Dow Gardens

Journey through fall foliage 40 feet in the air along a 1,400-foot Canopy Walk that’s both handicap accessible and the longest in the nation — and dare to step out onto its glass-floored overlook! Take time to explore the exquisite gardens and 54 acres of lush forest trails and ponds. Grab coffee at the on-site Whiting Forest Café and enjoy the stellar views!

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

Step aboard a shallow-draft boat with Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips! Not only will you discover the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest wetland ecosystems in Michigan with thousands of acres of rich wildlife habitat, but you’ll also experience a Fall Color Trip with one-of-a-kind guide, Johnny Panther! He refers to the Refuge as the “Everglades of Michigan,” and he’ll show you hidden gems and gorgeous fall hues.

See Frankenmuth in fall glory on a cozy carriage ride! Located across the street from one another, climb in with Fantasy Carriage Company or Frankenmuth Carriage Company for a memorable trip through Michigan’s Little Bavaria. Enjoy the authentic Bavarian architecture and festive harvest-time decor all throughout town!

Frankenmuth Aerial Park
Frankenmuth Aerial Park

Combine thrill and excitement with picturesque beauty! Fly through the air, swing through fall leaves, and challenge yourselves on obstacles that include ropes courses and ziplines! Check out the FrankenZip, a fan-favorite with seven ziplines at heights ranging from 15 - 35 feet off the ground!

Chippewa Nature Center | @calvinmarteen

Venture out at Chippewa Nature Center! With more than 19 miles of trails, including the 3.7-mile paved Chippewa Trail that’s also open to biking, be sure to visit the River Overlook for serene fall views. Check into guided kayaking trips for more adventurous sightseeing, and the Fall Harvest Festival in October to observe all from cider-making to woodworking on the Homestead Farm.

Discover lush natural scenery from two four-story observation towers that overlook the 2,000-acre Tobico Marsh at Bay City State Park. With wetland woods, meadows, cattail marshlands, and oak savannah prairies, look to the Lagoon Trail for wildlife spotting and waterside views along the shores of Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay.

Sunrise to sunset, seven days a week, take an enchanted trip into one of the largest and most productive wetland ecosystems in Michigan at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. See wildlife and fall scenery galore along the Woodland Trail and Ferguson Bayou Trail — but keep your eyes peeled for special trail closure dates due to hunting season!

Frankenmuth FunShips | @pierrenasralla
Frankenmuth FunShips

This season, savor fall hues and fine wines aboard Frankenmuth FunShips! All are welcome (kids, too) for a 30-Minute or 1-Hour River Tour — or a Wine & Chocolate River Tour, if you choose! Take in the autumn display while sampling five chocolates with five Michigan wines (kids receive sparkling juice). Everyone gets to keep their souvenir glass!

Bay City State Park | @dee_dorsey

Take a fall color tour on foot or by bike! Discover the Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail — totaling almost 100 miles — and spot more than 200 species of beautiful birds along the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail. Or, hop on a trailhead and enjoy the view from miles of pathways within Chippewa Nature Center, Midland City Forest, Tobico Marsh at Bay City State Park, and Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, all favorites.

Float languidly down the Cass River as you relax aboard the iconic Bavarian Belle Riverboat. Enjoy the Bavarian-themed village of Frankenmuth from the water, the fall colors on full display, and the narrated tour filled with interesting information about the area.

Enjoy fall flavors & friendly folk at social districts in the city streets! Frolic in live turf areas with trees and plants at The Commons Pedestrian Plaza in Downtown Midland, and enjoy adult beverages and a bite to eat outside at The Commons Refreshment Area.

With cold brews (or warm coffee) in-hand, pedal your way through streets lined with fall splendor! “Sit. Smile. PedAle for Awhile.” with your crew on the 16-person PedAle Trolley in Frankenmuth — or buy single seats on Thursday- or Saturday-evening bar-hopping tours! Or, catch a colorful ride when you reserve the 15-person Sunrise Pedal Trolley in Bay City.

BaySail | @baycitymilove
Bay City
BaySail Appledore Tall Ships

With hues of crimson & gold lining both sides of the Saginaw River, drift dreamily into fall on an Autumn Color Tour River Cruise with BaySail! Departing from Downtown Bay City on weekends throughout October, climb aboard a majestic Appledore schooner, snuggle up under a cozy blanket, and prepare for a serene & magical experience!

The Tridge | @puremichiganguy

Float through fall on picturesque paddling trips! Dip into a Fall Color Tour with Ike’s Mobile Kayak Rentals or book a custom trip with Nor’East Outdoors. Discover the Saginaw Bay with Cattail Kayak Rental, and take in fall splendor with Frankenmuth Kayak Adventures. Plan your fall paddling trip with these tips on where to rent & where to launch.

Get lost & found at farms & corn mazes this fall! Visit the working historical Grandpa Tiny’s Heritage Farm, where you can pet & feed farm animals, pick pumpkins, and enjoy an amazing corn maze. Test your wits at Frankenmuth Corn Maze with three mazes in one, plus hayrides to the dairy farm, courtyard games, and more!

Frankenmuth Farmers Market
Great Lakes Bay
Local Farmers Markets

Savor delicious, homegrown seasonal bounty! Discover one of the largest farmers markets in the state, the Midland Area Farmers Market, for food trucks, live music, and vendors galore. Shop hundreds of vendors throughout the season at Frankenmuth Farmers Market, or visit the Downtown Saginaw Farmers Market before stepping into on-site SVRC Marketplace for more glorious fall finds!

Great Lakes Bay

Walk with leaves crunching underfoot as you pick a peck of juicy apples at Leaman’s Green Applebarn — then sink your teeth into fresh-baked donuts and delicious cider sundaes! Take pictures outside the cider mill at Bayne’s Apple Valley, chill on the patio with what's on tap at Bayne's Hard Cider House, and don’t leave without a gourmet caramel apple!

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Great Lakes Bay

Find front-porch decor (and more) at local pumpkin patches! Let the wee ones feed goats, wander through a corn maze, and pick from a patch with more than 80 varieties (some weighing up to 70 pounds) at Johnson’s Pumpkin Farm! Or, take a Cow Train Ride and hayride after you find your future jack-o-lanterns at Grandma’s Pumpkin Patch.

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Find your favorite view as you explore these one-of-a-kind places to leaf-peep in Pure Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region!

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Enjoy a leisurely hayride, get lost in corn fields, find future jack-o-lanterns, and absolutely indulge in the quintessential combo of fall: cider & donuts! Grab a fleece, gather your flock, and enjoy a crisp autumn day in Pure Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region!

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Jen W. O'Deay + Go Great Lakes Bay

By: Jen W. O'Deay | Updates: Go Great Lakes Bay | Jen is a Saginaw native and owner of Feel These Words, an independent copywriting studio & home to the free "5 Day Website MiniBoost". Jen specializes in writing that connects, delivered through website copy, branded content articles, and WingWoman writing services. You'll find Jen camping with her family, laughing, and at feelthesewords.com