I love all of Michigan, but I have to say my heart belongs to Saugatuck. My boyfriend and I have an annual summer tradition to visit this small town, and with every year, my infatuation grows. The quaint town has it all – from ice cream to beaches, it’s a perfect place to go when the weather gets warm in Michigan. I’m not the only one that sings these praises. In fact, Saugatuck was just named the Best Summer Weekend Escape in the country by USA Today!
As a self proclaimed Saugatuck expert, here is my recipe for the perfect weekend:
The Beach: Oval Beach is an award-winning beach; it’s been ranked one of the top beaches in the country by tons of publications ranging from Conde Nast to the Chicago Tribune. Obviously, I agree! It’s a large, long beach that never seems too crowded and any time you need a break from sunbathing you can head over to the sand dunes behind the beach. Another sandy locale that is a must visit is Saugatuck Dunes State Park. I think this beach is more of a hidden gem because you have to walk down a (very) long path through the woods, but the trek is worth it to be nestled in nature where it doesn’t feel public at all. In fact, last time we visited, there were only two other families there the entire time!
The Burgers: After a long day at the beach, my favorite place to get something to eat is at The Butler. This restaurant located in downtown Saugatuck, has a big waterfront deck where you can enjoy your meal in the sun, and most weekends, with live music. They’ve got everything to refuel from burgers to pizza.
The Brownie Fudge Ice Cream: No Michigan trip is complete without some good old fashioned ice cream. Both of the main ice cream shops in downtown Saugatuck are great. Kilwin’s and The Boardwalk will satisfy your itch for a waffle cone full of deliciousness. Our favorite thing to do is a get a scoop from Kilwin’s and walk towards The Butler. There’s a little park there with some benches and a great view of the water.
The Boat: Make sure to buy a ticket for a ride on the Star of Saugatuck. This cruise goes up the Kalamazoo River to Lake Kalamazoo and Lake Michigan. I highly recommend doing the sunset cruise because the sunset over the water is beautiful and you’ll get some unforgettable pictures. Another important thing to note: they do have a fully stocked bar on board.
The Beer: Every time I see an Oval Beach Blonde at the liquor store, I miss the Saugatuck Brewing Company. Make a point to stop here and “pick up a Blonde” or one of their other Saugatuck brewed beers. Also, be sure to check out their event calendar for other fun stuff like live music, tours, and tastings.
The Bed: You’re probably wondering where to crash after a long day of eating, beach bumming, and beer drinking. One of my favorite hotels is the Beachway Resort. It’s on the water, it’s steps from Oval Beach and it has a pool. We usually end up looking for a more cost effective option though, our favorite is to camp at Holland State Park. It’s less than a 30 minute ride to Saugatuck and has it’s own set of beaches and restaurants to explore.
Now that you know all my favorite spots on Michigan’s Golden Coast, what are your favorite places?