If you’re ready for a breath of fresh air and some relaxation this fall, the country roads in and around Ludington are the perfect driving routes to experience vibrant colors of the season.
Discover scenic towns and villages with plenty of options to be outdoors along the way, namely, nature walks, U-pick farms, and picnic and recreation areas. It’s an ideal time of year to enjoy cooling temperatures, hear the crackle of leaves underfoot, take in stunning foliage and lake views, and treat yourself to a caramel apple or cider.
Here are the Top 4 Routes we recommend for your sightseeing excursion:
South Lakeshore Drive: History, Lake Views & U-pick Farm
From Ludington, head south on Pere Marquette Highway, west on Iris Road, and north on South Lakeshore. Soon, you will come upon Historic White Pine Village. Relive the past and learn more about how early pioneers lived, worked and played during a self-guided tour through the 29 museum buildings and grounds, which are exceptionally beautiful in the fall. Afterward, head back south along this two-lane road flanked by color and outstanding overlooks of Lake Michigan. You might enjoy a walk at Summit Park, especially if you are on the hunt for beach rocks.
To have the ultimate orchard experience, you will want to stay south of Ludington and head to Christofferson Farms. From South Lakeshore Drive, take Hawley Road east until you meet Morton Road, where you will find the farm and a variety of fruits for sale or U-pick, including fresh local apples and pumpkins. Insider’s tip: Christofferson’s is open 9-5 daily; 12-3 p.m. on Sundays.
Countryside Tour: Enchanting Small Towns & Cheese Farm
To continue your color tour, head east on Hawley road, turn north on Scottville Road and east on Conrad Road. This is one of the most famous sections of road during the autumn season, since it is lined with brilliant trees. This is an excellent spot for an Instagram photo op.
The drive on our fall color map will then take through villages of Custer, Fountain and Freesoil. When you get to Millerton Road, don’t miss the chance to stop at Michigan Farm Cheese Dairy, known to locals as Andrulis Cheese Farm. Sample some traditional, Baltic-style farmers cheese in various flavors and grab your favorite for the drive.
Lake Michigan Recreation Area: Protected Nature
If you’re up for a scenic detour, take US-31 north to West Forest Trail. Here you will enter 3,450 acres of federal forest land, complete with a campground, hiking trails, picnic areas, sand dunes and Lake Michigan beaches. It’s worth the drive to see this protected, natural area. There are a great deal of coniferous trees within the Nordhouse Dunes, but we’re sure you’ll see some color along the way.
M-116: Shoreline Views, State Park
Whether you are driving, biking or hiking, the Ludington State Park is a paradise to view fall colors up close. Explore more than 18 miles of trails, a canoe trail, Hamlin Lake, Big Sable River and 5,300 acres of unspoiled natural forest. M-116 leading to the park affords scenic Lake Michigan and protected-dune landscapes.
Make Reservations Now
The gorgeous reds, oranges, yellows and golds along the lakeshore won’t last long, so don’t miss your chance to make the trip to Ludington! Peak colors are predicted for mid-October. We invite you to take advantage of the area’s unforgettable shops, restaurants and breweries during a day trip or overnight stay. Local tip: breweries have fall-themed craft beer, and you can get that caramel apple at Kilwin’s.
Find seasonal deals at our lodging destinations, including half off a second night stay, here.