Until the last leaf falls, this refreshing burst of color viewed as you travel out West Spring Lake Road is our top pick for the Top 5 color tours in the Tri-Cities area.
1. Take West Spring Lake Road and Fruitport Road for a circuit around Spring Lake. Take the Ferrysburg exit off U.S. 31. Go under the highway (if you are coming from the north), or turn right if you are coming from the south, to the three-way stop in front of Johnston Boiler. Turn left and take Pine Street/West Spring Road to the stop sign at Hemlock Drive. Turn right on Hemlock (curves into West Fruitport Road. At the traffic light, in the village of Fruitport, turn right on Third Avenue and right again on North Fruitport Road. Take Savidge Street (M-104) back through town, or sneak along the lake a little farther by taking Beech to Lake to Buena Vista to Alden and back out to Savidge. (Note: This same trip can be taken by bicycle on a paved path that goes around the lake. The distance is about 12 miles)
2. Tour Spring Lake or the Grand River by boat. A few years ago you could take a trip on the Harbor Steamer for a fall color tour. Now you’ll have to find a friend with a boat. The river trip could be done by pontoon, but a quiet canoe or kayak paddle down the river is supreme. Put in at the new kayak launch at Eastmanville Park on 68th Avenue or Riverside Park off North Cedar Drive in Robinson Township. Other great launch sites would be Odawa Point boat launch on 144th Avenue, or the Scott Flahive launch in Grand Haven’s East End Park. Spring Lake Village also has new docks and boat and kayak launch areas in the refurbished Mill Point Park.
3.) Meander along Lakeshore Drive from Grand Haven to Holland. This drive is a gem. Stop along Lakeshore Drive at Kirk Park for a walk along the beach, or at the new Olive Shores park for a strenuous, but short, hike up a dune to an amazing view of Lake Michigan. The fall colors are sure to delight.
4.) Take in the scenery from North Muskegon to Whitehall. Take U.S. 31 north to the North Muskegon/M-120 exit. Go west across causeway. Turn left on Ruddiman Drive (becomes Memorial Drive). Continue to stop sign. Turn right on Scenic Drive. Go north past Duck Lake State Park to South Shore Drive and turn right. This takes you into Whitehall, where you can connect back with U.S. 31 and your return home.
5.) Explore the newly marked River Road tour. This includes scenic and historical points, as well as county parks, as you make the circle tour of the Grand River along Mercury Drive on the south side and Leonard Road on the north side. Go online and visit miottawa.org/Parks/historic.htm for a guide and tour map. You might want to plan a full day or a fun family outing for this one.