Although we are sad to see the beautiful summer weather go, Michigan fall never disappoints. From the Upper Peninsula to your own backyard, the colors will surely take your breath away. Here are some of the best places to take in this season’s colors!
1. Upper Peninsula
Did you know the leaves change earlier in Northern Michigan? Take a trip up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula during the first week in October to get a glimpse at the fall colors in all their glory! Pictured Rocks is hands down one of the most beautiful places in Michigan to take in the fall colors—with 40 miles of lakeshore and 100 miles of trails, you can’t go wrong. You can also take a ride down scenic US-2 from St. Ignace to Escanaba. This drive is over 150 miles (one-way), you’ll drive the north shore of Lake Michigan, crossing bridges and passing through historic towns.
2. Northern Lower Peninsula
Be sure to make you way up there around October 7th–14th to catch the colors at their peak! Take M-37 north and you’ll drive straight through Manistee National Forest on your way to Traverse city. After stopping in Traverse City for a drink at Taproot Cider House, hop on US-31 and head north for the next leg of the trip. You’ll drive up the coast right along the Grand Traverse Bay to Charlevoix and continuing north to Petoskey. Bonus: the Tunnel of Trees is a short drive from Petoskey. Just hop on M-119 and drive through Benton Harbor along the coast you’ll find yourself on a beautiful old tree-lined winding road.
3. The Lake Michigan Loop
Mid to late October is the perfect time to take this road trip, as the fall colors start to peak around the 15th. To start your journey, hop on US-31 in Muskegon and drive south. This will take you along the shore of Lake Michigan. Stop in Grand Haven for a bite at The Toasted Pickle before you head down through Holland and climb to the top of Mt. Pisgah to take in the views (don’t worry, there are stairs, so this climb is easier than it sounds). Next, jump onto I-196 and travel through Saugatuck, before making your way down to South Haven.
4. The Motor City
Just a few miles from Motown are some of the best places in the world to see the colorful leaves on the trees. The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is located on a tiny island on the Detroit River with plenty of trails. You can also stop by the Belle Isle Conservancy, which has over 1,000 acres of colorful park leaves all ready for your viewing. Then, drive a couple miles to Grosse Point and along the way you can see some of Michigan’s most historic homes on your tour of the fall colors.
5. In Your Own Backyard
Don’t feel like experiencing mother nature while belted into your car? One of the best ways to enjoy the colors is to put on your walking shoes and explore your own neighborhood! Take a stroll through a local park and see how many different species of colored trees you can find. If you’re in the Grand Rapids or Saugatuck areas, stop by Outside Coffee Co. for to warm up while you take in the beauty!
For more ideas for road trips, take a look at the State of Michigan Scenic Byway and Tour map.
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