Gillman from Pixabay

This state park has over 300 campsites divided into three areas that accommodate both tent and RV camper requirements. Additionally, the park offers on-site facilities, including restrooms, showers, and fire rings to make camping comfortable.

lower tahquamenon falls
Image by Meg Bell from Pixabay

2. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – One of the Best Camping Sites Upper Peninsula Michigan Offers

Covering over 60,000 acres in area, Porcupine Wilderness State Park is a massive, rugged park with varied wilderness landscapes. This park has over 90 miles of trails for hikers, anglers, and cross-country skiers. The “Porkies” offer the rugged 16-mile-long Lake Superior Trail with a range of hiking from along the Lake Superior shore to pathways through virgin forests and along Lake of the Clouds to Presque Isle River and Falls.

trail to lake superior best camping sites upper peninsula michigan
Image by Meg Bell from Pixabay

The park has four rustic campgrounds that cater to tent campers and seasonal cottages for RVs with electric hookups. On-site facilities include primitive toilets and showers. Camping in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is an excellent way to experience the northern Michigan wilderness.

best places to camp in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Image by David Sieberg from Pixabay

3. Fort Wilkins State Park

Located near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Copper Harbor, Fort Wilkins State Park has more than 175 campsites, two lighthouses, and a historic fort complex dating from the 1840s, at which visitors can learn from a living history program with costumed interpreters presented by the Michigan History Center. With frontage on Lake Fanny Hooe, Lake Manganese, and Lake Superior shoreline, the park offers watercraft-accessible and backcountry sites as well as more conventional sites you can park next to or walk to from your vehicle.

fort wilkins state park
Pavel Trebukov, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What are the best RV camping sites in Upper Peninsula Michigan?

1. Straits State Park

Straits State Park is an ideal camping location for RV enthusiasts. The park sits on the shore of Lake Huron and offers breathtaking views of “Big Mac” – the Mackinac Bridge to the Lower Peninsula. Straits’ RV sites are equipped with modern amenities, including electrical hookups, restrooms, and showers. Visitors can engage in different recreational activities, such as hunting, fishing, and hiking in the park.

view of bridge from straits state park
Notorious4life (talk) (Uploads), CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

2. Soo Locks Campground

Soo Locks Campground is a popular campground among RV enthusiasts. It provides a perfect location for those looking to explore and experience Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The campground features around 20 RV campsites with full hookups and includes picnic tables and fire rings. Visitors can also opt for the Soo Locks Boat Tour.

3. Tourist Park Campground

Tourist Park Campground is located just west of Munising and is a great place for RV or tent camping. This is one of our favorite campgrounds in all of Michigan, in a great location right on the shore of Lake Superior. Campsites have full hookups and include free Wi-Fi, fire rings, and picnic tables. There is a 14-day limit on your stay; you won’t want to leave! Visitors can take a walk on the nearby sandy beach and local trails or explore local shops and restaurants in Munising. Make reservations as soon as they open up, or they’ll be gone in a flash.

4. Aune Osborn Campground

No one camping in Upper Peninsula Michigan should miss the opportunity to view freighter traffic on the St. Mary’s River from Aune-Osborn Campground at Sault Ste Marie in the eastern Upper Peninsula. Unlike state forest campgrounds, there is far less privacy here, but the views of the ships making their way to and from the Soo Locks are the star attraction. The campground lies on 20 riverfront acres; park your RV on one of the premium waterfront sites for the best view of the action on the water.

Book your camping reservations for Aune Osborn by clicking here.

What are the top scenic campsites in Upper Peninsula Michigan?

1. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, located in Munising, offers something new for campers to see. The park, characterized by its colorful rock formations, offers campers a chance to experience the stunning dunes and beaches. It also has numerous hiking trails, and visitors can take boat tours to explore the colorful cliffs. The drive-in campsites provide utility hookups, restrooms, and showers. Make your reservations here.

pictured rocks camping sites upper peninsula michigan
Image by jjgunn from Pixabay

2. Keweenaw Peninsula

Keweenaw Peninsula is known for its serene natural beauty and breathtaking views. The site features a unique camping experience in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The peninsula is rich in history and culture, and campers can enjoy exploring the local mining towns and sampling the local cuisine. Some of the campsites provide restroom facilities while others have full utility hookups. Choose from the following: Fort Wilkins State Park (mentioned above), McLain State ParkBaraga State Park, and Twin Lakes State Park.

keweenaw map
Photo by Betsy Wuebker

3. Castle Rock Lakefront Campground

Castle Rock Lakefront Campgrounds is a picturesque camping site located on the shores of Lake Huron in the St. Ignace area. It provides a splendid view of Lake Huron with 2000 feet of beachfront, which provides a serene and beautiful camping experience. The campsite offers modern amenities, including water and electrical hookups.

castle rock
Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What are the best fall camping spots in Upper Peninsula Michigan?

1. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

In the autumn months, the Porcupine Mountains State Park offers a range of beautiful colors on the trees and changing foliage. The park has an extensive network of hiking trails with picturesque views of Mirror Lake and the Lake of the Clouds. The park also has four camping areas in different locations and offers amenities, including fire rings, restrooms, and showers. See additional information above.

2. Keweenaw Peninsula

The Keweenaw Peninsula provides scenic views in the fall. Campsites offer brilliant reflections from the shores of Lake Superior and the breathtaking color story of leaves changing throughout the area. Hikers and anglers will enjoy outstanding experiences. Campsites will have a range of amenities such as restrooms, showers, and hookups.

Copper Harbor – Photo by Betsy Wuebker

3. Hiawatha National Forest

Hiawatha National Forest is a serene location to go camping near Munising. The site provides campers with a breathtaking view of fall colors and serene nature walks in the surrounding area. The site also offers several hiking trails and biking tours for visitors. The campsite has numerous amenities, including fire rings, restrooms, and modern showers.

What are the top lakefront camping sites in Upper Peninsula Michigan?

1. Michigamme Shores Campgrounds

Michigamme Shores Campgrounds offers an array of recreational activities to visitors, including birdwatching and swimming. Located on the shores of Lake Michigamme in the western Upper Peninsula, the campground offers fun activities for the kids, including water park, train ride and bounce pad. The campground features both rustic and modern campsites, including fire rings, restrooms, and showers. There is a camp store and laundry facility on site.

2. Van Riper State Park

Van Riper State Park is one of the Upper Peninsula’s most popular camping sites. It offers campers a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including boating, fishing, and swimming. This campground also sits on the shores of Lake Michigamme. Van Riper features rustic and modern campsites with full hookups, fire rings, and modern restrooms.

3. Otter Lake Campground

The Otter Lake Campground is one of the best inland lakes camping sites for families with kids in Upper Peninsula Michigan. The campground sits on the shores of Otter Lake, offering visitors beautiful views of the lake. Visitors can engage in recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and hiking in the surrounding area. The campsite features modern amenities such as water, electrical hookups, and septic dumps. Reserve from their website.

4. Muskallonge Lake State Park

Muskallonge Lake State Park is one of the popular places for camping in the central Upper Peninsula if you prefer a seemingly remote, yet convenient camping experience. About 45 minutes either way from Pictured Rocks or Tahquamenon Falls, it’s great for swimming and fishing. The park is also the darkest sky State Park in the system, making it one of the best camping opportunities to see Northern Lights in Michigan.

copper country sign info keweenaw michigan
Photo by Betsy Wuebker

Overall, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offers numerous developed campgrounds and primitive camping options that offer visitors an unforgettable outdoor experience. If you enjoy camping in the comfort of your RV or tent camping under the stars, UP Michigan camping provides endless opportunities for exciting outdoor fun. Plan your camping trip in Upper Peninsula Michigan and enjoy the great outdoors now!

15 best camping sites Michigan Upper Peninsula forest trail to lake

Scenic Tunnel of Trees Michigan Best Time to Visit

tunnel of trees michigan

In Emmet County, Northern Michigan, the Tunnel of Trees is a scenic heritage route that spans over 20 miles of M-119 roadway. This is a winding, narrow route through dense foliage, offering spectacular views of the Lake Michigan shoreline.

michigan tunnel of trees

A drive through the tunnel is a popular tourist activity throughout the year, but each season provides a unique experience of its own. Let’s explore things about the Tunnel of Trees Michigan: best time to visit, what makes this experience so special and the best things to do when you drive the Tunnel of Trees.

What is the Tunnel of Trees in Michigan?

Discovering this Beautiful Road

The Tunnel of Trees is a state highway that stretches from Harbor Springs to Cross Village. The route is a state road that is officially known as M-119, but it’s more popularly referred to as the Tunnel of Trees. The name comes from the dense canopy of trees that line the road, forming a tunnel-like effect. Exploring the winding road offers a peaceful and serene drive that delivers loads of natural beauty, which is perfect for nature lovers and those who are looking for a road trip adventure.

Where is the Tunnel of Trees Located?

The M-119 Tunnel of Trees is a drive through dense forests in Northern Michigan, located along the coast of Lake Michigan in Emmet County. The Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route starts in Harbor Springs and Cross Village is one of the end points of the tunnel. It passes through the small town of Good Hart along the way.

tunnel of trees michigan best time to visit
Tunnel of Trees Michigan Best Time to Visit? Autumn! Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

The winding road is easy to navigate, but visitors need to be aware that it’s narrow. The road can be challenging during peak tourist season, so it’s best to plan your trip accordingly.

Plan Your Tunnel of Trees Route Based Upon Where You’re Coming From

If you’re coming from downstate to Northwest Michigan, your route to drive the Tunnel of Trees begins in Harbor Springs north on M-119. If you’re coming from the north, you’ll make your Tunnel of Trees start going south from Cross Village, where M-119 starts.

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What Makes the Tunnel of Trees So Unique?

The Tunnel of Trees is unique because of the dense foliage that surrounds the road. The canopy of trees creates a shaded tunnel effect, and you will feel like you’re driving through a secluded forest that has views of Lake Michigan. In addition to the beautiful scenery, the route takes you along the Lake Michigan coast through small towns and past a variety of landmarks along the way.

When is the Best Time to Visit Tunnel of Trees?

Plan Your Visit for a Fall Color Tour

If you’re looking for the best time to visit the Tunnel of Trees, then plan your trip in the autumn months. Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees drive takes on a stunning new look as the hardwood trees’ leaves change color. One of the most iconic vistas is just north of Stutsmanville Road on M-119, where the tree coverage is consistently dense and colorful.

tunnel of trees michigan
Tunnel of Trees Michigan Best Time to Visit: Fall Colors Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

The main attraction during this time of year at the Tunnel of Trees is beautiful fall foliage. The M-119 highway delivers a vivid explosion comprised of oranges, yellows, vibrant reds, and even shades of purple. The fall season for peak color runs from September through October, so plan accordingly.

Summer Escapades Along This Scenic Route

The summer season is another great time to drive the Tunnel of Trees, which offers a cool and shaded escape from the sweltering summer heat. You’ll have the opportunity to witness the lush greenery that surrounds the road. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy as you make your way. Plan your stops along the way to include opportunities for hiking, biking, and visiting the nearby Pond Hill Farm. 

Spring Road Trip Along M-119

Spring is another season to visit the Tunnel of Trees. The drive showcases vibrant shades of green as the foliage starts to bloom. Late spring is also an ideal time to visit because the crowds are thinner, and you’ll have the road almost to yourself with less traffic to impede you. This is the perfect season to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the area.

What are the Must-Visit Places While Driving the Tunnel of Trees?

Exploring Good Hart – Don’t Miss the Good Hart General Store

Good Hart is a small town that sits in the middle of the Tunnel of Trees Scenic Drive north of Harbor Springs, and it’s a must-visit destination. 

During your trip, be sure to stop at the Good Hart General Store, which has been operating since 1934. The store offers a delicious selection of food, and it’s the perfect place to stop for a meal or snack during your drive.

tunnel of trees michigan
Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

Discovering Cross Village – Don’t Miss Legs Inn

Cross Village is another town that you’ll pass through during your drive along the Tunnel of Trees. The town is home to a giant white cross and the historic Legs Inn, which is a popular eatery that offers a wide selection of food and drinks. The town also has a few boutiques and shops where you can pick up souvenirs to remember your trip.

Cross Village offers a glimpse into the history of the area’s indigenous people, as well. Inhabited since at least the late 17th century, the village was an important supply stop for Jesuit priests in their missionary outreach attempts, as well as French-Canadian voyageurs transporting furs from the Great Lakes region to Montreal and beyond.

cross village cross
Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Places to stop here include the Holy Cross Catholic Church and Three Pines Studio, a working studio with changing art installations and exhibits.

Checking out Pond Hill Farm

Pond Hill Farm is another popular destination along the Tunnel of Trees. The farm offers fresh produce and delicious food, and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy for kids and adults alike. You can take a wagon ride or explore the farm on foot. The farm also offers an excellent selection of local wine, hard cider and beer in the Biergarten tent. This is a dog-friendly stop, as well.

What are Other Nearby Attractions?

Visiting Petoskey

While you’re in the area, visiting Petoskey is a must-see destination across Little Traverse Bay from Harbor Springs. Pick up US-31 from M-119 and proceed through Bay View (between Petoskey and Harbor Springs), our pick for one of the 5 best small towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan.

Things to do in Petoskey run the gamut. It is home to a beautiful marina and plenty of shopping options. There are also plenty of great places to dine in Petoskey, where you can discover the best local flavors of Northern Michigan. Try the smoked whitefish!

petoskey marina
David McSpadden, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Savoring the Small-Town Charm of Harbor Springs

Harbor Springs is another small town that you should visit during your trip to the Tunnel of Trees. The town offers a unique blend of small-town charm and upscale dining options. You can explore the Lake Michigan beach nearby or take a stroll through the charming downtown area.

Checking out Thorne Swift Nature Preserve

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, one of the best places to find it is the Thorne Swift Nature Preserve on Lower Shore Drive along Lake Michigan’s shoreline outside of Harbor Springs. Part of the Michigan Land Trust, the preserve offers miles of hiking trails, stunning views of Little Traverse Bay, over 900 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline, and plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife in its natural habitat.

What are Practical Tips When Visiting the Tunnel of Trees?

Exercise Caution along the Narrow Road

When visiting the Tunnel of Trees, exercise caution and take your time. This stretch of M-119 is narrow, and there are a few sharp curves that can be challenging to navigate. Be sure to drive slowly and keep an eye out for other traffic, particularly in peak season. It is easy to get distracted by the vistas overlooking Lake Michigan!

Essentials to Pack for a Scenic Michigan Tunnel of Trees Drive

Essentials to pack for a trip to see the Tunnel of Trees include snacks, water, sunscreen, and bug spray. It’s also a good idea to dress in layers because Michigan weather can be unpredictable. The temperature can change along the Michigan coast depending on the season and where you are on the drive.

Places to Stay Close to the Tunnel of Trees

Use our handy interactive map to check and book your favorite:

Tunnel of Trees Scenic Route is an Unforgettable Experience

In conclusion, visiting the Michigan Tunnel of Trees is a great experience you won’t soon forget. Whether you plan your trip during the fall colors or choose to enjoy the lush greenery of the summer season, the jaw-dropping Tunnel of Trees drive offers a unique and awe-inspiring adventure. With so many nearby attractions and destinations, this scenic drive should be on every Michigan traveler’s bucket list.

How to See Northern Lights in Michigan: 10 Best Tips

mackinac bridge northern lights

Thinking about Northern Lights viewing? The Great Lakes State can offer fans who are willing to seek out the right locations and times a memorable reward! If you’ve ever dreamt of seeing a magnificent Aurora Borealis light display, use these 10 tips to help you plan to see Northern Lights in Michigan.

see northern lights in michigan mackinac bridge at night

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Discover the best place and time to see Northern Lights in Michigan

The Upper Peninsula is a perfect spot to view the Aurora Borealis light show in the dark sky, while the Lower Peninsula can also provide a way to witness this natural phenomenon. Learn where to go and when to catch the best display of the Northern Lights in Michigan using the following tips.

What are Northern Lights and What is the Science Behind the Northern Lights?

How do Northern Lights form?

Northern Lights, which are also known by the Greek-derived name Aurora Borealis – meaning “windy sunrise,” are a natural phenomenon that occurs in the Earth’s atmosphere at high latitudes. Solar wind carries the sun’s charged particles to interact with our Earth’s geomagnetic field and atmospheric gases. This interaction stimulates atoms and molecules and produces a bright, colorful light display that can be seen in the night sky.

What causes the different colors in Northern Lights?

The colors of Northern Lights depend on the atmospheric gas that is being affected by the charged particles. The most common colors are green caused by oxygen atoms and pink, caused by nitrogen molecules. Sometimes Northern Lights may have red, blue, yellow, or purple colorations, depending on the altitude of the display and other factors.

How does the interaction of solar wind and Earth’s atmosphere create Aurora?

The fascinating science behind Northern Lights has documented the interaction of charged sun particles, which are carried by solar wind, with our planet’s electromagnetic field and gases in our atmosphere. When the charged particles hit our magnetic field, they are funneled toward the North and South Poles, Along the way, they collide with atmospheric gases. This collision releases energy in the form of light.

Do latitude and hemisphere affect Aurora visibility?

Your location probably has the biggest impact on your chances of seeing the elusive Northern Lights, which are most commonly seen at higher latitudes. This is where our planetary magnetic field is the strongest. For example, people living in the northern hemisphere are more likely to get a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis, while those in the southern hemisphere may witness Aurora Australis (same phenomenon, different location).

mackinac bridge northern lights
Image by Jason Gillman from Pixabay

What is the connection between Aurora and Earth’s magnetic field?

The connection between Northern Lights and Earth is a scientifically complex and fascinating phenomenon. Basically, the magnetic properties here help to funnel charged particles from the sun towards the poles, where they collide with gases in the atmosphere and create the glowing lights of the Aurora.

Why is Michigan a Great Place to see the Northern Lights?

Michigan is Geographically Desirable for a Date with the Aurora

Michigan is located in Northern Hemisphere at and around the 45th parallel. Its extensive shoreline along Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron makes it a prime spot to see the best Northern Lights activity in the continental United States. The state’s geography also offers a variety of landscapes, from dense forests and rocky shore areas to wide-open fields and dark sky parks to isolated island locations. Any of these can provide ample opportunities for aurora-seekers to appreciate the beauty at different angles and elevations.

Michigan has historic connections to Northern Lights and indigenous culture

Native American cultures in the Midwest region have revered and studied the Northern Lights for centuries. The Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) people in this region interpret the Waawaate (the Ojibwe name for the Aurora) as a continuation of a Great Flood legend. Indicative of their rich traditions of storytelling and mythology, they believe the waawaate to be a spiritual manifestation with the healing and protective powers. Today, visitors to Michigan can learn more about this cultural connection through museums and educational programs throughout the state.

What is the best time to see Northern Lights in Michigan?

Northern Lights can happen during any time of the year, but usually the best time to see them in Michigan is in winter. Michigan winter nights are longer and darker, and the skies are usually clearer in colder weather. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t see them during other seasons. The key is to find clear, dark skies with low light pollution to distract from a full view. Also, be aware that the intensity of the show cannot always be discerned with the naked eye, so come prepared with your camera (even your smartphone can be superior) or other night vision equipment in order to get a full experience.

Where are the best places to see Northern Lights in Michigan?

Michigan has Several Dark Sky Parks and Preserves

In recent years, Michigan has taken steps to protect its dark night skies and offer more opportunities for stargazing and Aurora hunting. Several parks and wildlife preserves have been officially designated by the International Dark-Sky Association, offering some of the darkest and clearest skies in the state.

Top spots to see Northern Lights in the Upper Peninsula

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the best bet with its miles of shoreline on the south shore of Lake Superior, offering some of the darkest and most remote skies in the state, This makes it a prime spot for Northern Lights to appear. In particular, places in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula like the Keweenaw’s Eagle Harbor, the Houghton area, Marquette, and Copper Harbor make for great locations north of the Mackinac Bridge to witness the Aurora Borealis.

Great locations in the Keweenaw Peninsula

The Keweenaw Peninsula is another hotspot with breathtaking views for Northern Lights, thanks to its position jutting out into Lake Superior and its high elevation. Places like the Keweenaw Dark Sky Park – one of only three internationally designated parks in the state, Bete Grise Preserve, and the Copper Harbor lighthouse are the best viewing spots for Aurora hunters.

Isle Royale National Park

If you’re lucky enough to score an overnight stay in Isle Royale National Park, you may be rewarded with a celestial show which could include a meteor shower, a full view of the Milky Way, and planets in our solar system, including the moon. 

Lower Peninsula Michigan parks with good Aurora viewing chances

While the Upper Peninsula takes the cake for the darkest skies in Michigan, there are still a number of places in the Lower Peninsula that offer good chances for observing the Northern Lights. Use our links from any of the interactive maps below to book your stay. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore a must-see natural attraction in Michigan about 25 miles west of Traverse City.

Port Crescent State Park near Port Austin is at the tip of Michigan’s thumb.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Emmet County outside of Mackinaw City in Northern Michigan are some of the best spots with less light pollution and good open views of the northern horizon.

What time of year is best to see Northern Lights in Michigan?

Month-by-month guide to Northern Lights in Michigan

The factors that affect Northern Lights visibility – solar activity and geomagnetic conditions – are always changing, This constant state of change makes it difficult to predict the optimum times to see them. Generally, however, the winter months from November to March tend to offer the most chances for clear skies, which make for unimpeded views opportunities, with peak months being December and January.

In 2023, magnificent displays occurred well into April. A major solar flare burst of energy was observed on March 3.  But an even better precursor of Aurora activity was to follow the next month. A coronal mass ejection, a stronger force than the typical solar wind interactions, occurred on April 21, resulting in excitement for sky-watchers far more south in America than usual.

photographer silhouette northern lights

How to use Aurora forecast websites to plan your visit

There are several websites and apps that can help you track the conditions for Northern Lights appearances in Michigan, providing real-time data on the KP (geomagnetic activity) index, solar flares, and other variables that can influence local Aurora visibility. Some of the most popular Northern Lights forecasts include the Space Weather Prediction Center operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), AuroraWatch from our neighbors to the north, and the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Why fall is a great time to witness magnetic activity in Michigan

Although winter is often thought of as the best time to view Northern Lights in Michigan, fall can be a lucrative bet for great opportunities to catch a glimpse of what can seem to be a very elusive phenomenon. In particular, the months of September and October flanking the Autumn Equinox can be a good time to witness the Aurora, with clear skies and the added bonus of autumn foliage.

How do I increase my chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Michigan?

Tips for finding light pollution-free areas in Michigan

One of the most important factors in improving your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Michigan is finding a location with little to no light pollution. This means your best chance to see them is to avoid cities and other areas with bright lights and instead seek out remote areas with a lack of light. State and national parks, wildlife preserves, and camping areas can all provide some of the best opportunities for dark sky viewing.

How to take great photos of the Northern Lights in Michigan

Capturing the beauty of the Northern Lights in photos can be challenging, but with a little practice and the right equipment, it is possible to take enviable shots. To get the best results, you will need a camera with manual controls, a wide-angle lens, and a sturdy tripod. Experiment with high ISO settings and longer exposure times, and also try a remote shutter release to avoid the dreaded camera shake.

What to pack for your Michigan Aurora viewing trip

To have a successful and comfortable Northern Lights experience, you will need to be prepared for the cold and changing weather conditions Michigan blesses us with. We all know the drill: dress in layers that you can add or subtract, and bring warm footwear – socks and sturdy, weatherproof boots.  Gloves or mittens for frosty finger protection and hats to help maintain body temperature are imperative.

Make sure you have a good supply of food and water on hand. It’s possible you will be out in the elements for hours, so be prepared for any development.

Don’t forget to pack your camera and tripod, and any other equipment you need for taking photos of the lights.


In conclusion, experiencing the beauty of Northern Lights in Michigan is an awe-inspiring sight. The Great Lakes State provides numerous opportunities to see the Aurora Borealis in all its glory, and with the help of the tips provided in this post, you can be well on your way to witnessing a stunning light display. Remember these 3 things:

  •  plan your trip ahead of time, 
  • stay up-to-date with the latest weather forecasts,
  • and find a location with low light pollution to get the best vantage. 

Don’t wait any longer, start planning for a Northern Lights trip in Michigan today!

Find the Best Place to See Tulips in Holland Michigan (2023)

girls in tulip field

Can’t Swing a Trip to Europe for Tulip Time? Find the Best Place to See Tulips in Holland Michigan

best place to see tulips in holland michigan

As spring approaches and Mother Nature awakens from her deep slumber, winter’s barren landscape starts to transform with flowers blooming and foliage emerging on trees. One of the most famous places to visit during this season is the Netherlands, where the Tulip Festival starts and is a sight to behold. Millions of tourists descend onto this European country to witness these wondrous flowers’ beauty and charm. In Holland tulip time is peak tourist season, so visiting the Netherlands makes for a very expensive experience.

History of Holland Michigan

If you want to experience the colorful glory of tulip fields but Europe is not an option, then another great place to get this unique experience is to visit Holland, Michigan, in the United States. A pretty small town on Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa about 30 miles southwest of Grand Rapids, Holland was founded in 1847 by Albertus C. VanRaalte.

VanRaalte came to the United States from the Netherlands with a group of other Dutch immigrants to escape religious oppression and economic instability. With hard work from the new settlers, the city prospered, and the Dutch heritage permeated through the settlement. 

red tulips in a field
Image by Swan from Pixabay

How Tulip Time Festival in Holland Got Started

It was in 1927 that Miss Lida Rogers, a biology teacher in the city of Holland, suggested embracing the tulip as the city’s official flower because of its strong ties with the Netherlands. In 1928, 100,000 tulip bulbs of different varieties were purchased from the Netherlands to be planted around the city.

In 1929, with the blooming of these flowers, Tulip Time came into being as an annual festival in Holland, symbolizing the end of winter and the start of spring. The Holland Tulip Time Festival was a chance to not only admire vivid tulips in bloom but to also showcase Holland and its heritage through traditional dances, costumes, and iconic wooden shoes.

Gorgeous Tulip Varieties and Colors in Profusion 

You’ll notice tulips come in a multitude of colors and varieties: white tulips are often sent as condolences, pink tulips are delivered for congratulations, red tulips signify love and passion, orange tulips could mean you have a spiritual connection, and yellow tulips are associated with happiness and cheer.

Varieties such as double blooms which resemble peonies, gaily striped and multi-colored hues, “parrot” tulips, and fancy frills and fringes represent the skills with which cultivars were developed. Remember, tulips were highly coveted as a luxury item, and so in demand in 17th century Europe, that “Tulip Mania” created an economic bubble that eventually caused financial collapse.

multi colored tulips in a field
Image by Swan from Pixabay

Things to Do in Holland Evolved with the Festival

No longer just a flower festival, over time the Tulip Time festival has evolved and combines a variety of activities and entertainment throughout Holland, Tulip Time attractions and activities celebrate Holland and its Dutch heritage, which include concerts, parades, Klompen dance, historic tours, and of course, viewing the millions of tulips.  This unique experience in the USA has helped The Holland Tulip Festival receive the badge for “Best Small Town Festival in America” by Reader’s Digest.

downtown holland welcome tulips
BazookaJoe at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2023 Tulip Time Dates are May 6 – 14

When you visit Tulip Time in Holland in Spring during the month of May, you’ll notice amazing tulip vistas just about everywhere. The below locations are highly recommended to choose the best place to see tulips in Holland Michigan. Plan for a charming, mesmerizing experience during Holland’s Tulip Time with the best tulip displays along with the best chance to take the tulip photos you want to commemorate your visit.

Every Visit to the Tulip Festival in Holland Begins with Centennial Park

Kick off your annual Tulip Time festival visit by heading to Centennial Park which is located in downtown Holland. This beautiful Victorian-style city park is free to visit and is one of the best places to enjoy the display of beautiful tulips in serene surroundings. You can either relax near the traditional Dutch fountain or admire the koi pond as you enjoy a picnic in the park’s shade. During the Tulip Festival, this acre park also hosts traditional Dutch dances which makes it a popular spot for tourists. 

girls in tulip field
Image by Ben Scherjon from Pixabay

Downtown and Tulip Lanes

You can further explore Holland’s downtown streets, home to shops, restaurants, and everything in between. Head to 8th Street where tulips in planters are strategically placed in Holland’s historic district, which makes for an enjoyable and vibrant stroll throughout the downtown area. If you time your visit to coincide with the famous Tulip Time parades, then you will be in for a treat. 

The Kinderparade, or Children’s Parade, is kicked off with a beloved tradition of street scrubbing, where elementary school children wear traditional Dutch costumes and scrub the streets of Holland with a broom for upcoming performances. You’ll see floats, Dutch dance performances, bands, etc, all of which combine to create a festive atmosphere.

If all that walking and standing around Holland has tired you out, but you still want to see the 6 miles of tulips that the city has planted, you can! A great way to see some of the 5 million tulips Holland puts out is to just drive around Holland’s neighborhoods along the tulip lanes, where up to 250,000 bulbs are planted along Washington Avenue and 12th Streets.

downtown tulip beds
BazookaJoe at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For the athletic traveler, a more vigorous but equally fun way to experience and see thousands of tulips planted around the city is to participate in the Tulip Time Run. This event is for everyone, featuring a 5k,10k, and even a Kids Fun Run. It starts early morning in Kollen Park and you can choose to either walk or sprint to complete the course that winds through Holland’s Tulip lined streets.

Tulip Immersion Garden

One of the most unique experiences during the Tulip festival is visiting the Tulip Immersion Garden. Previously housed in the Ottawa County Fairgrounds, it has now moved to the new location of Beechwood Church in Park Township. Crafted by the renowned Dutch horticulturist, Ibo Gülsen, the exhibition will feature 50,000 tulips.

The garden’s tulip beds will be raised to eye and chest level to make for a truly immersive experience. The installation depicts the history of the tulip, which was initially cultivated by the Turkish people, but it was the Dutch who were able to grow it on a full scale and therefore incorporate the flower into their culture.  There is an admission fee that allows for entry on an hourly basis so make sure you book before you go. 

Windmill Island Gardens

If you are looking for a truly authentic Dutch experience while being surrounded by a carpet of blooming tulips, one of the best things you can do is take a road trip to the Windmill Island Gardens to see how the tulips burst into bloom.

This beloved island is home to the ‘de Zwaan’, the last authentic windmill that was allowed to leave the Netherlands. This historic landmark is still functional, as it grinds homegrown grain into flour and is sold to visitors and locals alike. You can also take a tour of the windmill and visit the top from where you can view the sprawling manicured gardens covered in thousands of tulips that bloom in time for the Tulip Festival.

de zwaan windmill
 Jarek Tuszyński / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GDFL

Other attractions at the garden include rides on the antique kids’ carousel, complete with hand-painted horses that add to the overall charm of the place. The gardens are also dotted with several replicas of Netherlands’ structures to give you a taste of the Dutch way of life. If you are looking to take a piece of Holland back with you, then the onsite souvenir shop has a wide variety of options you can peruse while partaking in some cheese tasting. 

Take note that instead of large fields of colorful tulips, these beautiful blooms are planted in smaller beds, which you can enjoy by strolling on the walking trails that meander through the beautiful grounds. The park welcomes up to 50,000 people during Tulip Week so it’s important to plan transportation and visit times accordingly as it can get very crowded.

There is an admission fee for both kids and adults, but it is well worth the price as it’s a great place to visit and see a variety of tulips in a setting that is truly reminiscent of the Netherlands.

​Window on the Waterfront Park

This 30-acre park overlooks the Windmill Island Gardens and is home to 100,000 tulip bulbs that start to bloom in late April during the tulip season. Not only is it home to a spectacular display of beautiful flowers, but it is an idyllic escape from daily life to experience nature’s wonders. With numerous walking and biking trails that meander through the marshlands and foliage, this is a great option to enjoy the great outdoors and admire the tulips. 

Nelis’ Dutch Village

If you want to know what life was like in the Netherlands over 100 years ago, then making a day trip to visit Nelis’ Dutch Village is highly recommended. Modeled after a Dutch village, this family-owned theme park is a true celebration of Dutch heritage, traditions, and architecture.

Make sure to schedule at least 3 – 4 hours to fully experience the rich Dutch heritage that is part of the village. Every year around 30,000 tulip bulbs are planted around the park, which makes it a must-visit attraction during the Holland Michigan Tulip Festival. 

child in field of red tulips
Image by Marjon Besteman from Pixabay

A guided tour through the park by employees clad in traditional Dutch costumes is a great way to experience the ritual of cheese making, candle making, and the quintessential wooden shoe carving. An on-site petting zoo is a great hit with the kids, where they can interact with a variety of animals such as llamas, goats, sheep, etc. 

The admission ticket allows you unlimited access to rides such as a classic carousel, a reimagined Ferris Wheel, Dutch Chair Swing Ride, and the recently added tractor ride.

In between the rides, take a break from Tulip Time festivities and fuel yourself with some traditional Dutch snacks, such as Frikandel, a Dutch version of the hot dog, or Banket, a traditional pastry. If you time it right, you might also get to experience some traditional dance performances that are enjoyable and super fun to experience. 

Veldheer’s Tulip Farm and DeKlomp Delft and Wooden Shoe Factory

North of Nelis’ Dutch Village lies the famous Veldheer’s Tulip Gardens, a major attraction during the Annual Tulip Festival. This family farm has one of the biggest displays of tulips, with around 5 million colorful bulbs planted in gardens for a truly spectacular display.

Veldheers Tulip Farm also boasts one of the biggest varieties of tulips which makes it an ideal place for some Instagram-worthy pictures. As a private establishment, there is a $15 entrance fee per person which allows you to roam the 40-acre area which also has other decorative plants besides tulips. 

A visit to the Veldheer Tulip Farm is incomplete without checking out the Deklomp Wooden Shoe & Delft factory, an onsite store where you can purchase authentic Dutch souvenirs, food, and tulip bulbs. You get a chance to observe artists carving authentic wooden shoes on machines that are imported from the Netherlands.

You can also observe authentic blue and white delftware being handmade on-site by skilled artisans. Delftware is tin-glazed blue and white pottery that is now synonymous with the Netherlands and includes things like plates, vases, etc. Even though this experience comes with a price, the Veldheer Tulip Gardens is a great option to not only view the tulips but also sample some truly authentic Dutch products and delicacies. Best of all, it’s not crowded which makes for an enchanting experience.

If you are looking for a unique travel experience in North America, then look no further than Holland, a city located in West Michigan. The city’s Spring Tulip Festival is an exceptional week-long celebration of Dutch heritage outside of Europe, along with a stunning display of several million tulips all over the city. From traditional Dutch Dancing to live music to the only authentic Dutch windmill in North America, you are certain to have a great time in Holland during Tulip Time, especially while strolling through colorful tulip lanes that are vibrant and colorful. 

Because of the festival’s popularity, it can get very crowded, especially during the weekends, so it’s important to plan the itinerary accordingly. If you have a car, keep a buffer in your plans for finding a parking lot due to the sheer number of people plus closures due to parades, dances etc. If admiring the tulips are a priority versus parades etc, then you can also plan to come a week before or after the festival ends (Tulip Time 2023 dates are May 6-14) to see the tulips while avoiding heavy crowds and take advantage of lower prices. So is your next spring trip to Holland, Michigan?

best places to see tulips holland michigan