15 Photos to Inspire Your Next Trip to Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth is a true gem nestled in the heart of Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay region. From the quaint, German small-town feel to the abundance of things to see and do at the River Place shops, a trip to Michigan’s Little Bavaria never disappoints.

Read more on a few things to do in Frankenmuth this fall that makes for a perfect visit, courtesy of the Frankenmuth Convention and Visitors Bureau.

We just wrapped up our #SeeFrankenmuth summer photo contest and from the looks of things, we had plenty of visitors that could testify to the fact that 1-800-FUN-TOWN isn’t just our phone number. Take a look at some of our fan-submitted photos and start planning your next trip to Michigan’s Little Bavaria.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Nothing but blue skies over Zehnder’s Restaurant, one of Frankenmuth’s culinary gems since 1856. Want to try the World’s Famous Chicken Dinners for yourself? Taste the crispy goodness on your next trip!

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

An evening view like this can only come from the Bavarian Inn Lodge in Frankenmuth: featuring 4 indoor pools, 2 indoor water slides, 3 whirlpools, 360 unique guest rooms located on the Cass River, like this one.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

The gorgeous River Place Shops in Frankenmuth are all-aglow at night. With over 40 specialty shops, boutiques and attractions, it is easy to shop well into the evening.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Cozy up under the striped parasols and fire lamps at Prost! Wine Bar and Charcuterie.  Offering a full bar, craft beer and cocktails and six wines on tap centrally located in the heart of downtown.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

An incredible firework display celebrating Independence Day in Michigan’s Little Bavaria.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Two little visitors overlooking the Covered Bridge and gorgeous Cass River. Did you know that this is Michigan’s largest wooden covered bridge?

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Water like glass. The Cass River is great for kayaking and paddle boarding. For rentals, visit the Frankenmuth Outfitters.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

A whimsical moment captured from Frankenmuth’s Balloons Over Bavarian Inn Festival.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

A picturesque moment of Frankenmuth’s Covered Bridge overlooking the Cass River at sunset. The perfect place to cast a fishing pole, enjoy a picnic or simply rest and experience the natural beauty that can only be found here.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

A gorgeous sunrise illuminates the farm fields. When settlers came to the city in 1845, Frankenmuth was founded on flour, saw and woolen mills. They also produced beer, cheese and sausage. Agricultural and self-sustaining businesses were the norm. Check out the history here.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

The Bavarian Inn Castle Shops are a world of enchantment! Located in the lower level of Bavarian Inn Restaurant, you’ll find seven unique shops that have something for everyone.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

A nighttime view from inside Frankenmuth’s Covered Bridge, or as we say in German, the Holz Brucke.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

An iconic landmark of Frankenmuth will always create a fun photo shoot.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Frankenmuth’s  Cass River reflecting the beautiful Bavarian Inn Lodge. This shot was taken from Frankenmuth’s River Walk: a charming willow-lined path that is a great biking and walking trail.

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

When Frankenmuth celebrates the Balloons Over Bavarian Inn Festival, you don’t have to be on Main Street to enjoy the show.

 What do you love to do in the area? Share in the comments!

Check out Frankenmuth’s website, Facebook and Twitter for more!

11 Pure Michigan Hiking Trails to See Brilliant Fall Colors

Happy Michigan Trails Week! To help you plan your fall travels, here’s a round-up of the best trails around the state for spectacular views of the changing colors of autumn. Listed from easier to harder routes, there’s something for everyone. With a variety of overlooks, hills and mountains, there are a multitude of ways to soak in Pure Michigan’s beauty. And check here for any other trails that might be near you!

Port Crescent State Park Trails
Port Austin

Difficulty: Easy

If you’re looking for a great family trip, head to Michigan’s “Thumb” for a fantastic day trip along Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay shoreline. The park offers fishing, canoeing, birding and more! It is also a great place to view the stars, so you might want to consider staying overnight. There are seven miles of trails including a loop and a nature trail.

It’s easy to customize your own route, depending on your interests. The Camper’s Trail is one of the most scenic and, at 2.3 miles, is not difficult. You can even shorten the trek by using the 0.3-mile cutoff spur, but might miss out on some scenic views. October is one of the best times to visit as there are less campers and the fall colors reach their brilliant peak. It is also dog-friendly!

While you’re hanging out in the area, take the time to kayak by Turnip Rock, one of the most famous spots in the state!

Mackinac Island Trails
Mackinac Island

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

There are over 140 miles of trails and roads leading to great views on Mackinac Island. Stop by the Visitor’s Center to buy a map of the trails, significant points of interest and self-tours. Or visit a rental bike shop for a map, (though these have less detail). One of the most popular trails is the 8.2 mile road along the island’s perimeter. Typically there are bikers along this trail, but plenty of pedestrians also use it to see the beautiful shorelines. The road is not very hilly but it is long, so take your time to enjoy the views and be sure to stop occasionally to read about the history of the island. If you’d like to get deeper inland, there are several trails that lead to great views of the changing reds, yellows and oranges as well as vantage points to see the beautiful shorelines. Stay aware of bikers and horses and be sure to stop at Sugar Loaf, Fort Mackinac, Skull Cave or Arch Rock for amazing views.

Mackinac Island, Photo Courtesy of Linda Sorensen

Mackinac Island, Photo Courtesy of Linda Sorensen

Sugarloaf Mountain Trail
Marquette

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Sugarloaf Mountain Trail in the Upper Peninsula is a fantastic hike for great views. There are two different ways to reach the viewing area: an easy route and a difficult route. The difficult route is faster than the easier route, but is steeper. If bringing the family, we suggest the easy route as it’s easier on young children. You’ll also be able to spend more time leisurely strolling and admiring the color change on the trees.

Be aware there are intermittent stairs on the route once you get closer to summit to help with the elevation change and the trail also has many rocks and roots sticking out of the ground. Once you get to the top, there are three different vantage points for views of Lake Superior, the Superior Dome and miles of colorful trees. Take this trail on your next visit to Marquette and you won’t be disappointed!

Photo Courtesy of Jill Boudreau-Wallaker

View from Sugarloaf Mountain, Photo Courtesy of Jill Boudreau-Wallaker

Ludington State Park Trails
Ludington

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Ludington State Park has a fantastic array of sand dunes, marshlands and forests. There are three modern campgrounds if you want to stay overnight. With a multitude of trails, there is a hike for everyone! One of the best and most scenic is the Lighthouse Trail that leads to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. It is 3 miles long and winds over open and wooded sand dunes. Take your family to tour the lighthouse and climb the tower through October.  If that seems too difficult, take the Lighthouse Road that travels from the main entrance to the lighthouse via a 1.8-mile hard-packed sand and gravel road.

Photo Courtesy of Jesse Barcega

Ludington State Park, Photo Courtesy of Jesse Barcega

Stony Creek Metropark Trails
Shelby Township

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Get that “up north” feeling without leaving the suburbs! There are a few rustic and nature trails in the park ranging in distance. There is also a paved trail perfect for bikers, rollerbladers or hikers, but still provides great views of the surrounding trees and foliage. Visit the Nature Center for more information and to see where you want to start your trip.

From lounging on the beach to playing disc golf, there are a ton of activities to do at Stony Creek Metropark, making it a great place to take your family for a day trip.

Chapel Loop at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Munising

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

The 9-mile Chapel Loop is one of the most scenic hikes in Michigan. Take in the view of Lake Superior, Chapel Falls, Chapel Rock and Grand Portal Point. Try and take a weekend trip to tackle this hike as it can take most of the day and you’ll want to view the rocks from the water as well! Take your bug spray, water and camera too, as the views will be amazing.

Chapel Rock, Photo Courtesy of Justin Mault

Chapel Rock, Photo Courtesy of Justin Mault

Empire Bluff Trail at Sleeping Bear Dunes
Empire

Difficulty: Moderate

The Empire Bluff Trail at Sleeping Bear Dunes is a 1.5 mile roundtrip hike perfect for views of the water and foliage. On a clear day, you can even see South Manitou Island! Be sure to pick up a map of the trail at the trailhead. There are also numbered posts along the way for more information. For your own safety, don’t climb down the bluff as it is more than 400 feet above the sandy shoreline! This trek is a must-do for those looking for spectacular views of the lakeshore.

Photo Courtesy of Ben Winn

View from Empire Bluff Trail, Photo Courtesy of Ben Winn

Tahquamenon Falls State Park River Trail
Paradise

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

One of the most popular hiking trails in this park is the River Trail. Linking the Upper Falls and Lower Falls, this nearly 5 mile hike leads along the Tahquamenon River and is very scenic. It is a moderate to hard trail to tackle due to the hilly terrain and exposed roots, but is well worth the effort. Be sure to bring plenty of water and bug spray for the trip. After your hike, stop by the shops and pub near the Upper Falls for a great meal, drink or souvenir.

In honor of Michigan Trails Week, there is an event on 9/24 called “Hike Between Da Falls”. Participants can park at the Lower Falls and take a free shuttle to the trailhead at the Upper Falls which starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. Be sure to wear close-toed shoes. Leashed dogs are allowed on the shuttle and the trails.

Photo Courtesy of Dan Hammel

Upper Tahquamenon Falls, Photo Courtesy of Dan Hammel

Porcupine Mountains State Park Escarpment Trail
Ontonagon

Difficulty: Moderate

Despite it only being 4 miles long, the changes in elevation along the Escarpment Trail make this hike more of a challenge. However, viewing Lake of the Clouds, Lake Superior and the Carp River Valley in one trip will leave you in awe of Michigan’s unimagined beauty. Take a weekend to stay in the area and take advantage of the many restaurants and entertainment centers, like Black Bear Lanes for bowling!

Lake of the Clouds, Photo Courtesy of Angie Barnstead

Lake of the Clouds, Photo Courtesy of Angie Barnstead

Jordan River Pathway Trail
Mancelona

Difficulty: Moderate

The Jordan River Pathway is one of the most popular hiking trips in the Lower Peninsula. Stay at the walk-in campground for a weekend and bask in the rustic nature of the area. It is an 18-mile loop perfect for hikers looking for scenic views of streams, colorful foliage or the valley below. If you’re an angler, fishing in the Jordan River might allow you to catch dinner at the end of a long hike! Definitely bring bug spray, as horse flies and mosquitoes may greet you along the way. Be sure to capture pictures of the views from Deadman’s Hill and Landslide Overlook.

Dead Man's Hill, Photo Courtesy of Michelle Russell

Dead Man’s Hill, Photo Courtesy of Michelle Russell

Greenstone Ridge Trail
Isle Royale

Difficulty: Hard

Greenstone Ridge Trail is a trail for experienced hikers. The 40-mile long trail is the backbone of Isle Royale, an island only accessible by boat or plane. Every backpacker should try this trail at least once, as it is an incredibly fulfilling multi-day trip. The Greenstone Ridge Trail provides panoramic views of the gorgeous and rustic landscape, crossing through exposed bedrock and dense forest. Take a few days to truly experience the wilderness of Isle Royale where moose and wolves roam free.

Where do you love to hike and take in the views? Share with us in the comments!

ArtPrize Made Easy: 5 Steps to Enhance Your Visit

Whether you’re an ArtPrize regular or this will be your first trip to the world’s most radical art competition, you can follow these simple steps to make your experience more efficient, pleasant and fun.

The Art Newspaper has officially recognized ArtPrize as the most-attended public art event on the planet – about 400,000 people stream into downtown Grand Rapids during the 19-day festivities. That number is likely to swell this year, as the New York Times highlighted ArtPrize in naming Grand Rapids #20 on its list of 52 Places to Go Worldwide in 2016.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

A little advance planning will help you manage the crowds and get the most out of your ArtPrize visit. Here are a few tips:

1. Ride the ArtPrize Shuttle

With nearly 1,500 works of art spread across three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, it’s flat-out impossible to see everything in a day. Extend your stay with a special ArtPrize Hotel Package that offers such perks as a free shuttle to downtown. Guests at 30 suburban hotels can make their way to the Park & Ride location within 10 minutes of their hotel and board the shuttle to avoid traffic and parking hassles. That gives you more time to focus on art!

2. Visit the Neighborhood HUBs

For the first time, you’ll find eight Neighborhood HUBs throughout the ArtPrize district. Located at major venues, each HUB serves as a great entry point to the event – providing you with the opportunity to register to vote, pick up an event guide and map, get information about neighborhood-specific events, browse ArtPrize merchandise and purchase a Metro Pass.

3. Pick up a Passport (or Two)

You can also pick up an ArtPrize Passport at any of the HUBs. Collect stamps from any five of the eight HUBs and you’ll be entered to win prizes from ArtPrize and Founders Brewing Co. Collect stamps from all eight HUBs plus the exclusive ArtPrize Medallion sticker available only at the Founders Brewing Co. tent at the October 7 ArtPrize Awards public viewing party at Rosa Parks Circle – and you’ll be entered to win a grand prize package. (While you’re here, you can also pick up a Beer City Passport and collect stamps at participating breweries to earn a collectible Brewsader t-shirt.)

4. Whet Your Appetite

You’re going to work up a hunger during your ArtPrize adventure – and you’ll save time by evaluating your dining options in advance. Visit ExperienceGR.com to search for restaurants by region and/or cuisine.

5. Explore All Your Options

Every day of ArtPrize is packed with fun, fascinating, art-focused events – but ArtPrize isn’t the only excitement on the Grand Rapids agenda during these 19 days. From a touring Broadway production of Cinderella, to concerts by Kanye West and Aretha Franklin, to a family-friendly Oktoberfest celebration, you’ll find plenty of ArtPrize “add-ons” to enhance your stay. Search the Events Calendar at ExperienceGR.com to find events that coincide with your stay dates.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

What other tips do you have for attending this fun event? Let us know in the comments!