Fall in Michigan brings the promise of so much more than just the changing colors of the trees. Autumn in Michigan means fall festivals and everything pumpkin spiced and colored. It’s a season that offers a unique set of sensory treats, from a color palette brimmed with scorching reds, golds and oranges to the olfactory delight of drying leaves. Autumn in Michigan is also the perfect time to take a road trip to experience these things firsthand.
Michigan is so big that, with the help of PureMichigan, we’ve put together three regional road trips where you can delight in the new fall colors, smell the leaves and experience some local flavors. Pick the road trip nearest you and enjoy!
1. Menominee North Pier Lighthouse - Menominee
There's no better place to start a fall foliage road trip than at the Menominee North Pier Light. Even if you've already seen it in person, fall is a great time to rekindle your love for this beacon.
After, you'll head north on M-35 enroute to the next stop. With the right timing, you should see plenty of these bright living art exhibits along the way.
2. Sand Point Light - Escanaba
Escanaba is home to one of Michigan's Sand Point Lights. The other one is in Baraga. This one is open for tours from Memorial Day until October 1st. Even if you only get to see the outside of this historic landmark it's worth the effort. She is stunning!
Now, go have breakfast or lunch at another Escanaba landmark....
3. Optional Food Stop: Swedish Pantry, Escanaba
The Swedish Pantry is a quirky and unique eatery with delicious foods and interesting gifts. Fill up on both, and then hit the road for more fall foliage.
4. Hiawatha National Forest - Gladstone, MI
Pass through enough of this 894,000-acre forest to get a real taste for fall as you head to the next stop on the fall foliage tour.
5. Fayette Historic State Park - Garden, MI
Enjoy exploring this step back in time in one of Michigan's old iron smelting towns. There is much to see here so put on the walking shoes and enjoy!
6. Kitch-Iti-Kipi (The Big Spring) at Palms Brook State Park - Manistique, MI
People who've seen the Big Spring in person say photos just don't do it justice. You'll head into Manistique to Palms Brook State Park to see this amazing natural wonder. Take the "boat" ride and look down into the spring that fills this oasis. It's amazing!
If you enjoy this fall foliage road trip through the UP and want more autumn colors, there are two more road trips below!
ROAD TRIP #2: WESTERN MITTEN
Take this road trip if you're up for adventure and trying new things. You'll start off at a lighthouse, but in Michigan that's no surprise. Here's a link to the Google Map below to guide you along the way. Have fun!
1. Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse - Manistee, MI
The "western" fall foliage road trip starts on the water here in Manistee. Start out all the way at the end of the pierhead at the foot of the light looking back at all the fall colors of Manistee.
Then, hop in the car and head to the next stop on this fall foliage tour, making sure to spot plenty of color along the way.
2. Kaleva Bottle House Historic Museum - Kaleva, MI
The Bottle House is a must-see and worthy of a stop in Kaleva. Now home to the Kaleva Historical Museum, this one-of-a-kind building is made of up 60,000 bottles and was built back in 1941. You can admire the fall colors all over Kaleva while you're here.
3. Optional Food Stop: Mr Foisies Pasties - Cadillac, MI
As you roll through Cadillac enroute to the next stop, Mr. Foisies Pasties is a perfect place to stop and refuel. Mr. Foisies makes fresh beef and veggie pasties every day. You can almost taste one now, right?
4. Historic White Pine Village - Ludington, MI
Experience life in Mason County as it was 100 yearsago by immersing yourself in this interactive historic village of 30-plus buildings and exhibits. Fall is a great season to learn more about Michigan's past here at Historic White Pine Village.
5. Big Sable Point Lighthouse - Ludington State Park - Ludington, MI
The last stop on this fall foliage tour, the Big Sable Point Lighthouse is a must-see on any road trip near Ludington. If you dare climb to the top you'll get a bird's eye view of autumn from the observation deck.
If you still haven't had your "fill" of fall colors yet, you may want to take the third road trip below!
ROAD TRIP #3: CENTRAL & SOUTHERN MITTEN
Named the "Cities and Attractions Fall Foliage Tour," this journey will take you through some cities in Michigan when they are alive with color and show you some attractions in each that you may not have found on your own. Take this road trip if you're up for discovering new things in old places. Here's a link to the Google Map below. But hurry, don't miss the fall foliage window!
This tour starts in the state's capital. Even if you've seen it before, it's still nice to drive by in the fall and see it in full autumn bloom.
1. The state capitol building - Lansing. MI
Autumn is a great time to explore the grounds of the state capitol building. Bring your camera and get some great fall shots from vantage points you don't ordinarily think of when it comes to the state capital.
Arrive early in the morning for easier parking opportunities, and then hit the road for the next stop on this fall foliage excursion.
2. Eaton Rapids and Aunties Deli - Eaton Rapids, MI
Enjoy the charming Main Street of Eaton Rapids as you pass through. Stop for breakfast or lunch at this downtown eatery right on Main. Enjoy the fall colors of the tree-lined street as you sit inside and refuel at Aunties. Then, hit the trail headed for more fall color and the next stop.
3. Albion and Albion College - Albion, Mi
Head still further south to the town of Albion where you'll drive by the charming and beautiful campus of Albion College founded in 1835. Downtown Albion now boasts the restored Bohm Theatre, also a must-see when you're in Albion.
4. Marshall, Michigan and the American Museum of Magic
Founded nearly 40 years years ago, the American Museum of Magic has amassed a huge collection of amazing, quirky and just plain bizarre tricks of the trade. Enjoy the autumn colors of Marshall as you make your way to this unique museum you'll only find in Michigan.
5. Battle Creek and The Leile Arboretum
Follow the Google Map to make your way to the last stop on the fall foliage tour: The Leila Arboretum and Childrens Garden in Battle Creek, MI.
This 72-acre oasis should be even more stunning with the colors of fall lighting the landscape!
The fall season in Michigan offers stunning vistas and amazing color transformations. Take any of these three amazing road trips to enjoy all that autumn in Michigan has to offer!
What’s your favorite part of fall in Michigan? We’d love to know in our comments!