6 Michigan Cities to Visit This Fall

Ever wonder what a beach side sunset looks like in the fall? How about covered bridges laden with leaves? Everyone loves a good Michigan vacation over the summer, but, believe it or not, sometimes visits in the fall makes Michigan small towns even better.

Cottages and small cities up north are beautiful locations to visit when the leaves change color and everything gets crisp. Between beaches, downtown areas, fall festivals and annual events, spending seasonal time across the state is worth the journey, wherever you may be coming from!

If fall is your season, there are tons of great Michigan locales worth visiting from September through November. From scenic drives to the absolute best cider mills, here are some autumn hot spots in the mitten:

  • Glen Arbor: A ride along route M-22 will take you through the Leelanau Peninsula and several bay areas. Be sure to stop at staples like Traverse City and the Sleeping Bear Dunes to see breathtaking views during the changing seasons.
  • Ontonagon: The closest town to Porcupine Mountains State Park in the U.P., Ontonagon is remote, peaceful and located right on Lake Superior. Take in a good golf outing or enjoy the beautiful changing forestry within the mountainous park.
  • Ann Arbor: Whether you’re artsy, sporty or a devout intellectual, wandering this college-town in the fall allows you to stumble upon great restaurants, attractions, parks and more.
  • Bay City: Head to the Great Lakes Bay Region for water activities like boating or kayaking, outdoor film and music festivals, antique and craft shows and other great activities suitable for the whole family.
  • Charlevoix: Aside from the four bodies of water surrounding the city, Charlevoix also features apple festivals, market days and harvest celebrations embracing autumn in the mitten.
  • Holland: Visit a lighthouse or windmill, take in the changing scenery from floral to fall leaves or stroll downtown in the brisk fall air. Holland is great place for a day trip or autumn weekend getaway.

Where are your favorite fall destinations in Michigan?

Photo credit: Jim Sorbie

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Read 12 Comments

  1. Although many people associate Mackinaw City with being its best in the summer months, many who visit Mackinaw/Mackinac during the fall love it the best during this timeframe. It is a quieter, slower pace, giving visitors a chance to take in the breezes, cooler temps and fall foods. Taking a trip down 31 to smaller locales gives you a perspective of great little hideaways, antique shops and farmer’s markets. I own a shop in Mackinaw, but when fall arrives…. there is a magical mystique to our Up North appeal.

  2. Since you’ve used a beautiful picture of the Point Betsie Lighthouse, I’ll add Frankfort/Benzie County to the list of communities not to miss this fall

  3. Never been up north I want a good route please tks for this fall tks …. want to take family for a get away minivacation

  4. The drive directly south from Petoskey is gorgeous in the fall with rolling hills covered in autumn leaves!

  5. My beautiful hometown of MARSHALL hosts an Historic Homes Tour the weekend after Labor Day each year. It’s extremely lovely year round, but particularly in autumn. Marshall missed being the State Capital by one vote, & has retained its charm for generations.

  6. You forgot about the Keewenaw and Copper Harbor – Brockway Mountain Drive and the covered road to get there. It will be absolutely spectacular in 7 days or so. The Red and Orange and Gold colored leaves are so vibrant this year. Best that I’ve seen in years. It doesn’t get any more beautiful than the Keweenaw Peninsula.

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