Experience Pure Michigan: A Guide to the Fall Season in the Mitten State

Travel Advisor Jessica Woods in a black dress
Curated By

Jessica Woods

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  • Michigan

  • Active Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • Fall

  • Lakeside

  • Foodie

Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America.
Curator’s statement

Michigan's Lower Peninsula comes alive in the fall, offering picturesque landscapes, vibrant cities and mouthwatering flavors. Take a road trip, and experience Pure Michigan while taking in the fall foliage and gorgeous views. Stop at a cider mill for fresh apple cider and donuts; get lost in a corn maze and then relax with a local brew while overlooking the stunning lakes that surround this gorgeous state.

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Where to stay in Michigan

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Bavarian Inn Lodge

Bavarian-inspired resort in Michigan with contemporary rooms and suites.

Stafford's Perry Hotel

A charming historic inn offering scenic waterfront views and luxurious accommodations in downtown Petoskey, Michigan.

Hotel Indigo Traverse City, an IHG Hotel

A comfy and stylish stay in the buzzing Warehouse District.

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Travel Advisor Jessica Woods in a black dress

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Things to do in Michigan

Winery in Traverse City.

Frankenmuth: A Taste of Bavaria

Kick off your adventure in Frankenmuth, a charming town with a Bavarian flair. Stroll along Main Street, explore Bronner's Christmas Wonderland and savor authentic German cuisine at the Bavarian Inn.

Can’t Miss Event: Frankenmuth Oktoberfest: German food, music, dancing, events and beer (September).

Ann Arbor: Culture and Colors

Visit vibrant Ann Arbor, known for its cultural attractions, including the University of Michigan campus and the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Explore downtown's charming streets and cultural scene and visit any of the many galleries and museums in this artists' community.

Can’t Miss Event: Ann Arbor Film Festival: Celebrate independent and experimental films (October).

Petoskey: Fall Colors by the Lake

Discover Petoskey, nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan. Enjoy a leisurely stroll in Bayfront Park, hunt for Petoskey stones and explore the historic Gaslight District.

Can’t Miss Event: Harvest Festival: Enjoy pumpkin painting, live music, and fall-themed fun (October).

Boyne Mountain SkyBridge: Walk Among the Treetops

Experience fall foliage from a unique perspective at Boyne Mountain. Take a walk on the exhilarating Boyne Mountain SkyBridge, offering panoramic vistas of the vibrant autumn landscape.

Bellaire: A Gateway to Michigan Wine Country

Bellaire is your gateway to rolling vineyards and charming wineries. Explore the Bellaire Wine Trail, featuring picturesque spots like Shady Lane Cellars and Mammoth Distilling.

Can’t Miss Event: Bellaire's Harvest Festival: Celebrate the season with cider tastings, hayrides and live entertainment (October).

Holland: Dutch Charm and Tulip Lanes

Holland boasts Dutch heritage and offers attractions like the "De Zwaan" windmill at Windmill Island Gardens and the famous Tulip Lanes.

Traverse City Breweries: A Craft Beer Paradise

Traverse City is a craft beer enthusiast's paradise. Explore the Traverse City Ale Trail, featuring acclaimed breweries like Right Brain Brewery and The Workshop Brewing Company.

Can’t Miss Event: Traverse City Fall Color Tours: Guided bus and bike tours to witness the fall foliage (September-October).

Crystal Mountain Ski, Golf and Spa Resort

Crystal Mountain is Michigan's Premier four-season family resort, featuring downhill slopes, a 36-hole golf course, a world-class spa, cross-country skiing, an indoor and outdoor pool with water playground, zip lining, tennis courts, disc golf, award-winning restaurants and retail shopping, all within the resort community. Book a cozy weekend getaway or snag a townhome and bring the extended family and friends.

Places to eat & drink in Michigan

Drink from Iron Fish Distillery.

As you explore these Michigan gems, indulge in a variety of culinary experiences:


Frankenmuth:
Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie for a quick bite or to relax after a day of exploring.
Bavarian Inn for authentic German dishes and traditional home-cooked meals
Slo' Bones BBQ Smokehaus for BBQ, Brews, and Blues

Ann Arbor:
Zingermans Delicatessen- an Ann Arbor institution for the best deli sandwiches and artisan, made-in-Michigan goods.
Gandy Dancer- Upscale Seafood
Sava’s- Farm to Table

Petoskey: Enjoy lakeside dining at the Stafford's Pier Restaurant.

Bellaire:
Short's Brewing Company
Bee Well Mead & Cider

Holland: Try Dutch pastries and delicacies at DeBoer Bakkerij & Dutch Brothers Restaurant.

Thompsonville:
Iron Fish Distillery
Stormcloud Brewing Company
Five Shores Brewing

Traverse City:
Poppycocks for martinis and live jazz
Trattoria Stella
Blue Tractor BBQ

Travel Advisor Jessica Woods in a black dress

Travel Advisor

Jessica Woods

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Michigan.