They say there is nothing better than a Michigan summer, but I would like to argue that a Michigan fall is equally as amazing. When the temperatures start to drop and the trees start to change colors, you can’t help but get excited about going to the cider mill, stepping on crunchy leaves and burning a cozy fall candle. We are so lucky to live in a state that has many beautiful places to visit year-round and narrowing down my favorites was hard but if you are looking to venture out this fall, check out these cities for a great getaway.
As tourists flock to northern Michigan in the summer, Traverse City is always a crowded destination. It’s obvious why people choose to spend their summer vacation here but if you haven’t visited Traverse City during the fall, start making plans now. Since most visitors will have already taken their annual trip once summer ends, it gets much quieter and you will be able to truly experience all Traverse City has to offer. This is the perfect time to adventure around the shops downtown, rent a bike to ride around the city or relax on the Grand Traverse Bay. The northern Michigan region has some of the most stunning fall colors and you can get the best views on the scenic M-22. One of the best parts about visiting Traverse City is being so close to several other fantastic destinations. You can easily take an afternoon to explore the history and character of other cities like Leland and Frankfort or visit the Sleeping Bear Dunes in comfortable weather.
There is no better time than the fall to visit this charming city. Whether you are a sports fanatic, nature lover or food enthusiast, Ann Arbor is the place to be. Home to the University of Michigan, you can expect a Saturday here to be anything but dull because as one of the best college towns in America, a game day at the Big House is…big. Even if you are not into sports, the energy and excitement created by spirited Michigan fans is quite spectacular. Besides U of M football, Ann Arbor offers some of the best food in the state. From coffee shops and delis to restaurants and breweries, you will be able to find something delicious on every block. As you wander around the town you will come across many eclectic shops and bookstores, historic museums and the city’s classic architecture. There is no shortage of vibrant autumn colors in this part of the state and strolling through the University of Michigan’s campus and kayaking in the Huron River are the best ways to enjoy it.
The isolated area of Marquette in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is not everyone’s ideal location to live in year-round but it is a great destination to see stunning foliage. Whether you are interested in outdoor activities or just relaxing, this unique city offers something for everyone. Surfing attracts many visitors as the waves in Lake Superior turn ocean like in the fall. If you aren’t prepared with your wetsuit however there are several waterfalls to adventure to and seemingly endless hiking and biking trails that effortlessly display beautiful fall colors. The temperatures in Marquette in the fall allow you to enjoy the scenery without sweating buckets but the lake will likely not be warm enough to swim in. If outdoor activities are not your thing you can go on one of the many scenic drives or relax along the lakeshore. If you visit in late October or early November there might even be a chance of catching the Aurora Borealis. To round out your trip, this area is also full of popular breweries and restaurants as well as fall events like the Baraga Avenue Harvest Festival.
The wonderful thing about this west Michigan city is its balance between being a beach town, farm town, and tourist destination. There is always plenty to do in Saugatuck but my favorite time of the year to visit is during the fall months. For starters, the fall festivals here are a big deal, there seems to be one every weekend from Labor Day to Halloween! The Lakeshore Harvest Ride Bike Tour is a popular one that gives bikers the opportunity to experience several local businesses from Saugatuck to South Haven. If you are interested in exploring the outdoors, there are parks, fun hiking trails and sand dunes that give a perfect display of yellow, red and orange fall colors and Lake Michigan. Typical fall activities happen here too, make sure to visit Crane’s Orchard for apple picking, cider drinking, and donut eating. Saugatuck is your one-stop-shop for a fall vacation, there will surely be something for everyone to enjoy.