Saugatuck Michigan: Best Things To Do

If you’re thinking about all the Saugatuck Michigan things to do for your next best weekend getaway, then you’re in for a treat. Saugatuck Michigan is one of the loveliest beach towns, even awarded as the best beach town in 2020 by Midwest Living Magazine.

Aside from the most memorable beach vacations that you can have in this lovely coastal city, there are tons of outdoor adventures waiting for every visitor.

From the hiking trails, water activities, and art galleries, to delicious local cuisine, Saugatuck Michigan is a place that will never disappoint couples, families, or groups of friends who want to experience an amazing trip.

We have listed all the Saugatuck Michigan things to do to help you do most if not all of the must-experience activities while you are in this city.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at all the Saugatuck Michigan best things to do as follows:

19. Explore Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Explore Saugatuck Dunes State Park

The Saugatuck Dunes State Park is one of the top attractions in Saugatuck Michigan that should be on the top of your list of best things to do in Saugatuck Michigan.

This state park is a unique natural preserve that safeguards over 2,000 acres of wetland ecosystems, including lakes, freshwater beaches, marshes, and dunes.

There are five miles of hiking trails that you can explore with your family or friends while enjoying the fresh air and incredible views around.

The boardwalk will also lead you to the Lake Michigan beach where you can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, or simply strolling along the coastline.

If you want to explore more of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park, then consider renting a kayak or canoe to paddle through the Kalamazoo River.

You may also go on a ranger-led hike or participate in one of the many programs that the park offers to visitors.

18. Stroll at the Butler Street

Stroll at the Butler Street

Butler Street in Saugatuck Michigan is also another top destination and is well-loved by visitors for its artsy vibes and wide array of restaurants and shops.

This is the perfect place to stroll around and simply enjoy the lovely ambiance of the city.

You can start your stroll from one end of the street and make your way to the other while enjoying the different sights and sounds.

There are also many art galleries that you can find on Butler Street, making it a perfect place for art enthusiasts.

If you get hungry, there are many cafes and restaurants that you can find along the way where you can stop and have a bite.

17. Have a Picnic at Mount Baldhead Park

Have a Picnic at Mount Baldhead Park

Mt. Baldhead Park is a fantastic picnic and sightseeing destination in Saugatuck Michigan. This 100-acre site is located on the West Bank of the Kalamazoo River with picnic tables, a picnic pavilion, and restrooms.

There is a magnificent observation deck that you can reach by traversing the 303 wooden steps. The breathtaking panoramic views of the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan await every visitor at the top.

After enjoying magnificent views of the surrounding area at the observation deck of Mount Baldhead Park, if you prefer not to stay for a picnic, you can also drop by the Saugatuck Douglas Historical Museum or find some fishing activities nearby.

16. Go on a Boating Adventure on a Saugatuck Chain Ferry

Go on a Boating Adventure on a Saugatuck Chain Ferry

Visiting Saugatuck Michigan, you don’t want to miss out on going on an adventure on a Saugatuck Chain Ferry. The Saugatuck Chain Ferry is the only remaining chain-operated ferry in the US so this activity is a must-do as you cannot experience this adventure anywhere in the US.

When the ferry crosses the Kalamazoo River, there’s also that loud, almost ceremonial loud whistle from an airhorn that alerts all boat traffic to stop and make way for the chain ferry.

From downtown Saugatuck, the ferry takes you to another famous destination, the Oval Beach.

This is one of the boats rides to remember plus more convenient to cover the distance to the Oval Beach than having to drive around the lake.

15. Spot Rare Wildlife in Saugatuck Michigan

Spot Rare Wildlife in Saugatuck Michigan

Saugatuck Michigan is a haven for nature lovers with its diverse wildlife. One of the best places to see rare wildlife is at the Saugatuck Dunes State Park.

The state park is home to many protected animals, such as the Piping Plover, which is a small shorebird that nests on the sand spits and open beaches in Lake Michigan.

You can also find other animals such as the Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, and the White-tailed Deer.

These animals are often seen in the area, so keep your eyes open when you and your whole family are exploring the Saugatuck Dunes State Park.

14. Play Golf at One of the Marvelous Saugatuck Golf Courses

Play Golf at One of the Marvelous Saugatuck Golf Courses

Saugatuck Michigan is home to two of the most magnificent golf courses in the United States. If you have extra time to spend during your vacation, then check out the golf courses around the area.

Ravines Golf Club, with lovely and calming landscapes, delivers exceptional golf adventure topped with extraordinary service.

You can also go to Clearbrook Golf Club with well-maintained lawns and serves delicious food.

13. Taste Local Wines

Taste Local Wines

Your vacation will be exceptional if you enjoy a drink of delicious wines from vineyards when you visit Saugatuck.

You can visit Fenn Valley Vineyards, a 230-acre farm, where there is a dedicated wine tasting room. In Fenn Valley Vineyards, you can taste a variety of world-class wines from grapes that are locally sourced from the shores of Lake Michigan.

Another place where you can get a good drink of wine is at the Tabor Hill Wine Port. The Tabor Hill Wine Port offers around 30 wine varieties. There’s also a vineyard lounge with an outdoor setting, perfect for romantic talks with your partner over a delicious bottle of wine.

12. Appreciate Arts in Saugatuck Art Galleries and Art Institute

Appreciate Arts in Saugatuck Art Galleries and Art Institute

Saugatuck has an artsy vibe for a reason. It is one of the best art towns in the US. Art lovers can find the best art exhibits and collections of established artists in different Saugatuck art galleries.

When you visit Midwest cities, make sure to visit Saugatuck Michigan, and among the things to do here includes a trip to art galleries around the city.

One of the most popular art galleries is the Oval Beach Carousel, located near Oval Beach. The gallery is an art coast that has around 50 pieces of beautiful artworks on display and for sale, which are created by various artists from all over Michigan.

Aside from the Oval Beach Carousel art scene, you can also check out the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. The arts center offers various fine art classes and has an indoor theater that screens different films from all over the world.

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts is also a good place to buy artsy souvenirs during your family vacation for friends back home.

If you want to learn more about the arts, then you can go to the Ox-Bow School of Art. The school offers workshops and classes for those who want to improve their skills in different art forms such as painting, sculpture, photography, and printmaking.

11. Visit the Replica of Kalamazoo Lighthouse

Visit the Replica of Kalamazoo Lighthouse

The charming replica of the Kalamazoo Lighthouse at the southern part of Kalamazoo Lake has attracted a lot of visitors for a reason.

The original lighthouse was ravaged by a tornado so they have to reconstruct a new one with red and white paint colors that pair well with the blue waters of the lake.

The Kalamazoo Lighthouse is a historical lighthouse that helped to prevent accidents around the area.

Make sure to capture the memories of your visit by taking a picture of this delightful lighthouse.

10. Engage in Activities Around the Kalamazoo River and Kalamazoo Lake

Engage in Activities Around the Kalamazoo River and Kalamazoo Lake

There are a lot of water activities in Saugatuck that you can do in the Kalamazoo River and Kalamazoo Lake for a romantic getaway or a family vacation.

You can go fishing, swimming, canoeing, riding on a pontoon boat, and kayaking in the beautiful waters of the lake.

You can also indulge in boat rides and sunset cruises that will have you marvel at the lovely views of the lake.

There are also several parks along the river that you can explore with your family and friends. One of the most popular parks is the Al Sabo Preserve, where you can find different trails for hiking and biking.

You can also go birdwatching in the park and see different species of birds that live in the area.

If you want to experience a different kind of adventure, then you can go tubing in the Kalamazoo River. Tubing is a popular activity among locals and tourists alike because it is a great way to relax and enjoy the scenic view of the river.

Make sure to bring your essentials to protect yourself from the sun while you are tubing down the river.

9. Saugatuck-Douglas History Center

Saugatuck-Douglas History Center

The Saugatuck-Douglas History Center is a Saugatuck Michigan top attraction and is where you can dive into learning the rich culture and awe-inspiring history of the city.

There are several museum exhibits to look forward to every year. Among the exhibits this museum had are the:

  • 2017-2018 Exhibit – Cold War Hot Towns: Saugatuck-Douglas in the 1950-1970s
  • 2015 Exhibit – Water: A River, a Lake, a Place, called Saugatuck-Douglas
  • The Lure of Mount Baldhead exhibit

There are several collections in Saugatuck and Douglas History Center including several historical online collections, Saugatuck and Douglas historical newspapers, Photo Blog, and over 300 collections of arts.

The Saugatuck and Douglas History Center also hosts events like Tuesday Talks where there are presentations about the history of Saugatuck and Root Camp for children between the ages of 6-11 years old.

8. Craft Beers at Saugatuck Brewing Company

Craft Beers at Saugatuck Brewing Company

Your experience of Midwest living in Saugatuck will become more extraordinary if you take part in crafting your own beer at the Saugatuck Brewing Company.

Crafting a beer is one of the most fun things to do in Saugatuck so make to try it when you visit.

Saugatuck Brewing Company became operational in 2005 and has been crafting different kinds of beer that will tantalize your taste buds.

The brewing company has a taproom where you can have beer tastings. The taproom also offers a great view of the brewing process so you can see how your favorite beer is crafted.

You can also visit the Saugatuck Brewing Company on a tour and learn more about the brewing process. The tour includes a souvenir glass, beer tastings, and a behind-the-scenes look at how the beer is crafted.

End your visit by buying some of their products at the retail store. You can also buy online if you want to have a souvenir from the visit.

7. Shopping in Downtown Saugatuck

Shopping in Downtown Saugatuck

Shopping in Saugatuck downtown is another fantastic experience. There are a variety of shops to choose from. Whether you just like to do window shopping or are on a hunt to find something cool to bring home, you can find something of interest in the city’s downtown.

Downtown Saugatuck has antique shops, art galleries, bookstores, garden items, specialty shops, and many more.

The top shop choices include Amazawi Contemporary Art, Country Store Antiques, The Pink Patio, and Good Goods.

6. Fish at Coghlin Park

Fish at Coghlin Park

If you’re fond of fishing, you can find spectacular fishing spots to include in your activities in Saugatuck Michigan. One that is top-rated is Coghlin Park. This is a great place to enjoy the beauty of nature and have a fun time fishing with your friends or family.

The Coghlin Park has a playground, picnic areas, and pavilions where you can have your lunch while enjoying the view.

The park also has a handicap-accessible fishing pier so everyone can enjoy fishing.

Anglers can try their luck in catching different kinds of fish such as bluegill, largemouth bass, perch, catfish, and sunfish.

Please note that you need to have a valid Michigan fishing license to fish in the park.

5. Take Photos of The Peterson Mill

Take Photos of The Peterson Mill

The Peterson Mill is a gorgeous heritage home and one of the most popular Saugatuck Michigan attractions where you can have Instagram-worthy clicks and should be part of your Saugatuck things to do. This home is even open for rent to those who not only would want to admire the view and the beautiful Kalamazoo river backdrop but also have an immersive experience.

One thing to get excited about the Peterson Mill is that it is a working mill and churns water to this day.

A lot of visitors would stop by just to take photos of the mill and make sure to visit the place for your to understand why tourists flock to the area.

4. Dine in at the Best Saugatuck Restaurants

Dine in at the Best Saugatuck Restaurants

You would not want to miss out on the delicious food of Saugatuck Michigan. The following restaurants have a great food menu with gourmet foods. These fantastic food places are the best food destination and should be part of your things to do in Saugatuck:

Bowdies Chophouse

This steakhouse serves delicious American cuisine. Among their top-rated foods are shrimp bisque, bone marrow, seared scallops, the tomahawk, fillet minion, and more.

Phil’s Bar & Grille

This pub also serves American cuisine with vegan-friendly options. Some of the food this restaurant serves include sake-seared sea scallops, adobo-rubbed ahi tuna, and roasted wings.

Pennyroyal Cafe & Provisions at the Blue Star Highway

This restaurant serves food from local ingredients. Among the food to try are the diner burger, campfire trout, and bistro steak.

3. Stay at the Best Saugatuck Accommodations

Stay at the Best Saugatuck Accommodations

Staying at the best accommodations in Saugatuck will step up your vacation experience. The following are the best accommodation in Saugatuck:

The Elizabeth House – Saugatuck MI

The Elizabeth House - Saugatuck MI

This is a historic farmhouse that is perfect for families. There are 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms with air conditioning. There’s also an outdoor space with a barbeque grill.

Old Pike Cottages

Old Pike Cottages

This is a 3.5-star guesthouse by the river with a fire pit, laundry facilities, furnished balconies, and heated floors.

Starlite Resort

Starlite Resort

This resort has comfortable room amenities that include air-conditioning, window screens, heating, and a 49-inch flat-screen TV with cable channels. There’s also a seasonal outdoor pool, a fire pit, and an entertainment area.

2. Experience Saugatuck Dune Rides

Experience Saugatuck Dune Rides

To complete the experience of visiting the Saugatuck State Park, you have to experience the popular Saugatuck Dune Rides.

The Saugatuck Sand Dune Rides will take you on a 40-minute ride along the scenic natural beauty of the dunes that will make you appreciate nature’s creations.

You can take your whole family to this ride as the dune ride is kid-friendly.

Saugatuck Dune Rides is Saugatuck Michigan’s premier attraction and one of the unique experiences that you can only have in this wonderful city.

1. Enjoy the Shores of Oval Beach

Enjoy the Shores of Oval Beach

The Oval Beach is one of the award-winning beaches and a top spot for beach lovers who are looking for the best things to do in Saugatuck Michigan.

This lovely crescent-shaped beach is one of the most beautiful beaches and popular tourist destinations in the area because of its unique setting.

The beach, which is one of the loveliest Saugatuck attractions, is situated on the Lake Michigan Shoreline with a background of dunes, which makes it a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and simply relaxing.

There are also many facilities that you can find in the area, such as public restrooms, picnic tables, grills, and a playground.

If you want to stay longer in Oval Beach, then you can also set up a tent in the designated camping area.

There are tons of Saugatuck Michigan things to do that we can recommend, but these are some of the best ones that you should not miss while you are in this lovely city. So what are you waiting for? Pack up your bags and head to Saugatuck Michigan to experience a memorable vacation.

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Article by Alice

Hey I'm Alice. Based in San Diego where I write about my personal experiences but also well researched content pieces for curious travelers.