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Endless color awaits in these Keweenaw Peninsula fall hot spots

There are numerous ways to experience fall’s colorful brilliance in the Keweenaw Peninsula – and that even includes from up above by chairlift.

Known as Michigan’s Copper Country, the Keweenaw Peninsula is the northernmost part of the Upper Peninsula and comprises seemingly endless trails, acres and acres of remote wilderness, rugged lakeshore, secluded beaches, numerous historic sites and much more.

And all of it undergoes a vibrant morph of color that hits its peak in late September through early October, spurred by the micro-climate caused by Lake Superior and the peninsula’s northern location.

a autumn leaf held up in front of a fall tree lined roadAs an area galvanized by outdoor activities, there are several ways to immerse yourself in the array of orange, red and yellow. As for the best way and spot to observe the transformation, there’s no right answer even for Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Brad Barnett.

“It’s hard to pick because honestly there are so many favorites,” he said. “I love to get out and hike at Pilgrim Community Forest. Or jump in a canoe and take the Sturgeon River down to Portage Lake.”

For fall color visitors it really comes down to a choose-your-own-adventure type of excursion. The simplest way, which also allows you to cover a lot of ground in a short time, is by car. The area features miles of scenic roads to explore.

A recommended cruise is the Brockway Mountain Drive, between Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor. This road winds up 720 feet of elevation where you can witness fall color, rugged shorelines and vistas all in one swoop.

Discover more: Scenic Drives in Keweenaw Peninsula

Accentuating Keweenaw’s unique fall color experience is the chance for a bird’s eye view via a chairlift. Chairlift rides are available at Mont Ripley, where guests can soar above dazzling colors and see spectacular views.

Those who don’t want to only remain seated and like to mix in activity with their fall color palette will find plenty of opportunity by foot, paddle or pedal.

“If you want to experience the fall color on a more personal level, there are miles and miles of trail,” Barnett said. “So bring your mountain bike. We’re a mountain biking mecca with 90 miles of single-track trail between four different systems. You can ride through an abandoned copper mine, take the Tech Trails on Michigan Tech’s campus, and trails for beginners to experts. Just tons of trails.”

Discover more: Mountain Biking in the Keweenaw

Bond Falls in Keweenaw Peninsula, MIAlong with color, the fall months also provide rejuvenation to the area waterfalls thanks to extra precipitation in September and October. Exploring the area waterfalls with stunning fall color as its backdrop is a must.

“When you come in the fall it’s usually wetter, so the waterfalls are really flowing,” Barnett said. “There are a dozen different waterfalls to check out and they are just spectacular this time of year.”

Discover more: Waterfalls in Keweenaw

Autumn’s artist brush paints endless color in the Keweenaw Peninsula to go with all the adventure awaiting. All types can be captivated by the yellow, orange and red tints that takeover the area’s sweeping landscapes. And because of its unique climate, Barnett said peak colors in the area hit at different times depending where you are. So, if you miss it in one spot, chances are another area is bursting with color.

There’s a reason USA TODAY 10Best named the Upper Peninsula the number one destination for fall foliage in the country – and a trip to Keweenaw showcases it beautifully. Put on your favorite fall flannel, grab your favorite hiking boots, bike or kayak and wander Keweenaw this fall.

Use the Keweenaw Adventure Guide to plan your fall visit to Copper Country.

Breathe fresh air into your kids’ remote learning

kids running in the woods

One of the challenges with the remote learning happening across Michigan this fall is that it can be difficult to replicate some things that happen in the classroom. Take a science lab, for example. Not every family has the tools to build electrical circuits or a variety of live animals to study.

Fortunately, places such as COGnition Science & Discovery Center offer a classroom away from the classroom. Among its interactive, hands-on exhibits, the Traverse City-area attraction has KEVA planks for kids to explore architecture and a generator bike where they can learn about and actually produce electricity. COGnition even has live animals to meet and hold including two hedgehogs, a handful of tortoises and a kindly ball python named Severus Snake.

“He’s very sweet and curious, which is the atmosphere we’re trying to encourage,” said Kimmee Wenkel, co-founder and executive director of the 4,000-square-foot facility on U.S. 31 in Beulah, west of Traverse City.

“COGnition is like a science playground. Families come and spend time with us, and we usually hear the most feedback from the moms who are trying to get out the door and their kids don’t want to leave.”

woman and child in the woods looking at the treesFewer than one of every six schools in Michigan is teaching every student in person every day of the week this fall, according to a Michigan State University study. That means many of the state’s 1.6 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade are spending at least some of their school week learning remotely, outside the classroom.

Of course, not all remote learning has to happen from home. If your family has children home from school full-time or even just a couple days a week, think about making their remote learning truly remote by taking a family field trip to supplement their learning.

Why not get away for a visit to COGnition, then make a weekend of it in the Traverse City area? It’s not like you’d be missing any football games and tailgate parties this fall, so come on up north. The Traverse City area is offering Fab Fall packages with discounted lodging and money-saving offers on things to do.

You don’t have to look hard to find family activities in Traverse City that are both fun and educational. You could practically create an entire lesson plan for every school subject!

Then, when the kids are done with school for the day, have a blast swimming in the hotel pool or crossing something special off your family’s bucket list, like cruising down a mountain on Michigan’s only Alpine slide!

Here are just a few of the places in the Traverse City area where your kids (and you, too!) can experience hands-on, active learning while they’re away from the classroom:

  • Let’s start the school day with some music! The Music House Museum in Williamsburg features a unique assortment of antique instruments including music applesboxes, player pianos, phonographs, jukeboxes and the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ. With the collection going back to the 1700s, you’ll get a sense of the history of automated music and have fun seeing and hearing the rare, unfamiliar instruments. The museum offers guided one-hour tours daily through October, then only on weekends starting in November.
  • If apples cost $2 per pound at a U-pick farm and you find a dozen of the juiciest looking varieties that weigh a combined four pounds, what will be the total price of your harvest? What is the price per apple? Visiting a U-pick farm or farmers market in the Traverse City area is the perfect fall activity for your family. It can also be a math lesson in disguise! How many quarts of sweet cherries at a roadside market in the Traverse City area make a full pound? How much is a peck of apples? How about a bushel? However you measure it, the fresh fruits and vegetables in the Traverse City area are a delicious mid-day snack!
  • Of course, every school day has recess, right? What better way to enjoy fall in
    3 women looking at a piece of paper

    Jacob’s Farm has lots of fall recreation to enjoy including a corn maze that’s the size of 10 football fields!

    Michigan than to get lost in a corn maze and try to find your way out! Jacob’s Farm offers miles of twisting paths in a 10-acre maze that has a Michigan shipwrecks theme this fall. The farm also includes a U-pick fruit orchard and pumpkin patch. For lunch you can enjoy some farm fresh, kid-friendly food, and maybe an adult beverage, too.

  • For a fun geography lesson, drive up the Old Mission Peninsula to the 45th parallel, which is exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole. Along the way, add some history to your day by checking out the log schoolhouse and old-fashioned general store in Old Mission Village and the 150-year-old Mission Point Lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula.
  • On the campus of Northwestern Michigan College, the Dennos Museum Center features one of the world’s largest collections of Inuit and Canadian Arctic art. There’s lots of great ideas to get kids engaged with the pieces on display. For an outdoor art experience, visit the Michigan Legacy Art Park. The park within Crystal Mountain Resort includes almost 50 contemporary sculptures along trails that run through a 30-acre forest preserve.
  • With remote learning requiring so much time behind a computer screen, physical education is as important as ever. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of recreational activities in the Traverse City area. The Grass River Natural Area, for example, offers 3.5 miles of easy hiking through a 1,500-acre preserve of forests, swamps, bogs and river shoreline. Keep an eye out for eagles and other wildlife! The Glacial Hills Pathway and Natural Area in Bellaire has over 30 miles of trails for hiking or biking through 10 distinct habitats that feature more than 20 species of trees and 100 different kinds of birds and flowers. Those are just two of the beautiful and unique places to go for a hike in the Traverse City area.
  • For a science experience by day, visit COGnition Science & Discovery Center in Beulah. COGnition is open by appointment Wednesdays through Saturdays this fall woman carries child on her shoulderswhen families can sign up for 2-hour visits. After dark, get your science fix by visiting the Joseph H. Rogers Observatory. During public viewing nights this fall you’ll be able to get a closeup look of not just the moon but also Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and, come November, the Orion Nebula some 1,800 light years away!


That’s just a sampling of the many fun, educational things to do for kids and families in the Traverse City area. The Traverse City Kids’ Guide has much more to explore this fall.

You could do the Dune Climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, pick up some sweets at Whirligig’s Candy & More at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, go for a bike ride on the TART Trail, take a scenic chairlift ride to the top of Schuss Mountain, go on a hayride or saddle up for a horseback ride, play disc golf on some of Michigan’s best courses, paddle through peaceful northern Michigan waters, ride the Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide and so much more.

Find a place to stay and start planning a family field trip for the ages!

In a Time of Screens and Falls in Munising, MI

Across Michigan kids are learning virtually, one of the upsides of this is that if they aren’t in a classroom – they can learn from anywhere. So why not take them to one of the most breathtaking spots in the state, Munising, MI? Munising is home to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, nearly 20 different waterfalls, 7 lighthouses, and did we mention incredible shipwrecks?

If this is your first time in Munising the interactive app makes it easy to navigate the area and plan some truly memorable adventures for your kids. Plan your trip today at and create your own Michigan adventure.




Historic Michigan burger chain embraces past to move forward

Halo burger meal

The Halo Burger legend was built on three things: Fresh ingredients, treating people with respect and having a community-centered spirit that was created under the decades-long ownership by Bill Thomas and his family members.

Those founding principles have returned to the seven drive-through and dine-in restaurants since the leaders of Halo Country LLC took ownership of Halo Burger restaurants in 2016.

“It’s obvious to me that they’ve tried to go back to the similar stuff that we had,” said Terry Thomas, who took over from his dad and now serves as an ambassador for Halo Country.

Terry Thomas sat down with MLive’s John Gonzales recently to talk about traditions and the importance of being a leader in the community.

Watch as Terry talks about how he started working for his father at the age of 13 and what his first responsibilities were at the restaurant that has been a Flint area icon for 97 years.


Take Your Pick of Fruitful Fall Activities in Southwest Michigan

Jollay Orchards

The end of summer isn’t a conclusion to good times: it’s the beginning of fruitful fall fun – and that’s especially the case in Southwest Michigan.

Comfortable days and crisp evenings create an environment suited for plucking life’s simple joys. Southwest Michigan’s Lake Michigan backdrop sets the scene for a region rich in scenic outdoor recreation, quaint downtowns, and orchards full of people picking apples in an orchardtasty delights that are ripe for exploration. The season transforms the area, both in appearance and in what kind of fun you can get yourself into.

While there’s a lot to like about the region come autumn, it’s the area farms that really anchor the season’s activities – and they’ve been a staple of the area for a long time. Highlighting this is Jollay Orchards, a family farm founded in 1857, headed now by 7th generation growers Jay and Sarah Jollay.

“One hundred and sixty years ago it was straight production,” Jay Jollay said. “But now we’ve been inviting people onto the farm to enjoy the harvest for quite some time.”

And it’s not solely the harvest guests can enjoy at Jollay Orchards. Along with its harvest and farm market, Jollay Orchards boasts a cornfield maze, haunted house, viewing animals, playground, bounce houses, and other family friendly activities.

Of course, things will be a little different this year.  pumpkins at Jollay Orchards

“We’re full steam ahead in these weird times,” Jollay said. “There’s plenty of room and people will have their own space on hay-rides for U-pick apples and pumpkins. We’re Corona-free since 1857 – let’s keep it that way.”

Jollay Orchards, like all the other Southwest Michigan family farms, will have the proper precautions implemented for visitors. Following guidelines is important as Jollay stresses how people deserve to go out and spend time with family doing fun activities.

“We want to make sure people are comfortable at the orchards,” Jollay said.

Jollay Orchards opens for its season August 28 and runs through November 1 with Friday, Saturday and Sunday hours of operation. Admission is segmented into Good, Better, Best U-pick tiers, with each level including access to all the orchard’s activities.

And while plenty of fun this season centers on U-picking from apple trees, the trees that dot the landscapes all over Southwest Michigan also beget plenty of attention with their bursts of fall color. Splashes of ruby reds, citrine yellows, garnet oranges and emerald greens sweep over the dunes, forests, orchards and fields throughout the area, which create striking photo ops destined to appear on your go-to social media account.

There are many popular routes in the area that families can fully enjoy from their car. For example, starting in St. Joseph, you can follow Main Street south to Lakeshore Dr to Red Arrow Highway. This coastal road winds you south through numerous charming communities. Or you can head north along M-63 to Blue Start Highway. Either way, Lake Michigan and fall color is a tandem to behold.

There are also many reasons to get out of the car to experience the color in the area. Golf, biking, hiking, paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing all remain prominent activities in Southwest Michigan well into fall. From scenic rivers to wooded trails, there’s plenty of landscape to explore. Fred Russ Forest Park is a popular 13-acre park for everything from bird watching to canoeing and is perfect for really engaging the resplendent fall color.

Fall color in the area starts revealing itself in Mid-September and typically peaks in Mid-October.

ciders available at Jollay OrchardsSouthwest Michigan is ready for these times and an ideal fall getaway for those seeking a change in scenery. Area businesses from hotels to restaurants to retail are open and safely operating for guests.

“It’s a phenomenal area in Michigan,” Jollay said. “There are great wineries, breweries and lake towns. We all want as normal a fall, as normal an experience, for visitors.”

Whether observing beautiful fall colors, picking apples or getting lost on a trail, find life’s simple joys in Southwest Michigan this fall.

Michigan’s tulip city doubles as an ideal fall getaway

Holland Harbor Lighthouse, nicknamed 'big red'

In the spring, during a normal year, it’s nearly 6 million tulips that line city parks, gardens and private fields that draw thousands of visitors to Holland.

By summer, it’s time to hit one of the incredible Lake Michigan beaches, or cruise around Lake Macatawa.

Come fall, the attention stays on outdoor attractions and natural beauty, but turns to relaxing days centered around:

“I think people are always surprised by how much there is to do, see and discover in and around Holland,” said Kara de Alvare, the farmers market marketing and promotions coordinator. “Our market fills a whole city block, and there’s far more than just produce. There’s a little bit of everything.”

That little bit of everything includes all Michigan-raised or Michigan-made products, from seasonal produce to meats, cheeses, baked goods and more. Those items round out a complete fall experience in which visitors can find farm fresh food ranging from orchard fruits and root vegetables to pumpkins, gourds, and corn shocks.

Holland, MI farmers market

More than 50 vendors offer Michigan-made products, from seasonal produce to meats, cheeses, baked goods and more.

There are roughly 50 vendors at the market, which is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with the first hour reserved for seniors, the immunocompromised and pregnant women. The market is adhering to strict safety measures, including requiring mask use, following social distancing guidelines and limiting occupancy. Leaders have also installed hand-sanitizing stations.

“It’s all local and the selection is really amazing,” de Alvare said. “We are always excited to have new people come and enjoy the experience.”

The market has ample, free parking and is located near the Holland Civic Center, which recently underwent a $16.5 million renovation. The work included all new awnings that shelter shoppers as they explore the market.

After a market visit, the day opens up to outdoor recreation that fits any energy level. Here’s where to find a guide to plan your own adventure to build fun-filled, memory-making moments for families, friends and group getaways. Below are several suggestions to help start your vacation dreaming:

  • Visit Crane Orchards & Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant for a one-stop adventure that can lead guests through u-pick fruit fields, successfully completing a 20-acre corn maze and grabbing warm baked goods or a crisp and refreshing cider or wine.


  • Climb historic Mt. Pisgah for panoramic views of Lake Michigan. The 58-acre natural area has double shorelines, 750 feet on Lake Michigan and 2,400 feet on Lake Macatawa. The wooded dunes make a stunning fall vista for photos, selfies or just quiet solitude.
man walking on a trail in the woods

Nature reserve and trails in county and state parks offer a perfect color tour.

  • If it’s an adrenaline rush that guests seek, mountain biking the paths at the Upper Macatawa Nature Trail and Riley and Pigeon Creek parks are up to the task with rolling terrain that wind through woods and along the Macatawa River. For a more leisurely ride, looped routes can show off Holland’s DeZwaan windmill and a variety of parks.
a fat tire bicycle on a wooded path

Holland has more than 150 miles of trails and paved pathways.

  • Holland’s 200 downtown businesses can match any shopping desire, whether it’s looking for something to decorate a home, find something new to wear or find a gift for any holiday or celebration. There are art galleries, public sculptures and other nooks that guests won’t find anywhere else.
woman shopping in a knick knack store

Holland’s downtown is home to more than 200 unique stores and merchants.

  • All this activity creates quite a hunger, and that will only be challenged by trying to figure out where to eat among the Holland area’s 100+ restaurants that span all international tastes as well as everything from casual to upscale dining. A couple of hotspots: For waterfront dining, consider Boatwerks and its Lake Macatawa-side patio; for a local pizza joint, head to Fricano’s Too located in downtown Holland; the Alpen Rose is a long-time favorite of locals and guests seeking classic European fare.


  • At the end of the day, it’s time to kick back with a craft beer or cocktail, and once again Holland’s makers come through with a variety of brews or  handmade distilled liquors. Among the selections are New Holland Brewing, which was among the leading edge of brewers in Michigan; Big Lake Brewing, which debuted its expanded downtown location in 2017 and has built a statewide reputation for using locally grown hops and ingredients in its India Pale Ales and stouts; meanwhile, Coppercraft Distillery routinely wins state and national awards.
a row of craft beer samples

Try the craft beer and spirits scene on your trip to the lakeshore.

Like to go off-the-cuff and decide upon arrival? Check out these itineraries to piece together an adventure.

With a guide and the above suggested itinerary in-hand, don’t forget to check out special offers for your first or your next visit to Holland.

Explore the activities of Marquette, MI

a family on bicycles in front of a historic site in Marquette, MI

We just can’t get enough of Marquette, with options for whatever your day’s adventure-mood demands – climb above it all, to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain to take in the incredible views of the lake, miles of forest and even the Superior Dome; bring the family and explore hundreds of years of history, exhaust those kiddos with a bike ride, some water fun and exploring the 323 acres of Presque Isle Park; or spend the day shopping downtown and celebrate your amazing finds over a cold brew or a cocktail and a relaxing dinner.

Plan your trip to Marquette with Travel Marquette.


9 outdoor adventures for your fall bucket list

a road through an autumnal tunnel of trees

With one of the world’s largest bodies of water on one side and one of the Lower Peninsula’s biggest inland lakes on the other, there’s a lot of H2O surrounding Ludington State Park. There’s also a lot of land within the park between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake – 5,300 acres of it, which is more than all but a few parks in Michigan.

The best way to experience both the beautiful expanse of Ludington State Park and the incredible waterfront views may be to lace up your hiking boots and hit the park’s 24 miles of trails. The network of several shorter trails loops through the park in varied terrain, from sandy

women walking up a wooden trail in the Ludington, MI woods

Instagram photo by @actively_becoming courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

dunes to wooded marshes to riverside paths. The trails go over hills to the top of high bluffs and down through valleys, across boardwalks and along foot bridges over some of that picturesque shoreline.

“There’s a lot of diversity in the trails here,” said Jim Gallie, park manager. “There’s a bit of everything for everyone.”

Hiking the trails in Ludington State Park is an exhilarating experience any time of year, but perhaps no time is quite as scenic as fall. Once the temperatures cool down, it’s especially enjoyable to get out on the trails for some healthy exercise in a refreshing outdoor setting.

Two of the park’s most popular routes are the Lost Lake and Island trails, which skirt the edge of the water – and in some spots go right over it on boardwalks and foot bridges. Gallie said the combination of boardwalk and big views of Hamlin Lake is appealing, as are the beautiful stretches of cedar and hemlock forest full of birds and wildlife.

There’s also the Coast Guard Trail right along the Lake Michigan dunes, the Sable River Trail from the dam at Hamlin Lake along the river toward Lake Michigan and the Skyline Trail with several scenic overlooks offering panoramic views of landmarks as far away as the Silver Lake Sand Dunes. Plus, there’s the Lighthouse Trail that follows rolling dunes to the photogenic Big Sable Point Lighthouse.

bags of apples from an apple orchard

Instagram photo by @pureludington courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Each trail offers a unique glimpse of Ludington State Park’s immense natural splendor.

Of course, hiking isn’t the only recreational activity to enjoy this fall in Ludington. There’s also a couple miles of bike trail, a four-mile canoe route in Hamlin Lake and a nice fall salmon run. And that’s all just in the state park!

The Ludington area has many miles of hiking and biking trails outside the park, not to mention ample opportunity for kayaking, fishing and golfing – all of which offer their own special beauty in the fall.

Fall also brings delicious fresh produce to farmers markets and the chance to see some of Michigan’s most intense fall color on a leisurely drive through the back roads of Mason County.

See what else fall brings to the Ludington area:

man holding a fish in a stream

Instagram photo by @victorruano1 courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

From big-lake fishing on Lake Michigan to casting a line in over 40 inland lakes to fly fishing in nearly 2,000 miles of trout streams, there’s no wonder Ludington is one of Michigan’s top fishing destinations. In fact, Ludington is the state’s No. 1 salmon fishing port! In the fall, the Sauble and Pere Marquette rivers provide anglers with salmon runs lasting into October.


stream winding through a forest in Ludington, MI

Instagram photo by @rvagogo courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Paddling down a quiet river in the fall can be a spiritual experience as you disappear into the serene beauty of the Pere Marquette National Scenic River. The Ludington area is home to several paddle sports vendors that rent kayaks and canoes for expeditions into the heart of Manistee National Forest.


a tree-lined 'country lane' in Ludington, MI

Instagram photo by @canonontheloose courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Just as you can escape into a kaleidoscope of fall colors on the water, you can venture off the pavement onto the backroads of Mason County and immerse yourselves in the stunning yellows, reds and oranges of a fall color tour in the Ludington area. Or take a drive on one of Mason County’s six self-guided Cultural Trails – complete with narrative accessible from your smart phone.


a sunset on lake michigan

Instagram photo by @cranickshelly courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Speaking of a color tour, sunsets in the Ludington area are just as incredible in the fall as they are in the summer. Every night and every vantage point is different.


a Ludington hat on the beach in Ludington, MI

Instagram photo by @emilykosik courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Water temperatures are cooler in the fall, but Ludington-area beaches remain a relaxing place to spend the day. Set out a chair and warm your toes in the sand on a sunny day or pack a picnic for a hike up the shore to the iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington State Park.


two women shopping in downtown Ludington, MI

Instagram photo by @theroostludington courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Ludington Avenue tends to be a little quieter in the fall than during the height of summer, which gives you more space to browse the unique downtown shops and art galleries. You can create a custom T-shirt at Gordy’s Skate Co. or admire the incredible images on display at Todd & Brad Reed Photography. While strolling through town, grab a bite to eat at one of Ludington’s brew pubs or enjoy dessert at the famous House of Flavors.


two silly scarecrows sitting on top of hay bales and pumpkins in a fall themed display

Instagram photo by @downtownludington courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

What’s fall without a pumpkin and some farm-fresh produce? While out on the roads in pursuit of glorious fall color, be sure to make time for a stop at a roadside stand or farmers market so you can taste and savor the flavors of the season.


bicycle leaning against the railing of a bridge over a stream

Instagram photo by @lycra_and_lace courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

In addition to a couple miles of paved bike trail within Ludington State Park, there’s a wealth of bike routes throughout the Ludington area including scenic road routes, four-season mountain biking, fat-tire trails and more.


looking across a lake at trees turning fall colors

Instagram photo by @lola_cotidiana_ courtesy of Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Phone cameras are better than ever these days, making it easy for photography novices to capture slices of heaven all around the Ludington area, from sunsets to lighthouses to fall colors. Wherever your adventures take you in the Ludington area, use the hashtag #PureLudington to share images of your journey.

Make the most of Michigan’s glorious fall this year and cross some of these items off your bucket list in Ludington. Find a place to stay and start planning your getaway!

Explore the dark sky parks of the Alpena area

view of the nighttime sky and stars above Alpena, MI

Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground

Theodore Roosevelt

Two days, three dark sky parks – check out the video below as Eric Hultgren heads to Alpena to explore the area’s dark sky parks and view the Perseid Meteor Shower.

Whichever is first on your list – Rockport State Recreation Area (Michigan’s 100th State Park with over 4200 acres of preserve), Negwegon State Park (beautiful sandy beaches on the shores of crystal clear Lake Huron), or Thompson’s Harbor State Park (7.5 miles of undeveloped beauty) – it’s worth a trip to Alpena to experience the incredible sights both on the ground and in the sky.


Make it a Fab Fall with trip to Traverse City

women walking a dog through autumn leaves

Well, Spring Break was a bust with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the virus altered many summer vacation plans, too. While life isn’t completely back to normal yet, there are some things you can do to make this fall feel as ordinary as possible.

And by ordinary we mean fabulous, because that’s exactly how to describe the bounty of fall in Traverse City. Whatever craziness has characterized your life over the past five months, you can count on a Fab Fall in Traverse City with the usual opportunities to enjoy the familiar comforts and blessings of fall in Michigan.

RELATED: 5 activities to make this fall fabulous

In case you’ve forgotten what life was like last fall before the pandemic, take a look at these pictures of autumnal bliss:

man and woman walk on the path near Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore gets a little sleepier in the fall when summer crowds fade. It just means there’s that much more space for you to find our own little slice of paradise, maybe high above Lake Michigan on the Empire Bluff trail or at one of the overlooks along the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. The cooler fall temperatures make for glorious hiking and biking through the 71,000-acre park, and there are miles of quiet shoreline for a relaxing stroll by the water, too.


child picks an apple off a tree

Fall brings an abundant harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Traverse City area. You can make a day of it searching for crisp, juicy apples at a U-pick farm or pull over to the side of the road and sample the produce at one of the area’s countless farmers markets and roadside stands.


women pick a pumpkin

Fall brings pumpkin patches, too, and the popular pastime of browsing for that perfect jack-o-lantern. Plus, corn mazes where you can get lost for awhile amid the towering stalks as you find your way out.


aerial view of Traverse City, MI area in the autumn

A leisurely drive through the Traverse City area’s country roads offers ample opportunity to see gorgeous fall color most anytime from late September through October. Some scenic drives come highly recommended, as do some vantage points including the top of Summit Mountain at Shanty Creek Resort. A scenic chairlift ride at Shanty Creek in Bellaire or at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville is a fall activity that should be on every Michigander’s bucket list.


beers in glasses in a serving tray

While a scenic chairlift ride is something everyone should do at least once, a tour of the Traverse Wine Coast should be an annual endeavor. With more than 40 wineries across the region, you’re sure to find plenty of new tastes to savor along with some familiar favorites. Fall is a great time to explore the area’s wide variety of hard ciders, too. And, of course, there’s no shortage of craft breweries in Traverse City, either.


two people cycle through an autumnal tunnel of trees

The Traverse City area offers four seasons of great outdoor recreation and fall just may be the best time of the year. From biking in the crisp air on dirt tracks through woods full of stunning fall colors to hiking along one of the area’s many incredible trails to fishing cool streams full of trout, fall in Traverse City puts a special touch on your favorite outdoor activities. For a family affair, climbing up and running down the Dune Climb gets the fall air flowing through your hair and creates picturesque photo ops of both Glen Lake and Lake Michigan.


person canoes on a lake viewing trees turning fall colors

Let’s not forget kayaking through the quiet beauty of an inland lake surrounded by trees in brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red.


two people golfing among fall colored trees

As for fall golf Up North, it’s hard to get upset about a 3-putt when you’re spending a few hours in a setting like this.


aerial view of Traverse City shoreline in the fall

Fall is quieter throughout much of the Traverse City area, making it a fine time to explore a new place. The region is full of cute small towns such as Bellaire and Frankfort. You can spend the afternoon strolling down Main Street and happen upon memorable restaurants and unique boutiques.


Grand Traverse Resort in the autumn

Places to stay such as Grand Traverse Resort & Spa take on a special character in fall, too. Many Traverse City-area resorts, hotels and B&Bs offer Fab Fall packages from Sept. 8 through Dec. 11. In addition to deals on lodging, you’ll get a digital coupon book with money-saving offers on dining, shopping, wineries, spas and more. Traverse City is committed to being a safe destination for your fall getaway, with places to stay and other area travel partners adopting extensive COVID-19 precautions.