Favorite Fall Activities
Autumn has a special place in our hearts in the Bays de Noc area — the pleasantly warm days and cooler nights drench our cedar and hardwood forests in spectacular deep greens, sunny oranges, reds and golds and coppery browns. Our Bays roar with teal and gray waves. Streams mirror the colorful tree canopies above. Sunrises and sunsets splash autumn hues across our skies. The crisp, clear nights fill with twinkling stars and this is one of the best times to watch the Northern Lights swirl above the horizon.
Here are some of our favorite fall traditions. Please join us and linger awhile:
Spectacular Fall Color Tours
No matter what road you take, you’ll see why the U.P. is repeatedly named in the top 10 lists for fall color destinations. Foliage starts changing hues as early as late August, typically peak mid-September through mid-October; and wrap up their show in late October, early November.
Four local favorite routes are listed here:
Peninsula Point Lighthouse/Stonington Peninsula
Hiawatha National Forest/Rapid River Falls
Fayette Historic Townsite/Garden Peninsula
Escanaba River Tour
Up-Close Nature Trail Tours
As beautiful as our autumn landscape is to see from your vehicle or motorcycle, it is even more stunning on our non-motorized trails. Whether you hike or bike, bring your kids or dog, or create a spirit-refreshing solo retreat, this is where you’ll want to be.
And … if you like to run, join us on the first Saturday of October for the MISH Waterfront Fall 5K/10K and After-Party (Oct. 6, 2018) in Gladstone. Race along Lake Michigan’s scenic shore, then join runners and the public for craft beer on tap and free live music performances at the Terrace Bay Hotel.
Craft Wine & Beer Tasting Tours
Fall colors fill our glasses and growlers around the Bays, too. Seek your favorite local craft wines and beers here. Then bring home a few bottles or a case to brighten the winter days ahead.
Northern Sun Winery, Bark River
Garden Bay Winery, Cooks
Leah’s Garden Winery, Escanaba
Freshwater Tavern, Gladstone
Hereford & Hops Restaurant & Brew Pub, Escanaba
Upper Hand Brewery, Escanaba
Farmers Market and Pumpkin Patch Tours
Few things enliven all of your senses like a fall day in one of our community farmers markets. Fresh-picked vegetables and fruits, pumpkins and gourds, jams and salsas, just-baked breads and desserts, GMO-free meats, eggs, and fresh-caught fish offer a cornucopia of flavors and hues.
Escanaba Farmers Market: Wed. & Sat.; winter, Sat. only
Gladstone Farmers Market: Mondays
Rapid River Farmers Market: Thursdays
Go out to the farm and bring home perfect pumpkins for your fall decorating or jack-o-lantern carving. Hall Farms, St. Nicholas-31st Road in Rock, welcomes you to bring the kids out to find the best pumpkin in their patch or yard.
Gather with family and friends on the farm. Corn mazes feature a variety activities for everyone to enjoy in the crisp fall air.
Getzloff Corn Maze, Wilson
Hayes Corn Maze, Rock
Rappette’s Corn Maze, Cornell
Autumn Festivals & Craft Fairs
Before the snow falls we love to celebrate autumn together. It’s more fun if you can be with us, too.
Annual Fall Fest, the first weekend of October (Oct 6, 2018), 11 am-3 pm, Fayette State Historic Park in Garden. Bring the family for hayrides through the historic townsite, kids’ activities, plus Halloween decorations and trick-or-treating in the campground.
Annual UPtoberFest, the second weekend of October (Oct. 13, 2018), 2-7 pm, Municipal Dock, Escanaba. This is the U.P.’s longest-running beer and wine festival. Live music, food, games, brewing demos and more. Must be 21 or older to attend.
Another favorite fall activity to do with family and friends is to find seasonal decorations, baked treats and handmade gifts at our local craft fairs.
Fall Craft/Vendor Show, the last weekend of September (Sept. 29, 2018), 10 am-2 pm, Civic Center, Escanaba. Free admission.
Fall Harvest Extravaganza, the third weekend of October (Oct. 20, 2018), 9 am-4 pm, Memorial United Methodist Church, Gladstone. $1 admission.
Fall Craft Show, the third weekend of October (Oct. 20, 2018), 10 am-4 pm, Great Lakes Sports Club, Escanaba. $2 admission.
Holiday Arts Fair, the first weekend of November (Nov. 3, 2018), 10 am-4 pm, Bonifas Arts Center, Escanaba.
TV 6 Thanksgiving Craft Show, the fourth weekend of November (Nov. 23-24), 10 am-5 pm, Ruth Butler Building, U.P. State Fairgrounds, Escanaba.
Spooky Fall Fun
As the days get shorter and the trees begin to drop their leaves in September and October, our nights are filled with new sights and sounds. If you dare, we can help you make spooktacular memories along the Bays.
Paranormal Event, the third weekend of September, 9 pm-3 am, Fayette State Historic Park in Garden. Have you ever wondered what a ghost hunter does? Here’s your chance to participate in two nights of paranormal investigation in this eerie-at-night, abandoned townsite. For ages 10 years or older. Admission: park pass.
Annual Fall Family Festival (Oct. 26, 2018), 4-7 pm, YMCA Delta Program Center, Escanaba. Swimming, hayrides, games, bounce houses, free pumpkin for every family. Food concessions available. Admission: free to the public.
Night of Magic & Wizardry (Oct. 27, 2018), 5:30-9:30 pm, Bonifas Arts Center, All ages are welcome to visit the school of magic and wizardry, enjoy food and a cash bar, explore the wand shop and learn how to make potions and more. Admission tickets.
Halloween Hustle—Family Friendly Spooktacular (Nov, 3, 2018), 10:00am, Days River Trail in Gladstone, run off the sugar spree of trick or treat!! Choose from the Frightening 5k route or the kid’s Monster Mile run. Admission tickets.
Ghost Story Haunts: In addition to the abandoned townsite at Fayette State Historic Park, Nahma Inn in Rapid River and the House of Ludington in Escanaba have their eerie tales.
Fall Flight Paths
For centuries migrating birds and monarch butterflies have stopped in the Bays de Noc area as they wing their ways south to warmer climates. Their migration is a rite of fall that you won’t want to miss.
Michigan’s Butterfly Capital. That’s the moniker aptly given to the Stonington Peninsula that separates Big from Little Bay de Noc. From late August and into September, thousands of the beautiful butterflies layover in the cedar trees and lands surrounding the Peninsula Point Lighthouse before continuing their 1,900-mile journey to Mexico City.
Birding Bucket List. Fall is an excellent time to see many of the 311 bird species that have been documented in Delta and neighboring Menominee Counties. From Kipling Point near U.S. 2 to O.B. Fuller Park 15 miles south of Escanaba you can observe bald eagles, snow geese, piping plovers, American bitterns, long-billed dowitchers, sandhill cranes and many more in Delta County this time of year. U.P. TIP: Fuller Park is also one of the better places to see the U.P.’s only lizard species, the five-lined skink, before it hibernates.