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20 Must Visit Fall Attractions in Michigan

Just look at all the fun options below for things to do in the Michigan this fall. The variety is what makes us a Michigan vacation favorite any time of year. Thrilling, invigorating, memorizing, awe-inspiring, relaxing, breathtaking – there’s plenty of things to do in the Michigan this fall for everyone.

Michigan’s extraordinarily beautiful places range from beaches and sand dunes, to forests and farm lands, to tens of thousands of lakes, some of which contain islands where horses and bicycles are the only means of transportation.

Whether you’ve been to Michigan before or are thinking about taking a trip for the first time, you won’t want to miss these incredible spots.

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20 Must Visit Fall Attractions In Michigan

  1. Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth is the home to the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Frankenmuth is a German name likewise; most of the town’s original residents were German. Frankenmuth has been termed “Michigan’s Little Bavaria.”

Frankenmuth is located near many larger cities such as Saginaw, Flint, and Bay City, which sits on Lake Huron. Detroit, One of the largest cities in Michigan is only 90 miles away. Frankenmuth is an ideal day trip and in fact, has been voted the top day trip destination by readers of The Detroit News. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is truly a feat of ingenuity, it is a must go, whether or not it is the holiday season.

  1. Muskegon

Muskegon consists of 26 miles of sandy beach and it is the largest city on the western shores of Lake Michigan. Muskegon is home to P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, which offers recreational activities such as camping, hiking, cross-country skiing in the winter, and dune climbing. It also has museums and other historical attractions. These include the Hackley & Hume Historic site, comprised of restored mansions built by some of Michigan’s most prominent lumber moguls of the past.

Michigan’s largest amusement park, Michigan’s Adventure, is found just a few miles outside of Muskegon and features more than 53 rides including roller coasters, go karts, mini golf, and WildWater Adventure, a water park featuring slides, raft rides, wave pools, and children’s play areas.

  1. Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo is located roughly halfway between Detroit and Chicago. This is a home to a wide array of cultural activities, a vibrant night life, and arts and entertainment of all sorts. The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo hosts an Art Hop first Friday of every month. Kalamazoo is also home to Air Zoo, which displays a variety of aircraft, from historical planes and jets to more modern aircraft.

Kalamazoo-Portage area has many parks with walking and biking trails, playgrounds for children, and outdoor venues for entertainment and family gatherings. Kayaking and canoeing are also available at some parks where creeks and rivers are found. Kalamazoo night life venues abound in the downtown area, highlighting local musicians and bands on nearly a daily basis.

  1. South Haven

South Haven is a sleepy beach town on Lake Michigan. South Haven is known for big name businesses, restaurants, shopping malls, yacht and sailing club, quaint specialty shops and gift stores. Check out The Blueberry Store, Decadent Dogs, and Props for a unique shopping experience!

5. Isle Royale

This is the largest island in Lake Superior and the second largest belonging to the state of Michigan, Isle Royale and its nearly 450 smaller surrounding islands have been designated a National Park since the 1930s. Isle Royale comprises over 200 square miles of forest, crystal clear water, and a diverse array of wildlife. There are many species of fish, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians that define the island.

To visit the island, you must take a ferry, seaplane, or other means, as it is inaccessible by roadways. The park itself is open to the public during only the warmer months, usually from April through October. While visiting, you could go hiking, fishing, boating, kayaking, or simply nature watching. Camping is also available in designated locations throughout the island.

  1. Petoskey

Petoskey has beautiful and spectacular views. It is named a “coastal dream town” by Coastal Living Magazine; the city has much to offer tourists. Petoskey has amazing architecture in the form of Victorian-style cottages. Much of t Petoskey has been developed to cater to tourists as the city as long been thought of as a resort town. Just outside Petoskey, there are world-class golf courses, ski resorts, and snowmobiling trails. The city holds a Festival on the Bay with music, children’s activities, competitive games, and a promenade featuring vendors from local eateries every august.

  1. Traverse City

Traverse City is also known has the cherry capital of the world. The city has two peninsulas, both of which cross the 45th parallel. Traverse City is also a hub of arts and entertainment, and plays host to a number of festivals that spotlight a variety of interests. For example, each summer brings the Traverse City Film Festival, a six-day event founded by Michael Moore that highlights independent films, documentaries, and the people who work to create them. Also in July is the National Cherry Festival, which attracts an estimated 500,000 visitors each year. Clearly, this would be something to see!

  1. Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is the only true “all natural” theme park in America. This is primarily because there are no cars allowed on the island; transportation consists of horses and buggies, bicycles, and your own two feet. Even fire trucks, emergency responders, and street sweepers are pulled by horses! Inevitably, one will feel a level of nostalgia when visiting Mackinac Island, as it appears as though the island itself has somehow managed to escape the pervasive changes that so often accompany the passage of time. Mackinac Island State Park consists of historical landmarks, hiking, and biking trails.

Mackinac Island offers a look at a historic period and a simpler way of life, before cars and buses. Visitors can take a ferry to the island and spend the day wandering through the shops of the old town, touring the island on a horse-drawn carriage, hiking, or visiting Fort Mackinac.

  1. Isle Royale National Park

This is a 432 square mile island that has many lakes and streams, dense forests, and a variety of wildlife that includes wolves, foxes, moose, otters, ospreys, herring gulls, falcons, and more. The best way to see the park is on hiking trails and boat trips. Access to the island is by boat or seaplane. Trips usually originate from Houghton or Copper Harbor, Michigan, or Grand Portage, Minnesota.

  1. Pictured Rocks National Seashore

Pictured Rocks National Seashore, on the south shore of Lake Superior, gets its name from the colors of copper, iron and manganese oxide found in the rocks. The landscape here is a mix of dunes, cliffs, beaches and rocky shoreline. The interior is forest covered, with inland lakes and rivers. Visitors come here to experience nature, usually through activities like hiking, camping, and boating. In winter the area is open for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Nearby is Grand Island National Recreation Area, an island which is also popular with outdoor enthusiasts.

  1. Michigan Historical Museum

The Michigan Historical Museum tells Michigan’s story from prehistoric times to the 1900’s. Exhibits range from the industrial history of the state to the history of the first people. In addition to the permanent galleries, the museum also features changing exhibits. The Historical Museum is the pride of the Historical Museum System which operates several facilities.

  1. State Capitol

Originally opened in 1879, the State Capitol building in Lansing was modeled after the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. Visitors can take a guided tour of the building to learn more about the history, the building, and the daily workings.

  1. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor encompasses 2,800 acres. Some of the interesting old Gothic buildings include the Law Quadrangle, the Power Center for the Performing Arts, and the Natural History Museum. Key attractions on the campus include the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, with strong collections related to Mediterranean civilizations, the University Of Michigan Museum Of Art, and the University Of Michigan Museum Of Natural History. Also of interest, although located off campus, is the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Located next to the central campus is the Nichols Arboretum.

The campus itself is beautiful, comprised of a wide array of buildings and facilities serving nearly 50,000 students that attend the University. It is certainly worth a stop, if only on your way to another destination.

  1. Mackinac Bridge

The Mackinac Bridge connects the Lower Peninsula at Mackinaw City to the Upper Peninsula at St. Ignace. This is one of the longest suspension spans in the world. It opened in 1957 and eliminated the backup of vehicles waiting for ferry passage across the straits. The Mackinac Bridge Museum contains many interesting and original artifacts from the construction of the Mighty Mac.

  1. Colonial Michilimackinac – mackinaw city

Colonial Michilimackinac, located in Mackinaw City, was a French fur-trading village and military outpost that served from 1715 until 1781 when it burned to the ground. Thirteen of the buildings have been re-constructed and highlights include re-enactments from the British occupation in the 1770s, as well as the American Revolution era.

  1. Windmill Island – Holland

Windmill Island is a 36 acre heritage park filled with manicured flower gardens and Dutch architecture. In May the park comes to life with 175,000 tulips, and in June the extensive gardens change to annual flowers. Highlights include an authentic Dutch windmill, DeZwaan, dating to the 1760’s and brought from the Netherlands in 1964. Standing 125 feet, the windmill is a symbol of the Dutch heritage of this area and is the only original Dutch windmill exported to America. It is still a working windmill producing stone ground flour for sale.

  1. Outdoor Discovery Center of Wildlife Unlimited

The Outdoor Discovery Center has taken on the task of restoring agricultural land to natural habitat. As a result of their efforts there are now six distinct ecosystems on this 130 acre nature preserve. The area provides a good opportunity to experience and learn about the different environments. Highlights include walking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities.

  1. Soo Locks Boat Tours and Dinner Cruises USACE HQ

Live narration during the Soo Locks Boat Tours explain the history and operation of the locks, St Mary’s Rapids, Algoma Steel Plant and water fronts of the two Saults, as well as other sights.

The main importance of the American-Canadian twin town of Sault Ste Marie, known locally as the Soo, lies in the 1.25 mile long canals on the St Mary River linking Lakes Huron and Superior. This is one of the world’s most important waterways, on which 100 million tons of goods are transported annually. The ships pass through two huge locks (the Soo Locks), one on the Canadian side and the other on the American side

  1. Lansing

As the capitol of Michigan, Lansing has much to offer to families and young people alike. There are delicious restaurants that have seemed to withstand the test of time, always drawing large crowds. These include places like Emil’s, Clara’s, and the Golden Harvest Restaurant, to name a few. East Lansing undoubtedly has more in the way of night life and hipster restaurants that appeal to the college crowd. Be sure to try out the Peanut Barrel, Lou and Harry’s, and Crunchy’s. At the MSU Dairy Store, you can get cheeses and ice cream produced on campus by students majoring in a variety of health science fields.