It’s hard to believe, but fall is right around the corner! The weather is changing and pumpkin spiced lattes are all the rage again. Pretty soon, Southeast Michigan will become an explosion of red, yellow and orange—creating one of America’s favorite autumn destinations!
To help you maximize the season, we’re sharing several outdoor fall adventures worth embarking on in the Ann Arbor area, from apple picking and hayriding to scavenger hunting and hiking. Happy fall!
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Fall in Southeast Michigan just isn’t complete without a trip to DeBuck’s in Belleville! Open to the public every fall, DeBuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch offers more than 15 acres of winding corn maze trails for you to get lost in. After you’ve made your way through the maze, be sure to order a delectable festival treat from Linda’s Country Kitchen; the menu includes homemade cinnamon sugar donuts, pulled-pork sandwiches, apple cider, nachos and more. They have put several COVID-19 measures in place and ask that you stay home if you have any symptoms of the virus. Wearing a mask or face covering is required and social distancing between groups is highly encouraged. They are also not allowing walk-in ticket sales in 2020. Tickets can be purchased online through their website.
The University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum began in 1907 and has developed into miles of trails and land home to collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. These plants transform during the fall to showcase some of the best colors in Southeast Michigan, including golds, reds and even inky purples.
Every year, Epic Races celebrates Thanksgiving with a race through Hudson Mills Metropark! This running and walking event features four different distances: a 5K loop around scenic Hudson Mills, a 10K course comprised of two 5K loops, a quick mile fun run, and the Iron Turkey, which is the 10K and 5K all at once. The race looks a little different this year due to the pandemic. For those who are more comfortable running the race alone, Epic Races is offering a virtual race option this year. If you’re interested in running the race as originally planned, click here for the full list of Epic Race’s COVID-19 modifications.
Photo courtesy of The Northville Winery and Brewing Company
This hometown spot makes all their wine, hard cider and beer on-site and is open year-round with frequent live music events and a delectable calendar of local food trucks. Sipping cider outside under the colorful trees is a fall tradition—so make sure not to miss it this year! To help flatten the curve, Northville Winery has put several COVID-19 guidelines in place. Click here to see the full list, which includes mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing and a larger seating area.
Wiard’s was founded in Michigan by George Wiard in 1837 and has become one of the region’s most beloved fall destinations. Covering nearly 100 acres and located just minutes from Ann Arbor, attractions include the seasonal Wiard’s Country Fair, an agri-entertainment park that offers orchards, a cider mill, you-pick apples, a corn maze, a you-pick pumpkin patch, an apple cannon, giant inflatables, pony rides, a petting farm, miniature golf, a haunted barn and, of course, iconic hayrides! For the safety of their staff and guests, they are offering a limited number of tickets to visit the fair this season. Click here to purchase yours and to see their full 2020 calendar.
Go on an Ann Arbor Scavenger Hunt
As Michigan’s top escape game, Decode in Ypsilanti offers some of the most interesting and complex escape rooms in the state. And even though you can’t visit them physically right now, Decode is still offering some fun escape experiences for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home! They are currently offering three different outdoor, contactless adventures in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti that will give you a fun, safe fall afternoon enjoying everything our beautiful area has to offer. Click here to see descriptions of each of the games and get ready to go on a wild adventure!
During the fall season, Wasem Fruit Farm offers more than a dozen varieties of apples you can pick yourself along with a you-pick raspberry patch and a pumpkin patch! At the farm, you’ll also get the chance to taste plain, apple, blueberry and pumpkin donuts paired with some of the best, fresh cider in the region. Because of this year’s late-spring frost, they may have to push their opening date to a little later this year. Make sure to follow them on Facebook for the most current information!
Peep Autumn Leaves at Our Local Parks
Michigan is famous for its fall foliage. You can encounter a kaleidoscope of color found in our state’s open spaces, along the shores of our lakes and rivers, across rolling hillsides, and even in our tree-filled cities. Right in Ann Arbor, you can meander the sidewalks and parks of the Old West Side, Huron Parkway or the University of Michigan campus. But if you have a little extra time and a stronger craving for brilliant reds, oranges and golds, we recommend hitting up regional parks and recreation areas! Click here for a full list of our favorite spots to peep autumn leaves all across town.
Open seasonally, Dexter Cider Mill is the oldest continuously operating cider mill in the entire state. Today, the team makes cider the same way it was made 120 years ago: using locally grown, handpicked apples on an oak rack press. Even their equipment is over 100 years old! In addition to natural cider, fresh apples, doughnuts, apple nut bread, made-from-scratch apple pies, apple strudel, apple turnovers and hand-rolled gingersnaps, you can also purchase homemade hard ciders made on-site. They’ve implemented several COVID-19 policies; click here to read through them before you visit.
Photo courtesy of Three Cedars Farm
Fall just isn’t fall without pumpkins. To pick out yours this year, head to Three Cedars Farm! Beginning Labor Day weekend each year, this local farm offers old-fashioned fun for all ages, including a you-pick pumpkin patch, a 7-acre corn maze, a barnyard playland, hayrides, train rides, bonfires and so much more. While you’re there, don’t miss the Donut Hut, where you can taste fresh, homemade donuts, freshly pasteurized cold apple cider, hot cider, coffee and icy apple cider slushes. If you’re just there for their delicious cider and donuts, this year due to the pandemic, they’ve implemented a drive-thru! So you don’t even have to get out of the car to get your tasty fall fix.
Kayak the Huron River
One of the best ways to see Michigan’s changing leaves is to hop on a canoe and cruise down the Huron River. Ann Arbor’s canoe liveries—located in Gallup Park and Argo Park—are open through the end of October so you don’t even need to buy your own canoe or kayak! Click here to read Argo Park’s COVID-19 policies and here to read Gallup Park’s.
Huron-Clinton Metroparks hosts outdoor exploration adventures all throughout the year, but we love to attend when the leaves are changing and there’s a chill in the air! From movies in the park to plant identification and seed harvests—there is a plethora of fun to be had at a local Metropark this season. Click here to see their entire events calendar! And also make sure to take advantage of the Farm Center at Kensington Metro Park, which is home to farm animals like sheep, goats, chickens, pigs and so much more.
What local outdoor autumn activities in A2 did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!