5 Fantastic Farm Stays in Pure Michigan

Come fall harvest in Michigan, there's no sweeter place to be than in fragrant apple orchards, vineyards ripe with plump wine grapes, or fields of pumpkins of every size and color. Even better is the chance to spend the night—or several—in the center of agriculture action.

red and yellow delicious apples in a bin in the orchard
Photo Courtesy Michigan Apples

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Michigan is one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation and is a leading grower of tart cherries, Niagara grapes, squash and more. Farmers across the state are increasingly inviting guests to go beyond sampling their fresh-picked produce at farm markets or farm-to-table restaurants—and stay over. Farm stays often come with the chance to help with the harvest, take a behind-the-scenes tour or class or maybe just settle in for a gourmet farm breakfast. Here are a few ways to immerse yourself in the Michigan harvest—chores optional. 

Apple Acres FarmHoughton

Guests choose between a studio loft or private campsite (with platform, screen tent and gas fire pit) in the sugar bush and are invited to join the casual rhythm of this off-the-grid farm. Niko and Nibler, the farm's Nigerian goats, prompt giggles during events like “goat happy hour” complete with goat brushing and petting and a farm-inspired beverage like hard cider made from farm apples, or iced tea flavored with farm-grown peppermint or basil. The refrigerator comes stocked with fresh eggs from farm chickens, and there's farm produce, bread and honey for sale too.

Take the free farm tour to meet the chickens, goats and honeybees or book a customized visit based on specific interests—beekeeping, regenerative farming, off-grid living and wild mushroom foraging. Or just enjoy the restorative sleep. The location between Marquette and the Porcupine Mountains also makes it a popular launching point for day trips in the Upper Peninsula.

Friske OrchardsCharlevoix

Barn-red farm stores decked with bales of hay and stacks of pumpkins inspire road trip giddiness come fall, especially along this fruit belt stretch of U.S. 31 that runs near the Lake Michigan shore just south of Charlevoix. Signs lure with promises of fresh pies, apple cider and U-picks. Friske Orchards is one must-stop for baked goods, jams, apples—and now for an overnight stay. Rooms here are in a bunkhouse that was converted to apartments in the middle of the main farm, about two miles from the store. Guests can find all their meals on site, pick their own fruit in season or enjoy a farm food binge of house-made quiche from the cafe, fresh donuts and even a wood-fired pizza made on the farm.

Grand View II at Willow WinerySuttons Bay

Book this estate home for eight and you live like a vintner – except that you'll be sipping, not serving. When Tracy and Harry Faulkner bought the vineyard in early 2021, they converted the on-site owner's house into a vacation rental with views of West Grand Traverse Bay in the distance and rolling grape vines in the foreground. Leave time to enjoy the winery's private bay beach and to take the optional, free, “from vines to wines” tour that leads into a secret cellar and barrel room. The Faulkners treat guests like VIPs (or, well, vineyard owners), and offer the chance to bottle or label wine, pick grapes or tie some vines.

Goldberry Woods Bed and Breakfast and CottagesUnion Pier

Farming goes upscale with the eight bed and breakfast rooms, two family-sized cottages on a river or creek and two restored vintage campers. The bed and breakfast rooms have jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces, but the centerpiece is the bed—each handcrafted by a local artist. They were uniquely designed around the shape of the wood used to craft it: varieties like driftwood, sassafras and white birch. All guests have access to the year-round heated pool in the greenhouse, 30 acres of woods, kayaks for floats on the Union River and bikes – not to mention the Lake Michigan beach is just a mile down the road.

Owner, chef and farmer Julie Haberichter crafts meals around the garden—think cornmeal pancakes with fresh berries, drizzled with honey from the farm's aviary, or a roasted rosemary tomato with eggplant, zucchini, onions and garlic on a crostini served like bruschetta topped with farm quail eggs and shaved parmesan. Still hungry? There's an honor-system farm stand on property too, free farm tours and a new self-guided tour with signs highlighting fun facts about the most unexpected garden veggies. 

Narrin FarmsGrand Blanc

Four large rental houses, each with soaring ceilings and lake views, are spread out amid the 56 acres of wooded trails and spring-fed Lake Narrin. Guests can watch the farm's 20 boarded horses graze or schedule time to meet one and learn more about horses, donkeys, cows, sheep and chickens. The “Clubhouse” rental house was once an actual equestrian center clubhouse (with a fireplace) where young riders would gather on breaks. The deck is now a popular spot from which to watch farm animals graze. Borrow a kayak to explore the lake or use the rental's central location for day trips to the Michigan Renaissance Festival (five minutes away), Detroit (an hour) or the Bavarian-style town of Frankenmuth (45 minutes). Then return to the pastoral pace of a Pure Michigan farm.

About the Author: Kim Schneider is a long-time travel writer specializing in Michigan adventures, food and wine. She’s the author of 100 Things to Do in Traverse City Before You Die.