You’ve seen it on vehicles all over Michigan: The M-22 sticker. The image itself is just like road signs on M-routes all across the state. But the combination of that letter and those two numbers communicates something truly special and unique.
M-22 represents natural beauty. It is an emblem of adventure, a symbol of a slower pace that affords you the time to meander and explore. It is magical.
You’ve seen the bumper stickers. Now, it’s time to see scenic M-22 for yourself.
It’s time for you to experience the awe-inspiring, waterfront route that winds around the Leelanau Peninsula along the shores of Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay. The route that USA Today readers voted the best scenic autumn drive in the country.
When you do buckle up and hit the road, we welcome you to make your base in Traverse City. Whatever season you visit, TC offers the best of Michigan – a snowy wonderland of outdoor activity in the winter, brilliant cherry blossoms in the spring and sparkling blue waters in the summer, not to mention a vibrant downtown with extraordinary dining and exciting events throughout the year.
In the fall, with stunning vistas of colorful forests, both M-22 and Traverse City are especially incredible. Here are 8 reasons why:
Color Tours – Not only do USA Today readers rave about M-22, but TripAdvisor has ranked Traverse City one of America’s top 10 foliage destinations and Readers Digest called a trek from Traverse City along M-22 one of the country’s best fall road trips.
Along M-22 you not only see breathtaking colors, but roadside fruit stands offering a slice
Wine Tasting – The Traverse City area is home to more than 50 wineries, each with a unique personality and all within less than an hour’s drive of each other. You can make your way along M-22 from one winery on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail to the next, with safe, relaxing transportation from one of the area’s many tour companies.of life that nourishes your soul, a wealth of wineries with new flavors to discover andquaint small towns with charming galleries and restaurants.
Fall is an ideal time to take a vineyard tour and see grapes pressed into wine, or to grab a seat in a tasting room and discover a new favorite.
Microbrews – In addition to all the wineries, the Traverse City area has one of the country’s highest numbers of breweries per capita. You can explore them on a beer bus tour or get outside in the crisp fall air and go from one brewery to the next on a paddling or cycling tour.
We also celebrate the region’s craft brews each fall during Traverse City Beer Week. This year’s festivities Nov. 8-15 include lots of food and beer (such as a Flapjack & Flannel Festival that pairs beer with pancakes!) and a 5k Great Beerd Run that combines running, beer drinking and, of course, beards.
Farm Markets – Fall is time for farmers to bring in the harvest, and time for us all to get back in touch with where our food comes from. On Thanksgiving Day, we’ll celebrate Michigan’s bounty of agricultural goodness. Until then, you can head out to the farm and have a blast picking apples, navigating corn mazes and taking hayrides to the pumpkin patch. Along M-22 there are lots of farmer’s markets and U-pick farms to experience the season.
Sleeping Bear Dunes – Every summer visitors flock to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which was voted the “Most Beautiful Place in America.” But here’s a secret: Many views are even more impressive in the fall.
Throughout the park along M-22 are hiking trails. Iconic sites include Pyramid Point, which is perched high above Lake Michigan and offers an incredible view of the Manitou Islands that are part of the legend that gave Sleeping Bear its name.
Beaches and Lakes – So much of the picturesque beauty of M-22 comes from the waterfront it hugs. It’s important to remember that the beaches along the way don’t close after Labor Day!
With blue lakes and golden sand mixing with the changing colors ofleaves, fall presents an incredible setting for romantic picnics on the beach and long walks by the water.
Fall is also a great time for fishing, when salmon make their annual run upriver from Lake Michigan, and for getting out on the water in a kayak to take in the gorgeous show of color from a fresh perspective.
Golf – “Up North” golf reaches its peak in the fall, when the courses are still green, the water remains a beautiful blue and the trees come ablaze with colors of scarlet, orange and gold. It almost makes you want to hit your ball into the woods!
Some of Michigan’s best golf courses live along M-22. And after the round you can settle your bets – or double-down on your winnings – at Leelanau Sands Casino on M-22 near Suttons Bay.
Events – You can anchor your M-22 fall experience around one or more of the many events in the Traverse City area. There’s something happening every day this fall including Walking Ghost Tours, the Harvest Stompede, Sleeping Bear Marathon, Fall Color Sail, Downtown Traverse City Art Walk, M-22 Art2Art Tour, Traverse City Beer Week and more.
Maybe you should celebrate Halloween this year with a Zombie Run. Or run your first marathon. Or go on the wine trail’s Hunt for the Reds of October.
However you choose to experience the majesty of M-22, you can make Traverse City your home base. Fab Fall packages including lodging, dining, shopping and spa discounts are available now.
Learn more at TraverseCity.com and come see us for a great Michigan vacation.