Michigan Get-Away: Visiting South Haven and Saugatuck

You can’t go wrong with a visit to South Haven and Saugatuck – a true Michigan Get-Away!

South Haven and Saugatuck – Michigan Get-Away

Since Indianapolis is positioned in the center of the Hoosier state at the junction of several interstates, it has long been noted as the Crossroads of America. In a short time by car, one can wend a way across cornfields and rivers to some diverse topography and destinations. This certainly holds true for a weekend in some of Michigan’s more scenic towns.

And if its beauty and fun in the sun that one desires, they can’t go wrong with a visit to South Haven and Saugatuck. Three and half hours north, these small, energetic towns will remind Hoosiers of Gatlinburg, Tenn., (for the quaint shopping experiences) or Destin, Fla., (for the beaches and water).

South Haven

South Haven, built along the banks of the Black River where it empties into the pristine, blue waters of Lake Michigan, is a town alive with activities and opportunities. Whether it’s taking a sail on the tall ship, lounging on the beach or simply strolling through town, there’s something here for Boomers and people of all ages. Nothing stodgy about this historic post, marked by lighthouse, trails and museums. And the weekends are loaded with boating and fishing extravaganzas and even majestic Independence Day fireworks. Better yet, be sure to enjoy the beauty of a South Haven sunset.

This small town is also loaded with fine restaurants, fresh market produce and blueberries, and it is home to Sherman’s famous ice cream. There is also an ample supply of bed and breakfasts, hotels, and airbnb opportunities year-round. Even in prime vacation season, one shouldn’t have a problem locating a room … but do plan ahead.


Just fifteen minutes north, Saugatuck is well known for its artistic treasures and easy-going atmosphere. A person can stroll for hours among the shops of fine art, crafts, eateries and more. There are quiet parks and plenty of on-street parking and public restrooms. In short, Saugatuck is a place for the entire family and, like South Haven, one can always find delicious fare for lunch or dinner, including hand-tossed pizzas and fresh lake perch and salmon.

Saugatuck also sports a majestic view of an interior bay which, in season, is a destination port for many yachters who are looking for their own fun among the sand dunes and the long boardwalks near Oval Beach — always rated one of the top public beaches on Lake Michigan.

Indy Boomers looking for a weekend getaway will find treasures in both towns. Going north, they may discover that their summer vacations are much more enjoyable in these laid-back communities.

South Haven Favorites

  • Tello Restaurant — fine Italian food
  • Clementine’s — known for fresh perch fare
  • Taste Restaurant — small plates and cocktails
  • The Cal-Haven Trail — begin here, but walk for miles toward Kalamazoo
  • The Lindy Lou — tour boat
  • South Beach — lighthouse, Black River walk

Saugatuck Favorites

  • Saugatuck Chain Ferry
  • Oval Beach
  • Saugatuck-Douglass Historical Museum
  • Street Art Fair
  • Paddleboard and Kayak Rentals
  • Dune Rides, a dune buggy delight

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