Fall Buchanan IMG 1068 NowickiWhile it’s still warm and sunny, you may not be thinking “I should plan a fall getaway,” but the season is right around the corner! Here are a few tips so you don’t miss out on an autumn vacation in Southwest Michigan:

  1. Deciding when to come:
    Fall weather in Southwest Michigan can vary greatly. If you’re hoping to enjoy the beautiful beaches, plan your trip for September. There’s a good chance it’ll be warm enough to bask in the late summer sun. If your aim is to catch the beautiful fall colors as you drive through the countryside, plan to visit during the last two weeks of October when the leaf change is typically at its peak. To plot your route, follow our fall color itinerary.

    People often plan fall trips as weekend getaways, but consider spending a few days here during the week. Because the crowds are lighter, you’ll receive more one-on-one service while getting to enjoy the area without the crowds.

  2. Deciding what to do:
    Whether you’re a lover of wine, a beer connoisseur or prefer to drink spirits, fall is a great time to try local creations as you travel through Southwest Michigan. To make it easier to plan your tasting outing, local wineries, breweries and distilleries have put together our Makers Trail guide. Transportation services are also available if you want to leave the driving to someone else.

    Fall is a wonderful time to bring our harvest to your table. Southwest Michigan is home to many farms, u-picks and farm markets. Pick up crisp apples, plump pumpkins, buttery winter squash, juicy tomatoes and so much more while it’s fresh. Drink a glass of just-pressed cider and discover the flavor-difference of homemade doughnuts or a slice of just-baked pie. A must-do in Southwest Michigan is to drive through the countryside and breathe in the aroma of the ripened grapes on the vine. It only happens once a year and you’ll see locals driving with their windows down to appreciate this sweet-smelling season as well.

  3. Plan your trip around one of our great autumn events:
    It may be hard to choose a weekend to travel, so take a look at our unique local events and select which one appeals most to you. You’ll find a list on our website. Three of our favorites: Artoberfest in the Benton Harbor Arts District, St. Joseph Wine Festival & Public Art Auction and Weko Beach Brew Fest.

  4. Plan to eat well
    Regardless of which month you choose to visit Southwest Michigan, be sure to try our non-chain restaurants. Our acclaimed chefs frequently feature local produce on their seasonal menus. Be sure to try breakfast at the Mason Jar Café, lunch at Bistro on the Boulevard  and dinner at Plank’s Tavern in the Inn at Harbor Shores.

Of course, with so much to fill a fall day it makes sense to stay over and spread out the fun over several days. Southwest Michigan has a wide selection of hotels as well as cottages, bed & breakfast inns, campgrounds and resorts. Before you call it a day, make your way to the shore of Lake Michigan. Our fall sunsets, the waves and the stars twinkling in our night sky are unforgettable.

Guest Blogger: Katie White is a lifelong resident of Southwest Michigan and professionally encourages visitors to spend time in the region every chance she gets.