best places to visit in michigan in fall

Best Places to Visit in Michigan in Fall (2024)

Start Planning! Fall in Michigan is Just Around the Corner!

The state of Michigan in the fall months is a place straight out of a painting. You’ll see a sea of autumn colors and feel the warmth of its small towns, which are great spots to take advantage of what some think is the most beautiful time of year. In this article, we’ll cover the best places to visit in Michigan in fall. You might just find the perfect place waiting to be discovered!

best places to visit in michigan in fall
Image by Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay

It’s a spot for those who love scenic drives, outdoor fun, or just a quiet corner to relax. In this article, we dive into Michigan’s fall wonders. We’ll showcase the top spots, activities, and experiences. Fall in Michigan is a time you don’t want to miss.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the stunning fall colors of Michigan’s autumn foliage and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the season.
  • Experience the charm and coziness of Michigan’s small towns, where you can explore local shops and embrace the fall atmosphere.
  • Embark on scenic drives through Michigan’s countryside and witness the breathtaking landscapes that unfold before you.
  • Indulge in fall activities such as apple picking, wine tasting, and attending fall festivals to truly embrace the spirit of the season.
  • Don’t miss the chance to visit Michigan’s national parks and state parks, where you can hike amid a stunning backdrop of fall foliage.

Table of Contents

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Experience Pure Michigan’s Autumn Tapestry

Pure Michigan shines during autumn. It turns into a colorful wonderland. Every corner, from the Upper Peninsula to small towns, is stunning.

The trees light up in hues of orange, yellow, and red. It’s a beautiful sight that captures the essence of fall.

The Allure of Fall Foliage Across the State

The fall colors in Michigan are amazing. You’ll see nature’s art everywhere. The leaves change to bright colors.

Driving or hiking, you’ll be surrounded by autumn’s beauty. It’s like a visual feast that represents Pure Michigan perfectly.

Whispers of Autumn in the Crisp Morning Air

In the morning, you feel autumn in the air. The cooler temperatures and breezy atmosphere are energizing. It pushes you to explore the outdoors.

You might head off on biking trails, kayak along scenic waterways, or walk in a local park among the beautiful fall colors. With the crisp air, every activity feels special. It’s the magic of fall in Michigan.

See also: 

Mesmerizing Views at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a must-see in Michigan’s fall. It’s along the shores of Lake Superior outside of Munising. The area shows off fall’s colors like no other. Leaves change from green to red, yellow, and orange, highlighting the rocky cliffs in one of the most distinctive landscapes in the entire Great Lakes region.

Exploring the Color Changes Along Lake Superior

Walk the trails and take in the incredible views. You’ll see nature’s colors change in the perfect time of the year to experience the outdoors. The fall leaves reflect in Lake Superior’s waters. It looks amazing.

Pathways to Breathtaking Escarpments and Sandstone Cliffs

Pictured Rocks has stunning features like escarpments and cliffs. These add to the fall colors’ beauty. Stop to take photos or just enjoy the view. You’ll be amazed by what you see.

Pictured Rocks Cliffs      Awe-inspiring sandstone cliffs towering above Lake Superior
2Chapel RockA picturesque rock formation with a lone tree perched on top
3Au Sable Light StationA historic lighthouse offering breathtaking views of the lakeshore
4Grand Portal PointA dramatic arch-shaped rock formation, perfect for photography

Visiting Pictured Rocks in the fall is unforgettable. It shows Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at its best. It’s a great way to see the outdoors in autumn.

Where to Stay near Pictured Rocks:

Pure Michigan’s Hidden Gems: Northwest’s Offseason Wonders

In the summer, some parts of Michigan draw big crowds. But, the northwest Lower Peninsula region shines in the fall. Traverse City, Leland, and Glen Arbor are among the charming towns that boast fall colors and hidden treasures. You can tour wineries on the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas or pick apples and cherries. Make sure to see the beauty and peace of northwest Michigan during fall.

Traverse City: The Heart of Northern Michigan’s Autumn

Traverse City, located on Grand Traverse Bay in northern Michigan, shines in fall. It’s filled with stunning views and a warm vibe. There are lots of autumn activities for everyone.

Wine Tasting and Apple Picking in the Harvest Season

Visiting Traverse City in fall means wine tasting at local wineries. It sits in Michigan’s wine country, offering a vast selection of wines. Enjoy the area’s top wines and the season’s tastes.

Traverse City is also famous for apple orchards. Autumn is ideal for picking fresh, tasty apples. You’ll find many apple types, ensuring a favorite for every taste.

​Where to Stay in Traverse City:

Leelanau Peninsula: A Great Place for Apple Orchards and Wine Trails

The Leelanau Peninsula is Michigan’s hidden gem during fall. It offers a beautiful mix of apple orchards and wine trails. You can walk through colorful orchards, picking your own apples. Enjoy the taste of the fall harvest with a fresh pressed apple cider.

Then, follow the wine trails. Taste the region’s finest wines, a perfect match for autumn. Remember to check out the fall festivals and events. These celebrate the season’s abundance.

Leelanau Peninsula is an amazing spot. It’s perfect for diving into Michigan’s fall flavors.

See our full write-up here: Best Leelanau Peninsula Wineries

M-22 Highway: A Road Trip Through Fall’s Splendor

Take a road trip on the M-22 highway for fabulous fall colors. Traverse City is the start of this journey. The drive showcases Lake Michigan’s shores and amazing landscapes.

Driving M-22 lets you see autumn’s vibrant colors. Enjoy the views, visit lovely towns, and see northern Michigan’s autumn beauty.

Where to Stay in the Leelanau Peninsula:

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Adventures

Challenging Dune Hikes with Rewarding Lake Michigan Views

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers a unique and breathtaking experience during the fall season. Challenge yourself with dune hikes that lead to rewarding views of Lake Michigan. The area is surrounded by the vibrant colors of autumn.

Glen Arbor: A Charming Pit Stop on Your Fall Journey

Glen Arbor, near the national lakeshore, is a charming town for a perfect pit stop. Explore the local shops and galleries. Soak in the cozy atmosphere of this hidden gem. Fall adventures await at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Glen Arbor.

Embrace the Charm of Small Towns Like Leland and Harbor Springs

Michigan’s fall is ideal to feel the charm of small towns. Leland and Harbor Springs are two examples. They are a break from the busy life. You can enjoy the fall colors and their special charm here.

Walking through Leland and Harbor Springs is peaceful. The trees in autumn are beautiful. You can shop in local stores for unique gifts.

Fall festivals in these towns are full of life. They offer music, food, and fun. It’s a time when everyone feels like family.

These towns have lots to do in the fall. You can bike or hike to see the beautiful leaves. Try local food that tastes like autumn.

Visiting Leland, Harbor Springs, or both is rewarding. You’ll love their charm and friendly vibe. It’s a great way to enjoy Michigan’s fall and make memories.

TownFall Activities
Traverse City  1. Explore wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau County wineries
2. Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and hike the Empire Bluff Trail
3. Enjoy the annual Flapjack and Flannel Festival
4. Go for a bike ride on the TART Trail
Leland1. Discover historic Fishtown
2. Take a scenic drive along M-22
3. Enjoy fishing on Lake Michigan
4. Visit the Leelanau State Park
Glen Arbor1. Explore the Sleeping Bear Point Trail
2. Go kayaking or paddleboarding on Glen Lake
3. Visit the Glen Arbor Arts Center
4. Take a scenic fall drive on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

Are you up for outdoor fun, scenic journeys, or tasty local dishes? Northwest Michigan’s hidden spots have it all. Dive into the fall colors, visit quaint towns, and make memories in this unique area. This fall, see Pure Michigan in a new light.

best places to visit in michigan in fall lake colors
Image by Todd Kay from Pixabay

Discover the Fall Colors of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, just west of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the U.P., is a haven for nature enthusiasts who are after breathtaking Michigan fall colors.. Its forests turn into a sea of reds and yellows. These colors create a breathtaking scene of fall foliage. Explore Michigan’s fall beauty by trekking through the park’s vast trails.

Hiking Amidst the Fiery Reds and Yellows

Take a journey along the hiking trails through the stunning fall scenery of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The trails snake through a picturesque landscape, providing views of reds and yellows. While hiking, the vibrant autumn colors surround you, offering a deep dive into Michigan’s natural splendor.

Great Time for Fall Activities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Besides hiking, the park has lots of fall activities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Camp under the stars in cool autumn nights. Try fishing or kayaking in the lakes and rivers. Immerse yourself in nature and see the fall season come alive.

HikingAll season
CampingAll season
FishingAll season
KayakingAll season
Wildlife ViewingAll season

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, hidden in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, offers serene fall experiences. Plan a trip and dive into the fall colors that decorate the park. Feel the magic of autumn in Pure Michigan.

Other Great Destinations in the U.P.

​Try not to miss Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Copper Harbor. If you’re into hiking, Michigan has the most miles of the national North Country Trail’s eight states, with easy access across the entire Upper Peninsula.

Where to Stay in the Upper Peninsula:

The Enchanting Mackinac Island in Autumn

Mackinac Island is a favorite spot and one of the most beautiful places in Michigan. It becomes magical in the autumn. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides along the pretty streets. 

Early October is perfect for seeing the island’s beauty. This is when the fall colors are brightest. Come to explore Mackinac Island’s history and nature. You’ll make memories to cherish forever.

See: Best Hotels and Places to Stay on Mackinac Island

Fall Road Trips Along Lake Michigan and Lake Huron

Driving from Charming Small Towns to Grand Splashes of Color

Perhaps the best way to take in the scenic beauty is to head on a fall road trip, whether it’s a long or a short drive. Take a scenic trip by Lake Michigan and Lake Huron for amazing fall journeys in Michigan. Your adventure begins in small towns along the shore. Here, you find cozy cafes, unique shops, and beautiful views.

See more: 5 Best Small Towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan

  • Explore Saugatuck’s vibrant streets, celebrated for its artsy vibe and beautiful Lake Michigan beaches.
  • Visit Frankenmuth, known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria, and visit Bronner’s Christmas World
  • Head up U.S. 23 from Saginaw through charming towns along the Lake Huron shore: Au Gres, East Tawas, Oscoda, Harrisville, Alpena
  • Check out Petoskey, a cute village by Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan, and enjoy the stunning fall sights.

Driving these scenic routes, you’ll be wowed by the brilliant colors around you. The trees, glowing in bright red, gold, and amber, make every view picture-perfect.

​Michigan in the Fall is Unforgettable

Michigan in the fall is truly unforgettable. You’ll see vibrant colors and charming towns. Plus, the scenic drives are amazing.

There’s so much to do, from relaxing to exploring. You can also learn about Michigan’s rich history and culture. Everyone finds something to enjoy.

Visit top attractions to see Michigan’s natural beauty. Pictured Rocks and Mackinac Island are magical. And don’t miss the sand dunes in northwest Michigan.

In these spots, you can see beautiful places and enjoy the fall harvest. It’s a special time in Michigan.

Visiting Michigan in the fall is perfect. The weather is nice, and the views are stunning. Plan to spend time outside.

Enjoy hiking, apple picking, and wine tasting. Fill your trip with the rich colors and tastes of autumn. It will be a trip to remember.

Exploring colorful landscapes or tasting the harvest are parts of the fun. Road trips in Michigan are breathtaking too. So, get ready to explore.

Pack your bags and hit the road to see autumn’s beauty in Michigan. An unforgettable adventure waits for you in Pure Michigan!


What are the best places to visit in Michigan in fall?

In the fall, Michigan shines with stunning spots. Places like Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Traverse City are must-visits. Don’t miss Mackinac Island, Leelanau Peninsula, and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Where can I see the best fall foliage in Michigan?

For breathtaking fall colors, Michigan won’t disappoint. Check out Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The Leelanau Peninsula also offers some of the best views in the lower peninsula.

What activities can I do in Michigan during the fall season?

Michigan’s fall season is packed with activities. You can go hiking, biking, and apple picking. Enjoy wine tasting, visiting cider mills, and attending fall festivals. Explore charming small towns and take scenic drives to see the fall colors.

When is the best time to visit Michigan for fall foliage?

To catch Michigan’s fall foliage, plan your visit for late September to late October. The colors peak in early to mid-October across most of the state.

See: Best Time to See Fall Colors in Upper Michigan

What are some must-visit attractions in Michigan during the fall?

Michigan’s fall season highlights include Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Don’t skip Mackinac Island, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and the Leelanau Peninsula.

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