From Our Fans: 10 Breathtaking Fall Color Drives to Experience this Season

The sun is shining. A cool autumn breeze sweeps gently through your hair. And you have plenty of daylight to enjoy a quintessential fall jaunt through the back roads of Pure Michigan. What could be better! If this scenario sounds like a seasonal dream come true, hop in the car, buckle up and head in any direction you please. Use these ten fall color road trips as your guide (and the photos for inspiration)! 

Traverse City – Northport – Frankfort
The Traverse City-Northport-Frankfort areas are ablaze with autumn hues!  As you drive through more than 250 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, make some time for a stop at Mission Point Lighthouse or Point Betsie.

Photo by Jesse Barcega - Bowers Harbor Park on Old Mission Peninsula

Photo by Jesse Barcega – Bowers Harbor Park on Old Mission Peninsula

Oscoda – West Branch – Tawas City
This Michigan Sunrise Side fall color tour includes a scenic drive along Lake Huron. You won’t be disappointed with a stop to breathe in the fresh autumn air on the River Road Scenic Byway along the Au Sable River.

Photo by Phil Overbeeke - River Road Scenic Byway

Photo by Phil Overbeeke – River Road Scenic Byway

Flint – Brighton – Bloomfield Hills
Fall color in East Central and Southeastern Michigan peaks in October. Recharge with a stop for cider and donuts at Diehl’s Orchard and Cider Mill, Spicer’s or the Historic Grist Mill.

Photo by Shannon Hartman - Holly, MI

Photo by Shannon Hartman – Holly, MI

Pentwater – White Cloud – Muskegon
Rolling wooded hillsides, orchards with ripe apples and beautiful vistas of Lake Michigan are a part of this West Michigan tour. Pull over and take in the scenery at Muskegon State Park, Charles Mears State Park or  P.J. Hoffmaster State Park.

Photo by Louise Olson - Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Photo by Louise Olson – Silver Lake Sand Dunes

New Buffalo – St. Joseph – Benton Harbor – Paw Paw
This Southwestern Michigan tour features cider mills, u-pick farms, roadside markets, wineries and quiet hiking trails as you travel. Why not stop to taste autumn’s harvest at Warner Vineyards Winery, Round Barn Winery Tasting Room or Karma Vista Vineyards and Winery?

Photo by Tanya Pradon - Paw Paw Lake, Coloma Township

Photo by Tanya Pradon – Paw Paw Lake, Coloma Township

Mackinaw City – Petoskey – Charlevoix
Forested countryside and charming resort towns are nestled along the sparkling blue waters of Lake Michigan in this neck of the woods. Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is a must-visit on this color drive.

Photo by Annette Robidoux - Petoskey, MI

Photo by Annette Robidoux – Petoskey, MI

Houghton – Eagle River – Copper Harbor
Michigan’s fall colors come first to the trees of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the state’s northernmost point. Amidst the stunning display of reds, oranges and golds, take some time to explore Michigan’s historic mining industry at the Quincy or Delaware Mine.

Photo by Clayton Adams - Copper Harbor

Photo by Clayton Adams – Copper Harbor

Munising – Newberry – Grand Marais
Mother Nature’s paintbrush gets a workout in Michigan each autumn.  Her fall palette washes over the Munising – Newberry – Grand Marais area, making a stop at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore or Tahquamemon Falls an integral part of this fall tour.

Photo by Judy Kniaz - Munising, MI

Photo by Judy Kniaz – Munising, MI

Menominee – Escanaba – Manistique
If you’re looking for fabulous fall color, look no further than the Menominee-Escanaba-Manistique area! Not to be missed along the way is Kitch-iti-kipi at Palms Book State Park. The largest freshwater spring in the state measures 200 feet across and 40 feet deep, with more than 10,000 gallons of clear water gushing each minute.

Photo by Jim Brannstrom - Nahma Township

Photo by Jim Brannstrom – Nahma Township

[Insert Your Hometown Here]
You don’t need to drive far to find fabulous fall foliage in Pure Michigan. Take a trip down Main St., head to a local park, or just gaze out your window!

Photo by John Walbridge

Photo by John Walbridge

Have you taken a fall color tour this season? Tell us about your trip. Visit michigan.org/fall for more ideas on Pure Michigan fall getaways. 

 

Castles in Michigan? Six Attractions Fit for a King!

Hear ye, hear ye! You are now in the court of Pure Michigan’s kingdom. Surprising to some, Michigan is home to a handful of castles that would draw envy from some of the mightiest medieval rulers. From visiting the tall tower at Curwood castle or sitting down for a chicken dinner fit for a king in Frankenmuth, these Michigan mansions are sure to peak your royal interests.

Castle Rock
CastleRock
Steer your cavalry toward St. Ignace to see some of the most spectacular views of the Straits of Mackinac and Mackinac Island around. This ancient lookout of the Ojibwa Indians, referred to as Pontiac’s outlook, is 195.8 feet above ground level. If you’re an adventurous traveler, climb the 170 steps all the way to the top.  Castle Rock also features a gift barn full of majestic mementos so you’ll never forget your visit.

Learn more about Castle Rock in this video from Under the Radar Michigan.

The Curwood Castle

CurwoodCastleCurwood Castle, located in Curwood Castle Park, hails on the banks of the Shiawassee River. It served as the writing studio of James Oliver Curwood, one of America’s foremost authors of adventure novels and an early advocate of environmental conservation. Set in Owosso, among one of the richest collections of historic homes and buildings in the Midwest, this replica of a Norman chateau was completed in 1923. The beautiful castle was used by Curwood until his death in 1927. It is now a museum and open to the public.

Castle Farms

Built in 1918, this nationally acclaimed French Renaissance Castle offers old world charm and modern day amenities with its soaring stone towers, cobblestone courtyards and magnificent sweeping gardens. Open year round, Castle Farms welcomes weddings, historical tours, private parties, festivals and more! Feed the fish, play giant chess, tour the royal collections, 1918 museum, Garden Railway, Enchanted Forest and whatever else your honorable heart desires.

Castle Museum of Saginaw County HistorySaginawCastle

The Castle Museum in Saginaw stands tall and welcomes all to explore its long and rich history! Designed as a French castle to honor the French heritage of Saginaw, this stronghold is now home to the historical museum, featuring voyageurs, archaeology and exhibits on Saginaw County and state history. Once a federal building, this castle open’s its gate to all curious nobles.

Bavarian Inn Castle Shops

Put the Bavarian Inn Castle Shops on your map to be transported to a German-style castle. Located in the lower level of the world-famous Bavarian Inn Restaurant in Frankenmuth, these shops are worth your voyage. From souvenirs to some of the finest wine and cheeses around, there is something for everyone in this royal bazaar. Don’t forget to try a sample of Frankenmuth’s famous fudge!

Henderson Castle Bed & Breakfast

HendersonCastle

When your noble feet are weary, make your way to the Henderson Castle Bed & Breakfast. Whether you hail from near or far, you’ll be treated like a king or queen minutes away from vibrant Kalamazoo. Situated in the historic West Main Hill neighborhood, you’re minutes away from the theatres, shopping and vibrant night life of downtown Kalamazoo, but secluded enough to enjoy a quiet night free from the noise of the city. Get a massage, facial or manicure in our day spa. Soak in the rooftop hot tub while taking in the best view of downtown Kalamazoo that’s available. If you’re hungry, stay for dinner and indulge in some of the finest French food southwest Michigan has to offer.

Whether you’re a king, queen, prince or jester, you’re sure to find an imperial Michigan castle for the whole family to enjoy! 

Have you visited a castle in Michigan? Do you know of any others to add to the list? 

It’s National Manufacturing Day! These 6 Attractions Showcase Michigan’s Rich Heritage

Today is National Manufacturing Day! Home to nearly 14,000 manufacturing establishments, 61 top automotive suppliers, and more engineers per capita than any other state, Michigan is a leader in making things and making things work.

Interested in exploring Michigan’s rich manufacturing history? You’re in luck! We’ve compiled this handy list of just a few attractions that showcase Michigan as a manufacturing maven.

Quincy_MineQuincy Mine Tours
Explore Michigan’s historic mining industry with a visit to the Quincy Mine located on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Mining operations have been closed for many years, but the site is preserved as a cooperating site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park. The Quincy Mine Tour offers three unique tours for all visitors: Surface Tour only, Surface Tour with Tram Ride, and Full Tour. All tours include a visit to the museum, a video-tour of the No. 2 Shaft-Rock House and a guided tour of the enormous and complex Nordberg steam-powered hoist engine and the building it is in. On the Full Tour, you will take a ride on the cog-rail tram car down the hill to the mine entrance and then ride by tractor-pulled wagon into the mine, seven levels underground. If you’re looking for some family-friendly adventure, a tour of the Quincy Mine is your ticket.

Adventure Mining Company Copper Mine Tour
No visit to Copper Country can be considered complete without a tour through the historic Adventure Copper Mine. Walk through part or all of the tunnels on the first level or try your hand at rappelling to the second level of the mine…the choice is yours! Boldly go where no underground mine tour has gone before - descend an 80′ shaft with a rope and harness, learn how the miners worked to extract copper from deep underground, and listen to the history and stories of the miners that worked there. So, strap on your hard hat for an adventure enjoyed by guests of all ages.

Soo Locks
Did you know that between 7,000 – 10,000 boats pass through the Soo Locks each year? This man-made marvel is the busiest lock system in the world, by cargo tonnage.  Built in 1855, these locks connect Lake Superior to Lake Huron and beyond. The Locks consist of two canals and four locks that allow vessels of many types/sizes to safely traverse the 21-foot drop in elevation. Every season, repeat visitors who call themselves “Boat Nerds” flock to watch ships from all over the world use this free lock system.  The locks are open 24 hours a day. You can even take your personal boat through the locks – as long as you have permission from the lockmaster!

See the Soo Locks in action in the video below, or check out these nine things you might not have known about Sault Ste. Marie’s great engineering marvel.

Ford Rouge Factory Tour at The Henry Ford Museum
The Henry Ford boasts four one-of-a-kind attractions and 200 acres, including the Ford Rouge Factory Tour.  Put yourself at the center of sheer manufacturing when you take this unique walking tour. Beyond the awe-inspiring sweep, scale and action of the real-life factory floor where the Ford F-150 is made, get set for some eye-opening encounters with the technology of tomorrow—today. The tour is a self-guided five-part experience. Visitors can expect to take a 360-degree look at how automobiles are made, see five historic vehicles made at the Rouge or hop in a new F-150.

gristmillTom Walker Grist Mill
Tom Walker’s Grist Mill is a Michigan Historic Site. This 136 years old cider mill is a fall favorite among visitors to Livingston County and is one of the few remaining water-powered mills in Michigan. Grist Mill also has a rich history as a flour mill. It eventually became a grist mill, grinding grain for animal feed. These grains are still listed on the mill wall today.

The mill offers guided tours during the week – visit the press room and learn how delicious freshly squeezed cider is made, immerse yourself in a history lesson history, enjoy a quaint nature walk by the Ore Creek,  see the mill’s bakers creating delicious homemade pies in the Pie Shoppe, and of course, end your tour with a glass of cider and a spiced donut!

Michigan Iron Industry Museum
The Michigan Iron Industry Museum (MIIM) in Negaunee tells the story of iron ore and how its discovery in 1844 impacted Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, both in the massive investment made in the business of mining and the people who came to the region to work in the mines.

Photo courtesy of MIIM and Michigan DNR

Photo courtesy of MIIM and Michigan DNR

The museum is nestled in a wooded ravine overlooking the Carp River, which once was home to the area’s first iron forge. The exhibits, which include some outdoor interpretation areas, give the visitor a good overview of the history of iron ore production in the region and how that led to the rise of area communities, the waves of immigrants who flocked to the area for work and how the work in the mines evolved from a dangerous, very physical job done by hand to today’s more modern mining techniques that rely on technology.

MIIM is also becoming a popular spot to take in the Upper Peninsula’s spectacular fall colors. The museum is connected to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, a 47-mile multi-use trail in Marquette County that connects to several historic sites throughout the area’s iron range. The museum grounds also have two shorter interpretative paths that provide breathtaking views of fall foliage. In either instance, a fall color walk or hike is ready-made at the MIIM. In the summer, the museum offers bicycle tours on the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, with stops at various historic mine sites. 

Have you visited a Michigan manufacturing attraction? Tell us about your visit.