Enjoy Spectacular Fall Colors with your Keystone Outback

Photo from Flickr Creative commons by Brooke Anderson

Even if the idea of kayaking anywhere sends you paddling straight for the sofa, don’t miss out on the spectacular beauty of Michigan’s fall colors with your Keystone Outback. The seasonal colors of the Alpena, Gaylord and Mio areas, also known as Michigan’s “Sunrise Side,” peak in late September and early October. Far from the hustle and bustle of typical city living, this 200 mile route will take you back to a simpler time, with plenty of opportunities for pit stops and visits to quaint local attractions.

Starting in beautiful Gaylord, Michigan, just off I-75, make sure to stop at Otsego Lake State Park. Over 62 acres of pine forests surround more than a half mile of sandy beach around its lake, with campsites just a stone’s throw away. After your visit, begin driving east, along Route 32. There you can forget about this past summer’s fourth of July fireworks: the trees of the Pigeon River State Forest explode into gorgeous, giddy colors of their own during the fall season. And it’s not just fifth wheel owners who enjoy the area. This state forest is also home to the country’s biggest free range elk herd east of the Mississippi.

Once you arrive in Alpena, pay a visit the Thunder Bay Lighthouse. Three miles north of the small town of Alpena on the island of Thunder Bay, this lighthouse was built into its current form in 1857. Home to a national marine sanctuary and wildlife refuge, the area is known for its great natural beauty and historic significance. Hundreds of shipwrecks lie off its coast, some dating back more than 200 years, and each telling a part of the fascinating history of the area. Researched extensively by scientists and historians, bits and pieces of these ships and their cargo are on view at the sanctuary’s visitor center. Camp at the Thunder Bay RV park and campground, with its 56 extra large campsites and full electric and water hookups. With a fish pond, extra bathrooms with showers and a dump station, it’s a popular haven for RVers traveling through the area. Also in Alpena is the area’s oldest saloon, the John A. Lau. Rumored to be haunted with the ghosts of drinkers past, it first opened in the late 1800s, closed briefly during Prohibition, and was ultimately revitalized by its current owners in 1992. It’s famous for its steaks and microbrews along with its “spirits,” so enjoy!