Hot cider, pumpkin patches, apple picking, and hayrides: these are the hallmarks of the Fall harvest! South Haven is one of the best areas to keep the harvest tradition alive, especially for young families looking to craft and capture memories that will a lifetime! Plus, we can always use more excuses to enjoy warm cider and donuts. So explore the brilliant fall colors of the South Haven countryside, do some picking of their own, or even get lost in a corn maze!
Start off the harvest season at this family farm that dates back to 1958. DeGrandchamp Farms Cranberry Harvest begins in mid-October. Once a year, the farm opens its fields and invites attendees to witness the beauty of harvesting cranberries in the natural bogs.
Catch a hayride to the bogs throughout the day to watch the crew rake in bright, red cranberries from the flooded bogs. Then, head to the sorting line to learn about how cranberries are sorted, packaged, and shipped. Cranberry products are available for purchase at the retail market, including jams, salsas, dried fruit, and baked goods. Fresh cranberries are available in October and November.
Grab the family and head to Overhiser Orchards to pick your own pumpkins or apples and explore the farm and its many harvest activities. Available apples for u-pick include Empire, Cortland, Jonamac, Blondee, and Gala. Munch on some fresh donuts while you sip cider, pet the farm animals, or feed the birds with the farm’s sunflower seed harvest.
Take time to get lost in the corn maze or head over to the sunflower field for the farm’s new nature walk. Hayrides are available, weather permitting. You can even fish in the pond on-site, but save some room for the corn maze!
A true farm for the whole family, Bumbleberry Acres features u-pick, farm animals, a playground, wagon rides, and more. Halloween is always an especially fun time at Bumbleberry, so be sure to visit online for special events and activities!
At the Dutch Farm Market just north of South Haven, apples (Red Delicious, Matsu, Cortland, Yellow Delicious, North Spy, Ida Red, and Rome) and Bosc pears are available for picking, and free wagon rides are available until the end of October. The market store has all the apples and pears, and everything from homemade jams, taffy apples, fresh-pressed cider, honey, and maple syrup, to home-baked pies, bread, turnovers, and donuts, to name just a few.
Can’t squeeze a trip to the farm into your schedule?
There’s good news! You don’t have to compromise on freshness. The South Haven’s Farm Market operates through September under the Huron Street Pavilion in downtown South Haven, and Barden’s Farm Market on the corner of Phoenix and Blue Star Highway is open daily! Drop in for baked goods, craft beer, and something sweet for all your friends and family!
Fall Fest comes to downtown Holland the first weekend in October. Experience the historic city center decked out with corn stalks and hay bales and buzzing with activities. Witness giant pumpkins getting carved, medium-sized pumpkins sculpted into captivating displays, and mini pumpkins painted by your kids at the farmers market. Then, marvel at street performers and a windmill-side artisan market. When the sun sets, procure a harvest-themed beverage and admire all the flickering jack-o’-lanterns.
Whether you honor your ancestors, dress up to scare away ghouls, or just like gathering candy, Holland has an event for you on October 28th.
From 10 til noon, littles dressed in ghost and Barbie costumes will converge on downtown Holland to Trick or Treat along 8th Street. Then, it’s onto the Holland Armory for music, dance, and art in celebration of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Finally, after the kiddos are down for naps, adults can head back downtown for Taps and Treats to sample Halloween sweets perfectly paired with a stout or IPA companion.
A Cornucopia of Musical Adventures
There’s a harvest of music in Holland this fall. The Park Theatre hosts the most with a packed line-up of tribute bands ranging from Elton Rohn to Fooz Fighters, performances by popular regional bands, and the annual ParktoberFest.
Classical music afficionados will flock to Hope College’s Great Performance Series with its Grammy-winning jazz, chamber ensembles, and harpist who mixes old with new tunes. Also amazing, Holland Symphony Orchestra’s autumn performances feature Brahms and a piano tribute to the planets, and the Holland Museum hosts a musical evening about Idlewild, Holland’s “Black Eden.”
Parading into the Next Season
Holland loves a parade and hosts SEVEN each year, three in the fall. The Labor Day Truck Parade features rumbling trucks, free ice cream, and giveaways. For more big rigs, the Fire Truck Parade kicks off Fire Safety Week with 50 fire trucks rolling down 8th Street. To wrap up November and usher in the holidays, the Parade of Lights has 75 floats plus (more) trucks, antique cars, walkers, and marching bands all decked out in thousands of sparking lights. What a way to escort Santa into downtown Holland!
Pick a season, any season, and there’s always something happening in Holland. Check out what’s on for today, tomorrow, and even next year at the Holland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s calendar of events.
Discover the best fall beach destinations in Southwest Michigan
Summer isn’t the only time to visit Lake Michigan’s beaches in Southwest Michigan. Fall days and lake temperatures are often warm from September until early October. Then from October through November, pull on a sweater, fleece, or jacket and enjoy the wilder Big Lake waves and less-crowded beaches from golden sunrise to star-studded night. For many, fall is their favorite beach season. Come see why.
Visit nine Lake Michigan beach towns If you’re planning an autumn getaway, solo retreat, or fall color tour along the lakeshore, add these Lake Michigan beach towns and their beaches to your itinerary.
Grand Mere State Park | 7337 Thornton Drive Grand Mere boasts sweeping dunes, deep blowouts, a mile-long sandy beach, and hikes beneath canopies of colorful leaves.
This is one of Southwest Michigan’s most popular year-round beaches with its 2,450 feet of shoreline from the mouth of the St. Joseph River to Park Street. The park gives you access to the South Pier, and you can walk to the beach from downtown St. Joseph.
This is one of the most beautiful, lesser-used beaches in Southwest Michigan. It is also a trailhead for a 10-mile natural and urban fitness hiking and biking adventure — the trees are autumn showpieces along the way.
Warren Dunes State Park | 12032 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer Three miles of beach frontage, including a separate dog-friendly beach. A top pick for its giant dunes and beautiful fall foliage.
Weko Beach | 5237 Lake St., Bridgman Nestled among 42 acres of wooded dunes, it has 960 feet of sandy beach with some of the area’s favorite fall foliage and water vistas.
Seven favorite fall things to do at our beaches
There are so many ways to fill several fall days in Southwest Michigan. Here are locals’ and visitors’ top picks from high adventures to total relaxation.
Take a fall color tour
Follow the West Michigan Pike routes in this guide. Along the way, visit our pick-your-own and farm markets to gather just-harvested fruits and vegetables, plus bread, jams, desserts, and more for your fall beach picnic. This is also one of the best times of year to look for colorful rocks, beach glass, and fossils along the water’s edge.
Paddle along the shoreline
Most beaches offer easy access to take your canoe, kayak, or SUP from the parking lot to the shoreline. Several also have launch areas on scenic rivers that empty into the big lake. Shoreline paddles give you gorgeous views of fall foliage along the bluffs and across the dunes.
Watch for migratory birds on their Lake Michigan flight path
The migration flight path along Lake Michigan’s shoreline is almost as ancient as the dunes. Fall is a peak time for birdwatching, seeing everything from songbirds and shorebirds to raptors.
Be captivated by Great Lakes freighters and barges
It’s hard not to be drawn to the St. Joseph River and harbor when the big freighters and barges arrive or depart from St. Joseph. Watching these big ships navigate past the railroad swing bridge is especially enthralling. We hope you will also see the big ships at night easing through the channel by spotlight or their lights reflecting in the still harbor waters — it will take your breath away. Fall is the last season to be awed before the gales of November stop the shipping traffic on Lake Michigan until the next spring.
Reel in the big ones from our piers, rivers, and the Big Lake
Pier fishing for feisty salmon, trout, and steelhead is a thrill in Southwest Michigan. You can easily access some of our favorite fishing spots from New Buffalo Public Beach, Silver Beach County Park, Tiscornia Beach, and South Haven’s South Beach.
Go surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving
Many people are surprised to learn that you can surf, snorkel and scuba dive off the coast of Lake Michigan. Calmer days on the Big Lake are best for the latter two watersports, but frequent north and south winds make for surfable waves in the fall. You can often spot surfers from the shore at Lions Park, Silver Beach County Park, and Tiscornia Beach — or go out and ride the waves on your board!
See the best sunsets
It’s a daily ritual to head to any of our beaches to watch the sun sink below Lake Michigan’s horizon in a swath of peach, yellow, lavender, and scarlet colors brightening the evening sky. Even on overcast evenings, you will still find colors and a peaceful ending to your day on our shore.
Stay over at near-the-beach lodgings
Lodgings in Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, and Stevensville are just minutes from our beaches, resort town shopping, dining, fall festivals, and attractions. It’s a great time of year to get the hotel rate and amenities you want, especially on weekdays.
Visit Muskegon County, where you will find beautiful beaches, dunes, parks, trails – and forests filled with fall foliage. Muskegon County is not only a nature lover’s paradise. There are also exciting fall events, outdoor sports opportunities and unique outdoor activities. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Stunning Natural Scenery
Firstly, let’s talk about the natural beauty. With plenty of hardwood trees like maple, oak, birch, and aspen, Muskegon County’s forests are a show of vibrant colors. The fiery reds and oranges to warm yellows and golds are set against the brilliant blues of Lake Michigan and 23 inland lakes. This display draws visitors from far and wide to wander the trails and drive the scenic routes. With three state parks, seven county parks and many public parks – there’s no shortage of space to roam.
For the Adventurous
Head to the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park for a unique and exhilarating autumn experience. Feel the thrill of zooming over a canopy of fall colors on a dual zipline. Climb a 38 ft. outdoor climbing wall or take a scenic hike through the park’s picturesque trails.
Take a Tour
For a more laid-back experience, check out the Depot to Depot self-guided fall tour. This month-long event invites you to soak up the autumn scenery. Pick up or download a map from Visit Muskegon. Then, enjoy special offers along the way as you explore local cuisine attractions, and shop for unique treasures.
Fall is for Family Fun
The little ones love it here too! Find fall-fun ranging from orchards and mazes to Trick or Treating at a historic lighthouse. New in 2023 is Michigan’s Adventure’s Tricks and Treats Fall Fest. Families will be able to enjoy select rides (including attractions at Camp “Spooky”), decorations, activities, entertainment and costume contests.
Make Your Plan
Experience the beauty and excitement of a Midwest autumn in Muskegon County. It’s all right here; from natural beauty to exciting seasonal events and fun outdoor adventures. So why not book your trip today and start exploring all that this hidden gem has to offer?