Michigan Fall Color Tours: Top 5 Places to See the Changing Autumn Leaves

One of the favorite past times for many families during the fall is going out to see the changing leaves in the landscapes. Michigan is just one of many naturally beautiful states that are perfect for fall color tours. If you’re ever in Michigan, here are five of the best places to go for fall color tours in 2011.

5. Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, South Haven and Kalamazoo

One of the best ways to see the autumn leaves here in Michigan is through a nice, long afternoon drive. This favorite route of West Michiganders includes 4 larger cities and towns in the area. From the bustling art center known as Grand Rapids to the beaches of Grand Haven, South Haven and Holland, back inland toward Kalamazoo and right back up to Grand Rapids.

This 195 mile route takes you along the backroads of Michigan, where you’ll pass through a number of quaint beach towns, such as Saugatuck, and of course, you’ll still be able to drive along at a nice, leisurely pace so that you can enjoy the autumn colors. Pack a picnic lunch because there will be plenty of places to stop along the way!

4. Upper Peninsula: Houghton, Eagle River and Copper Harbor

You’ll find that the early fall, starting around mid-September and going into early October, is the best time to enjoy a color tour in Michigan’s upper peninsula. All though this route is shorter at only 100 miles, it’s just as colorful, so don’t forget the camera.

This particular route involves driving through canopies and ‘tree tunnels,’ which makes for an exceptionally beautiful fall color tour. You’ll travel through Houghton and Hancock, Eagle River, Eagle Harbor and into Copper Harbor, so be sure to stop at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park to take pictures!

3. U.S. 31 Northbound

Just about any starting point on U.S. 31 heading north is bound to be a colorful drive, though your best bet may be to start in Michigan and head north toward Manistee.

Like many routes, this particular one involves several beaches and a couple of quaint little towns, so don’t be afraid to stop by and say hi to the locals. There are always pumpkin patches, cider hot spots and other fall-fun locations to visit. Plus, it’s on your way to number 2 of this list.

2. Traverse City

If you’ve got an afternoon to spare, consider driving the Traverse City area fall color tour. It stretches from Traverse City through Interlochen, over to Frankfort and back up to Northport before finally returning to Traverse City.

Along the way you can stop at many great locations including Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, Old Mission Point Lighthouse and Point Betsie Lighthouse.

1. Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise, Michigan

They don’t call it ‘Paradise’ for nothing! Another great fall color tour is through Tahquamenon Fall State Park located in Paradise, Michigan. This location, much like the other upper peninsula locations, is best enjoyed in the early fall. While you’re there, be sure to stop by the waterfall!

For more information, check out Michigan.org for detailed routes as well as shops, places to eat and other great locations.

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