Best Places for Fall Foliage in and around the Midwest
How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.
Waking up this week and finally feeling properly crisp fall air got me instantly excited for all of my favorite autumn activities. Apple picking, the subsequent apple baking day which follows, carving pumpkins, drinking hot cider, putting the dogs in hoodies, and so much more. I know everyone says fall is their favorite,but, come on! It’s so perfect and part of why Ari and I picked fall as our anniversary date. We can do all of our favorite things AND check fall activities off of our travel wish list, all justified by our anniversary.
One of my favorite things to do when I need to get out of the city for a bit is to travel to see fall foliage. There’s something truly magical about watching the trees change a variety of warm cozy colors. Pair this with a cozy sweater, hot cider, and a gorgeous sunset or sunrise, and I’m the happiest of campers. So I’m sharing with you readers my favorite places to see fall foliage in and around the midwest!
Agawa Canyon Train Tour, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada
Hop a train and disappear deep into the forests of the Canadian Shield on the Agawa Canyon Train Tour. Going slightly earlier in the year will still get you beautiful foliage but at a slightly lower cost. Wait until early October, and you bet you’re going to get some stunning colors. This one day tour offers food and beverage service as you venture 114 miles to the canyon. Stop and explore the gorgeous wilderness, see waterfalls, hike, picnic, or simply enjoy the views.
Matthiessen State Park, Utica, IL, USA
Most people who live in Illinois know Starved Rock State Park, but have you heard of Matthiessen? Probably not. Literally right next door to the famous park, Matthiessen offers a slightly more secluded experience, beautiful sandstone rock formations, and, of course, that fabulous fall foliage. I actually have a trip planned to go here over my anniversary with Ari and the pups. Keep an eye out for some major hiking vibes and gorgeous colors!
Mackinac Island, MI, USA
If you’re a Midwesterner, there’s a strong chance you have visited Mackinac Island once or twice. At least. This island is known for it’s lilac season and for being a beautiful summer destination, But if you head up to the island during fall, you’re sure to get a truly magnificent show of foliage, from the downtown area being draped in fallen leaves to the gorgeous hiking and biking trails. The hike up to Arch Rock is bound to be a work of beauty as well.
Door County, WI, USA
Are you the outdoorsy type who loves to hike and enjoy all that nature has to offer? Love exploring quaint towns and meeting locals? Door County is absolutely stunning in the fall, with gorgeous colors, plenty of places to explore, and even an island to go visit! Wisconsin has this amazing Fall Color Report that’s an interactive map which will tell you the best times to see fall colors, when peak season is, and more. Door County gets extra points for the statement of welcome specifically addressed to LGBT folks on their website. It’s the little things, guys.
Lake Geneva, WI, USA
Lake Geneva’s area is what happens when Chicago’s wealthiest residents want a summer home. Thus, this whole area is absolutely stunning. Spend time touring mansions, enjoying yourself on the water, visiting downtown, or, you guessed it, seeing fall foliage. There are two amazing and highly recommended ways to do this in Lake Geneva. First? A Fall foliage cruise, naturally. Get on the lake and fully experience this stunning area! And I’m not saying there’s a Sunday Champagne Brunch Tour as well but… well let’s just say I know what we’re doing for our second anniversary next October. Need a second option? If you have a little extra money to spend or an extra special occasion, the hot air balloon tours offer possibly the most stunning views of the area. Champagne flights, private balloons for two, sunrise or sunset views… You can’t get much better!
As you would expect, there is so much more to see than just these five places,but these are the best as far as I’m concerned. Whether you’re from the Midwest or not, I can guarantee that these views will be stunning.
Do you love to travel for fall activities? Where are your favorite places to go?