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. 

 

Five Incredible Pure Michigan Instagram Fan Photos from September 2014

As summer turned to fall, the unmistakable sights, sounds and smells of the new season came into full effect. With cooler weather and apple orchards & cider mills open for business, our fans were eager to capture the beauty of the season in Michigan. Here are just a few stand-out Instagram fan photos from September.

For more, see our June,  July  and August and be sure to follow Pure Michigan on Instagram.

An awe-inspiring shot of the Aurora Borealis in Pure Michigan! Photo by@ryanstephensphoto in Marquette.

Northern Lights 9.4

A short walk to a wonderful view at P. H. Hoeft State Park near Rogers City. Photo by @kibbie12.

Boardwalk 9.13

This cool shot was captured from underneath the Mackinac Bridge by @mikeconnick!

Bridge 9.6

Glass-like water on Isle Royale in the Upper Peninsula courtesy of@KristianSaile!

Isle Royale 9.20

Sprawling fall color captured by @cali_wag in Gogebic County.

cali_wag

If you’re on Instagram, follow us @PureMichigan! If you’d like us to share your photos from across the state, please tag them with #PureMichigan to give us permission to “re-gram.”

Four Characteristics of a Pure Michigan Fall

Today, guest blogger Shannon Saksewski from The Awesome Mitten shares a few key ingredients of fall in Pure Michigan.

15reasonstolovefall1Seasons.  A stark difference between four distinct seasons.  This is one of the several reasons why, despite opportunities, I haven’t felt truly compelled to move to another state.  It’s always been difficult for me to imagine living in a place where I couldn’t, in a broad sense, measure time by looking at the leaves.

Fall’s my favorite.  Fall is a favorite for a lot of people.  You’ve likely noticed by now that large retailers agree, especially if you’ve ever walked through their aisles in August—and sometimes July—when they start offering Halloween goodies and autumn decor.  Let’s set the retail goods aside for now, though, and focus on what makes Michigan truly special in the fall.

Colors
Oh, the glorious colors!  People from around the country flock to the Mitten in the fall to witness the flaming reds, oranges, yellows, and even burgundies.  Peak color varies throughout the state, but generally falls between mid-September through the end of October.  As a general rule, the farther north one travels, the earlier colors will peak.

Color tours are a popular fall activity for many Michigan residents and visitors.  Residents need not travel far in order to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Michigan’s technicolor forests.  Over half of the state is forested—that’s over 19 million acres—and most of that consists of northern hardwoods (the color-changers, like maples).  Want to get on the road to see what all the fuss is about?  Here’s a list of color driving tours.  Prefer to get out of the car and see the sights up close?  Try these hiking and biking tours.

Bangor apple festApples
With 9.2 million apple trees, Michigan is the second-largest apple producing state in the US—and we have serious love for our orchards!  It seems like almost everyone, especially people who grew up here, has a favorite orchard.  My personal favorite is Wasem’s in Milan, very near where I grew up.  I love that place for its crisp Michigan apples, sure.  If you talk to someone about their favorite orchard long enough, though, you’ll likely realize that they’re not in it for the apples alone.  Orchards offer a range of goods and experiences.  For example, I contend that Wasem’s has the best donuts, cider, and apple butter in the universe.  (That’s a strong statement, and I’d love to debate the point—and taste-test—with any of you!)

Orchards offer much more than edible goods.  In addition, they are often home to Halloween-themed activities like haunted houses, haunted hay rides, and nighttime corn mazes.  For those less inclined to be purposefully terrified, check out the decorative goods, historical surrounds, demonstrations, and much more.  A visit to the orchard could be a brief stop, or an all-day affair.  Check out an old favorite, or search for a future favorite.  Regardless, enjoy!

FordfieldFestivals
Clearly, there’s a lot to celebrate about fall in Michigan.  Colors! Apples! Pumpkins! Alpacas!  Oh, and beer.  Check out this calendar of Michigan’s fall festivals.  At least a few of these are on my must-see list.  Which will you visit?

Football
We tend to take football pretty seriously in Michigan—to the point where some of us use “fall” and “football season” interchangeably.  Whether you’re a die-hard fan of Michigan’s own Detroit Lions or a  particular university, or are just in it for tailgating fun (or both), it’s possible that you closely associate football and fall.  Not too interested in football?  That’s OK.  There are plenty of orchards to visit instead of tailgating, cramming into a stadium, and/or yelling at the television.

What do you think?  What other festivals, places, or traditions are characteristic of fall in Michigan?

shannon-293x300Shannon Saksewski is a life-long resident of Michigan. Professionally, she is a healthcare strategist focusing on consumer experience and marketing.  She was trained, and has experience in, psychology, social work, and business at the University of Michigan.  Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, traveling, writing, and experimenting with local beer and craft cocktails.  Connect with Shannon on Twitter (@ssaksews), or LinkedIn.