Get Out Your Puffy Vests: Here’s Your Fall Fun Bucket List For Northern Michigan

Get Out Your Puffy Vests: Here’s Your Fall Fun Bucket List For Northern Michigan

Photo courtesy of Gallagher’s Farm Market & Bakery via Instagram

By Claire Mainprize
September 20, 2023

Hayrides, apple orchards, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and cider mills will make for your most fun fall ever.

Whether you love the spooky season or are more into fright-free fun, there’s so much to do this autumn in Northern Michigan. 

Here’s a curated list of activities, including everything from Apple Town to a Glampground—so pick a few near you and get ready for your most fun fall yet. (BTW, keep an eye out for our haunted houses roundup—it’s coming soon!)

Pahl’s Country Store Pumpkin Patch, Buckley

Pahl’s is much more than just a pumpkin patch. Open every day from Sept. 25 to Halloween, the Buckley farm offers U-Pick pumpkins, kid rides, farm animals, hay mazes, and a country store packed with all your favorite fall goodies (including homemade cider and doughnuts). There’s also a little thing called an apple cannon, which is a literal blast

Jacob’s Farm & Corn Maze, Traverse City

Get Out Your Puffy Vests: Here’s Your Fall Fun Bucket List For Northern Michigan

Photo courtesy of Jacob’s Farm & Corn Maze via Instagram

Jacob’s Farm is beloved by Traverse City folks all year round, but the 40-acre centennial farm really comes alive in the fall. With U-Pick orchards, a huge computer-designed corn maze that changes every year, tractor rides, and a full bar and kitchen with exquisite views, you’ll certainly have plenty to do no matter your age. 

Friske Farm Market Fun Fall Saturdays, Ellsworth 

Get Out Your Puffy Vests: Here’s Your Fall Fun Bucket List For Northern Michigan

Photo courtesy of Friske Farm Market via Instagram

Every Saturday from Sept. 23 through Oct. 21, Friske Farm Market is hosting Fall Fun Saturdays. The first Saturday will include a special outdoor local vendor market, plus all the regular activities of pumpkin smashing, apple slinging, wagon rides, face painting, gunny-sack rides, pie-eating contests, apple picking, festival food, and more. Once you’re done with all the fun, make sure to submit your snaps to the annual photo contest. 

Royal Farms Scavenger Hunt Corn Maze, Ellsworth

Although Royal Farms is well-known for its scavenger hunt corn maze, it also offers hayrides on the weekend that will take you through the orchard and vineyard and give you unmatched views of Lake Michigan. If you’re 21 or older, you can grab a pint or flight of delicious hard cider from the tasting room before setting off on your fun fall activities. 

Pond Hill Farm, Harbor Springs

Farm-brewed beer and cider, hayrides, apple canons, pumpkin bowling, farm animals, a gnome house hunt, trout pond, human foosball, and (breathe!) a natural playground. 

Fleming Farm, Gaylord 

The family-owned Fleming Farm offers a pumpkin patch, corn maze, petting zoo, and hay rides, making it an ideal weekend spot during these transitional months. Of course, there will also be doughnuts to munch on and apple cider to sip.  

Marquette’s Haunted Hayride, Marquette 

If you love fall, but in more of a horror way than a PSL way, you’ll definitely want to hit up a haunted hayride in 2023. Marquette’s Haunted Hayride takes place from Oct. 19-21 at the Marquette County “Scare-grounds.” As the website states, “As you travel through the cold darkness, be warned that the unexpected may be lurking at every turn and behind each and every tree there may be an eerie encounter to greet you!” 

Hayes Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch, Rock 

Head to Hayes Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch on weekends between Sept. 16 and Halloween to experience a day filled with dozens of fun fall activities. From Hay Mountain and the Pumpkin Tree House to the rope maze and pumpkin bowling, your kiddos will love every aspect of this place. Admission is $11 per person. 

Gallagher’s Farm Market & Bakery, Traverse City 

Currently run by the second generation of Gallaghers, this farm market is a favorite among locals who are after farm-fresh produce and homemade goods. In the fall, the Gallaghers also offer U-Pick pumpkins and apples as well as hot cider and pumpkin doughnuts. We’re drooling just thinking about it. The Traverse City spot is open every day but Tuesdays from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Knaebe’s Apple Farm & Ciderworks, Rogers City

This year, Knaebe’s has all your favorite fall foods and beverages, from cider doughnuts and wood-fired pizza to freshly pressed apple cider and microbrews. It’s open Wednesday to Sunday through Nov. 4. You won’t want to miss the spot that multiple TripAdvisor reviewers have claimed serves the best pizza and hard cider they’ve ever tasted.

Golden River Orchard, Cheboygan 

Get Out Your Puffy Vests: Here’s Your Fall Fun Bucket List For Northern Michigan

Photo courtesy of Golden River Orchard via Facebook

This family-owned and operated orchard in Northern Michigan is the ideal spot for picking pumpkins and other gourds in the fall. After you snag your favorites, you can browse the selection of 11 varieties, all freshly picked and grown with love. 

Uncle Frank’s Apple Town, Brutus 

Get Out Your Puffy Vests: Here’s Your Fall Fun Bucket List For Northern Michigan

Photo courtesy of Uncle Frank’s Apple Town via Facebook

With a name like Apple Town, you know this place is going to be the ultimate fall hot spot. With hay rides, a corn maze, and U-Pick pumpkins, there’s plenty to do, but one of the more unique experiences is watching the staff make apple cider and doughnuts. It’s bound to become your favorite (and most scrumptious) fall activity. 

Nugent Orchards, Benzonia

Get Out Your Puffy Vests: Here’s Your Fall Fun Bucket List For Northern Michigan

Photo courtesy of Nugent Orchards via Instagram

Nugent Farms has been slaying the fall season since 1918. Now run by the fifth generation of Nugents, this fruit farm provides fun for all ages, from U-Pick pumpkins and apples to wagon rides. You can also spend a night surrounded by trees at the Woodland North Glampground.  

Color Tours

Looking for the best places in NMI to catch the changing colors? Here are some options:

  • M-22, between Manistee and Traverse City along the Lake Michigan coastline.
  • The Tunnel of Trees, M-119—along Little Traverse Bay, between Harbor Springs and Cross Village.
  • Seven Bridges Nature Area, Rapid City
  • Tahquamenon Falls, about 90 minutes over the Mighty Mac.
  • Boyne Highlands, Harbor Springs: Take a fall scenic chairlift ride, go mountain biking, play disc golf, ride horses, take a fall color Segway tour, or just hike surrounded by fall color.
  • Largo Springs, Oscoda


READ MORE: 5 Michigan Towns to Consider for a Winter Vacation


  • Claire Mainprize

    Claire Mainprize is a writer and editor who covers the intersections of pop culture, lifestyle, and spirituality. Find more of her work at

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