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7 Unique Fall Things to Do in Northern Michigan

If you plan on being in Northern Michigan this fall, there are a few activities that you can’t miss! Northern Michigan is a beautiful place to visit in the autumn, with some of the most beautiful fall foliage around thanks to the beautiful sights around Lake Michigan. 

But it’s not all about colorful leaves. There are also many fall family activities and other events. Whether you are looking for an outdoor activity, fall festival, or somewhere to bring your kids, there is something for everyone in Northern Michigan. 

Fall in Petoskey: Visit the Great Lakes Glass Pumpkin Patch 

Every autumn, Petoskey is home to a fall-themed festival that features beautiful work from local glassmakers. You can find real pumpkins at other fall celebrations — this one is all about ornamentals. 

The Great Lakes Glass Pumpkin Patch features work from Boyer Glassworks and Three Pines Studio. Throughout the fall, visitors can see the “pumpkin patch” to view glass pumpkins of every size, shape, color, and texture. 

It is a stunning example of unique artistry. You won’t want to miss the chance to see amazing artwork and support local artists if you are in Northern Michigan this fall! 

Fall in Charlevoix: Celebrate Apples at the Charlevoix Apple Fest

Fall is the time of year for apples, and no one celebrates that better than the town of Charlevoix. This event features a farmers’ market, arts and crafts show, and tons of food booths displaying the goods from local eateries. 

Here, visitors can find all the most delicious produce, baked goods, preserves, and other treats from local farms. Apples, of course, have center stage. But you will also find everything from maple syrup to jam, pies, crepes, cider, honey, meats, eggs, pumpkins, and even fresh flowers. 

There is no shortage of delicious ready-to-eat food either. You can find every apple dish imaginable, from apple cake to hot cider. But you also have the chance to try other treats like kielbasa, hot soup, and cocoa. 

The arts and crafts event showcases hundreds of local artists, offering homemade pieces for sale. It is impossible to get bored at this event, which draws thousands of visitors back year after year.

Charlevoix Apple Fest, Charlevoix - Fall In Northern Michigan
photo via @rosephotonomi

Fall in Mackinaw City, Charlevoix, & Petoskey: Take a Fall Color Tour in Wine Country

The fall foliage in Northern Michigan is nothing short of breathtaking. It is so breathtaking, in fact, that you can find fall color tours going on throughout the season. These follow some of the best routes in the state where you can see the most scenic views. 

One of the most popular color tours in North Michigan winds between Mackinaw City, Charlevoix, and Petoskey. This route offers amazing views of local farmland and forest, including small resort towns.

You might even have the chance to spot some local wildlife — but even if you don’t get lucky, the fall colors are good enough to stand on their own. 

Mackinaw Trail Winery And Brewery, Petoskey - Winter In Petoskey, Fall In Northern Michigan
Mackinaw Trail Winery and Brewery | photo via @macktrailwinery

Fall in Harbor Springs: Visit a Local Farm for Fall Festivities 

No matter where you are in Northern Michigan, there is a farm nearby hosting amazing autumn activities. From pumpkin patches and pick-your-own apples to fresh baked goods, petting zoos, and more, this is one of the top family activities you just can’t miss.

One of the best and most unique farms to visit is Pond Hill Farm. This charming farm in Harbor Springs is close to the famous Tunnel of Trees

Pond Hill Farm is open daily throughout the year with seasonal produce and activities. But it celebrates autumn like no other. Here, visitors get the chance to eat fresh homemade treats like cider and doughnuts, explore the pumpkin patch, go on hayrides, feed and pet animals, and even play pumpkin bowling and smashing. 

The fall festival weekends also feature pig racing (yes, pig racing), homemade wines for the adults, and farm-to-table dinners. There is nowhere else to eat and drink so well and have so much fun in Northern Michigan in the fall! 

Pond Hill Farm, Harbor Springs - Ultimate Guide To The M-119 Tunnel Of Trees
Pond Hill Farm | photo via @Pond Hill Farm

Fall in Harbor Springs: Celebrate Halloween in Style

Harbor Springs is generally considered a tourist destination for families. But the little town is also known far and wide for its Halloween festivities — so much so that it was listed by Travel and Leisure as one of the best Halloween towns in America! 

Halloween activities go on throughout the fall in Harbor Springs, with events for visitors of every age. Kids can enjoy trunk or treat events as well as an annual children’s parade — in costume, of course. 

Naturally, you will also find spookier activities for teens and adults, including haunted houses and other ghostly fun. No matter how you like to celebrate the holiday, you can find it in Harbor Springs. 

Halloween, Harbor Springs - Fall In Northern Michigan
photo via @lorjorexplore

Fall on Lake Huron: Visit the Inland Waterway

Michigan is a perfect place for taking in the fall colors, and one of the best places to do it is the Inland Waterway. This is a popular site for boating at any time of year, but the fall makes it truly spectacular. 

This 40-mile-long waterway is a remnant of Ice Age glaciers. Now, it connects some of Michigan’s major lakes and rivers and finally empties into Lake Huron.

It should come as no surprise that it is a perfect place to see the fall colors. Kayaks and canoes are available for rent at several points nearby. If you enjoy fishing, make sure to bring your equipment —  the Waterway is home to 17 types of fish. 

Lake Huron - Fall In Northern Michigan
photo via @wonpetstatus

Fall in Mackinaw City: Get Scared at a Haunted House

If you love getting scared during spooky season, there is nowhere better than the Mackinaw City Haunted Mansion. This cutting-edge locale uses animatronics to provide the scariest, most intricate haunted house experience you have ever had. 

Even experienced haunted house enthusiasts say that the Mackinaw City Haunted Mansion gave them a fright, and it’s no wonder. The mansion uses the most advanced tools in animatronics, special effects, and sound technology to provide an experience that will take your breath away.

Mackinaw Manor, Mackinaw City - Fall In Northern Michigan
photo via @exuberant_panoram

Northern Michigan Fall FAQs

What Is The Best Time To See Fall Colors In Northern Michigan? 

Though it can vary year by year, the best time to see fall colors in Northern Michigan is from mid September to the end of October. That doesn’t mean you won’t spot some stunning autumn foliage earlier or later in the year — it simply means that this tends to be the peak of the season with the best views!

Where Can I Take Fall Pictures In Northern Michigan? 

With close to 20 million acres of forest throughout the state, there are countless places to take fall photos in Michigan. In Northern Michigan specifically, you have the amazing tools of the lakes at your disposal!

Some top locations for taking fall pictures in Northern Michigan include Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, Old Mission Peninsula, Rugg Pond, the Jordan River Valley, and Lakes of the North.

Are the colors changing in Northern Michigan?

In some places around Northern Michigan, the leaves are already changing, but the peak season lasts from mid-September to the end of October.

What is there to do in Northern Michigan in fall?

Northern Michigan is one of the most beautiful places in the state, especially in the fall. With so much scenery including dunes, lakes, forests, and more, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities, plus fun museums, cider mills, and more.

What is Northern Michigan known for?

Northern Michigan is one of the most popular spots for outdoor recreation, so visit in the fall for excellent hunting, fishing, and hiking opportunities.

More Things to Do This Fall in Northern Michigan

If you plan on being in Northern Michigan this fall, there is no shortage of things to do. In fact, some of the local events are nationally recognized as top destinations for the season.

Whether you are looking for a big annual event, a fun family activity, or a quiet venture into the fall nature scene, you can find it all in Northern Michigan.

One Comment

  1. Thank you – hard to see summertime in Michigan. Michigan summers are the best. Fall color tour is our next get away.
    Early in October !

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