The John Hannah statue at MSU, behind trees with gradient colored leaves from red to orange to yellow to green
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A Guide to Mid-Michigan Fall Color Tours

Fall in Michigan. It’s the time of year when thousands of people head to Northern Michigan for color tours and autumn vacation fun. But did you know that you can get all the joy of an “Up North” vacation while hanging out in Mid-Michigan?

Here are a few places you might consider for your own Mid-Michigan fall color tour staycation if “Up North” isn’t in the cards…

Pioneer Wine Trail Fall Color Tour

Instead of researching things to do in Traverse City this fall… explore the Pioneer Wine Trail.

A part of many trips “Up North” is a visit to a winery (or two or three…). You can get the wine tasting experience with award-winning wineries in Southeast Michigan with the Pioneer Wine Trail.

This trail of eight wineries (in ten locations) meanders throughout Southeast Michigan, and each winery has its own style.

For example, Burgdorf’s Winery in Haslett features many Michigan State Spartan-themed wines due to its proximity to campus and locally sourced grapes.

A Guide to Color Tours Around Mid-Michigan - Awesome Mitten
Photo: Burgdorf’s Winery tasting room, courtesy of Katie Kelly

Pro Tip: Wineries are great places to do a little shopping. Check out the gift shops and get a jump-start on your holiday shopping lists.

East Lansing Fall Fun

Instead of Mackinac Island in the Fall… explore Velvet – A Candy Store. 

This new sweet shop and ice cream parlor opened this summer in East Lansing. Owners Trisha and Erik Berakovich operated a Velvet location on Mackinac Island for two years before relocating to East Lansing.

They feature Mackinac Island fudge, assorted sweets and chocolates, and ice cream, all made on-premises. General manager Ryan Gaffney says you can’t go wrong no matter what you choose – but you really should try the chocolate-covered pretzels!

A Guide to Color Tours Around Mid-Michigan - Awesome Mitten
Photo: Ryan Gaffney, general manager of Velvet – A Candy Store, courtesy of Katie Kelly

Pro tip: If you time it right, you’ll be able to see the staff making a fresh batch of fudge in the front window. Good luck walking past when the lovely smells are wafting out the doorway!

MSU Fall Color Tour

Instead of the Tunnel of Trees… visit the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing. 

MSU’s campus was named one of the ten best U.S. college campuses to view fall foliage by AccuWeather.com, and was featured in the September/October issue of Midwest Living. With 21,653 individual trees on its 2,100 acres, there is bountiful autumn color.

A Guide to Color Tours Around Mid-Michigan - Awesome Mitten
Photo: John Hannah statue on the campus of Michigan State University, courtesy of Katie Kelly

Pro tip: Head to the Sacred Space. This area in the center of the old part of campus – near Beaumont Tower – features large oak trees with vibrant colors and great old architecture.

Fall Color at “The Ledges”

Instead of a Sleeping Bear Dunes fall color tour… head to “The Ledges” at Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge.

If outdoor adventure is your thing, this Eaton County park is the place to be. The 78-acre park is open year-round with picnic sites, three miles of nature trails, volleyball and basketball courts, a canoe and kayak launch (bring your own boats), 18 holes of disc golf, and more.

Take your furry friend along – as long as he is on a leash. The vehicle entry fee is $3.00 / day for county residents and $5.00 / day for non-residents.

A Guide to Color Tours Around Mid-Michigan - Awesome Mitten
Photo: “Ledge Work,” courtesy of Flickr user LadyDragonflyCC

Pro tip: Take a camera, and explore the different trails. They’re beautiful! Grab a trail map from MichiganTrailMaps.com before you go. Pack a blanket and have a picnic lunch.

What did we miss? What are your can’t miss stops for an autumn fall color tour in Mid-Michigan? Share your ideas in the comments!

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