Fall is a perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors at one of Michgan’s privately owned campgrounds. Here, campers seek out area farm markets, u-pick orchards and other agricultural destinations that dot the landscape.
Whether they’re looking for pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks to decorate their campsite, apples for baking aromatic and mouth-watering treats, or that perfect bottle of Michigan wine or beer to pair with a harvest meal, campers will find the area farms and agricultural destinations have just what they’re looking for.
Activities, such as wagon rides, haunted houses and corn mazes are popular for families this time of year. What better way to spend a fall day than walking over crackling leaves through an apple orchard or pumpkin patch in search of harvest goodies. Why not make a visit to one of the historic lighthouses that grace a Great Lake shoreline – especially one that is rumored to be haunted such as White River Light Station, Grand Traverse Lighthouse or Saginaw River Lighthouse.
Autumn activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, hiking, biking, horseback riding and golf, are also of interest as campers look for exciting ways to take in the full spectrum of the fall season. Colors can also be viewed from the sky, with a ride in a hot air balloon, glider or airplane at various locations around the state. Even the state’s ski resorts are getting into the action, offering chair lift rides throughout the color tour season.
Campers are encouraged to take a fall color tour, traveling along the scenic byways (and off the major highways), with camera in hand. West Michigan Tourist Association has outlined more than two dozen color tour routes on its website. Travel Michigan offers similar types of routes, under the header “Driving Tours.” Local chambers and visitor bureaus also offer information, such as driving routes and attractions of interest.
In the Kent County area, online brochures are available for the Kent Harvest Trails and Fruit Ridge Farm Markets. The Southwest Michigan Tourist Council has online versions of both their fall color tour map and U-Pick/Farm Market Brochure. The “Taste the Local Difference – Select Northwest Michigan” directory is also available for online viewing. The Michigan Department of Agriculture also publishes an online PDF directory to the state’s Farm Markets, U-Picks & Agricultural Tourism destinations. There’s even a website that directs you to the finest apple farms throughout the state, as well as tours of the state’s finest wineries and breweries.
For more information on fall destinations and activities, check out these websites:
• Fruit Ridge Farm Markets
• Kent Harvest Trails
• Michigan Apple Tours
• Michigan Brewers Guild
• Michigan Cider Guild
• Michigan Department of Agriculture
• Michigan Festivals & Events Association
• Michigan Hard Cider Club
• Michigan Wine Council
• Southwestern Michigan Tourism Council
• Taste the Local Difference
• Travel Michigan
• Upper Peninsula Tourism & Recreational Association
• West Michigan Tourist Association
ARVC represents 225+ member campgrounds with nearly 32,000 sites available throughout the state. Whether pitching a tent, parking an RV or reserving a rustic or modern cabin, Michigan campgrounds offer a great way to disconnect from busy lives and reconnect with families. Campers in Michigan enjoy the great outdoors while fishing or canoeing on the countless lakes, rivers and streams or hiking, biking and riding on the miles of trails that wind throughout the state. There’s definitely no shortage of activities, no matter where the campground is located.
The 2009 Michigan Campground Directory, published by ARVC – Michigan, is available at various locations statewide, including all Welcome Centers. A PDF version is also available for viewing online at www.michcampgrounds.com. The directory not only lists campgrounds by region, but also includes helpful information on the type of sites available, various amenities such as restroom, laundry and dumping station facilities; recreational offerings such as pools and golf courses; and seasons of operation. Campgrounds that now offer wireless internet access onsite are also identified.
Photo by Terry Phipps.