Fall Tourism Means Billions Of Dollars For Michigan

DETROIT (WWJ) – Residents and visitors should start seeing peak fall color in some parts of Michigan next week — and that means big business for the state.

Changing leaves should be at their best and brightest in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula next week, experts say, and residents of metro Detroit and the rest of lower Michigan will see it into November.

Travel Michigan spokeswoman Michelle Grinnell says you may be surprised by how much money this means for Michigan.

“Fall color tourism specifically, or the color touring, is a couple hundred million dollars; and then fall overall — travel in fall — is several billion,” she told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Beth Fisher. “So it is an important season for our tourism industry.”

[Best Places For Fall Colors In Detroit]

Grinnell said M-22, near Traverse City, was named by USA Today as the best fall color drive; while Brockway Mountain Drive in Keweenaw is also considered one of the best places to see fall color.

“I think there’s a misconception a lot of times that after Labor Day that the tourism season in the state is over, and the reality is that we are a four season destination,” Grinnell said.

“Fall in Michigan is a beautiful time of year,” she said. “There’s a lot of activities, travel activities, that you can only do this time of year — whether that’s going to the cider mills and corn mazes…And a lot of the activities that you can do getting out in the kayak or the trails take on a different light with the fall color.”

Fall color has been running about a week or week-and-a-half behind this year, Grinnell said; but the good news is that the weather has been pretty great.

[Top Fall Destinations In The US]

More from Beth Fisher

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