10 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Michigan

By Steve Anderson

10 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Michigan

Now is the time to start planning all of your fall activities in Michigan! Whether you’re interested in attending a local festival or you’re going apple picking, there’s something for everyone here. Without further ado, here are the best outdoor fall activities in Michigan. 

Take a color tour through the Tunnel of Trees

There's a 20-mile stretch of Michigan, between the towns of Cross Village and Harbor Springs, that's known as the “Tunnel of Trees.” Named for the fact that the entire stretch is tree-lined, it's one of the best spots Michigan can offer for a color tour. Given the sheer quantity of trees in Michigan, that's saying something. The Tunnel of Trees, however, has an advantage over many for not only its sheer length of deciduous, color-changing trees, but also for the views of Lake Michigan that you'll catch along the way.

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Hidden Ridge RV Resort, Hopkins, MI

Allegan County, Michigan is the ideal place to visit in the cooler months. From the beginning to the end of foliage season, your eyes will feast in the array of warm-toned colors. Hidden Ridge RV Resort in the small village of Hopkins is a local favorite that offers rustic-style cottage as well as trailer camping until the end of October. It is in the perfect location, in the middle of picturesque lakes, woodlands, and nearby town attractions. There are always events and activities going on in the area, as well as plenty of hiking trails, boating opportunities, fishing, volleyball, basketball, and much more. Don’t forget to bring graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows for s’more makin’ around the campfire!

Go apple picking at Blake Farms

Apple picking can be found all over Michigan, but Blake Farms carries an unusual distinction: it's in the Metro Detroit area. Home to Blake's Orchard & Cider Mill, Blake's Big Apple, and a few other locations, you'll find a host of u-pick options for apples here that in some cases start as early as mid-August. It only starts there, though; check out the hard cider bar, the non-alcoholic cider and donuts options, hayrides, and even a downright agrarian amusement park known as “Blake's Funland” that boasts cornstalk mazes, a literal mountain of straw, and more.

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Hike the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail

For one of the best fall hikes in Michigan, head up to Marquette for the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail. You can choose from an easy route or a more difficult steep route, but either way, the hike is well worth the climb. In fact, once you reach the top, you'll be able to check out three different major viewing points, including a look at Lake Superior from an impressive elevation and a view of the Superior Dome, the largest wooden dome and fifth-largest dome structure on the planet. 

Search for big bass on the Grand River

Fall is bass fishing season in Michigan, and one of the best—some say most overlooked—points of bass fishing in Michigan is the Grand River. Flowing from Hillsdale County to Lake Michigan and spanning 260 miles, it's the longest river in all of Michigan and represents the watershed with the second-largest drainage in Michigan. It's also home to some phenomenal bass fishing, reports note, and a good day could bring you a legendary amount of bass. 

Get lost for a while in the Blast Corn Maze at Nixon Farms

Head over to Dexter to experience one of the best examples of another thing you'll find all over Michigan; the Blast Corn Maze. Corn mazes are kind of a Midwest institution. The Blast contains fully 10 acres of corn, into which three and a half miles of trails have been carved for your wandering pleasure. Three exits of various sizes are on hand, and if you finish the maze with time in a day to spare, check out the other options. A corn cannon—which is just as exciting as it sounds—is on hand, along with a straw mountain, a corn box, and plenty other options.

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Experience fall color at Frankenmuth Aerial Park

Color tours can be great in Michigan, but the problem is that you're always looking up. One of Michigan's great tourist destinations, Frankenmuth, has fixed that by building the Frankenmuth Aerial Park. The Aerial Park is a series of platforms built into the trees connected by a range of bridges, including zip lines, that offers guests a slate of challenges to get from one platform to another. That's exciting at most any time of the year, but when you're there in fall, you get to experience the color changes right at treetop level, a feat that few color tours will ever offer.

Enjoy fall in Michigan from a couple hundred feet up at TC Helicopter Tours

Color tours are great, even when you're running a zipline through the trees and experiencing color at eye level. But if you want the most extravagant view possible, go up to Traverse City and check out TC Helicopter Tours. The Traverse Bay area is already picturesque enough in fall—there are people who routinely go there just for the fall color—but to experience it in a helicopter is a whole new experience. With many different tours to choose from, you'll be able to check out what may be Michigan's most beautiful season from a bird's-eye level. There's even a sunset tour to check out the area right as the sun's going down, and with Traverse City's array of dining and entertainment options, you'll have plenty waiting for you when you land.

Get Artsy at Grand Rapids' ArtPrize

Fall festivals are a big part of a Michigan fall, and one that brings in visitors for miles around is the annual Grand Rapids ArtPrize event. Running from mid-September to early-October, you'll have plenty of time to check out this comparatively new, but still vital event that effectively covers a large portion of Grand Rapids in art from around the world. Free to view and completely open to the public, you'll watch artists vie for half a million dollars in prizes, and you'll even get a chance to vote for the winners yourself! 

Tour de Livingston, Livingston County, MI

This is the ride you don’t want to miss, grab your bike, and head to the Tour de Livingston Festival in Livingston County which is a festival all about experiencing the radiant golden color of the trees from the seat of your bike. The ride donates 100 percent of the proceeds to the Livingston County United Way Basic Needs Programs, so you can pedal for a local charity. You’ll get a choice of how long you want your route to be, from 5-100 miles, ending with a delicious meal prepared by the chef of the local favorite restaurant Mt. Brighton. 

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