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MI Fall Destination: Old Mission Peninsula

Northern Michigan is a popular destination for many, but even more so in the fall! Picturesque vistas display the rolling countryside and the beautiful changing leaves! Old Mission Peninsula, just north of Traverse City, has an unforgettable feel of modern, yet rustic, charm that is especially amplified in the autumn season! Not only will you enjoy the rich history of the area, dine in some of the best restaurants around, and try out local wine and craft beer, but you'll also be surrounded by some of the most incredible views of fall foliage while doing so! Here's a great look at one of Michigan's best fall destinations: Old Mission Peninsula!

Mission Point Lighthouse


Mission Point Lighthouse in Northern Michigan
At the northern tip of Old Mission Peninsula, you will find the wonderful Mission Point Lighthouse! Although it has been decommissioned since 1933, this lighthouse has remained open to the public since the late 1940s! Visitors are welcome to tour the lighthouse museum and gift shop, as well as explore the grounds, which feature the historic Hessler Log cabin, that was originally built between 1854 and 1856! For a small fee, you can climb to the top of the lighthouse, which provides a stunning view of the surrounding countryside and beautiful fall colors! The lighthouse is open 10-5 p.m. May through October, and only weekends through November! You can even check out their Lighthouse Keeper program, which allows you to stay at the lighthouse for up to two weeks and help others learn about the rich history of this landmark!

Hiking


An amazing system of hiking trails surrounds the Mission Point Lighthouse, and is especially perfect during the fall to enjoy the gorgeous autumnal colors! With hundreds of acres of trails for everyone from families on casual strolls to more experienced hikers, this is an amazing area to experience some of the beauty that Old Mission Peninsula has to offer!

Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve


Owl in a tree during Autumn.
Located near the center of Old Mission Peninsula is Pyatt Lake Nature Preserve, which is a unique habitat! This wooded dune and swale area is home to several plant and animal species, but it is doubly beautiful during the fall! Two different scenic overlooks will give you breathtaking views of the area, and will allow you to stroll amongst the trees!

Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries


Grape vine
Perhaps one of Old Mission Peninsula's staple attractions is its plethora of amazing wineries, along with breweries and distilleries! You could spend a whole day (or even two) embarking on a memorable wine and beer tour to experience some of Michigan's best offerings! Here are some highly recommended stops that you should check out for an unforgettable fall trip!

Chateau Chantal


Fall leaves with image of Chateau Chantal winery.
There is certainly a lot to experience at Chateau Chantal! Complete with a winery and tasting room, bed and breakfast, and host to lovely wine events and cooking classes, you'll be sure to have a good time at this tasteful spot! The chateau sits over a rolling landscape which overlooks Grand Traverse Bay! If weather is permitting, head out to the patio area for a magnificent view of the fall colors!

Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant & Brewery


Fall leaves with image of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
This amazing brewery has such a welcoming, rustic feel that definitely fits in with the charm of Old Mission Peninsula! With several delicious craft beer, wine, and distilled spirit offerings, as well as a delicious food menu including incredible artisan pizzas, sandwiches, hearty entrees, and more, it's a great place for a lovely lunch or dinner! Although this is one of four locations, its wonderful view of Grand Traverse Bay and surrounding trees make it well worth your time as a stop on a fall excursion!

2 Lads Winery


Fall leaves with image of 2 Lads Winery.
Even the drive up to this winery is a beautiful fall tour in itself! Nestled in the trees overlooking the bay, this modern winery is definitely a must-see! With a delectable palate of delicious wines and tasty small plates to accompany, it's a spectacular all-around fall experience!

Restaurants


Kitchen utensils on a pink background.
Old Mission Peninsula is considered a hotspot for foodies! With everything from quaint farm-to-table eateries, great delis, and upscale restaurants, there will surely be something here to meet your needs!

Boathouse Restaurant


Fall leaves with image of Boathouse Restaurant.
Heralded as one of the best restaurants on Old Mission Peninsula, Boathouse Restaurant is an exquisite blend of upscale rustic sophistication! This farm-to-table restaurant sits right on Bowers Harbor, and is the only restaurant on Old Mission Peninsula that is located right on the water! The result? An unforgettable meal with a marvelous view of the leaves and water! Time your dinner to catch the sunset for a truly amazing autumn view!

Mission Table


Fall leaves with image of Mission Table restaurant.
Formerly known as Bowers Harbor Inn, Mission Table is part of the Bowers Harbor Inn Estate, which also houses the previously mentioned Jolly Pumpkin Brewery! Described as an inviting, locally-focused and sourced culinary destination offering a purely epicurean experience, you're sure to have a delicious visit! Enjoy some of the finest tastings from the adjoining breweries, or relax on the patio of the Peninsula room! There's a reason many choose this location for weddings; the surrounding trees make this an amazing location year-round, but especially when the fall colors are bursting!

Peninsula Grill And Bad Dog Deli


Fall leaves with image of Peninsula Grill and Bad Dog Deli.
Located in the heart of Old Mission Peninsula sits Peninsula Grill and Bad Dog Deli! Peninsula Grill specializes in steak and seafood, but offers plenty of other tantalizing creations! Located right along Center Rd., this is the perfect pit stop as you're driving along this scenic route! If you're looking for more of a quick meal, Bad Dog Deli shares the same location, and features tasty build-your-own sandwiches that you can take along on your color tour!

Camping


A trip up to Old Mission Peninsula is a great opportunity to get in one last trip of the season with your RV! Unfortunately there are no campgrounds located in Old Mission Peninsula, but there are plenty located nearby that put you close to the fun offered in Traverse City!

Traverse City State Park


Fall leaves with image of Traverse City State Park.
Located just off the lower edge of Old Mission Peninsula is the beautiful Traverse City State Park Campground! Siting along a quarter mile of beach along Grand Traverse Bay, this lovely campground offers hundreds of reservable sites with electrical hookups, many with a great view of the nearby bay! Make your reservations on Michigan's DNR website!

Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort


Fall leaves with image of Timber Ridge RV and Recreation Resort.
This is a resort that is great for families, in any season! In the fall, you'll find yourself surrounding by vibrant colors as you camp among the trees! Get out and enjoy the foliage on the many trails that surround this gorgeous campground! With nearly 350 reservable sites, many with full hookups, it's the perfect spot to bring your RV for an amazing fall trip! Make your reservations on their website! This is just a small taste of the full splendor of Old Mission Peninsula! Take a few days to explore, and indulge on a total sensory experience! Between the stunning fall colors, delicious food and drinks, and the fresh air coming off the bay, it's the perfect destination to take in all the beauty of another unforgettable Michigan fall season! What is your favorite spot on Old Mission Peninsula? Comment to share your memories with us!

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