One of the popular routes to take the fall color tour on is M-22, which begins in Manistee County, goes north through Benzie and Leelanau Counties, and ends in Traverse City, although you don't have to go the entire length to see brilliant colored leaves and magnificent views.
OnekamaJust 20 minutes north of Manistee, with the casino being a halfway point, Onekama is the first community along the M-22 Scenic Heritage Route. The southern leg of M-22 begins off of US-31, right at Little River Casino. While visiting Onekama, you can stop at a number of restaurants, stores and antique shops, the farmer's market, and parks and recreational areas. There are even great places to take a break and cast a fishing line, or enjoy the beautiful fall day by playing a round of golf. The Fall Festival in October is another annual event to plan on going to.
ArcadiaThe city of Arcadia, home of Arcadia Daze every July, is less than 15 minutes north of Onekama. Halfway between Onekama and Arcadia, you'll pass 13 Mile Rd., which heads to Bear Lake going east. Arcadia is located right along beautiful Lake Michigan on M-22. Home to Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course with Lake Michigan views, Arcadia offers sandy beaches, and excellent fishing and boating opportunities. Just outside of Arcadia, right on M-22, Inspiration Point is a special place of interest, being the highest point on the shore of West Michigan. Be sure to stop at Inspiration Point to get the best view of Lake Michigan, and climb the stairs of the deck to get an even better view of the surrounding land and winding roads. Telescopes have been added to make your view more clear, and you might even catch a glimpse of the shore of Wisconsin when looking through the telescope.
Traveling north on US-31 from Manistee, pick up M-22 by the Casino. Follow this leisurely route through Onekama...then be sure to stop at the lookout point at Arcadia. Continue on M-22 up Elberta and Frankfort, where you'll find some terrific shopping and great restaurants.
It's well worth an afternoon drive in October to travel the M-22 route. The vibrant colors will amaze you...and the towns will welcome you.
Mason County Fall Color Tour
Oceana County Fall Color Tour