In 2011, Good Morning America viewers voted Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore the most beautiful place in America. But this wedge of Eden jutting into Lake Michigan still harbors a juicy secret: Fall is even better than summer. A single highway, M-22, traces the shore up from Manistee, around the Leelanau Peninsula, then back down to Traverse City—116 gorgeous miles in all. The scenery flits between idyllic towns and breathtaking vistas of 300-foot golden sand dunes crowned with an autumn cap of red, green and gold leaves.
Harvest bounty Northern Michigan’s rich soil and lake-tempered climate make for fantastic local wine and produce. Look for roadside fruit stands with the final harvest of heirloom tomatoes and squash—or the first of pears and apples.
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For maps and trip planning
M22 Color Tour