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37 NEW Places to Visit for Michigan Fall Colors in 2023 (MAP)

see michigan fall foliage

By Jill Halpin 

Where Are the Best Places to See Fall Color in Michigan? 

Are you looking for the best places to visit for Michigan fall colors and enjoy some fall Michigan travel?

Fellow leaf-peepers and autumn aficionados, you’re in luck!  It’s that magical time of the year again when Michigan transforms into a canvas of warm hues and vibrant shades. Cider mills, corn mazes, fall festivals, and pumpkin patches can be found on almost every corner.  

If you’re ready to embrace the cozy sweaters, apple cider, and the irresistible rustle of fallen leaves underfoot, you’re in for a treat. So grab your flannels and your sense of adventure, because we’re about to embark on a journey through the best spots to witness Michigan’s fall foliage extravaganza!

Michigan’s fall color show is amazing, and we’re sharing some fresh spots for colors tours in this Michigan travel guide. It appears that with the Upper Peninsule of Michigan peaking in late September, is a safe bet for outdoor adventures through October. 

If you’re looking for an amazing trip idea, read on for the best fall destinations for fall color touring in Michigan.

Be sure to the Michigan Fall Colors Map for predictions on pure Michigan’s beautiful peak fall colors.  

Map of places to see michigan fall foliage

See Fall Color Change in Northern Michigan 

Experience Fall Foliage in Alpena – Alpena, MI

Get ready for a fall adventure on the shores of Lake Huron’s Shipwreck Coast! Alpena’s vibrant downtown area is surrounded by a chorus of color-changing trees. Take a stroll along the Thunder Bay Riverwalk and enjoy the picturesque views of fall foliage and calm waters. Plan to visit one of my favorite museums in Michigan: the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, where you can walk the deck of a life-size schooner or “swim” over a shipwreck in the dive tubes!

Local Delights: After your walk, warm up with a cup of freshly brewed coffee from Cabin Creek Coffee and explore the unique boutiques downtown.

PRO-TIP: Take a side trip to Ocqueoc Falls, the only waterfalls in Michigan’s  lower peninsula.  

Take in the Fall Colors at the Tunnel of Trees – Harbor Springs, MI

Buckle up, because the Tunnel of Trees in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula is your ticket to fall foliage nirvana. This scenic route along M-119 is like driving through a technicolor dream. Each twist and turn unveil a new vista of blazing reds, oranges, and golds against the backdrop of Lake Michigan.

Must-Visit Stop: As you make your way through, don’t forget to pause at Pond Hill Farm. Savor farm-fresh goodness at the Garden Café and stock up on jams, jellies, and local goodies at the Farm Market.

michigan fall foliage at sleeping bear dunes
Colorful Fall Leaves at the Lake Michigan Overlook

Fall in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Empire, MI 

Nature’s grand masterpiece, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, doesn’t just offer sandy shores and majestic bluffs. Come autumn, this gem turns into a symphony of colors that’ll tug at your heartstrings. The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a must-do, revealing panoramic views of Lake Michigan surrounded by a breathtaking spectrum of autumn hues. Plan to try a catch an autumn sunset at the iconic Lake Michigan Overlook.  

Unique Feature: Don’t miss the charming town of Glen Arbor nearby, where you can savor scrumptious homemade pies at the Cherry Republic and snag souvenirs that scream “Michigan” at M22 Store.

See the Fall Color Change in Petoskey – Petoskey, MI

It’s hard to beat the charm of Petoskey, especially in the fall. Located on Little Traverse Bay, the entire bay lights up with the stunning fall foliage lining the shores. Be sure to head into downtown Petoskey’s Gaslight District, a favorite haunt of Ernest Hemingway.  The historic architecture is complemented by the fiery hues of autumn leaves, and the boutiques and cafes offer a warm welcome.

Take a leisurely hike through the trails of Bear River Valley Recreation for some amazing leaf peeping. 

Local Indulgence: Warm up with a cup of hot cocoa from American Spoon and explore the cozy shops along Mitchell Street.

Do Some Michigan Leaf Peeping at Higgins Lake – Roscommon, MI

Welcome to the radiant realm of Higgins Lake! The crystal-clear waters take on a new charm as the trees surrounding the lake burst into fall glory. It’s the perfect place for a lakeside getaway with a side of foliage.

Scenic Drive: Consider a scenic drive to the Fred W. Smith Memorial State Forest for a unique juxtaposition of towering pines and colorful fall leaves.

Leelanau Peninsula in the fall- michigan fall foliage
Fall Foliage on the Leelanua Peninsula

Explore the Leelanau Peninsula in Fall  – Northern Michigan Fall Foliage

Calling all wine and leaf enthusiasts! Take a ride around Michigan’s famous M-22 highway for a perfect fall road trip. The Leelanau Peninsula offers a double whammy of fall goodness. Sip on award-winning wines while soaking in the sight of vineyards painted in shades of red and gold. Wineries like the Verterra Tasting Room in Leland, and Black Star Farms provide the perfect backdrop for your fall adventure. 

Indulge Your Palate: Treat yourself to a tasty grilled cheese at The Village Cheese Shanty in Leland, and pick up gourmet cheeses for later indulgence.

Fall Foliage Viewing at Ludington State Park – Ludington, MI 

Nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, Ludington State Park, 8800 W. M-116, Ludington, MI 49431,  is an autumn paradise. Towering sand dunes, meandering rivers, and peaceful forests create a breathtaking backdrop for fall foliage enthusiasts. Be sure to visit the dramatic Lake Michigan shoreline at Ludington State Park and catch a glimpse of the picturesque Big Sable Lighthouse surrounded by the bight fall foliage. 

Beachside Bliss: Don’t miss a sunset stroll along Lake Michigan’s shoreline – the blend of fiery leaves and the cool blue waters is pure magic.

Lakefront Tranquility: Hike or bike along the shores of Hamlin Lake and be amazed by the tapestry of colors.

fall foliage in ludington mi
Big Sable Point in Ludington MI

See Vibrant Fall Foliage on Mackinac Island – Mackinac Island, MI

Autumn transforms this charming island into a whimsical wonderland. Bid adieu to cars and hello to horse-drawn carriages as you meander through streets lined with trees dressed in their finest fall attire. The Mackinac Island State Park offers sweeping views of Lake Huron, making it the perfect backdrop for your leafy escapade.

Unique Experience: Explore the iconic Grand Hotel, where you can indulge in an exquisite afternoon tea surrounded by opulent fall decor.

Discover Michgan Fall Color in the Manistee National Forest – Wellston, MI

For a rustic escape into the heart of autumn, venture into Manistee National Forest. Dense woodlands give way to serene rivers and charming lakes, all framed by a vibrant color palette. The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is a hidden gem, offering a unique blend of dunes and fall foliage.

Hidden Gem: Swing by Irons Café for a hearty breakfast before you embark on your fall adventure – their pancakes are legendary!

See Bright Leaves at Hartwick Pines State Park – Grayling, MI

Hartwick Pines State Park, 4216 Ranger Rd, Grayling, MI 49738, is a true gem for fall foliage seekers. Towering pines, peaceful forests, and a vibrant visitor center create a tranquil haven for embracing autumn’s splendor.

Educational Adventure: Don’t miss the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum for a journey through Michigan’s timber history.

Upper peninsula fall foliage
Colorful Fall Leaves in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Where to See Fall Colors in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 

Celebrate the Fall Colors in Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Paradise, MI

Venture north to witness the jaw-dropping transformation of Tahquamenon Falls State Park. As the leaves put on their annual fashion show, the waterfalls add a symphony of their own. The aptly-named “Root Beer Falls” take on a surreal quality amidst the fiery foliage.

Eat and Shop: Head to the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub for hearty comfort food that’ll warm your soul. And don’t forget to pick up some locally crafted treasures at the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Gift Shop, where you can visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and learn the history of Lake Superior.  

PRO-TIP: You’re in the eastern Upper Peninsula here, so try and make it to Sault Ste. Marie to see the Soo Locks, a marvel of modern engineering.   

Wander the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Fall – Ontonagon, MI

Venture to Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula to the stunning Porcupine Mountains, where nature flaunts its artistic prowess. The Escarpment Trail offers vistas that’ll make your heart skip a beat, as colorful trees stretch as far as the eye can see. Beautiful Lake of the Clouds has an ADA accessible path to make sure everyone gets a chance to experience the beauty of Porkies in the fall. 

Eat, Shop, and Sip: For a dose of local art, explore the Ontonagon Township Library Gift Shop.

See Bright Fall Colors in the Keweenaw Peninsula – Upper Peninsula

Farther up north lies the Keweenaw Peninsula, where fall foliage reaches its zenith. The undulating landscapes, paired with the flaming colors of the trees, create a breathtaking spectacle. Brockway Mountain Drive in Copper Harbor, one of the prettiest drives in Michigan, is your VIP pass to panoramic fall vistas.

Unmissable Eateries: While in the area, make sure to savor a slice of homemade pie at The Berry Patch in Copper Harbor, and fuel up with a pasty from Roy’s Pasties & Bakery.

fall in pictured rocks
Fall at Picture Rocks National Lakeshore

Fall at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Munising

Fall in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is beautiful, and you’ll see that in Munising, on the shores of Lake Superior. From hiking trails in the Pictured Rocks alongside streams and waterfalls under a colorful canopy of trees to the dark blue drama of Lake Superior, if you visit Munising at peak colors time, it will take your breath away. 

It’s also easy to find reasonable accomodations here, since there are so many chain and independent hotels in in the area.  

Autumn in the Ottawa National Forest – Watersmeet, MI

Are you ready for a truly remote fall adventure? Ottawa National Forest, located in the Upper Peninsula, promises a secluded and breathtaking foliage experience. It’s also waterfall country, a perfect spot to take in the natural beauty of Michigan in the fall. The Bond Falls Scenic Site, Bond Falls Rd, Paulding, MI 49912, boasts not only the majestic Bond Falls but also a captivating display of fall colors. 

Nature Lover’s Haven: While you’re in the area, consider a visit to the Roadhouse Gril, N4578 US 2 & Highway 45, Watersmeet, Michigan 49969, for some amazing Fish and Chips. 

30 fall scenic overlooks in michigan

Best Places to See Fall Colors in Southeast Michigan 

Fall in Kensington Metropark – Milford, MI

For those seeking fall foliage near the bustling city of Detroit, Kensington Metropark, 4570 Huron River Pkwy, Milford, MI 48380, is a haven. The serene Kent Lake serves as a backdrop to the stunning fall foliage. A leisurely stroll or bike ride around the lake offers ample opportunities to revel in nature’s autumn display.

Park Perk: After soaking in the fall views, head to the Kensington Metropark Farm Center for a charming petting farm experience.

See Fall Color in Michigan’s Stony Creek Metropark – Shelby Township, MI

Stony Creek Metropark, 4300 Main Park Rd, Shelby Township, MI 48316, a serene oasis near Detroit, transforms into an autumn paradise. The lake, trails, and woodlands come alive with fall’s vibrant hues, offering a retreat for nature lovers.

Scenic Serenity: Rent a kayak at the Eastwood Beach to paddle amidst the colorful reflections on the lake’s surface.

Celebrate Color Change on the Detroit Riverwalk – Detroit, MI

Even the heart of the city gets decked out for fall! The Detroit Riverwalk, 600 Renaissance Center, Suite 1720, Detroit, MI 48243, offers a unique urban foliage experience. Stroll along the river as the trees lining the walkway change color, creating a picturesque contrast against the cityscape.

City Escape: Cap off your leaf-peeping adventure with a visit to the Eastern Market for farm-fresh produce and local artisanal goods.

fall colors in a michigan hiking trail
Southeast Michigan in Autumn

See the Bright Colors of Bloomer Park – Rochester Hills, MI

Bloomer Park, 345 John R Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48307, nestled along the Clinton River, is a serene escape into fall’s embrace. The winding trails and wooded areas are adorned with hues that’ll leave you in awe.

Picnic Perfection: Pack a picnic and enjoy it by the river’s edge at the scenic Riverside Picnic Area.

Waterloo Recreation Area – Chelsea, MI

For an escape into a vast natural playground, head to Waterloo Recreation Area, 16345 McClure Rd, Chelsea, MI 48118.  Rolling hills, tranquil lakes, and wooded trails showcase the best of fall foliage and invite you to explore.

Outdoor Exploration: Consider a visit to the Eddy Discovery Center for informative displays and guided hikes amidst the autumn beauty.

Dexter – Dexter, MI

Dexter’s small-town charm shines even brighter in the fall. The Huron River, meandering through town, creates a picturesque setting for the changing leaves. Stroll through the historic streets and embrace the fall vibes. Take a ride along Ann Arbor’s Huron River Drive, a heritage route that a stunning in the fall. 

Quaint Escapade: Visit The Dexter Bakery for freshly baked goods and explore local boutiques for unique fall finds.

Cranbrook Gardens – Bloomfield Hills, MI

For a touch of elegance amidst the autumn splendor, Cranbrook Gardens, 380 Lone Pine Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303, is the place to be. The meticulously manicured gardens and elegant architecture serve as a backdrop to fall’s vibrant colors.

Historical Delight: After a leisurely walk through the gardens, explore the Cranbrook Art Museum for a dose of culture.

Indian Springs Metropark – White Lake, MI

Indian Springs Metropark, 5200 Indian Trail, White Lake, MI 48386, invites you to revel in the serenity of fall. The calm waters of the lake reflect the fiery foliage, creating a mesmerizing double vision that’s pure magic.

Scenic Stroll: Take a leisurely walk along the Woodland Trail for an up-close encounter with fall’s beauty.

Top Spots for Michigan fall Road Trip

Michigan Fall Peak Colors in Central Michigan 

Fitzgerald Park – Grand Ledge, MI

If you’re seeking a slice of fall magic close to Lansing, Fitzgerald Park, 133 Fitzgerald Park Dr, Grand Ledge, MI 48837, is your answer. The Grand River winds through this park, accentuating the autumn splendor. As you hike along the trails, you’ll be treated to picturesque views of the river and trees painted in warm hues.

Local Tip: After exploring the park, head into the charming downtown area for vintage shopping at the Grand Ledge Antique Mall.

Burchfield Park – Holt, MI

Just a hop, skip, and jump away from Lansing, Burchfield Park, 881 Grovenburg Rd, Holt, MI 48842,  is a hidden gem for fall enthusiasts. The tranquil lakes and woodlands are dressed in their finest fall finery, creating a serene backdrop for your autumn escapade. 

Peaceful Pause: Stop by the Apple Orchard Pavilion for a peaceful moment by the water, surrounded by colorful leaves.

Bay City State Park – Bay City, MI

Bay City State Park, 3582 State Park Dr, Bay City, MI 48706, nestled along the Saginaw Bay, transforms into an autumn haven. The observation tower provides a breathtaking vantage point to witness the fall foliage and the shimmering waters of Lake Huron.

Waterfront Wonders: Head to Uptown Bay City for a day of thrifting and antiquing in one of Michigan’s top areas for antiques-lovers. 

Holly Recreation Area – Holly, MI

Venture to Holly Recreation Area, 8100 Grange Hall Rd, Holly, MI 48442, for a quintessential fall day. This wooded wonderland transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors, and the placid lakes offer reflective views that double the beauty.

Picnic Paradise: Pack a picnic basket and head to McGinnis Lake Picnic Area for a relaxing lakeside meal.

saugatuck michigan in peak fall color

See Stunning Fall Colors in West Michigan 

Explore Autumn Leaves in Saugatuck – Saugatuck, MI

This picturesque coastal town isn’t just for summer – Saugatuck is a fall delight too! The charming downtown streets and the scenic Saugatuck Dunes State Park transform into a warm-hued wonderland. Early fall is perfect time for a picnic under the colorful trees along the Kalamazoo River. 

Culinary Adventures: Savor delectable farm-to-table cuisine at The Southerner, where Southern comfort meets autumn elegance.

Discover the Autumn Foliage in Yankee Springs Recreation Area – Middleville, MI

Yankee Springs Recreation Area, 2104 South Briggs Rd, Middleville, MI 49333, offers a rustic fall escape. As the leaves change, the diverse landscapes of woods, wetlands, and prairies come alive with an explosion of color. Yankee Springs State Recreation Area in southwest Michigan is a fall paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The diverse landscapes, including woodlands and lakes, create a canvas for fall foliage that’s impossible to resist.

Off-the-Beaten-Path: Visit the nearby town of Hastings for a small-town charm, with antique shops and cozy cafes to explore.

holland mi - best places to see michigan fall colors
Holland’s Big Red Lighthouse

See Fall Colorful Leaves in Holland – Holland, MI 

Fall isn’t just for pumpkins – Holland knows how to shine in autumn’s spotlight too! The city’s historic streets come alive with pumpkins, bright mums and leaves that seem to have been dipped in liquid gold. Windmill Island Gardens,1 Lincoln Ave, Holland, MI 49423, adds a touch of Dutch charm to the fall foliage splendor, too.

Be sure to head out to Holland State Park and see the beautiful fall leaves with the iconic Big Red lighthouse in background, which takes on a new charm when surrounded by the warm hues of autumn leaves. Holland State Park isn’t just for summer beach days – it’s a fall retreat too.

Local Delight: After strolling through the enchanting gardens, satisfy your taste buds with Dutch-inspired treats at deBoer Bakkerij & Dutch Brothers Restaurant.

Explore Fall Leaves in Muskegon State Park – Muskegon, MI

Muskegon State Park, 3560 Memorial Dr, North Muskegon, MI 49445, welcomes you with open arms in the fall. Trails through towering oak trees and along the shimmering Lake Michigan shoreline create a captivating fusion of colors. Muskegon’s Pere Marquette Park is also a must-visit in the fall, too.

Outdoor Delight: Pack a picnic and spend the day at the Snug Harbor Picnic Area, where fall foliage meets lakeside serenity.

See the Fall Foliage at Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Mears, MI

Get ready for a unique fall adventure at Silver Lake Sand Dunes. The towering dunes are blanketed in colorful foliage, creating a striking contrast against the sand. The beautiful beach at Little Sable Point,  is quiet at this time of the year, so you can wander the beach by yourself and catch some pictures of the tall, pink Little Sable Point lighthouse. Don’t miss the Dune Drive for an unforgettable ride through the fall wonderland.

Off-Roading and More: After your dune adventure, treat yourself to some classic lakeside eats at the Silver Lake Chicken Shack.

2023 Michigan peak fall color map

There you have it, folks – thirty incredible locations to experience Michigan’s fall color in all its glory! Whether you’re exploring woodlands, strolling through charming towns, or enjoying the lakefront beauty, Michigan’s autumn hues are ready to enchant you. So, grab your cozy sweater, your camera, and your sense of adventure, and set out on a leaf-peeping journey that promises memories as vivid as the foliage itself. Happy autumn exploration!

More Places to See Michigan’s Fall Foliage