Epic Michigan Fall Tour 2023 | Where To See Fall Colors + Interactive Map | Leaf Peeping Road Trip in Petoskey, M-119 Tunnel of Trees, Harbor Springs, Good Hart, Cross Village and More!
Epic Michigan Fall Tour - Where To See Fall Colors + Interactive Map | Leaf Peeping | By Sherry Trautman | Travel-Mi.com | Updated August 26, 2023.
On this scenic and 2023 Epic Michigan Fall Tour we are going to see, experience, photograph, and eat EVERYTHING from Petoskey to Mackinaw City!
Are you ready for a Michigan fall road trip?
By the Way, Here's Another Fall Color Tour: 13 EPIC Places to See the Fall Colors in Michigan!
Epic Michigan Fall Color Tour Itinerary: West Michigan to Northern Michigan
- Check Out Downtown Petoskey
- Chairlifts at Boyne Highlands
- Explore Downtown Harbor Springs
- Tour the Famous M-119 Tunnel of Trees
- Hike and Photograph Thorne Swift Nature Preserve
- Wine Tasting, Pumpkin Picking at Pond Hill Farms
- Shop in Good Hart
- Grab Dinner in Cross Village at Legs Inn
- Enjoy a Showstopper Night Sky at Headlands International Dark Sky Park
Interactive Map of the Epic Michigan Fall Tour
Use of Interactive Google Map for this Epic Michigan Fall Tour!
Are you ready to rock this adventurous, tasty and scenic west coast Epic Michigan Fall Tour? (of course you are.) LET'S DO THIS! By the way, if you are planning a Lake Michigan Circle Tour, this will give you a head start!
Grab our MICHIGAN FALL COLOR MAP for leaf peaking predictions.
1. Let's Start in Petoskey to See the Fall Leaves!
Petoskey Michigan is such an outstanding city to visit and the start of our Michigan fall road trip. Visit the Petoskey State Park, enjoy a chocolate tour at Kilwins, get in a round of golf (if it's warm enough) and enjoy the lovely waterfront. Grab our 14 Awesome Things to Do in Petoskey guide!!
Sherry and Chris E-biking at the Inn at Bay Harbor!
Lodging: Chris and I enjoy staying at The Inn at Bay Harbor, 3600 Village Harbor Drive, Bay Harbor, MI. You can rent electric bikes (like we did above!), enjoy a couples massage, watch the crashing waves from the deck, and have dinner in their inhouse restaurant. See our photos and fun experiences at the Inn at Bay Harbor!
So let's head out! Travel about two miles north of downtown Petoskey on US-31. Turn left onto M-119 toward Harbor Springs.
2. See Incredible Views of Peak Fall Color from Boyne Highlands!
Boyne Highlands Scenic Chairlift Rides, 600 Highland Drive, Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Ski lifts are an incredible way to get a panoramic view of Michigan fall colors! When fall arrives, head to Boyne Highlands and be wowed by the beauty of the areas changing colors as you ride the MacGully chairlift!
- Breathtaking panoramic views of crystal blue waters, lush green grounds, and the brilliant fall foliage colors can be enjoyed at Boyne Highlands. As you look around, you can see Little Traverse Bay, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, and as far as the Mackinac Bridge on a clear day.
Don't miss their Annual Harvest Festival!
Boyne Highlands also offers fun ziplining, horseback rides, segway trips and hiking.
3. Visit Harbor Springs for Jaw-Dropping Leaf Peeping along the Lake Michigan Shoreline in Northwest Michigan!
Grab our Jam-Packed Harbor Springs Guide for tons more things to to!
As you approach Harbor Springs from Petoskey, continue on 119 which is Main Street.
Take the time to pull over and wander along Main Street, it's lovely in the fall! Many of the shops are decorated for the autumn season, so stop in!
Spring Street Bluff Boardwalk-We suggest parking near the end of Spring Street and entering the boardwalk at this point to see the stunning viewing platform at the top. Perfect for seeing Michigan fall colors! (see map above)
There are several stairs to climb we we survived as ascending through the trees and watching the scenery change with each step was so fun!!
- At the top be sure to take in the harbor, homes and downtown buildings below. It's one heck of a view of Michigan fall colors!
Dining in Harbor Springs
Good Eats Include:
Stafford’s Pier (102 E. Bay Street, Harbor Springs). In good weather, you may also dine outside overlooking the marina and pick out your dream yacht. Approx $12-$18 yellow fin tuna poke, mussels, oysters, shrimp, fish sandwiches, Indian curry, salads, burgers, etc. OH YUM!
Gurney's Bottle Shop, (215 E. Main St., Harbor Springs) Store and deli with wines. Grab a famous Gurney’s sandwich for the road in downtown Harbor Springs. Build your sandwiches the way you like them! Pick from our options of fresh-baked breads, cheeses, delicious meats and veggies. Whether you’re taking one back to work, or picnicing at the beach, our sandwiches are guarenteed to please. Try one today and see why Gurney’s has been a local favorite for decades.
4. Let's Tour the Famous M-119 Tunnel of Trees to See Peak Fall Color!
Harbor Springs is the starting point for the Tunnel of Trees. As you continue through Harbor Springs, just stay on M-119 west as it heads toward Good Hart Michigan.
Did you that Northern Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees along M-119 is ranked among the most scenic roads in America?
The Tunnel of Trees is spectacular in autumn when the hardwoods along the road are aflame in the bright fall colors of reds, yellows and oranges. Definitely a photographers dream.
Also, did you know the Tunnel of Trees in Harbor Springs is especially breathtaking in spring when delicate trilliums carpet the forest floor that borders the road?
Grab our indepth Northern Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees along M-119 guide for things to do and see along the way!
5. Hike Thorne Swift Nature Preserve!
Thorne Swift Nature Preserve-6696 Lower Shore Dr, Harbor Springs. Meander along a wood chip path and board walk that leads you through a densely wooded Balsam and Cedar Trail. You will be rewarded with 300 feet of sandy (and public!) Lake Michigan shoreline with gorgeous views and striking fall color! Explore the dunes, swamplands, and ponds in addition to the stretch of beach and lake.
There are about three miles of trails to hike. Explore the boardwalks and be sure to stop at the observation platforms during your visit. The views are outstanding!
April 15-November 15 – Daily 10 am to sunset
Trail Map-Here is a trail map for your trip planning!
Definitely add Thorne Swift Nature Preserve to your Epic Michigan Fall Tour this season!
Nature Center Hours: Memorial Day through to Labor Day – 10 am-7 pm
Directions: From Harbor Springs, take M-119 northwest 3.8 miles to Lower Shore Drive. Follow Lower Shore Drive for ½ mile. The preserve sign is on the left.
6. Enjoy Hot Chocolate, Cute Critters and Pumpkin Picking at Pond Hill Farms
Pond Hill Farm and Harbor Springs Vineyard and Winery (within Pond Hill Farm)-5581 S. Lake Shore Dr.
This lovely farm is located five miles north of Harbor Springs and definitely worthy of our Epic Michigan Fall Tour.
Pond Hill Farm is family-owned and offers a cute market with its own fresh produce as well as homemade preserves like hot garlic pepper jelly. YUMMY!
- Pond Hill’s Garden Cafe makes a wonderful lunch stop from late May through October. I promised we would eat, didn't I?
Visit Pond Hill Farm's winery for wine tasting! Oh, and be sure to see their cute animals!
- Be sure to stop by during their Fall Fest Weekends mid September through Mid October! (Check their website for details!)
Whether you're chucking pumpkins, enjoying Pond Hill Farm's beer and wine, or shopping in the farm store, you will have a great time!
7. Stop to Shop in Good Hart!
Midway between Harbor Springs and Cross Village are lots of fun shops in the quaint village of Good Hart Michigan. It's a perfect place to stop and stretch your legs on our Michigan fall road trip.
Check out the Good Hart General Store-1075 North Lakeshore Drive, Good Hart, Michigan 49737. They have snacks and food to take on the road along with cute home decor and gift items.
This is a must stop spot for lots of reasons (other than we all gotta pee!): The adorableness factor (bright red paint, striped awnings, white trim add up to a perfect photo backdrop), a chance to get out an stretch, and get fun scenic highway souvenirs along our Epic Michigan Fall Tour.
- There are bathrooms located on the left rear side of the General Store.
8. Enjoy Dinner in Cross Village At Legs Inn!
Having fun on your Michigan fall road trip? Our next stop is Cross Village!
This small village features a giant white cross on a bluff overlooking the lake. The story of the cross has its roots back in the seventeenth century, when Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette supposedly planted a white cross on the bluff before he died.
Cross Village might just possibly the oldest settlement of continuous occupany in the state of Michigan! Through the primitive period it was a center of Indian trade, and was a source for the corn needed to feed the voyageurs.
Legs Inn: 6425 N Lake Shore Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740. (Reservations not accepted) CLOSED TUESDAYS in 2023.
Lovers of Polish food and/or lumberjack-worthy décor need to head to Legs Inn for dinner. This incredible stone and timber establishment shuts down for the season on October 22, 2023.
Chris ordered the Bigos (Hunter's Stew) which was a delicious, slow-cooked Hunter's Stew with cuts of beef, pork and Polish sausage. I got the Old World Sampler so I could try all the things. Stay for sunset on the lakeside lawn. You will love it! The food was served very quickly, hot and it was very tasty. The wait staff keeps everything moving quickly and are very friendly.
The interior of the building and grounds are unique, to say the least. Inside, artistic creations are everywhere, made from branches, roots or other natural objects. The tables are made from trees, probably acquired from the local surroundings. The gardens outside are well maintained and beautiful. The view of Lake Michigan is also gorgeous.
Legs Inn has been family owned for years. It was founded by a Polish immigrant and the food is authentic Polish cuisine.
9. Final Stop: Headlands International Dark Sky Park
Address: 15675 Headlands Rd, Mackinaw City, MI 49701
And so, the grand finale to our Epic Michigan Fall Color Tour is a viewing of the Milky Way! Get ready to view an unbelievable vast array of stars without light pollution!
Grab our Top 4 Dark Sky Parks in Michigan Guide!
After a long, glorious day of epic sightseeing, visit the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City! It's free to park and enter, just bring your own chairs and a blanket. There is an arched concrete seating area near the water too.
If you have a red light flashlight, bring it but you don't really need it as the paths are lit.
There are bathrooms at Headlands International Dark Sky Park.
Chris and I have been to the Headlands International Dark Sky Park at least 6 times. Every time we go to Mackinac Island we make sure to have one evening free to see the stars.
On a dark night you can see the Milky Way and fast moving satellites which are just breathtaking.
Tunnel of Trees Lodging
Petoskey:The Perry Hotel, 100 Lewis Street, Petoskey.Stafford’s Bay View Inn, 2011 Woodland Avenue, PetoskeyThe Inn at Bay Harbor, 3600 Village Harbor Drive, Bay Harbor.
- Boyne Highlands, 600 Boyne Highlands Drive, Harbor Springs,
Here's Another Favorite Fall Color Tour:
13 Places to See the Fall Colors in Michigan!
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