If you’re looking to plan a gorgeous fall weekend that won’t break your budget, head for Benzie County.

Just a short 30 minutes southwest of Traverse City, Benzie boasts 56 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, a gorgeous chunk of the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, and it sits along one of the prettiest scenic color tour routes Up North: M-22. Plan yourself the ultimate color tour easily at m22colortour.com, then make Benzie County—home to winding rivers, quaint towns, and miles of pristine shoreline and forest—your home base.

The Benzie County’s Passport to Fun makes it easy (and worth your while). Here’s how it works: Stay at least two consecutive nights at any participating lodging establishments in Benzie County between now and October 31, 2008, and you’ll receive a Passport to Fun, a coupon book filled with more than $100 in value for area food, entertainment and recreation, plus freebies galore …

Learn more at visitbenzie.com or contact Benzie County Visitors Bureau at 800-882-5801.

More fall-fabulous fun for your weekend

Pay a visit to nearby Crystal Mountain. The four-season family resort will offer chair lift rides showcasing bird’s eye views of fall colors at their peak.  They will also feature their new alpine slide where kids and adults ride fast or slow down the vertical mountain drop for a thrilling or more scenic experience. They will also feature a Haunted Forest for kids and the young-at-heart. (Fees for all activities are charged.)

Photo(s) by Chad Thomas