Fall colors reflected in Michigan lake

Fall Foliage Cruising Hot Spots

Admire the changing colors from a boat on a chain of rivers and lakes

The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of boating adventures, and the Inland Waterway provides and then some.

Nearly 40 miles of floating among fall’s festive colors await on the longest chain of rivers and lakes in Michigan. The waterway flows through Pickerel Lake, Crooked Lake, Crooked River, Burt Lake, Indian River, Mullett Lake, Cheboygan River and out to Lake Huron.

Activities Along the Way

Take a leisurely excursion filled with scenic beauty and wildlife or opt for a more active journey with fishing and places to stop and play along the way. There are 17 species of fish in the waterway.

Veteran’s Memorial Pier at the mouth of Indian River at DeVoe Beach is a great place to stroll along the beach and pier or grill freshly caught fish. The park provides the grills and has picnic tables, benches and restrooms.

Aloha State Park, Michigan via Michael Gronseth Wikimedia Commons

Aloha State Park on Mullett Lake has 4,000-feet of sandy lake frontage with three play areas including a softball field, horseshoe pits and basketball and volleyball courts. There is also a modern campground with 285 campsites..

Dining and More

You’ll also find eateries, breweries, shops, mini-golf and more along the way. Popular restaurants on the route include the Hack-Ma-Tack Inn on the Cheboygan River, Breakers on Mullett Lake and Hoppies on Burt Lake.

Bring your own boat, canoe or kayak, or rent one from one of several local outfitters. The waterway can handle boats up to 65 feet long (18-foot beam) with up to a 5-foot draft.

You’re sure to delight in a lazy wind along the Inland Waterway, enjoying the vibrant autumn leaves, passing under bridges, and going through two locks.

Alanson Swing Bridge, Michigan via rossograph Wikimedia Commons
Travel Tip icon

Travel Tip
Be sure to check out the Alanson Swing Bridge on the Crooked River. It’s the world’s smallest operating swing bridge.

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