Three Fantastic Fall Scenic Drives in Pure Michigan

Michigan’s motto is, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” In this day and age, it can also be interpreted as, “If you seek a pleasant drive, pick a road near you.” With 111 designated Natural Beauty Roads, 20 National Byways and more than 212 miles of twists, turns and celebrated scenery, Michigan is abundant in breathtaking drives, especially when the countryside is ablaze with fall foliage fireworks.

Combining the convenience of cruising with accessibility to awesome adventures, many Michiganders prefer to meander through majestic Michigan from the comfort of an RV. Beginning with Henry Ford and the Vagabonds “glamping” vacations 100 years ago, the idea of traveling with civilized accoutrements has not gone out of style and has, instead, expanded into the RV and camping industry of today.

From waterfalls to gorges, coastlines to farmer stands bursting with Pure Michigan autumn abundance, fall is an absolutely stunning time to take a comfortable cruise through foliage in full splendor. During an autumn trip, chances are you’ll experience less-crowded conditions at campgrounds, RV parks, restaurants and attractions.

Some favorite fall scenic drives that represent the bounty and beauty of Pure Michigan include:

1. West Michigan Pike
Hugging the curves of Lake Michigan from Chicago, Ill., to Mackinaw City, this 500-mile road has been “Lake shore all the way” since 1915. Passing through vacation destination villages like Holland, Manistee and Sleeping Bear Dunes, this roadway is an RV travelers dream with multiple campgrounds and RV parks located just off the beaten path.

Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC)

Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC)

2. Historic Motor Tour US 27
“Back in the day, it was the way!” Traversing from St. Ignace to Miami, this highway originally followed an Indian trail and was the main thoroughfare of Michigan. While no longer an official state highway, the two lane road with hills, woods and farmlands channeling through charming small towns of mid-Michigan fuels driving thrills and family adventures. Taking this route sends travelers past farms and tiny markets bursting with seasonal selections.

Photo courtesy of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA)

Photo courtesy of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA)

3. Black River National Scenic Byway
Getting to this breathtaking road takes a bit of effort and long hours –but when travelling in an RV, one barely notices! Once you get to the town of Bessemer, in the western tip of the Upper Peninsula, and go north on CR 513, the scenery, natural beauty and history is worth the effort. This passage—once a wagon road—takes drivers past multiple waterfalls, old growth forests, iron mines and to the shores of Lake Superior.

Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC)

Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC)

Consider spending a weekend—or more—off the main highways and take a scenic tour of Pure Michigan this fall. Travelling by RV is an experience that won’t be soon forgotten. For more details on campgrounds and RV parks throughout the state, visit www.michiganrvandcampgrounds.org or facebook.com/MichiganRVers.

Where do you love to road trip? Let us know in the comments!

Meet the Blogger: The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) encourages growth in the recreation vehicle and private campground industries while contributing to the quality of Michigan tourism.

Pure Michigan Road Trip: Relive Our Along the Way Commercial

Roadtrip-MapRecently, we debuted a Pure Michigan ad, titled ‘Along the Way’, with a new look and feel showcasing the fun around taking a road trip in the Great Lakes state.

The four actors whom starred in the commercial had such fun roadtripping around Pure Michigan they became great friends, and because there was so much great footage, we were able to make an ‘Along the Way’ part two! Below is a list of the destinations our famed travelers visited, and  the second installment of ‘Along the Way’.

Want more great road trip ideas? Check out our roadtripping page and stay tuned for part two of this blog series that will feature awesome destinations in the U.P.!

Harrisville (Harrisville State Park Campground) Harrisville State Park features camping, cabin rentals and day-use area nestled in a stand of pine and cedar trees along the sandy shores of Lake Huron. The park is within walking distance of the resort town of Harrisville. Established in 1921, it is one of Michigan’s oldest state parks and offers a two mile trek hiking trail as well as non-groomed cross-country trails and metal detecting area.

Harrisville State Park is perfect for the adventurous traveler

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Grimmer

Ossineke (Dinosaur Gardens) World renowned reproduction of over 25 prehistoric birds and dinosaurs on a 40 acre tract of land split by Devil River encompass Dinosaur Gardens in Ossineke. Check out a brontosaurus that’s over 80 feet long, weighing over 60,000 pounds! Stay for a round of minigolf as you step back into prehistoric times.

Look out for dinosaurs in Ossineke!

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Grimmer

Mackinaw City/St. Ignace (Mackinac Bridge) The Mighty Mac unites Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere with 7,400 feet of roadway suspended in the air over the straits of Mackinac. Total length of the bridge, including its approaches, is approximately five miles.

Mackinac Island (Arch Rock) Experience the breathtaking views of the harbor, incredible sunsets under The Mighty Mac, over 80 miles of lush hiking and biking trails and crystal clear water. Mackinac Island is the ultimate place to unplug, relax and experience beauty the way nature intended.

Arch Rock is as famous as any landmark in Pure Michigan

Arch Rock on Mackinac Island

 

Old Mission Peninsula (Haserot Beach and Old Mission General Store) The oldest permanent settlement in the Grand Traverse Area, this picturesque peninsula near the tip of was founded in the mid 1800’s by the Rev. Peter Dougherty as a mission to the Native Americans. Today it is a resort area, reminiscent of a New England town, with several well-preserved churches, homes, stores and other 19th century buildings that are still in use.

Our Pure Michigan travelers had a blast at every destination they visited

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Grimmer

Traverse City (Nicholas Farm) Combining breathtaking attractions with a rich blend of adventure and relaxation Traverse City is true north! Explore the incredible scenery at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Bike, paddle or hike your way to see the beautiful cherry blossoms. Take a wine or beer tour and be sure to save time for unique dining and shopping found throughout the region.

Honor (Platte River) Founded in 1895 as a thriving lumber hub, this small community in the center of Benzie County, offers lots of history, year-round adventure and comfort to all ages. Honor is located within 15 minutes access to golf courses, hiking trails, Betsie River, Lake Michigan, Big & Little Platte Lakes, Crystal Lake, and Upper & Lower Herring Lakes. The Platte River flows through town, offering wonderful fishing, canoe, kayak and tubing opportunities. In addition, Winter sports enthusiasts will enjoy the close proximity to cross country skiing and snowmobile trails.

The four adventure-seekers got a great tour of Northern Michigan during their journey

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Grimmer

Holland Pier (Big Red Lighthouse) Well-known for its Dutch history, Holland is historic yet hip. Browse downtown’s trendy boutiques and galleries or stroll the tree-shaded campus of Hope College. Attend concerts, theatrical performances and special events. Purchase farm fresh fruits, veggies, annuals and perennials at the Farmers Market. Hike Holland’s soaring Lake Michigan sand dunes or simply relax on our soft sandy beaches. Offing urban excitement and homespun simplicity, Holland is a sophisticated city wrapped up in small-town charm.

Holland's Big Red Lighthouse is an iconic landmark in West Michigan

The Big Red Lighthouse in Holland

Saugatuck (Oval Beach) One of USA Today’s “Best Summer Weekend Escape”. Known as “The Art Coast of Michigan”, artists enjoy the natural beauty of Saugatuck and Douglas with grassy dunes and white sand beaches. Unique shops, fine dining, exquisite lodging and special events lure visitors from far and wide, while at the same time, have maintained the charm of small-town rural America.

Their adventure proved to have perfect weather

Photo Courtesy of Rob Hoffman

 

How many of these Pure Michigan destinations have you visited? Share with us by commenting below!

Fall Color and Farm Markets near Silver Lake

Whether you’re a lifetime Michigander or you’re visiting the Great Lakes State for the first time, there’s something uniquely special about experiencing fall in Pure Michigan. Guest blogger Andrea Hekkema from the Silver Lakes Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau shares some of what makes the dunes worth visiting in autumn.

 Autumn has a full color palette in Oceana County.  The dark green spruces, rising pines and the brilliant blues of the lakes and sky balance leaves of deep crimson, glorious golds, rich siennas and umbers.

Photo Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Bountiful harvests of apples and pears color our orchards and plump orange pumpkins and multi-colored squash ripen in the fields. Our temperatures, moderated by Lake Michigan, mean crisp mornings give way to warm days well into October-lots of time for you to enjoy a weekend (or more!) on a color tour with many outdoor activities.

Photo Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Take a drive in the country or a jeep or buggy tour. Consider a ride or stroll on the Hart-Montague Rail Trail, and a canoe or boat trip on one of our inland lakes or rivers. Be sure to stop and check out the fascinating and fun attractions along the way. And of course, while you’re here, indulge your taste buds at one of our roadside farm markets and orchards. The possibilities are as plentiful as the harvest in Oceana County.

Photo Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

Still not convinced? Here are some suggestions to get you to “fall” in love with the idea of visiting Oceana County.

Silver Lake: Visit Little Sable Point Lighthouse.  Take a ride over the Silver Lake Sand Dunes and witness a majestic view of the Lake Michigan shoreline. Join a dune buggy tour with Mac Woods or drive your own dune buggy or jeep (rentals are available) through October. Visit Fox Barn Winery and pick up some fresh apple cider or delicious fruit wine.

Historic Downtown Hart: Stroll the downtown district. Enjoy shopping and dining in this small lakeside area. Spend the night or weekend at any of our local hotels.

Mears: After visiting Silver Lake, be sure to stop in Mears. Take time to see the Oceana County Historical Transportation Museum.

The Hart-Montague Rail Trail is a 22 mile linear state park. The entire trail is at least a 10-foot wide paved trail through rich farm land, forests and quaint villages. There are many stops along the way to rest or catch a bite to eat. Start your trip at the Trail Head in downtown Hart, and enjoy your scenic tour of our beautiful area.

Bring your canoe or boat to enjoy the beauty of the season from a different point of view. Public launches and boat ramps can be found at Hart Lake and Silver Lake. You can also rent a canoe, kayak, tube, or raft at Happy Mohawk Canoe Livery and experience the scenic White River.

Map Courtesy of Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart Visitors Bureau

 

What is your favorite fall activity in Pure Michigan?