Fall is an absolutely beautiful time to explore Michigan, and one of the best places to visit is Greater Flint and Genesee County. From hiking and fishing to farmers’ markets and orchards to fall colors tours and festivals, there are tons of ways to celebrate this harvest season.
Check out all the fun fall things to do in Flint, Michigan, and Genesee County for families.
Fall Outdoor Activities Throughout Genesee County
Hiking and fishing are popular activities for most of the year throughout Genesee County. But, the leaves changing to vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows makes these activities even more enjoyable.
Here are some of our favorite places to go with breathtaking views.
Genesee County Hiking & Biking Trails
For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum
The For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum is one of the best places to walk through the fall colors. It’s just a 10-minute drive from downtown Flint and is universally accessible with several miles of trails.
And, there’s so much nature to explore. You can learn about the environment and wildlife at the Visitor’s Center before following the paths through the 267-acre nature preserve and 116-acre arboretum. Plus, you can explore several gardens, an apiary, and the barrier-free treehouse.
Linden County Park
There are two trails in Linden County Park that are great for leaf peeping. A 1.3-mile path cuts through the center of the park and is ideal for biking. Another 1.5-mile loop lets you explore the beautiful terrain and amenities at the park.
There’s Clover Beach on Byram Lake, which offers a stunning view of the fall colors next to the water. And, you can use the ball diamonds, tennis courts, playground, and picnic areas.
Flushing County Park
The trails at Flushing County Park take you across the Flint River via a footbridge, which is a fantastic photo opportunity. Gorgeous views of the changing leaves are everywhere you look. And, within the 105 acres, you can enjoy ball fields, tennis courts, picnic areas, and a playground.
There’s also a fenced-in area for dogs to run around and play without their leashes.
Richfield County Park
In Davison, the 345-acre Richfield County Park has a 2-mile trail for hiking and biking through nature and across the Flint River. There’s even a BMX track and spaces for horseback riding.
On top of that, you can launch a canoe into the river on the north side of the park, and take advantage of the ball fields, basketball hoops, tennis courts, playscape, and picnic areas.
Fall is a relaxing time to go fishing, and there are several lakes and rivers in Flint and Genesee County where you can cast your line. Test your skills at catching catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, and more.
Bluegill Boat Launch
The Bluegill Boat Launch in Flint has several spots along Mott Lake for fishing. These fishing spots are accessible via a 2.5-mile trail, which leads to another fishing spot with picnic tables on the opposite side of the lake.
Richfield County Park
As mentioned, Richfield County Park offers plenty of recreational activities. Another of those activities is fishing along the Flint River. The two main spots are near the fifth pavilion and the boat launch.
While it’s best known for its beach, the Bluebell Beach area is available for fishing in Mott Lake, too. There’s a really nice spot for casting your line on the north side of the park. Around the large central parking lot is a 0.6-mile loop for walking and biking.
These certainly aren’t the only places to fish in Genesee County. Check out these other fishing sites as well.
Farmers’ Markets With Fresh Fall Goods
While the changing leaves are one of the best visual aspects of fall, the fresh produce is the tastiest. For this seasonal produce, decorations, and more, head to one of the area’s farmers’ markets.
Flint Farmers’ Market
The downtown Flint Farmers’ Market is one of the best farmers’ markets in Michigan. It’s open all year, but during autumn, it’s full of seasonal goodies — apples, pumpkins, and baked goods. Also, it has a great meat market, a wine shop, a cafe, and vendors who sell unique gifts.
But that’s not all. This farmers’ market has an atrium, demo kitchen, and rooftop terrace. And on Sept. 24, you can attend the Flint Handmade Halloween Craft Market to get all of your spooky decor, accessories, and more made by local artists and artisans.
Davison Farmers Market
At the Davison Farmers Market, you can find a range of fresh, seasonal produce and baked goods, as well as tons of other local items, from more than 70 vendors. Peruse the dairy, meat, sweets and snacks, and specialty foods, as well as retail and specialty shops.
You can also attend several events at the farmer’s market during the fall — Flea Market Flip Day on Sept. 17, the Autumn Craft Show on Sept. 24, and the Sausage Food Truck Rally on Oct. 1.
East Michigan Apple Orchards & Cider Mills With Fall Family Activities
You might be surprised to learn that there are about a dozen orchards and farms in Genesee County. While all of them have unique experiences to offer, a few of them are our personal favorites for family fun near Flint during the fall.
Almar Orchards & Cidery
Almar Orchards & Cidery in Flushing is one of the largest organic orchards in the country and has been family-operated since the 1850s. About half of the farm is dedicated to growing organic apples and pears. It also has a pig pasture, pollination meadow, sugarbush, and a playground for kids.
Plus, you can’t leave without visiting the Farm Store, where you can purchase fresh apple cider, award-winning hard cider, honey, maple syrup, and Haybaler Switchel (a blend of apple cider vinegar, root ginger, and honey). And, the fresh doughnuts are made with a cider-infused apple batter.
If you want to visit Almar during an event, check out the Scrumpy Skedaddle on Oct. 2. The event includes an all-you-can-eat Chris Cake pancake breakfast and a run through the orchard. A collectible glass and bottle-opening medal are waiting when you finish the race. Then, you get to enjoy the farm’s organic J.K.’s Scrumpy Hard Cider, live music, and more.
Mueller’s Orchard and Cider Mill
One of the oldest orchards in Genesee County, Mueller’s Orchard and Cider Mill is perched on the area’s highest point. The farm grows a wide variety of apples that harvest throughout September and October — Gala, McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Snow, Granny Smith, Northern Spy, and more.
Along with selling hand-picked apples throughout the fall season, the orchard uses some of the apples to produce fresh cider and doughnuts. The cider isn’t pasteurized and doesn’t contain any preservatives, while the apple cinnamon and sugar doughnuts are positively delightful. The farm also makes pumpkin glaze doughnuts in October leading up to Halloween.
During your visit, the kids can play on the playground while you rest and enjoy scenic views from the pavilion. And, if you visit on the second weekend of September, you can attend the annual Car Show for Cystic Fibrosis, which features food and music.
Whether you’re just getting fresh fruit or enjoying the activities, you’ll have an experience to remember at Montrose Orchards. Its 100 acres grows more than 30 apple varieties, as well as blueberries, cherries, pears, and plums.
In Debbie’s Kitchen, you can always get freshly baked cookies, doughnuts, muffins, and pastries. Caramel apples and cider are available during the fall, too. You can enjoy an old-fashioned hayride tour of the orchard before eating your cider and baked treats. Then, pick your own pumpkins.
Also throughout the fall season, Montrose Orchards hosts a few events, during which you can enjoy everything that the farm has to offer:
- Fall Kick Off & Craft Show — Sept. 17-18
- Family Fun Weekend & Craft Show — Sept. 22-23
- Greenhouse Trick or Treat — Oct. 30
At Porter’s Orchard Farm Market & Cider Mill in Goodrich there’s something for everyone. Its apple cider and doughnuts are popular during the fall. If you can’t make it to the orchard, though, you can get the cider, doughnuts, and more at the Flint Farmers’ Market.
From mid-September, kids and adults alike can enjoy various family-friendly activities. There are hayrides through the apple trees, corn field, and pumpkin patch. The 14-acre corn field is turned into a maze of twists and turns, and you can’t leave without picking your own pumpkins!
Fall Color Drives & Bike Rides Through Genesee
When it comes to driving through the fall colors in Genesee County, no specific route is the best. You can simply hop in the car and drive through the county’s downtown areas, neighborhoods, back roads, and highways. All of the routes are full of vibrant colors.
If you prefer to smell the fresh air during your fall color tour, consider riding a bike through downtown Flint, Fenton, or Flushing. Or, you could cycle the Flint River Trail, which runs through downtown Flint and connects to the Bluegill Boat Launch and other trails along the way.
Indoor Fall Things to Do in Flint Michigan for Families
While the fall weather in Genesee County is usually sublime for spending time outdoors, there are occasions when you might prefer indoor activities. Check out the places below when that happens.
Flint Institute of Arts
With an array of entertaining and educational things to do, the Flint Institute of Arts is the second-largest art museum in Michigan. Its permanent collection features more than 8,000 pieces, ranging from contemporary to ancient works. The museum has two temporary exhibits as well.
Museum admission and glass blowing demonstrations at the Hot Shop are free every Saturday.
Flint Institute of Music Events
The Flint Institute of Music oversees three arts programs in Flint — the Flint School of Performing Arts, the Flint Symphony Orchestra, and the Flint Repertory Theatre. You can watch a variety of these performances throughout the year at The Whiting and the Capitol Theatre.
For instance, the Flint Symphony Orchestra will be in concert on Oct. 1, Oct. 15, and Nov. 12. Also, the Flint Repertory Theatre will perform the play “Death of a Salesman” from Sept. 23 until Oct. 9 and the rock musical “The Who’s Tommy” on Nov. 18 and 19.
Whether or not the weather keeps you indoors, you have to add the Longway Planetarium to your fall getaway itinerary. It has the largest dome in Michigan at 60 feet in diameter, and it’s one of the best-equipped and largest in the country.
The planetarium hosts a variety of shows, hands-on activities, and special exhibits. Every second Saturday of the month is Trivia Night at the Planetarium, during which teams can compete in six categories.
Sloan Museum of Discovery
At the newly renovated and expanded Sloan Museum of Discovery, your family can explore four permanent interactive galleries with hands-on history and science activities. Here’s a quick look at each:
- Hagerman Street is a child-sized neighborhood.
- The Durant Gallery is a vehicle exhibition hall with rare concept and vintage cars.
- The History Gallery provides an interactive history of the region’s earliest inhabitants.
- The Discovery Hall is a science gallery with more than 10 hands-on learning spaces.
B’s Bowling & Richfield Bowl Centers
For some friendly competition, head to B’s Bowling Center or Richfield Bowl. About 4 miles apart, both of these bowling alleys have awesome lanes with evenings of cosmic bowling. In addition to bowling lanes, B’s Bowling Center has a game room, billiards tables, and more.
Rollhaven Skate Center
If your family enjoys zipping around a roller rink to fun, upbeat music, Rollhaven Skate Center in Flint is the place to be. The rink has a bounce house, a giant soft play area, and laser tag facilities as well.
Family Fall Festivals & Events Across Genesee County
Gathering with the community is one of the best ways to experience the culture of Flint and Genesee County, Michigan. For good ol’ family fun, there are several fall festivals and events to attend.
Classic Car Cruise-In
Every Thursday until Oct. 27, Sunset Corals in Linden hosts the Classic Car Cruise-In. It’s a fantastic way to see the evolution of vehicles over the century because cars of all makes, models, and years are welcome to be showcased.
Back to the Bricks Road Rally
The popular Back to the Bricks Road Rally is a parade of classic vehicles that starts at Shea Automotive in Flint. The participants will depart in small groups, so you’ll see them drive through town in spurts as the passengers participate in a Visual Scavenger Hunt.
Halloween Ghosts & Goodies
During fall, Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad welcomes visitors to the Halloween Ghosts & Goodies event every weekend (and some weekdays) of October. You’ll find cider and doughnuts, 20 treat stops, little monsters, a magic show, and a straw maze throughout the village.
Additionally, take a 40-minute ride on the Huckleberry Ghost Train Express, and get a taste of the Halloween lunch and dinner buffets. And, you can enjoy all of the village’s amusement rides and historic buildings.
Fall Harvest Festival
At the Applewood Estate in Flint, everything that makes the estate special is celebrated during the Fall Harvest Festival. Your family can enjoy the beauty of nature and learn about history while having fun and eating locally grown foods. There may even be farm animals and live performances.
Smetanka Fall Craft Shows
Oct. 22 & Nov. 12
For an opportunity to browse quality crafts from local vendors, go to one of the Smetanka Fall Craft Shows. For more than 30 years, this event has brought together artists and artisans of all kinds. The October show will be held at Davison High School, while the November show will be held at Grand Blanc High School.
Family Restaurants in the Flint Michigan Area
When you’re looking for a place for your family to eat in Flint the possibilities are almost endless. You can find something to satiate everyone’s appetite, and here are our top restaurant picks.
The ingredients are always fresh at Dom’s Diner, and you’ll be happy you chose this joint for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you want to try its famous dish, order the Dom Da Bomb — a double-decker burger with an onion ring, bacon, and barbecue sauce.
Starlite Burger & Coney Shop
Hoffman’s Deco Deli & Cafe
Serving healthy sandwiches daily, Hoffman’s Deco Deli & Cafe in downtown Flint is a great spot if you’re grabbing something quick to eat or just want coffee. The shop partners with various organizations to create new sandwiches all year, and we can’t wait to see what’s featured this fall!
A local tradition in Flint, Luigi’s Restaurant has been making brick oven pizza for the community since 1955. You can order pasta, sandwiches, and other entrees as well, and the restaurant has plenty of space if you’re gathering with a large group.
Serving American-Italian fare, Pesto’s restaurant has a full menu of pizza, pasta, sandwiches, soups, and wraps. Best of all, the staff doesn’t mind accommodating dietary restrictions, and even has gluten-free desserts.
Flint Crepe Company
A food cart turned restaurant in downtown, the Flint Crepe Company is THE place to get Flint-roasted coffee with savory and sweet crepes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients and offers diet-friendly options — such as dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan dishes.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, stop by the Semi-Sweets shop in Flint. It makes an assortment of bakery and pastry items daily. While the goods vary from day to day, some available options may include cakes, cheesecake, coconut macaroons, cookies, French macaroons, parfaits, and scones.
Lodging Options for Families in Genesee County
Across Genesee County, there are numerous family-friendly lodging options to choose from. Consider Hyatt Place, Best Western Plus, or Holiday Inn Express in Flint, or the Comfort Inn & Suites or Fairfield Inn & Suites in Fenton. When you start planning your family fall getaway in Flint look through this list of other hotels and bed and breakfasts.