From the gorgeous fall colors to the bountiful harvest that fills our Lake Michigan coast, fall is one of the best times to travel to Southwest Michigan. It is also a more affordable and calmer time of year to visit since our busy summer season has come to an end. You will find plenty of free activities in and around St. Joseph that are perfect for anyone on a budget. Here are the top free things to do in Southwest Michigan this fall:
- Go on a fall color tour. Our jewel-toned landscape is one of the top reasons to visit Southwest Michigan this fall. Check out our Fall Color Guide for the best route suggestions.
- Hike at Galien River County Park. Take in the colorful view of changing leaves as you walk the 300’ canopy walk that leads out to a 60’ high platform overlooking the marshland and Galien River. Or follow the boardwalk that leads to the fishing platform down by the water.
- Walk along the beach. Lake Michigan is beautiful in the fall! Silver Beach, Jean Klock Park, New Buffalo City Beach and Weko Beach stop collecting parking fees after Labor Day weekend. Here’s your chance to visit these popular beaches for free and not have to fight the crowd for a parking spot.
- Explore the arts. Krasl Art Center and the Box Factory for the Arts offer visitors the chance to see their art exhibitions at no cost. Plus, now through April you can play Creative Pursuit and get rewarded for visiting our local galleries, museums, and performances.
- Watch the sunset over Lake Michigan. While this is free any time of year, the view is priceless no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Lookout Park in St. Joseph is a great viewing spot.
- Bring your kayak and paddle our rivers and lakes! Fall is one of the best times to be on the water. No bugs swarming you, mild temperatures and beautiful fall colors all around you. View our paddling guide to find your favorite route.
- Learn about the history and culture of Southwest Michigan at one of our museums. There are a variety of museums in our area that tell about our past and house fun interactive exhibits. The North Berrien Historical Museum and the Siegfried H. Horn Museum are free to the public.
- Bike thrilling trails beneath the fall foliage. The gorgeous fall colors and technical features at Andrews University Trails will excite any cyclist. And with no admission fee, you can visit several times during your stay. Book your room now to plan your visit before the leaves fall.