A fall trip to Northern Michigan: 5 fun recommendations from a recent trip

Bring your kids!

Presque Isle Park, in Marquette
Presque Isle Park, in Marquette (Michelle Ganley/Graham Media Group photo)

You always hear that Northern Michigan is gorgeous this time of year, so we’ll ask: Have you ever ventured up north to see the leaves changing color as the air turns a bit more brisk?

And if you have made the trek, how far north have you gone, anyway?

As the author of this story, and someone who grew up in the Detroit area, I had only been deep into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula a small handful of times.

But fall seems to be the time to make the trip. So if you’re up for a little adventure -- or hey, maybe you’ve always had this item on your bucket list -- perhaps you could bookmark this story for a future date and check it again once you’re a bit more comfortable traveling, considering COVID-19 and all.

For what it’s worth, my family chose to do the trip as safely as we could: With masks, of course, outdoor dining, and plenty of social distance. Up north, that’s a lot easier to do than in the city or the suburbs.

When I started Googling and asking around about where to go in Northern Michigan in mid-September, I wasn’t sure whether I was overwhelmed or underwhelmed with the recommendations I found and received. Traverse City? Mackinac Island? They’re lovely places, truly, but I wanted something farther. Something fresh and new, or at least, new to me. And as for the Upper Peninsula, it’s like a whole new world up there. How far did I want to go? Could I do it, with kids who are 2 and 4?

We ended up venturing as far west as Marquette, so yes, there’s even more state that we didn’t tackle. Next time!

But until then, I thought I’d share some recommendations for anyone else who might be heading that way -- now, ever or in the future. Don’t be scared; traveling with children seems daunting at first, but we found some really great gems and the kids did just fine. Oh, and even if you DON’T have children, you’ll still love these places.

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