Boater Friendly Restaurants Along Lake Michigan - The Awesome Mitten
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7 Must-See Boater Friendly Restaurants on Lake Michigan

Cruising along the waterways of Michigan and needing a bite to eat? Don’t miss these boater friendly restaurants on Lake Michigan.

Michigan is home to thousands of waterways and lakes. Locals and tourists alike are out to experience our freshwater coastline (Michigan hosts more than any other state!) Sitting along the sandy beaches of our Great Lakes is a favorite pastime for thousands of Michiganders.

There’s something extra special about being in a boat and on the water. But what happens when you get hungry? You’re in luck; we’ve rounded up a few restaurants along Lake Michigan that are boater friendly.

So dock your boat and grab some amazing cuisine at one of the many restaurants situated on Michigan’s best waterfront views.

7 Must-See Boater Friendly Restaurants - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Bentwood Tavern’s Website

Bentwood Tavern – New Buffalo

A part of the Marina Grand Resort, Bentwood Tavern offers a waterfront patio and rooftop bar. They host amazing views of the marina and waterfront.

Their menu takes a sophisticated spin on pub fare. Wood-fired pizzas and fresh seafood are handcrafted with locally sourced ingredients.

All slips are Marina owned, and it’s recommended to call in advance for slip availability.

Great spot to sit outside next to the marina and enjoy the view (we made reservations and heard from others it was very difficult to get in without one but we were there in high season). Enjoyed a delicious ahi tuna appetizer, ok steak frites, and my husband loved the chicken he ordered and usually never orders chicken at a restaurant. Good unique cocktails. Nice service and appeared reasonably family friendly that we could bring our kids here in the future.

TripAdvisor review
7 Must-See Boater Friendly Restaurants - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of On The River Tavern’s Facebook

On The River Tavern – St. Joseph

On the River Tavern is located on the St. Joe River, an easy stop just off Lake Michigan. On the River Tavern started its journey in 2014, taking over the restaurant and utilizing the rich history the river way has to offer.

They serve up traditional tavern-style appetizers, salads, and sandwiches. It’s the perfect pit stop on your long journey up Lake Michigan.

This was a great place on the St, Joseph river, had great service and good variety of food for a bar, This is good place to go to after being on the water.

TripAdvisor review
7 Must-See Boater Friendly Restaurants - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of The Southerner’s Facebook

The Southerner – Saugatuck

The Southerner keeps Southern tradition alive in Saugatuck. This establishment believes a well-placed table surrounded by the people you love makes for good living. While that may be true, their Nashville Fried Chicken alone makes living good.

Locally sourced ingredients, a notable chef, and a simply delicious menu are all tucked behind these quaint yellow walls. The Southerner is a must as you slip off Lake Michigan and dock alongside the Kalamazoo River.

If you’re not into dress-up-fancy dining, and you just want some delicious food in a casual setting, head here! This restaurant tells you they specialize in cooking from their “Appalachian” roots. All my niece and I could say was “Yum!” This place sits close to a marina, and it was enjoyable to sip our cocktails and watch the boat traffic, coming and going. We started w/a crab puff appetizer w/a zippy sauce to compliment it. Very good. Based on a family member’s recommendation, we both ordered the chicken biscuit sandwich, and the biscuits were infused w/a honey butter…so wonderful. Our meals came with 2 sides. We chose the creamy coleslaw and, you guessed it: an extra honey-butter biscuit! I did notice an amazing dinner salad at the table next to us. It was piled high w/chicken and also looked amazing. We both thought the prices were more than reasonable. Will definitely be stopping back the next time I’m in wonderful Saugatuck!

TripAdvisor review
7 Must-See Boater Friendly Restaurants - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Boatwerks

Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant – Holland

Boatwerks is no stranger to large sea faring ships or local boaters. Dock your boat at their pier or deep water port in Holland’s Lake Macatawa. Their menu is stocked full of favorites. They host live music and have a full bar.

Their newly renovated event space is perfect for business events and weddings. Boatwerks provides a modern waterfront ambiance, perfect for a little summer fun.

Sat at the bar with great view of the Lake. Food was very good. I had gone into their website which not only showed their regular menu but their specials. That’s what we ordered. The Parmesan encrusted Michigan asparagus for an appetizer which was yummy. The cod dinner and the gnocchi with spicy Italian sausage. Very good.

TripAdvisor review
7 Must-See Boater Friendly Restaurants - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Dockers’ Website

Dockers Fishhouse – Muskegon

Through the harbor to Muskegon Lake, you’ll find Dockers. Secluded behind Harbour Towne Marina, it’s a hotspot for locals and a sight to see for visitors far and wide. Their website boasts the phrase “anytime is a good time to relax.” Sitting out on their deck this summer, we’re sure all your worries will disappear.

Live music frequents the tiki bar with refreshing beverages. They have everything from Michigan craft beers to fish bowls. Their menu is full of surf-and-turf and your favorite summer sammies. It’s a personal favorite, and we’re confident after one stop, it’ll be yours too!

Love Dockers. Love that you can boat up to eat and also can bring your dog. Delicious food. Live music. Quick service. Great scenery.

Beth D, TripAdvisor review
7 Must-See Boater Friendly Restaurants - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of the Boathouse’s Facebook

Boathouse Restaurant – Traverse City

The Boathouse is on the shores of Bowers Harbor in the Grand Traverse Bay. Their relaxed cottage atmosphere takes full advantage of the waterfront views offered by their wide windows and summer deck.

The owner takes a unique approach to the farm-to-table concept. He and his family raise and grow many of the restaurant’s vegetables, fruits, herbs, and poultry. Experience the quality in their lunch or dinner menu, offering a wide variety of quality flavors and superior views.

Again, call the surrounding Yacht Club in advance for slip availability.

We had a great dinner – “Surf & Turf” option for 2. The food (Wagyu beef tenderloin and lobster) was truly perfect. The restaurant overlooks a bay on Lake Michigan. The beautiful sparkling water, beach park and dock of boats made for a pretty setting, matched with a charming dining room full of light and windows.

Geneva S., TripAdvisor review
7 Must-See Boater Friendly Restaurants - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Porter Creek Fishhouse’s Website

The Pointe Fish & Grille– Boyne City

Inside the Sommerset Pointe Yacht Club, you’ll find The Pointe Fish & Grill, nestled just off Lake Michigan on Lake Charlevoix. Porter Creek Fish House is known for serving up a menu of fresh fish, exquisite takes on waterfront cuisine, and beautiful views of the marina and Lake Charlevoix.

This quiet hot spot has a focus on fish, so if you’re looking to get that authentic waterfront dining experience, you’ve found yourself the perfect spot.

Call the Yacht Club in advance for slip availability.

The restaurant has indoor/ outdoor seating overlooking Sommerset Pointe Harbor on Lake Charlevoix. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed; but the food is definitely upscale.

Amy and her staff were friendly and very attentive. If you are in the Boyne City or Charlevoix area, this is a must stop for a wonderful dinning experience!

Sandy, TripAdvisor review

Enjoy Boater Friendly Restaurants on Lake Michigan

Boating along the waterways is a fun way to experience Michigan’s unique waterfront cuisine. However, all of these restaurants are also accessible by car. From fresh seafood, steaks, southern traditions, pub grub, and sophisticated fare, we’re sure you’ll find a suitable spot as you venture along Lake Michigan.

Have you been to any of these establishments? Share your favorite boater-friendly Michigan restaurant in the comments below!

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2 Comments

  1. if you are in the port of Saint Joseph, skip On the River Tavern…food is HORRIBLE…stop instead before at Clementine’s…!!

  2. I actually know Bentwood Tavern and Porter Creek Fish House, and I’m not even a boater. I’ve just discovered them both while traveilng around Michigan on a lon business trip.
    https://restaurantguru.com/Bentwood-Tavern-New-Buffalo
    https://restaurantguru.com/Porter-Creek-Fish-House-Boyne-City
    They are actually good on their own merit – not just as boater-friendly restaurants but as simply restaurants. Porter Creek Fish House, for example, has the best sausage in the state.

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