The State of Michigan is packed with the riches of unspoiled nature: the longest freshwater coastline in the United States, lakes that feel like oceans, shimmering beaches, miles and miles of cherry orchards, glorious sunrises and sunsets, daytime skies of the deepest blue, night time skies scattered with stars. Home to more than 100 public beaches, some of the highest freshwater sand dunes in the world, stunning multi-colored sandstone cliffs, two National Lakeshores and the only national marine sanctuary in the Great Lakes, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron.
Lakes, campgrounds, wildlife refuges and 103 Michigan state parks and recreation areas create a wide variety of recreational pursuits. Rivers for water sports, and thousands of miles of hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling trails thread their way among some 100 species of trees. Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit Michigan with 19 million acres of forests forming colourful canopies of crimsons, oranges and golds. The panoramic lake scenery provides a wonderful backdrop to many outdoor adventures at this time of year. Hike the trails that lead you to spectacular views, wildlife and waterfalls or take a ride along more than 1,300 miles of biking trails of diverse terrain throughout the state.
Here are five of the best Fall Colour thrills to be had in Michigan:
1/ Take a Fantastic Fall Scenic Drive
Autumn is the perfect time for a scenic drive. Enjoy the beauty of the Lake Michigan shore along M-22, perhaps Michigan’s most famous scenic drive, with glimpses of the sparkling lake peeking through the brilliant foliage all along the Leelanau Peninsula shoreline. Make time for a drive up Brockway Mountain in Copper Harbor for spectacular views that seem to go on forever.
2/ Lose Yourself in a Corn Maze
Kids and adults love the challenge of finding their way through intricate labyrinths carved out of towering corn fields. Bestmaze in Williamston combines a 20-acre corn maze with laser tag. Crane Orchards U-Pick and Corn Maze in Fennville promises a 20-acre corn maze in west Michigan, while Alber’s Orchard & Cider Mill boasts a 7-acre corn maze and a smaller straw bale maze on their farm in Manchester, in southeast Michigan.
3/ Stay at a Winery Inn
Stay at one of northern Michigan’s wineries. Traverse City’s Chateau Chantal’s cosy, art-themed rooms include access to the tasting room. On nearby Old Mission Peninsula, the Inn at Chateau Grand Traverse overlooks acres of tiny vineyards and includes a bottle of wine with each night’s stay. And just across the water in Suttons Bay, Black Star Farms offers a private evening wine reception and a sumptuous breakfast for overnight guests.
4/ Hike Michigan’s Wild Places
Michigan’s beautiful hiking trails grow even more beautiful in the fall, when trees blaze with colour. Visit the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the U.P. to see that brilliant foliage against a backdrop of Lake Superior and the Lake of the Clouds. Or head to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to combine your autumn hike with a breath-taking run down the dunes.
5/ Go Apple-Picking
Autumn’s sunshine brings apple season to Michigan. Head to Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery in Grand Rapids for fresh-picked bushels of Macintosh and Delicious and stay for sweet-tart cider and warm donuts. Pick your own fruit at Crane Orchards U-Pick and Corn Maze in Fennville.
To find out more about fall in Michigan visit: www.michigan.org/fall