Mackinaw City - Petoskey - Charlevoix

This Northwestern Michigan fall color tour includes hilly, forested countryside, charming resort towns nestled along the sparkling blue waters of Lake Michigan, breathtaking views, fresh air and colorful wildlife.

Best enjoyed: Late September to Mid-October
Approximate Length: 100 miles

Before departing Mackinaw City visit Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. Just a few hundred feet east of the Mackinac Bridge in Mackinaw City, the castle-like structure guided ships through the Straits of Mackinac from 1892 to 1957. Fifty-one steps and an 11 rung vertical ladder lift you four stories to the top of the lighthouse.

Depart Mackinaw City south Henry Street toward E. James Street. Turn right at E. Central Avenue and turn right to stay on Wilderness Park Drive, take the 1st left onto E. Wilderness Park Drive for a visit to Wilderness State Park. The park offers 8,000 acres of wilderness area plus a beautiful shoreline providing great places to observe nature from its numerous trails.

Head southeast on Wilderness Park Drive. Turn right at Cecil Bay Road and then right again at E. Gill Road. Continue onto Lakeview Road which turns slightly left and becomes N. Lake Shore Drive. Turn right to stay on N. Lake Shore Drive. If you are ready for a meal, try Legs Inn located in Cross Village. This whimsical restaurant features a Polish menu with Old World dishes and outdoor garden dining overlooking Lake Michigan.

Just south of Cross Village, M-119 becomes the "Tunnel of Trees", one of Michigan's most spectacular drives. This 20 mile section twists and turns under a canopy of trees as it follows the cliffs above Lake Michigan to Harbor Springs.

Head southwest of N. Lake Shore Drive toward Pine Grove Road to Pond Hill Farm. The farm offers hayrides, a pumpkin patch, livestock barn, the Garden Cafe and a market with a huge assortment of mouth watering homemade canned goods.

As you leave Harbor Springs, Continue south on US-31 to Levering Road (C-66), turn right and head west to Pleasantview Rd (C-81). Turn left on C-81 and head south to M-119. Take a left on M-119 and head towards PetoskeyPetoskey State Park is located on the north end of Little Traverse Bay, and is situated on 304 scenic acres, offering a beautiful sandy beach on the bay.

Depart Petoskey south on US-131 to M-75 at Walloon Lake. Follow M-75 south to Boyne City on the southeastern tip of beautiful Lake CharlevoixYoung State Park is located just north of Boyne City on Lake Charlevoix and offers a beach, fishing, hiking and picnicking.

Continue south on M-75 back to US-131 at Boyne Falls. Follow US-131 south to M-32. Turn right onto M-32 heading northwest to East Jordan where the road becomes M-66. Follow M-66 north to CharlevoixFisherman's Island State Park, just south of Charlevoix, features a park road that travels for two and a half miles along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
526 North Huron Avenue
Mackinaw City, MI 49701
Phone: (231) 436-4100
Look around. This is a setting that has inspired generations. With its impressive buff-colored brick walls, large square tower topped with battlements, and elegant fourth order Fresnel lens, this lighthouse-built in 1892-is a source for inspiration. Surrounding it is a beautifully landscaped lawn dotted with vibrant pine trees and the refurbished fog signal station and barn. And then there’s the backdrop: Sparkling beach sand, the majestic Straits of Mackinac, and the magnificent Mackinac Bridge, acting as a vista connecting the past, present, and future. Climb the tower and breathe in the spectacular view as generations of lighthouse keepers did before you. Step inside the lighthouse, and hear the Victrola play pre-World War I tunes in a period-styled sitting room. Explore nighttime navigation and Great Lakes’ shipwrecks. Interact with hands-on exhibits. Ask questions. Immerse yourself. Inside this stately structure, it’s always 1910, so welcome and discover. Lighthouse and museum is seasonal, opening in May.
Wilderness State Park
903 Wilderness Park Drive
Carp Lake, MI 49718
Reservations: (800) 447-2757
Phone: (231) 436-5381
Wilderness State Park offers visitors a variety of year-round recreational activities within it's over 10,000 acres including 26 miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, numerous trails, six rustic cabins, three rustic bunkhouses and over 250 modern campsites.
Legs Inn
6425 Lakeshore Drive (M-119)
Cross Village, MI 49723
Phone: (231) 526-2281
The Legs Inn is called a monument to nature, built on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Polish cuisine is a specialty as well as American dishes. The Legs Inn also has comfortable cottages with two bedroom equipped for a vacation away from crowds. Sandy beach, boat ramp, close to boat rentals, grills, picnic tables. Legs Inn was named a Top Ten Staff Favorite "Bonus Find" by COASTAL LIVING magazine in 2006. Open May thru the third week in October.

Pond Hill Farm/The Garden Cafe/Harbor Springs Vineyards & Winery/Tunnel Vision Brewery
5581 S Lake Shore Drive
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Reservations: (231) 526-3276
Phone: (231) 526-3276
Pond Hill Farm is a year round destination for fine wines, homemade beer, family fun, and a fresh farm to table dining experience! The farm offers daily wine and beer tasting, lunch and appetizers in the Garden Cafe, hayrides, pig racing, animal feeding, several squash rockets, an ice cream shop, a trout pond to feed the fish, a very diverse pumpkin patch, Christmas trees, a market with a huge assortment of mouth watering homemade canned goods, wonderful year round pesticide and herbicide free produce, farm raised antibiotic and hormone free meats, handmade soaps and bath salts, a great selection of organic and natural foods, crafts and more. The tasting room is filled with aromatic cedar harvested from the farm. Enjoy wine tasting, wines by the glass, bottle, or case. The farm is open year round daily from 9am - 6pm. Our Fall Festival weekends go throughout the fall & Winter Fest runs during weekends in December. Be sure to visit Pond Hill Farm, a true gem in Northern Michigan!
Petoskey State Park
2475 M-119 Highway
Petoskey, MI 49770
Reservations: (800) 447-2757
Phone: (231) 347-2311
Petoskey State Park, located on the north end of Little Traverse Bay, is situated on 304 scenic acres and offers a beautiful sandy beach on the bay. The park has two separate modern campgrounds. Tannery Creek offers 98 campsites, and Dunes offers 70 campsites. Metal detecting area.
Young State Park
02280 Boyne City Rd.
Boyne City, MI 49712
Reservations: (800) 447-2757
Phone: (231) 582-7523
Young State Park is located at the east end of beautiful Lake Charlevoix. The park spans over 560 acres in Charlevoix County and is a mix of gently rolling terrain, lowlands, and cedar swamp. The park has 240 modern campsites w/ electricity spread across three campgrounds named Terrace, Oak and Spruce. There are also two mini cabins available for rent. Activities available in the park are boating, fishing, trails for hiking, jogging and nature study plus cross country skiing. Metal detecting area.
Fisherman's Island State Park
Bells Bay Road
Charlevoix, MI 49720
Reservations: (800) 447-2757
Phone: (231) 547-6641
Fisherman’s Island State Park boasts over six miles of unspoiled Lake Michigan shoreline. The island in which the park was named no longer exists. Due to years of lower water levels in Lake Michigan the island has become a peninsula now lush with native wildflowers. There are 80 rustic campsites with 15 of those nestled in the dune area along the Lake Michigan shoreline.