Get Your Fall Foliage Fix at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

As we say goodbye to summer and welcome the root of fall, we face new explorations of Pure Michigan. Known for its abundance of autumnal colors, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is unique not only for its rock formations and shoreline, but also for its hiking trails and waterfalls. Whether you’re planning to experience the lakeshore by water or land, there are many ways to get your fall foliage fix.

Read more on four ways to see fall foliage near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

1. Cruise the Lakeshore

Travel alongside the picturesque 40-mile stretch of vibrantly colored trees, sandy beaches, waterfalls, caverns and rare rock formations on a Pictured Rocks Cruise. The clear blue water and red and orange hues of the rocks rising vertically out of the shoreline add a nice touch to the fall foliage that line the Lakeshore. The tour features the most iconic landmarks of Pictured Rocks including the East Channel Lighthouse,  Miners Castle, Lovers Leap and other iconic landmarks. This family-friendly cruise also offers complimentary dog kennels on-site for the duration of the cruise. The 2 ½ hour-long cruises are an ideal way to see parts of Pictured Rocks that you cannot see from land.

Pictured Rocks Cruises is one of the best ways to see the Lakeshore

Photo Courtesy of Shawn Malone

2. Paddle Pictured Rocks

Get up close and personal on a Pictured Rocks Kayaking tour of the most iconic stretch of the Lakeshore. On this 5 hour-long tour, you’ll get the chance to paddle through caves, under arches and alongside waterfalls. Glide through the crystal clear water of Lake Superior and enjoy the vibrant hues of fall foliage surrounding the Lakeshore. The journey features many landmarks including Miners Castle, Lovers Leap, Rainbow Cave, Indian Head, Gull Rookery, Grand Portal, Chapel Cove and Chapel Rock. Pictured Rocks Kayaking provides all paddling equipment and ensures that paddling will be done with the wind at the paddlers back whenever possible.

Get up close and personal with multi-colored sandstone cliffs by kayaking

Photo Courtesy of Shawn Malone

3. Hike the Trails

Experience Pictured Rocks from a different perspective. While hiking the shoreline, you are at the heart of the fall foliage, with a breathtaking view of Lake Superior below. The Lakeshore offers a variety of recognizable sites to see and should be on every Michiganders bucket list. With over 60 miles of hiking trails within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, you’ll experience fall color like never before.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore boasts many beautiful waterfalls

Photo Courtesy of Pictured Rocks Cruises

4. Take a Drive

An explosion of vibrant red, orange and gold adds an entirely new dimension to a Pictured Rocks road trip. The route to the Lakeshore offers an astounding look at fall foliage with towering trees and royal blue lakes encompassing most of your drive. With many areas to stop and admire the scenery, you won’t mind taking the long route.

Celebrate Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore’s 50th anniversary this autumn with a cruise, kayak or hike—we guarantee you’ll fall in love.

What is your favorite memory from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore? Share with us by commenting below!

Blog provided by Pictured Rocks Cruises. Follow PRC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

6 Ways To Take A Scenic Route To Fabulous Fall Color

Where’s the best scenic route to catch the crimson color-action of Autumn in Pure Michigan? Truth: absolutely everywhere! But we happen to be partial to the seasonal splendor that can only be experienced when you Go Great Lakes Bay… like spending a day immersed in Mother Nature’s bounty on a custom Johnny Panther Quest Adventure Trip, marveling aboard the majestic BaySail Appledore Tall Ships as cozy quilts and chili soothe your soul, pedaling the Great Lakes Bay Regional Rail Trail with the scent of fresh, fall foliage in the air - that’s how you truly seize the day by taking the #PureMichigan #ScenicRoute – whether by boat, by bike, or by car!

1. Completely Unique Trips 

Why do people flock to Johnny Panther Quests Color Tours by Boat? Because there’s literally nothing like it in the state (or anywhere else, for that matter)! Mother Nature is the conductor of this show, so no two Johnny Panther eco-tours are the same: this group witnessed a bald eagle, this outing included a mesmerizing sunset …  

Even the boat that brings folks to Autumnal awesomeness-shallow draft, custom-built boats-are unique, as is the tour guide ‘Johnny Panther’ himself.

Fall Color Tours by Boat: Customized 2- 3 hour excursions, mid-September through October
Pricing and boat-sizes vary; multiple offerings and options

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

2. Aboard Beauty 

The Great Lakes Bay Region is home to Bay Sail, and the Appledore IV a.k.a. the majestic tall ship vessel and magnificent scenic route to Fall colors in Pure Michigan. Water-kissed viewing pleasure, epic surroundings, hot cider, chili, cornbread-it doesn’t get better than this, folks!

Autumn Color Tour River Cruises are 2-hour journeys, available October 1 – 23, 2016
- Cost is: Students, $27, Adults, $37
- Along with the lovely colors, look for Bald Eagles and Snowy Egrets

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

3. Wonder Found in Waterways

Ike’s Mobile Kayak Rentals is the spot for on-your-own or guided kayak tours-and the scenic route of choice to maneuver your way through gorgeous during Fall Color Paddle Tours.

Single kayak rates differ from tandem kayak rates
Group excursions, fishing outings and even overnight adventures will surely enhance your viewing pleasure.

And if paddling doesn’t sound like your kind of serenity, boarding Bay City Boat Lines’ Princess Wenonah and/or Islander will bring the scenery to you with nary a finger lifted. Cruise through their Calendar of Events for times, dates and prices of Fall Color Boat Rides, and prepare to ride off into the sunset.

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

4. On A Bicycle Built For ‘You’ 

Even if you’re from halfway across the globe, surely the place to bike for Fall beauty is the Great Lakes Bay Regional Rail Trail.

A note before riding: The Great Lakes Bay Regional Rail Trail is magical in its own right and it was forged to connect these not-to-be-missed opportunities for beauty:

Bay County River Walk/RailTrail: 17.5 miles through Bay City, including the Bay City State Recreation Area
Saginaw Valley Rail Trail: 11 miles from St. Charles to Saginaw Township’s Center Road Bridge Path
Pere Marquette Rail Trail: 30 miles from Midland to Coleman, with a loop around Chippewa Nature Center

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

5. All Kinds of Fall Fun

With 1,200 acres and over 15 miles of trails, Chippewa Nature Center is both massive in size and opportunity to take the scenic route(s) and experience spectacular displays of the season.

- Hike and bike the trails; explore the Ecosystem Gallery and Wildlife Viewing Area
- Gather at events from Homestead Sunday in September to Autumn at the Wigwam in October for all kinds of Fall fun, too.

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

6. 4-Wheel-Wowing 

Roll down your window during this car ride, honey. You’re in for quite a show while meandering along, driving through Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge-yes, driving!

The newly-constructed, 6.5-mile Wildlife Drive (Auto Tour Route) has paved the way to a whole new joyride, and the creatures to be spotted and wondrous scenery await. This fall, this spot: oh yes!

Here’s to enjoying every leaf crunch underfoot and crimson color by boat, bike, or from the passenger seat! Savor the #scenicroute when you #gogreatlakesbay, and enjoy every moment of Pure Michigan in all her Fall glory!

Drive great lakes bay

Photo Courtesy of Great Lakes Bay CVB

Meet The Blogger: Jen W. O’Deay

jen w odeayJen is a freelance writer in Bridgeport, Mich.  She specializes in writing that connects, delivered through feature articles, branded content and marketing copy.  You can find Jen reading, always, camping with her family, or at:

Falling for Michigan: Five Ways to Enjoy the Fall Foliage

Another fall color season in Pure Michigan is about to begin! When the days begin to get shorter and the crisp fall air arrives, Michigan’s 19 million acres of woods turn to shades of red, gold and orange.

The new season offers new vacation experiences, and whether you take a long weekend, or a short day trip, there is no better place to see the dynamic fall foliage colors than along Michigan’s highways, trails and coastlines.

Here are five great ways to “fall” for Pure Michigan this year.  

Take a Fall Color Tour

From the Keweenaw Peninsula to the Sunrise Coast to Southeast Michigan, there is no shortage of beautiful places to take in the fall foliage.  Starting in the Upper Peninsula in Mid-September to Michigan’s Sunrise and Sunset coasts in Mid to late October, let our fall colors report guide you toward the best time to take a Pure Michigan fall vacation.   For a listing of fall color tours, visit or sign up for the Fall Color Update newsletter.

Enjoying a beautiful Fall day. Photo Courtesy of Todd Reed.

Enjoying a beautiful Fall day. Photo Courtesy of Todd Reed.

By Land…or By Lake

During the summer, boat cruises take vacationers out onto Michigan’s lakes, but many of them offer color cruises or private charters for those wanting to enjoy the fall foliage from the nation’s longest freshwater coastline.  Check out cruises and charters near you here.

Want to get in some outdoor recreation?  Bundle up and take a fall paddling trip on one of Michigan’s lakes or rivers, enjoying the peace and quiet of a fall morning or afternoon.  Michigan is blessed with more paddling opportunities than any other state.  {Related:  Michigan’s Seven Best Paddling Trips}

Peshekee River in Marquette. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Peshekee River in Marquette. Photo Courtesy of the Michigan DNR.

Blaze Your Own Trail

Michigan has hundreds of miles of trails and pathways, and nothing beats a biking or hiking trip than one with a colorful backdrop of fall foliage and the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet.

Looking for something unique? Saddle up and enjoy the beauty of fall with a horse ride.  Michigan has several horse-friendly trails and stables perfect for an afternoon adventure.

Michigan Trails Week  is September 17 – 24, which is a weeklong celebration of Michigan’s extensive trail network.  Find your favorite trail.

Michigan Trails Week_Updated

A View from the Top

We are often times looking up to see the fall colors, but you can get a bird’s eye view of Michigan’s thousands of trees with orange, red and yellow leaves.

Take a scenic chairlift ride at participating ski resorts throughout the state such as Boyne Mountain Resort, Mount Bohemia,  Mont Ripley and Crystal Mountain, among others.

Feeling more adventurous?  Many of Michigan’s hot air balloon companies have fall schedules that will give you the view of a lifetime.

Mt. Bohemia Lift Rides. Photo Courtesy of Katy Kass.

Mt. Bohemia Lift Rides. Photo Courtesy of Katy Kass.

Fall “Fore” Michigan Golf

Michigan is consistently named among the best places in the country to play golf with more than 650 public courses throughout the state.   The fall season is a great time to enjoy a round of golf and the fall colors with many courses offering packages and deals.

Where is your favorite place in Pure Michigan for fall colors?