Best Places to Visit Lake Michigan Guide for 2023

oval beach saugatuck lake michigan

The Best Places to Visit Lake Michigan Have Unique Attractions and Appeal

When it comes to touring Lake Michigan, one of the largest freshwater bodies of water in the Western Hemisphere, you’ll find an array of remarkable spots that will certainly entrance you. Lake Michigan is home to attractions in the lower peninsula like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and charming beach towns like Holland and Grand Haven. The best places to visit Lake Michigan can boast something for everyone along the scenic shoreline.

To help you decide which of these idyllic destinations along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan suits you best, I’ll briefly cover the unique attractions each location has to offer. Enjoy the beach life at Traverse City’s beautiful beaches, experience sun-soaked relaxation at Ludington State Park, or plan for solitude amidst natural surroundings in the Upper Peninsula. Your Lake Michigan vacation can be as unique as you are!

Enthusiasts looking for outdoor adventures will find Silver Lake Sand Dunes particularly appealing, with breathtaking views across Lake Michigan at the crest of the 450 foot high summit. Or ride the roller coasters or bumper boats at a nearby adventure amusement and water park for family fun!

Importantly, I’ve included wheelchair accessible locations at several beaches around Grand Traverse Bay, ensuring an inclusive travel guide for all visitors seeking the best places to visit Lake Michigan in every season. As a native to the state, I can assure you Michigan has something to draw just about anyone in.

best places to visit lake michigan
Image by WOKANDAPIX from Pixabay

Closer to Chicago lie New Buffalo, Saugatuck, and Holland offering cultural immersion in their downtown areas as well as wine-tasting experiences at local wineries. Whether you’re soaking up culture in museums or unwinding at local wineries, these Michigan gems near Chicago have something for everyone. Don’t miss your opportunity to escape and explore all the Lake Michigan beaches offer!

Note: The high season for visitors to the coast of Lake Michigan occurs between Memorial Day through Labor Day. Many Lake Michigan beaches and attractions will be crowded with throngs of visitors. Plan your summer vacation accordingly!

Table of Contents

This article contains affiliate links and/or references to our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on or make a purchase using these links.

Warren Dunes State Park

For those seeking a summertime escape, this Lake Michigan state park offers an array of activities centering on its sandy shoreline and impressive dunes. Six miles of hiking trails round out the offerings that attract over one million visitors each year.

Camping at Warren Dunes State Park

The combination of towering sand dunes and 3 miles of sandy Lake Michigan beach makes Warren Dunes an ideal spot for camping. There are two camping areas – the Mt. Randall modern/dunes (with electrical at all sites and modern restrooms with showers) and the Hildebrandt semi-modern, which is more rustic (with vault toilets and no electrical service available). There is a concession and camp store at the entrance to Mt. Randall camping area.

Want more information on camping and reservations at Warren Dunes? Click here.

Not a camper? Choose a place to stay and book nearby Warren Dunes with our interactive map:

Check out our complete write-up on great places to stay in the New Buffalo area if you’d like to investigate other places to stay close by.

Saugatuck: The Perfect Getaway Near the City of Chicago

Escape the hustle and bustle of Chicago and head to Saugatuck, one of the most charming Lake Michigan beach towns within a convenient drive of Chicago.Click To Tweet 

Discover Saugatuck’s Downtown Area

Saugatuck is a charming town that offers a lot of attractions for visitors.

oval beach saugatuck lake michigan
tb2bfit, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stroll through Saugatuck’s picturesque waterfront and explore its unique shops, art galleries, and delightful eateries. You won’t be disappointed.

Relaxing at Saugatuck’s Oval Beach

Saugatuck is a charming town that offers a lot of attractions for visitors. Of all the beaches along Lake Michigan, Oval Beach is one of my personal favorites. In Saugatuck’s downtown area you’ll find a variety of art galleries, shops, and restaurants; don’t miss the ice cream!

Finding the perfect rental in Saugatuck

Part of Saugatuck’s charm to visitors is that it offers a wide variety of vacation rentals. You could choose a charming cottage, a rustic cabin, or a family-sized house, depending on your preferences. This is perfect for those who want a more individual vacation experience outside of a traditional hotel.

Use our interactive map to find and book the perfect place to stay:

Exploring the Charming Town of Holland

The town of Holland, nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, is a gem waiting to be discovered. Known for its Dutch heritage, it offers visitors an array of unique attractions and shopping opportunities.

Discover Holland’s Dutch Heritage

Experience Holland’s Dutch heritage through its architecture and attractions like the Windmill Island Gardens. Don’t miss the vibrant farmers market, where you can find fresh produce and handmade crafts.

Discovering Nelis’ Dutch Village

Step back in time with a visit to Nelis’ Dutch Village. This theme park offers a glimpse into 19th-century Netherlands with authentic buildings, traditional crafts, and even a petting zoo.

Check out our post on finding the Best Place to See Tulips in Holland Michigan.

Shopping at the Renowned Holland Bowl Mill

Looking for a unique souvenir or gift? Check out the Holland Bowl Mill, one of America’s last commercial wooden bowl mills. Their beautifully handcrafted bowls are a perfect memento of your trip.

Recreation at Holland State Park

Holland State Park is one of the most beautiful state parks in Michigan. Visitors can bike down the miles of trails, enjoy a game at the volleyball courts, take in scenic views of Lake Michigan, or relax on the beach.

Grand Haven State Park – A Hub for Water-Based Activities

If you’re a fan of activities on the water, then Grand Haven is the place to be. This picturesque town along Lake Michigan’s shoreline offers an array of exciting attractions and landmarks.

Visiting the Grand Haven Musical Fountain

A must-see attraction in Grand Haven is the Grand Haven Musical Fountain. This mesmerizing spectacle combines music, lights, and water choreography into one unforgettable show that enchants visitors every evening during summer months.

Experiencing Nature at Galien River County Park

Beyond its urban charm, Grand Haven also provides opportunities for nature exploration. The Galien River County Park, with its boardwalks winding through wetlands and forests, offers a serene escape from city life. Whether you prefer kayaking down tranquil rivers or simply enjoying scenic views from observation decks, this park has something for everyone.

In addition to these highlights, don’t forget about sailing tours on Lake Michigan or fishing trips off the pier – both popular pastimes among locals and tourists alike.

Check out the best things to do in Grand Haven.

Use our interactive map to find and book a place to stay in Grand Haven:

Experience Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon

At Pere Marquette Park, you’ll want to check out the Pere Marquette Lighthouse Museum, and the Muskegon Channel with the USS Silversides, a WWII era submarine. Visitors with differing abilities will appreciate an accessible walkway to the beach. This location is popular with kite-boarders and paddlers.

Places to stay in Muskegon:

Silver Lake Sand Dunes for Adventure Enthusiasts

If you’re an adventure enthusiast, the sheer enormity of Silver Lake Sand Dunes are sure to provide adrenaline-pumping vacations.

Breathtaking Geological Attractions of Silver Lake Sand Dunes

The Silver Lake Sand Dunes offer a unique landscape that’s perfect for thrill-seekers. Whether it’s sandboarding down steep dune faces or taking a scenic drive along the shoreline, there are plenty of ways to experience these natural wonders firsthand.

See our write-up on 10 Fun Things to Do in Silver Lake.

Pack your stuff and prepare for an extraordinary excursion. Check out and book places to stay in Silver Lake with our interactive map:

Ludington State Park – A Solitude Seeker’s Paradise

If you’re craving a peaceful escape, look no further than Ludington State Park. Nestled near the historic Big Sable Point Lighthouse, this state park boasts pristine Lake Michigan beaches that offer more tranquility than other popular spots.

Experience a tranquil haven at Ludington State Park, where the picturesque views and calming ambiance make it an ideal spot for anyone seeking peace. Take a peaceful walk along the shoreline, observe avian life, or just take in the stunning scenery. Click To Tweet 

History buffs won’t want to miss a visit to the nearby Big Sable Point Lighthouse. This iconic beacon has been guiding mariners since 1867 and offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from its tower.

But Ludington State Park isn’t just a pretty face. For those seeking an outdoor escape, Ludington State Park offers a variety of activities such as fishing, hiking trails and camping facilities.

Discover great places to stay in Ludington and book with our interactive map:

Traverse City and Its Beautiful Beaches

For a beach retreat, Traverse City is an ideal destination with its picturesque sandy beaches perfect for scaling the dunes at North Beach. This charming town on Lake Michigan’s shoreline is known for its stunning white-sand beaches that are perfect for dune climbing.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes State Park extends beyond North Beach. With over 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and numerous hiking trails, it provides endless opportunities for nature lovers. Whether you prefer bird watching, fishing, or just relaxing by the water, this state park has something to offer everyone.

Dune Climbing at North Beach

North Beach, located within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is one of the top attractions near Traverse City. The park offers an unforgettable experience with its forests, bluffs, lakes, and miles-long sandy beach. Climbing the dunes can be strenuous, but the run back down to the shore is exhilarating!

Check out places to stay in the Traverse City area, and book with our interactive map:

Wheelchair Accessible Locations

If you’re organizing a journey to Michigan and require wheelchair access, Traverse City and other locations within the Michigan State Park system have it all sorted out.

The shoreline of these areas has been designed with wheelchair users in mind, with accessible beach walkways and beach wheelchair rentals ensuring that everyone can experience their beauty regardless of mobility levels.

Some notable accessible locations include Traverse City State Park, where paved trails provide easy access to scenic views of Lake Michigan. Beyond accessibility features, the area boasts an array of attractions, such as wineries, art galleries, and gourmet restaurants, making it an ideal vacation spot for all travelers.

Other accessible beach access locations in the Lake Michigan State Park system are: Grand Haven State Park, Holland State Park, Interlochen State Park, Ludington State Park, Mears State Park, Muskegon State Park, Petoskey State Park, Warren Dunes State Park, and Wilderness State Park.

A Day Out in Manistique

Last but not least is Manistique, one of my favorite small towns situated right on Lake Michigan’s shore offering picturesque views and plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking and bird watching. Escape the clamor of urban life and relish in the serenity of nature in the Upper Peninsula northwest of the Mackinac Bridge.

Manistique is a gateway to one of Michigan’s natural wonders, Kitchi-Iti-Kipi Spring, called the “Mirror of Heaven” because of its crystal clear water in Native American lore. You’ll want to leave the beach for a day to see it!

Close by is the Garden Peninsula, with the historic Fayette Townsite. On the water’s edge of the east shore of Big Bay de Noc, this is the first ghost town I ever visited and one of my favorite historic sites. With thoughtfully laid out historic buildings, it is a great place to get the kids interested in history.

Book your family vacation in or around Manistique using our interactive map:

What makes Lake Michigan a great vacation spot?

Visitors can explore the sandy beaches and picturesque towns all along the coast. They can also visit more than 100 lighthouses, which evoke the extensive maritime history of the Great Lakes. Or, just chill out, one of the most popular activities visitors can do on their summer vacation.

What are the best beach towns to visit on Lake Michigan?

Petoskey, Traverse City, and Saugatuck are among the most popular destinations. Our write-up of top 5 beach towns on Lake Michigan includes: Leland, Bay View (Petoskey, Saugatuck, Manistique, and Charlevoix.

Discovering the charm of Petoskey

Petoskey is a charming town that offers a lot of attractions: art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and a marina. Petoskey also has a beautiful beach that’s perfect for relaxing and swimming.

Find and book a great place to stay in Petoskey:

Exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near Traverse City

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of Lake Michigan’s most popular destinations, with vast sand dunes to climb, several trails of varying difficulty to hike, and cold, crystal-clear water to swim in, if you dare!

Which state parks are a must-visit on Lake Michigan?

Ludington State Park, Warren Dunes State Park, and Holland State Park are among the most popular destinations.

Discovering the beauty of Ludington State Park

Between Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan, Ludington State Park has sand dunes, miles of trails, and a relaxing beach.

Exploring the sand dunes at Warren Dunes State Park

Visitors to Warren Dunes State Park can climb the dunes, hike miles of trails, or swim in Lake Michigan.

What are the best Lake Michigan beaches?

Grand Haven State Park Beach, Silver Lake State Park, and Saugatuck Dunes State Park beach are among the best.

Relaxing at Grand Haven State Park beach

Grand Haven State Park, where the Grand River flows into Lake Michigan, has one of the best beaches in Michigan. Visitors can relax, swim, or take a walk along the pier.

Exploring the sand dunes at Silver Lake State Park

Silver Lake State Park is a great place to climb, hike or explore on an off-road vehicle. The park also has a beautiful swimming beach.

Sunbathing at Saugatuck Dunes State Park beach

Saugatuck Dunes State Park beach is one of the best beaches in Michigan. Visitors can relax on 2.5 miles of sand, swim and sunbathe, or hike 13 miles of trails.

Wineries near Traverse City, the northern Michigan shoreline, and Muskegon’s beaches are among the most popular destinations for Michigan travel other than the ones mentioned above.

Visiting wineries near Traverse City

Traverse City is known for its wineries. Visitors can take a tour of the wineries, sample the local wines, and learn about the winemaking process. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon in Michigan.

See our comprehensive write-ups on wineries you’ll want to visit:

Best Leelanau Peninsula Wineries and Vineyards Guide

Michigan Wineries and Vineyards Guide: Michigan’s Best Wine

Exploring the Northern Michigan shoreline

The northern Michigan shoreline is one of the most beautiful in the country. Visitors can explore the charming towns, take in the natural beauty of the area, or relax on the sandy beaches.

Check out our write-up on Best Northern Michigan Beaches to Visit This Summer

Relaxing at Muskegon’s beaches

Muskegon is a beautiful town that offers a lot of attractions: sandy beaches, unique shopping, and a marina.

Where can I find the best Lake Michigan rentals and campgrounds?

Michigan has many great rental properties and campgrounds along Lake Michigan.

Check out our write-ups on great places to visit in Michigan with recommendations and interactive maps you can use to find places to stay:

13 Best Places to Stay in New Buffalo Michigan

5 Best Small Towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan

Best Northern Michigan Beaches to Visit This Summer

Camping at Ludington State Park or Warren Dunes State Park

Ludington State Park and Warren Dunes State Park are great camping destinations in Michigan for a family getaway along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Campers can pitch a tent or park their RV, and enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan with lots of amenities, including hiking trails, picnic areas, family-friendly beaches and playgrounds.

Hiking at Silver Lake State Park or Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Warren Dunes State Park, Silver Lake State Park, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offer miles of hiking trails that wind through the beautiful sand dunes with great Lake Michigan views.

Which location on Lake Michigan has a 26-mile long beach?

Wilderness State Park near Mackinaw City has 26 miles of pristine, natural shoreline and a wide variety of campsites and cabins.

Discover the Best Fit for Your Interests on the Scenic Shores of Lake Michigan

I have traveled around the world to around 50 countries, and I can attest the Lake Michigan shore is an ideal place to plan a great getaway at one of the most scenic destinations within the largest freshwater system in the world. With gorgeous beaches, magnificent sand dunes, charming towns, and year-round activities for visitors, the best places to visit Lake Michigan will provide a lifetime of memories to savor.

beautiful lake michigan scenery

Michigan Wineries and Vineyards Guide: Michigan’s Best Wine

pouring wine

Michigan Wineries Should Be On Your List

If you’re looking to explore some of the best wineries in the United States, then Michigan wineries should definitely be on your list! With over 140 wineries across the state, Michigan boasts some of the best vineyards and wine regions in the country. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or just looking for a fun and relaxing vacation spot, the Michigan wine industry has something for everyone.

michigan wineries and vineyard
Image by robinsonk26 from Pixabay

Table of Contents

What Makes Michigan Wineries Stand Out?

One of the things that makes Michigan wineries unique is their location. Most of the wineries are located in the beautiful northern part of the state, where vineyards stretch for miles and the views are breathtaking.

This article contains affiliate links and/or references to our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on or make a purchase using these links.

These wineries are often situated in areas with rolling hills that provide the perfect environment for grape growing. Additionally, many of the wineries are located near Lake Michigan, which provides a unique lake effect microclimate that is ideal for grape growing even at the northern latitude along the 45th parallel.

Another thing that sets Michigan wineries apart is the state’s wine trail. Beginning in Traverse City and stretching across the northern part of the state, Michigan’s wine trail is a must-visit for any wine lover. The trail guides visitors through some of the most beautiful vineyards in the area, and allows them to taste a variety of great wine from different wineries.

Northern Michigan’s Wine Trails

The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail is a drive consisting of three loops on the western side of Grand Traverse Bay. The Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail has 10 potential stops, and the Petoskey Region Trail has 14. On the northeastern side by Lake Huron, the Sunrise Side Wine & Hops Trail has half a dozen stops. Visitors can opt to stop at not just one but multiple wineries and spend days if they want to sample the wine varieties that the region offers. Click here for more details.

Beautiful Northern Michigan Vineyards

Northern Michigan has become a destination worth visiting for its acres of vineyards and award-winning wineries. The region is home to a variety of special grape varieties that grow on its rolling hills and overlook Lake Michigan that affect the flavor of each wine giving it distinct taste and aroma.

Traverse City: The Perfect Wine Country Destination

Traverse City has emerged at a top-notch wine tasting travel destination. Apart from the impressive winery choices, this region is favorable for its landscape, classy dining experience, and public beaches in downtown Traverse City.

Top Northern Michigan Wineries You Can’t Miss

When it comes to Michigan’s best wineries, there are a few that you absolutely can’t miss. These wineries consistently receive high praise from wine enthusiasts and critics alike, and offer a variety of wines to satisfy any palate.

Chateau Grand Traverse – A Flying-Themed Winery

Located in the heart of Traverse City, Chateau Grand Traverse is known for producing some of Michigan’s best wines, including their popular Riesling. The winery is also known for its sparkling wines, which are perfect for any special occasion.

Located on the picturesque Old Mission Peninsula, Chateau Grand Traverse is a family-owned winery that offers visitors an unforgettable experience with its aviation theme and diverse wine offerings. Specializing in Rieslings, this estate also produces other grape varieties native to Michigan, ensuring there’s something for every palate.


The Story Behind the Aviation Theme at Chateau Grand Traverse

The flying-themed atmosphere of Chateau Grand Traverse pays homage to the founder’s passion for aviation. Edward O’Keefe Jr., a pilot himself, wanted to incorporate his love for flying into his Old Mission winery. As you explore the tasting room and grounds, you’ll find various aircraft memorabilia and artwork adorning the walls – creating a unique ambiance that sets it apart from other Michigan wineries.

Beyond its exceptional wines and captivating theme, Chateau Grand Traverse hosts numerous events throughout the year designed to enhance your visit further. One such offering is their affordable five-wine flights which allow guests to sample an array of carefully selected wines without breaking the bank:

  • Riesling Flight: Featuring five distinct Rieslings showcasing different styles and vintages.
  • Estate Flight: A well-rounded selection of delicious wine = reds, whites, roses, and sparkling produced on-site using estate-grown grapes.

In addition to these tasting options, there are wine dinners held regularly at their onsite restaurant, The Inn & Restaurant. These events offer a multi-course meal expertly paired with Chateau Grand Traverse wines, providing an unforgettable dining experience. Be sure to check their events calendar for upcoming wine dinners and other special happenings.

For a more in-depth experience, explore the winery’s seasonal tours and learn about Chateau Grand Traverse’s history and sustainable practices while taking in the surrounding scenery. Offered seasonally, these guided excursions provide insight into the history of Chateau Grand Traverse and its sustainable vineyard practices while allowing guests to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

No matter your reason for visiting, Chateau Grand Traverse offers an unparalleled Michigan wine-tasting experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression on both novice and seasoned enthusiasts alike.

michigan chardonnay vineyard
Andrew McFarlane, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Black Star Farms Wineries and Tasting Rooms

Michigan’s Black Star Farms winery operates two wineries and three tasting rooms, offering visitors a diverse wine-tasting experience. Built on the bones of an architecturally refurbished cherry orchard operation, this destination provides a unique atmosphere for sampling award-winning wines.

Black Star Farms is a unique winery that offers not only wine but also farm-to-table dining and comfortable accommodations. The winery is known for its fruit wines, including paw paw fruit wine, which is a must-try for any visitor.

Exploring the history behind the cherry orchard operation

The origins of Black Star Farms date back to when it was a thriving cherry farm in Michigan. The founders saw potential in transforming the land into vineyards while preserving its rich agricultural heritage. Today, you can still find remnants of its past as you explore their picturesque property that seamlessly blends modern architecture with rustic charm.

Wine varieties available at the two wineries of Black Star Farms

Their flagship winery is located on Leelanau Peninsula, where they produce various reds, whites, sparkling wines, and fruit-based spirits using locally sourced grapes. Some popular options include Pinot Noir Reserve, Riesling, and Sirius Raspberry Dessert Wine.

  • Suttons Bay Estate: Situated near Traverse City, Suttons Bay Estate offers breathtaking views of Grand Traverse Bay while showcasing estate-grown wines such as Chardonnay Musque and Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling.
  • Old Mission Peninsula: The Old Mission Peninsula location features a cozy tasting room where visitors can sample wines like Arcturos Pinot Blanc and Sirius Cherry Dessert Wine, made from Montmorency cherries.

Black Star Farms also offers various events throughout the year, such as wine dinners, vineyard tours, and harvest celebrations. Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or new to the world of Michigan wines, Black Star Farms provides an unforgettable experience for all who visit.

Chateau Chantal Winery

If you’re looking for a beautiful view paired with fantastic wines, then Chateau Chantal is the place to be! Chateau Chantal is a unique and comprehensive wine development located in Northern Michigan. Situated 12 miles north of Traverse City, Michigan on the beautiful and historic Old Mission Peninsula, the 65-acre site is situated a beautiful ridge with sweeping views of Grand Traverse Bay, offering an immersive outdoor tasting experience in Northern hospitality.

The Chateau is known for producing a wide variety of wines. These include white, red, pink, and bubbly. Club members can receive discounts on their purchases, but the winery also maintains reasonable prices for non-club members. They offer a 5% discount for everyone who orders six or more bottles and a 10% discount for 12 or more bottles.

In addition to the winery and vineyards, Chateau Chantal operates a bed and breakfast, offering a unique combination of hospitality services. Ranked #4 of 21 B&Bs / inns in Traverse City according to TripAdvisor reviews, it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5, showcasing its high level of customer satisfaction.

Special Experiences at Chateau Chantal

  • Wine dinners: a multi-course, wine-pairing experience prepared fresh by their talented in-house chef. The dinner starts with a vineyard tour at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner seating at 6:30 pm. These dinners are held outdoors on their expansive patios which have spectacular views.
  • Jazz at Sunset: Every Thursday evening in July and August during the scenic sunset hours of 7-9:30 pm, this family-friendly event provides a charming ambiance for wine enjoyment accompanied by local musicians and their special guests.
  • Cinq a Sept: Visitors can take home their smooth, barrel-aged spirit, Cinq á Sept. This unique brandy is distilled from fermented Northern Michigan grapes and spends five years maturing in French oak barrels, gaining a rich caramel flavor and a golden color
wine dinner
Image by Elle Katie from Pixabay

Shady Lane Cellars: A Hidden Gem in Suttons Bay

Shady Lane Cellars is a destination estate winery located on the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan. Established in a region rich in wine-making history, the winery is situated on a historic centennial farm, lending it a unique charm and significance. Michigan has been producing wine for over 50 years and Shady Lane Cellars is one of the more than 100 wineries contributing to the state’s position as the sixth-largest wine-producing state in the United States.

Unique Wines at Shady Lane Cellars

The winery produces white wine, red wine, rosé wine, and sparkling wine, each one unique and specially crafted. These wines are made from 100% estate-grown grapes, and include Grüner Veltliner; sparkling, skin-fermented and dry Rieslings; Pinot Gris; Muscat, Pinot Noir Rosé; Pinot Noir; Blaufränkisch (Lemberger in German); and Cabernet.

Special Experiences at Shady Lane Cellars

  • Friday Night Live: Featuring a varied lineup of local musicians, the winery provides a charcuterie and hot soup menu to pair with its wines.
  • Father’s Day Cookout: Planned with Dad in mind, this event will feature a brat and Gruner Veltliner pairing with a cigar lounge.

Note: Wines from Shady Lane Cellars and Chateau Chantal are available downstate in additional tasting rooms operated by Michigan by the Bottle in Auburn Hills, Royal Oak, and Shelby Township.

Grossnickle Farm – Conservation and Sustainable Wine-Growing Practices

Steve and Lori Grossnickle own a 100-acre farm devoted to conservation efforts while practicing sustainable wine-growing techniques. Visitors can learn about eco-friendly practices used in producing high-quality wines while enjoying picturesque views of rolling hills covered with vines.

Eco-Friendly Initiatives Implemented by Grossnickle Farm

At the heart of Grossnickle Farm, you’ll find a strong commitment to preserving the environment through various green initiatives. Some of these include:

  • Solar Power: The farm utilizes solar panels for energy, reducing its carbon footprint and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  • Rainwater Collection: A rainwater collection system is employed to minimize water waste, ensuring that every drop counts when it comes to irrigating their vineyards.
  • Natural Pest Control: Instead of using harmful chemicals, they rely on natural predators like birds and insects for pest control, maintaining a healthy ecosystem within their property.
  • Biodiversity Preservation: By planting cover crops between rows of vines, they promote biodiversity among plant species which helps prevent soil erosion and maintains overall soil health.

Wines Produced Using Sustainable Farming Methods at Grossnickle Farm

Their dedication towards environmental stewardship extends into the winemaking process as well. At Grossnickle Farm, visitors have the opportunity to taste an array of wines produced using sustainable farming methods. Some popular selections include:

  1. Aged in oak barrels, Grossnickle Farm’s Chardonnay offers a full-bodied taste experience with creamy and buttery nuances.
  2. Pinot Noir: Known for its versatility, this red wine boasts fruity notes of cherry and raspberry with hints of earthiness.
  3. Dry Riesling: This aromatic white wine features crisp acidity balanced by flavors of green apple, pear, and citrus fruits.

Grossnickle Farm’s commitment to conservation and sustainable practices not only benefits the environment but also results in high-quality wines that showcase the unique terroir of Michigan. Visiting this sustainable winery gives you a chance to back local companies while savoring exquisite wines that were crafted with consideration for both your taste and the environment.

oak barrel
Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Top Southern Michigan Wineries You Can’t Miss

St. Julian Winery – Michigan’s Oldest and Largest Producer

Established in 1921, St. Julian Winery holds the title of Michigan’s oldest and largest winery, with a legacy that spans over a century. Continuously growing and innovating since its inception, St. Julian offers visitors an opportunity to explore a diverse range of wines crafted using traditional techniques while embracing modern trends.

The Rich History Behind St. Julian Winery

The story of St. Julian began when Mariano Meconi, an Italian immigrant passionate about winemaking, founded the winery in Windsor, Ontario before relocating it to Paw Paw, Michigan during Prohibition for better access to local grape varieties. Today, under the leadership of his grandson David Braganini as president until his passing in 2016 and now led by Nancie Oxley (the first female head winemaker in Michigan), St. Julian continues to thrive and appears on every list of Michigan’s favorite wineries.

Unique Wine Varieties and Styles Available for Tasting

With over 60 products available across various styles such as reds, whites, sparkling wines, and ciders, there is something for every palate at St. Julian’s tasting rooms located throughout Michigan including their main location in Paw Paw, as well as FrankenmuthDundee, and Troy. Some of their popular offerings include:

  • Braganini Reserve Wines: A premium collection named in honor of David Braganini, featuring varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
  • Gunga-Din Ciders: Crafted from Michigan-grown apples, these ciders are available in both traditional and unique flavors like cherry and blueberry.
  • Cock of the Walk Red & White Blends: These easy-drinking blends showcase St. Julian’s commitment to producing approachable wines for every taste preference.

In addition to wine tastings at their various locations, St. Julian also hosts a variety of events throughout the year including live music performances on weekends during summer months and special releases exclusive to their Wine Club members. So whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or new to the world of wine tasting, there is something for everyone at this historic winery that has been delighting visitors with its diverse selection for over 100 years.

Lemon Creek Winery: Award-Winning Wines and More

Lemon Creek Winery, nestled in the heart of Michigan’s wine country near Berrien Springs in southwestern Michigan, has a long and rich history. With over 160 years of grape and fruit growing experience, the winery is both family-owned and operated, boasting a tradition that has remained intact for more than a century and a half. This historic vineyard is known for its estate-grown wines, bottled to this day by the Lemon family themselves, illustrating a strong connection to their roots and commitment to maintaining high-quality standards.

Lemon Creek Winery is esteemed for the production of an extensive range of wines, with around 30 different wines produced annually. The winery specializes in French red varietals and German whites, showcasing an intriguing blend of traditional European winemaking techniques with local terroir. Their commitment to quality and excellence has been recognized on numerous occasions, with the winery receiving multiple international gold medals, in addition to several regional and state awards.

Special Events at Lemon Creek Winery

Lemon Creek Winery has a packed schedule for 2023, filled with a variety of events and activities.

The winery’s events kick off with the Memorial Weekend Wine & Art Festival. This is a free event that serves as a celebration of local art, music, and, of course, wine. Approximately 25 vendors are expected to display a variety of mediums, including painting, jewelry, stonework, ceramics, and woodworking, among others.

Throughout June, the winery will host a series of music events. The winery will celebrate its 39th Annual Father’s Day Festival on June 18th. In addition to these specific events, the winery’s calendar includes other activities such as wine tastings, U-pick fruit farm offers, and culinary events throughout the year.

pouring wine
Image by Zsanett Mezei from Pixabay

Fenn Valley Vineyards

Fenn Valley Vineyards is a prominent family-owned and operated vineyard and winery complex established in 1973 on a 240-acre farm, situated just five miles away from Lake Michigan between Grand Haven and Holland in West Michigan. The site for the vineyard was chosen with care by evaluating local weather patterns, climate conditions, and the composition of the soil.

Since the beginning, Fenn Valley Vineyards’ objective has been to produce world-class wines and ciders using fruit grown along the shore of Lake Michigan. This focus on using local resources and attention to the quality of their products has resulted in national recognition for their fruit wines. They have experimented with a variety of grapes with the goal of making European-style table wine, which has a more delicate finish.

Wines available from Fenn Valley Vineyards

  • Flavored – Spiced – Fruit Wine: Peach and Honey, Cranberry, Red Currant, Cherry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Mulled
  • White Blend: Muscat Ottonel, Moscato, Lakeshore Demi-Sec, Vino Blanco, Sonata
  • Red Blend: Nouveau, Briarwood, Lakeshore Ruby
  • Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay
  • Riesling: Sparkling, Sweet, or Dry

The range of wines showcases not just dedication to quality and tradition, but also versatility in catering to various wine preferences and palates. Wines span different styles, from robust red blends to light and refreshing white blends, and from the aromatic Riesling to the crisp Pinot Grigio.

Discovering Michigan’s Best Wine Regions

Michigan is divided into three main wine regions that produce different varieties of wine. Each region is unique, with its own climate, soil, and grape varieties.

Leelanau Peninsula Wineries

The Leelanau Peninsula has some of the best wineries in Michigan, known for exceptional Riesling wines. This region is perfect for visitors who prefer medium-bodied white wine. Leelanau’s vineyards are located on hillsides that overlook Lake Michigan, providing excellent growing conditions for the grapes.

Check out this tour of several wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula.

leelanau county
David Benbennick, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Old Mission Peninsula Wineries

Old Mission Peninsula is known for its cherry orchards, but it also has an array of vineyards that produce red wine and white wine. The cool climate in this region overlooking Grand Traverse Bay creates the perfect place to grow Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc varieties of grapes.

Check out this tour of several wineries on the Old MIssion Peninsula.

old mission peninsula
Notorious4life at English Wikipedia, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Southwest Michigan Wineries

The Southwest Michigan wine region is located near the shores of Lake Michigan, and the region’s grape growers take advantage of the moderating effect of the lake. The area’s vineyards are planted with a variety of grapes, including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

Michigan Wine Tasting Tips

When it comes to wine tasting in Michigan, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Michigan wine tasting experience.

The Best Wine Varieties to Try in Michigan

Michigan is known for producing some fantastic Riesling wines. In addition to Riesling, Michigan is also known for its Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir varieties.

Not-to-Miss Paw Paw Fruit Wines

If you’re looking for something unique to try, be sure to check out the pawpaw fruit wines in Michigan. Black Star Farms is one winery that offers this unusual and delicious variety.

Where to Find Sparkling Wine in Michigan

If you’re a fan of sparkling wine, then Michigan is the place to be! Many wineries, including Chateau Grand Traverse, offer a variety of sparkling wines that are perfect for any special occasion.

Note: Summer isn’t the only season to enjoy Michigan wines. Why not combine a wine-tasting trip with the Best Time to See Fall Color in Michigan?


What is Michigan Wine Country?

A: Michigan Wine Country is a region in the state of Michigan where many wineries and vineyards are located. It is known for its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and delicious wines.

What is the best wine region in Michigan?

A: The best wine region in Michigan is located in the northern part of the state. This region includes the Leelanau Peninsula and Old Mission Peninsula, which have the largest concentration of wineries.

What are some of the best wineries in the state?

A: There are many great wineries to visit in Michigan, including Chateau Grand Traverse, Chateau Chantal, Shady Lane Cellars, Tabor Hill, Round Barn, Fenn Valley Vineyards, Lemon Creek Winery, and Chateau Aeronautique Winery.

What are the Michigan Wine Trails?

A: The Michigan Wine Trails are wineries and vineyards in the state of Michigan that have banded together to promote tourism and the local wine industry. There are several wine trails in Michigan, including the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail and the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail.

What is the best way to explore Michigan’s wineries?

A: The best way to explore Michigan’s wineries is by taking a scenic drive through the region and stopping at various wineries along the way. Many wineries offer a wine tasting room, tour, and wine dinner.

What kinds of Michigan grapes are grown?

A: Many different kinds of wine grapes are grown in Michigan, including Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer.

What is ice wine?

A: Ice wine is a type of dessert wine made from grapes that have been left on the vine until they freeze. The grapes are then harvested and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a sweet, concentrated wine. Michigan soil – terroir in wine lover parlance – is ideal for this wine.

Are there any wineries in Traverse City?

A: Yes, there are many wineries in the region around Traverse City, including Chateau Chantal, Chateau Grand Traverse, and Shady Lane Cellars.

What is the Pure Michigan wine campaign?

A: The Pure Michigan wine campaign is a marketing initiative aimed at promoting Michigan’s wine industry and encouraging tourism from throughout the Great Lakes region to the state’s wineries and vineyards. Making wine a promotional tool to bring visitors has been a successful tactic for more than ten years.

How many wineries are in Michigan?

A: There are over 140 wineries in Michigan, with new ones opening every year. Producing wine is the dream of many aspiring vintners!

Wine Tastings Prove the Best Michigan Wineries Will Win You Over

In conclusion, Michigan’s wine country has so much to offer visitors. With its stunning vineyards, award-winning wineries, and unique wine varieties, it’s no wonder that the Michigan wine scene is rapidly gaining recognition among wine enthusiasts. So, plan your trip to Michigan for a good time to enjoy the best wine that the state has to offer!

13 Best Places to Stay in New Buffalo Michigan

bridge to New Buffalo Harbor

Planning a getaway trip to New Buffalo, Michigan? You’re in for a treat! This charming and friendly lakeshore city offers exciting activities and attractions for everyone to enjoy. From its thriving downtown area with a picturesque marina to its beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan, New Buffalo delivers.

But before you set out to explore everything in the area, you need to find the perfect place to stay. Our guide to the best places to stay in New Buffalo, Michigan, intends to help you out with just that! If you’re on a budget or looking for a more luxurious experience on the New Buffalo beach, we’ve got you covered, so read on!

best places to stay new buffalo michigan

This article contains affiliate links and/or references to our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on or make a purchase using these links.

Getting to New Buffalo

If you’re coming from Indiana, Chicago, or another place in the state of Michigan, know that New Buffalo is located in Berrien County, in the southern part of Western Michigan, just north of Michigan City, Indiana on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Blue Water train from Chicago to Port Huron and the Wolverine train from Chicago to Detroit both stop at the Amtrak railroad station, which is located in the central business district.

beachfront best places to stay in new buffalo michigan
“Anywhere on the Beach” has got to be among the best places to stay in New Buffalo Michigan – Image by cher1959 from Pixabay

Note: Train buffs will want to visit the New Buffalo Railroad Museum adjacent to the Amtrak station. Open on weekends, it has three restored railroad cars along with photographic exhibits. This attraction is often overlooked in favor of other activities, but we think it’s not to be missed.

amtrak train
Tim_kd5urs, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Motorists will find the city conveniently located off I-94; use the US-12 exit if you’re westbound or the first exit past the New Buffalo Welcome Center just inside the state line if you’re eastbound.

location of berrien county on the map of michigan
By David Benbennick – The maps use data from, specifically countyp020.tar.gz on the Raw Data Download page. The maps also use state outline data from statesp020.tar.gz. The Florida maps use hydrogm020.tar.gz to display Lake Okeechobee., Public Domain,

What Are the Best Hotels in New Buffalo Michigan?

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New Buffalo

If you’re looking for a top-rated hotel in New Buffalo Michigan, you can’t go wrong with the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New Buffalo. This 3-star hotel has received rave reviews for its exceptional service, clean and spacious rooms, and great amenities like complimentary continental breakfast, free wi-fi internet, and indoor pool and hot tub.

The Harbor Grand

For a more luxurious stay, check out The Harbor Grand, a boutique hotel located right on the harbor. Their elegant guest rooms are on par with luxury hotels you’re used to, and feature plush bedding and private balconies with stunning views of the waterfront. Many have fireplaces and spa tubs, and each guest is provided with a comfortable spa robe while at the facility. Outdoor terrace dining and a relaxing spa retreat with a full array of personal service treatments are just a few of the luxury amenities at this thoughtfully designed hotel, one of the great resorts in the region.

New Buffalo Michigan Harbor
Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites New Buffalo

Family-friendly hotels are also abundant in New Buffalo Michigan. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites New Buffalo, affiliated with the IHG hotel family, is a popular choice among families, with its spacious rooms and complimentary buffet breakfast. All the amenities business travelers expect from the Holiday Inn Express & Suites brand are here: self-service laundry room, a business center, heated indoor pool and whirlpool, and fitness center.

What Are the Best Places to Stay in New Buffalo Michigan on a Budget?

New Buffalo Inn & Spa

If you’re looking for the best low-priced accommodations in New Buffalo Michigan, consider staying at the New Buffalo Inn & Spa. This cozy inn offers affordable rates and convenient access to the downtown area. Rooms feature Keurig coffee makers and smart TVs.

The Baymont by Wyndham New Buffalo

The Baymont by Wyndham New Buffalo is another great option, with its comfortable rooms, free continental breakfast, complimentary wireless internet access and short drive to Lake Michigan and outlet shopping.

Quality Inn Near Interstate I94 – Best Low Cost Option of Hotels in New Buffalo MI Near Four Winds Casino

If you want to to keep costs low and find hotels with the best deals in New Buffalo Michigan, keep an eye out for special promotions and discounts for non-refundable reservations, etc. The Quality Inn Near Interstate I94 offers affordable rates, free breakfast, and easy access to popular attractions like Four Winds Casino Resort and the Galien River County Park.

While average prices are climbing for the guest on a tight budget, your stay doesn’t have to be expensive and low prices at New Buffalo hotels can be had. There are plenty of cheap hotels in New Buffalo Michigan to choose from. To find the best time to book the cheapest hotels in New Buffalo Michigan, consider traveling during the fall or winter months when tourism levels lower. 

What Are the Most Convenient Hotels in New Buffalo Michigan?

If you want a hotel room close to the heart of the action, there are several hotels in New Buffalo Michigan that offer convenient access to the downtown area. The Baymont by Wyndham New Buffalo and Quality Inn Near Interstate I94 are both located just a short drive from the city center, making it easy to explore all of the shops, restaurants, and attractions. For those looking to soak up some sun at the shore, The Harbor Grand is located near Lake Michigan.

bridge to New Buffalo Harbor
Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

New Buffalo Bed and Breakfast: The Neighborhood Hotel

If you’re looking for something a bit more intimate, the Neighborhood Hotel is an adults-only, nine-room bed and breakfast inn located right in downtown New Buffalo, a ten-minute walking distance from the beach Their cozy rooms feature free wifi, Ralph Lauren linens, flat screen TVs with Netflix, air conditioning and mini-fridges. Choose a terrace room or one with a balcony. Fresh-baked cookies are often available in the common area, too. Note that their free parking area can fill up quickly, so plan accordingly.

If you’re planning on visiting Galien River County Park, consider staying at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites New Buffalo, the Quality Inn Near I94 or the Fairfield Inn. These hotels are just a short drive from the park, making it easy to explore its hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities.

What Is the Best Lakeside Resort in New Buffalo Michigan?

The Harbor Grand (Again)

If you want to experience the ultimate in lakeside living, then consider staying at one of the top-rated lakeside resorts in New Buffalo Michigan. The Harbor Grand Resort offers luxurious accommodations with views of the New Buffalo harbor. The Harbor Grand hotel features full resort amenities such as a luxury day spa, sophisticated dining, relaxing common areas and atmospheric rooms with views, fireplaces and hot tubs.

new buffalo beach
Kevin Dooley, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What Are the Best Vacation Rental Options in New Buffalo Michigan?

If you’re looking for a home away from home in the New Buffalo area, then a vacation rental might be the perfect option for you. Lakefront vacation rentals are particularly popular in New Buffalo Michigan, with a remarkable option like the New Buffalo Lakefront House, which is directly on the beach with a saltwater swimming pool and hot tub.

For an in-town experience, the Bradford New Designer Luxury Cottage has a heated pool and sleeps 12, perfect for a multi-generational family vacation or a friends group getaway. Located in a serene residential neighborhood, shops and the beach are just steps away.

stray dog restaurant new buffalo michigan
Kevin Dooley from Chandler, AZ, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For the quintessential Lake Michigan cottage experience, check out the Charming Cottage or the Tallgrass Cottage. These homes feature all the amenities you need, kitchen facilities, comfortable sleeping, and relaxing ambiance.

If you want to be near Four Winds Casino New Buffalo, consider staying at one of the vacation rentals located nearby. The charming Storybook Cottage and the tranquil Deer House both offer easy access to the casino and all its games and amenities.

Tip: For atmospheric eats in New Buffalo, check out the Stray Dog Bar & Grill, Redamak’s, and Oink’s Dutch Treat.

redamak's new buffalo
Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Still Undecided? Use Our Handy Interactive Map to Choose and Book Your Stay

As you can see, there are plenty of amazing places to stay in New Buffalo Michigan, no matter what your budget or preferences may be. Whether you’re a business traveler, a family on holiday, or just looking to explore the area, you’re sure to find the perfect place to call home during your stay.

Note: For other ideas to New Buffalo’s North, check out our post on the 5 Best Small Towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan

Find the Best Place to See Tulips in Holland Michigan (2023)

girls in tulip field

Can’t Swing a Trip to Europe for Tulip Time? Find the Best Place to See Tulips in Holland Michigan

best place to see tulips in holland michigan

As spring approaches and Mother Nature awakens from her deep slumber, winter’s barren landscape starts to transform with flowers blooming and foliage emerging on trees. One of the most famous places to visit during this season is the Netherlands, where the Tulip Festival starts and is a sight to behold. Millions of tourists descend onto this European country to witness these wondrous flowers’ beauty and charm. In Holland tulip time is peak tourist season, so visiting the Netherlands makes for a very expensive experience.

History of Holland Michigan

If you want to experience the colorful glory of tulip fields but Europe is not an option, then another great place to get this unique experience is to visit Holland, Michigan, in the United States. A pretty small town on Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa about 30 miles southwest of Grand Rapids, Holland was founded in 1847 by Albertus C. VanRaalte.

VanRaalte came to the United States from the Netherlands with a group of other Dutch immigrants to escape religious oppression and economic instability. With hard work from the new settlers, the city prospered, and the Dutch heritage permeated through the settlement. 

red tulips in a field
Image by Swan from Pixabay

How Tulip Time Festival in Holland Got Started

It was in 1927 that Miss Lida Rogers, a biology teacher in the city of Holland, suggested embracing the tulip as the city’s official flower because of its strong ties with the Netherlands. In 1928, 100,000 tulip bulbs of different varieties were purchased from the Netherlands to be planted around the city.

In 1929, with the blooming of these flowers, Tulip Time came into being as an annual festival in Holland, symbolizing the end of winter and the start of spring. The Holland Tulip Time Festival was a chance to not only admire vivid tulips in bloom but to also showcase Holland and its heritage through traditional dances, costumes, and iconic wooden shoes.

Gorgeous Tulip Varieties and Colors in Profusion 

You’ll notice tulips come in a multitude of colors and varieties: white tulips are often sent as condolences, pink tulips are delivered for congratulations, red tulips signify love and passion, orange tulips could mean you have a spiritual connection, and yellow tulips are associated with happiness and cheer.

Varieties such as double blooms which resemble peonies, gaily striped and multi-colored hues, “parrot” tulips, and fancy frills and fringes represent the skills with which cultivars were developed. Remember, tulips were highly coveted as a luxury item, and so in demand in 17th century Europe, that “Tulip Mania” created an economic bubble that eventually caused financial collapse.

multi colored tulips in a field
Image by Swan from Pixabay

Things to Do in Holland Evolved with the Festival

No longer just a flower festival, over time the Tulip Time festival has evolved and combines a variety of activities and entertainment throughout Holland, Tulip Time attractions and activities celebrate Holland and its Dutch heritage, which include concerts, parades, Klompen dance, historic tours, and of course, viewing the millions of tulips.  This unique experience in the USA has helped The Holland Tulip Festival receive the badge for “Best Small Town Festival in America” by Reader’s Digest.

downtown holland welcome tulips
BazookaJoe at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2023 Tulip Time Dates are May 6 – 14

When you visit Tulip Time in Holland in Spring during the month of May, you’ll notice amazing tulip vistas just about everywhere. The below locations are highly recommended to choose the best place to see tulips in Holland Michigan. Plan for a charming, mesmerizing experience during Holland’s Tulip Time with the best tulip displays along with the best chance to take the tulip photos you want to commemorate your visit.

Every Visit to the Tulip Festival in Holland Begins with Centennial Park

Kick off your annual Tulip Time festival visit by heading to Centennial Park which is located in downtown Holland. This beautiful Victorian-style city park is free to visit and is one of the best places to enjoy the display of beautiful tulips in serene surroundings. You can either relax near the traditional Dutch fountain or admire the koi pond as you enjoy a picnic in the park’s shade. During the Tulip Festival, this acre park also hosts traditional Dutch dances which makes it a popular spot for tourists. 

girls in tulip field
Image by Ben Scherjon from Pixabay

Downtown and Tulip Lanes

You can further explore Holland’s downtown streets, home to shops, restaurants, and everything in between. Head to 8th Street where tulips in planters are strategically placed in Holland’s historic district, which makes for an enjoyable and vibrant stroll throughout the downtown area. If you time your visit to coincide with the famous Tulip Time parades, then you will be in for a treat. 

The Kinderparade, or Children’s Parade, is kicked off with a beloved tradition of street scrubbing, where elementary school children wear traditional Dutch costumes and scrub the streets of Holland with a broom for upcoming performances. You’ll see floats, Dutch dance performances, bands, etc, all of which combine to create a festive atmosphere.

If all that walking and standing around Holland has tired you out, but you still want to see the 6 miles of tulips that the city has planted, you can! A great way to see some of the 5 million tulips Holland puts out is to just drive around Holland’s neighborhoods along the tulip lanes, where up to 250,000 bulbs are planted along Washington Avenue and 12th Streets.

downtown tulip beds
BazookaJoe at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For the athletic traveler, a more vigorous but equally fun way to experience and see thousands of tulips planted around the city is to participate in the Tulip Time Run. This event is for everyone, featuring a 5k,10k, and even a Kids Fun Run. It starts early morning in Kollen Park and you can choose to either walk or sprint to complete the course that winds through Holland’s Tulip lined streets.

Tulip Immersion Garden

One of the most unique experiences during the Tulip festival is visiting the Tulip Immersion Garden. Previously housed in the Ottawa County Fairgrounds, it has now moved to the new location of Beechwood Church in Park Township. Crafted by the renowned Dutch horticulturist, Ibo Gülsen, the exhibition will feature 50,000 tulips.

The garden’s tulip beds will be raised to eye and chest level to make for a truly immersive experience. The installation depicts the history of the tulip, which was initially cultivated by the Turkish people, but it was the Dutch who were able to grow it on a full scale and therefore incorporate the flower into their culture.  There is an admission fee that allows for entry on an hourly basis so make sure you book before you go. 

Windmill Island Gardens

If you are looking for a truly authentic Dutch experience while being surrounded by a carpet of blooming tulips, one of the best things you can do is take a road trip to the Windmill Island Gardens to see how the tulips burst into bloom.

This beloved island is home to the ‘de Zwaan’, the last authentic windmill that was allowed to leave the Netherlands. This historic landmark is still functional, as it grinds homegrown grain into flour and is sold to visitors and locals alike. You can also take a tour of the windmill and visit the top from where you can view the sprawling manicured gardens covered in thousands of tulips that bloom in time for the Tulip Festival.

de zwaan windmill
 Jarek Tuszyński / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GDFL

Other attractions at the garden include rides on the antique kids’ carousel, complete with hand-painted horses that add to the overall charm of the place. The gardens are also dotted with several replicas of Netherlands’ structures to give you a taste of the Dutch way of life. If you are looking to take a piece of Holland back with you, then the onsite souvenir shop has a wide variety of options you can peruse while partaking in some cheese tasting. 

Take note that instead of large fields of colorful tulips, these beautiful blooms are planted in smaller beds, which you can enjoy by strolling on the walking trails that meander through the beautiful grounds. The park welcomes up to 50,000 people during Tulip Week so it’s important to plan transportation and visit times accordingly as it can get very crowded.

There is an admission fee for both kids and adults, but it is well worth the price as it’s a great place to visit and see a variety of tulips in a setting that is truly reminiscent of the Netherlands.

​Window on the Waterfront Park

This 30-acre park overlooks the Windmill Island Gardens and is home to 100,000 tulip bulbs that start to bloom in late April during the tulip season. Not only is it home to a spectacular display of beautiful flowers, but it is an idyllic escape from daily life to experience nature’s wonders. With numerous walking and biking trails that meander through the marshlands and foliage, this is a great option to enjoy the great outdoors and admire the tulips. 

Nelis’ Dutch Village

If you want to know what life was like in the Netherlands over 100 years ago, then making a day trip to visit Nelis’ Dutch Village is highly recommended. Modeled after a Dutch village, this family-owned theme park is a true celebration of Dutch heritage, traditions, and architecture.

Make sure to schedule at least 3 – 4 hours to fully experience the rich Dutch heritage that is part of the village. Every year around 30,000 tulip bulbs are planted around the park, which makes it a must-visit attraction during the Holland Michigan Tulip Festival. 

child in field of red tulips
Image by Marjon Besteman from Pixabay

A guided tour through the park by employees clad in traditional Dutch costumes is a great way to experience the ritual of cheese making, candle making, and the quintessential wooden shoe carving. An on-site petting zoo is a great hit with the kids, where they can interact with a variety of animals such as llamas, goats, sheep, etc. 

The admission ticket allows you unlimited access to rides such as a classic carousel, a reimagined Ferris Wheel, Dutch Chair Swing Ride, and the recently added tractor ride.

In between the rides, take a break from Tulip Time festivities and fuel yourself with some traditional Dutch snacks, such as Frikandel, a Dutch version of the hot dog, or Banket, a traditional pastry. If you time it right, you might also get to experience some traditional dance performances that are enjoyable and super fun to experience. 

Veldheer’s Tulip Farm and DeKlomp Delft and Wooden Shoe Factory

North of Nelis’ Dutch Village lies the famous Veldheer’s Tulip Gardens, a major attraction during the Annual Tulip Festival. This family farm has one of the biggest displays of tulips, with around 5 million colorful bulbs planted in gardens for a truly spectacular display.

Veldheers Tulip Farm also boasts one of the biggest varieties of tulips which makes it an ideal place for some Instagram-worthy pictures. As a private establishment, there is a $15 entrance fee per person which allows you to roam the 40-acre area which also has other decorative plants besides tulips. 

A visit to the Veldheer Tulip Farm is incomplete without checking out the Deklomp Wooden Shoe & Delft factory, an onsite store where you can purchase authentic Dutch souvenirs, food, and tulip bulbs. You get a chance to observe artists carving authentic wooden shoes on machines that are imported from the Netherlands.

You can also observe authentic blue and white delftware being handmade on-site by skilled artisans. Delftware is tin-glazed blue and white pottery that is now synonymous with the Netherlands and includes things like plates, vases, etc. Even though this experience comes with a price, the Veldheer Tulip Gardens is a great option to not only view the tulips but also sample some truly authentic Dutch products and delicacies. Best of all, it’s not crowded which makes for an enchanting experience.

If you are looking for a unique travel experience in North America, then look no further than Holland, a city located in West Michigan. The city’s Spring Tulip Festival is an exceptional week-long celebration of Dutch heritage outside of Europe, along with a stunning display of several million tulips all over the city. From traditional Dutch Dancing to live music to the only authentic Dutch windmill in North America, you are certain to have a great time in Holland during Tulip Time, especially while strolling through colorful tulip lanes that are vibrant and colorful. 

Because of the festival’s popularity, it can get very crowded, especially during the weekends, so it’s important to plan the itinerary accordingly. If you have a car, keep a buffer in your plans for finding a parking lot due to the sheer number of people plus closures due to parades, dances etc. If admiring the tulips are a priority versus parades etc, then you can also plan to come a week before or after the festival ends (Tulip Time 2023 dates are May 6-14) to see the tulips while avoiding heavy crowds and take advantage of lower prices. So is your next spring trip to Holland, Michigan?

best places to see tulips holland michigan

7 Must-See Natural Attractions in Michigan Outdoors with Serious Wow Factor

Our list of top 7 natural attractions in Michigan outdoors, each with its own variation of a simple recipe for happiness: simply add fresh water.

natural attractions in Michigan Pinterest Pin

Michigan’s natural beauty is due to its abundance of fresh water, with ample opportunities for recreation and soaking in the scenery. For those new to Michigan, or for residents eager to explore Michigan’s natural attractions, our list of places to see in the Michigan outdoors covers all parts of the state.

This post contains affiliate links and/or references to our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on or make a purchase using these links.

Turnip Rock

Ecosystems rich with diversity and picturesque rock formations left by receding glaciers along the shores of Lake Huron comprise the Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail, a 110-mile paddler’s playground.

All skill levels will enjoy scenery that ranges from undeveloped wetlands, which are wildlife havens, to sand dunes, cliffs, sea caves and ruggedly stacked rocks. The most famous of these rock formations is Turnip Rock, which is only accessible by water.

Public domain image from 1906 postcard

To get to Turnip Rock, rent kayaks or stand up boards at Port Austin Kayak Rental. From there, it’s a short, easy paddle.

Lighthouses, small town festivals, wineries and campgrounds complete the shore experience throughout the Blue Water Area. For places to stay in Port Austin, check out our map:

Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Over 2,000 acres of sugary sand dunes are a favorite destination for off-road vehicle enthusiasts, hikers, and sunbathers on a strip of Oceana County between Lake Michigan and Silver Lake.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Safety rules and regulations are the name of the game for all vehicles and passengers entering the dunes.

Comfortable resorts and campgrounds, friendly B&Bs and cottages await in the towns of Hart, Mears, and Pentwater. For more information on where to stay and activities in the area see our post: 10 Fun Things to Do in Silver Lake Michigan

Tahquamenon Falls

Comprised of upper and lower falls about four miles apart from each other on the Tahquamenon River in the eastern Upper Peninsula, Michigan’s most famous falls are a popular destination in any season, and one of the most photographed natural attractions in Michigan.

Tahquamenon Falls Michigan natural wonder
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Mentioned in Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha, the Falls are located within Tahquamenon Falls State Park, whose mailing address is apt: Paradise, Michigan.

Image by Jason Gillman from Pixabay

A restaurant and gift shop is housed in a logging camp building replica. Hikers and picnickers will enjoy a variety of designated trails and relaxation areas. Fishing, canoeing, hunting and camping are all available.

7 amazing Michigan natural wonders Pinterest pin

For places to stay near Tahquamenon Falls, check out our map:

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Take a boat from our favorite town in the Upper Peninsula, Munising, to America’s first National Lakeshore, Pictured Rocks. This is one of two National Lakeshore sites included in our list of natural attractions in Michigan.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Your leisurely tour will take you along Lake Superior’s beaches, dunes, and waterfalls. Majestic sandstone cliffs painted by Nature’s hand in rich mineral colors rise high above the emerald waters to make ever-changing abstract vistas.

bridal veil falls pictured rocks national lakeshore
Bridal Veil Falls Public Domain Image

You’ll imagine battleships, castles and battleships, even an Indian head, in the enormous formations. The photographer in you will be inspired!

See boat tour options for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Charles Dawley from Petoskey. Cropped and color-corrected 2008-07-29 by Daniel Case [CC BY 2.0 (]

Click on the map below to see places to stay near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

With bluffs up to 450 feet high over Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes can boast sweeping vistas over 35 miles of shoreline to the Manitou Islands beyond.

Ashinaabe legend tells of a grieving mother bear forever waiting on shore for her two cubs who have fallen behind. They, in turn, become the two islands while the sands of time blanket her in repose.

Sleeping Bear Dunes aerial view Michigan natural attraction
National Park Service employee [Public domain]

Set aside for preservation in 1970, the protected area also comprises the traditional Manitou Passage between shore and islands where many 19th century commercial vessels make their graves, lost due to unpredictable weather conditions and unmarked shoals.

Check out places to stay near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Lake of the Clouds

Located in the Porcupine Wilderness State Park in Ontonogan County in the Upper Peninsula, pristine Lake in the Clouds is positioned between two protective ridges.

Troy A Heck, Public Domain

Two trails provide access to the lake: the Big Carp River Trail and the Escarpment Trail. The lake can also be viewed from a scenic, accessible overlook on M-107.

Stevenliuyi [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

For places to stay in the Lake of the Clouds area, click on the map below.

Kitchi-Iti-Kipi Spring

Michigan’s largest freshwater spring, Kitchi-Iti-Kipi was called “Mirror of Heaven” by early Native Americans, and is the subject of other indigenous legends.

Doug Coldwell [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Located in the Palms Book State Park near Manistique, Kitchi-Iti-Kipi is a low-key attraction which features a hand-operated viewing raft over the 40 foot deep pool, which has a constant year-round temperature of 45 degrees.

Kitchi-Iti-Kipi Michigan freshwater spring natural attraction
Doug Coldwell [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

The spring’s moving water creates a changing kaleidoscope of sand formations, with seemingly suspended fish and branches in its depths, for one of the most unique natural attractions in Michigan.

For more things to do and places to stay in the Kitchi-Iti-Kipi area, check out the section on Manistique in our post: 5 Best Small Towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan or click on the listing in the map below:

Pinnable Images

Michigan natural wonders
michigan natural attractions

5 Best Small Towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan

best small towns in michigan on lake michigan

You can find some of the best small towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan. They’re also some of the prettiest places in Michigan, so don’t miss!

best small towns in michigan on lake michigan

Michigan has some of the prettiest small towns in America. For atmosphere, you’ll want to visit the best small towns on Lake Michigan for a variety of activities in all seasons.

Our five recommendations for the best small towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan were all settled in the 19th century, and boast architecture, atmosphere, and great places to stay and eat. Read on for our tips and put them on your list!

This post contains affiliate links and/or references to our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on or make a purchase using these links. As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.


best small towns in Michigan - Saugatuck aerial view
Robert Moore [Public domain]

Location: West Michigan, on the Lake Michigan shoreline south of Holland.

Notable for: A celebrated artistic community since the 19th century, Saugatuck was prominent in the Arts and Crafts movement.  More than a dozen art galleries and many small, independent shops make this a tourist mecca.

Where to Eat: Grow for all day breakfast and lunch in a café style environment, The Southerner for traditional cuisine flavored in the American South, the Wild Dog Grille for pretty patio dining, and the Saugatuck Drugstore Fountain for authentic vintage fare.

Where to Stay: The Hotel Saugatuck – a new luxury hideaway B&B with 18 king suites, many with water views. The hip and historic Judson Heath Colonial Inn has eight guest rooms with garden or village views, full breakfast.

Use and book with our interactive map for other stay options!

Don’t Miss: Oval Beach – a tropics-caliber beach with sugar sand and sweeping sunset views. The Chain Ferry – an old-fashioned hand-propelled trip across the Kalamazoo River, the only chain ferry remaining in the United States.

saugatuck chain ferry best small town on lake michigan
Parkerdr [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]


aerial view of leland best lake michigan town
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown [Public domain]

Location: Western Leelanau County on the Lake Michigan shoreline north of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Notable for: A thriving 19th century commercial fishing center on the site of a former Ottawa village located adjacent to a natural fish ladder, turned elite summer resort served by steamship traffic.

Where to Eat: Fish is what you’re here for and several places in town know just how to do it. Try The Riverside Inn’s Gallic-influenced menu for a special occasion, Village Cheese Shanty for box lunches,  and Carlson’s of Fishtown for specialty fresh and smoked fish to take home.

Where to Stay: The Leland Lodge – family owned and operated next to the golf course with its own Bogey’s 19th Hole restaurant on site. The Whaleback Inn – a classic Northern Michigan experience on Lake Leelanau.

Use and book with our interactive map for other stay options!

Don’t Miss: Fishtown – the historic fishing village and wharf area preserved by a dedicated non-profit. A day trip to South Manitou Island will take you on a 90-minute ferry ride where you can enjoy a lighthouse tour and a beach hike next to a shipwreck.

fishtown area of leland in winter
Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

Bay View

bay view chapel
Bobak Ha’Eri [CC BY 3.0 (]

Location: just east of the city of Petoskey on US 31

Notable for: A 19th century community modeled on the Methodist Camp Meeting concept, with the Chautauqua movement incorporated. Consisting of more than 30 community-owned buildings and about 440 residential “cottages,” Bay View is famous for its Eastlake, Queen Anne, Stick and Shingle Style architecture, with its buildings dating from 1875 – 1900. The entire community is on the National Historic Register.

Where to Eat: If you’re not going to eat at the fine restaurants located in your vintage hotel (see below), try The Side Door Saloon for great bar and grill fare, or The Palette Bistro, which offers Mediterranean flair.

Where to Stay: For a vintage experience, book a stay at Stafford’s Bay View Inn (check out the murder mystery weekend options in the fall) or The Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant, both within the community. A mile away, in downtown Petoskey, is Stafford’s Perry Hotel, which dates from 1899 and has 75 guest rooms. Or, try the Gingerbread House for a B&B experience in a historic rooming house.

bay view cottages best small lake michigan town
Bobak Ha’Eri [CC BY 3.0 (]

Use and book through our interactive map for accommodations!

Don’t Miss: The Bay View Music Festival – the oldest continuous music festival in North America, since 1886, with a wide variety of options for various musical tastes. Wander through the Bay View Association to enjoy the architectural riches and read the history of the buildings.


chicago club in charlevoix
Bobak Ha’Eri [CC BY 3.0 (]

Location: Southwest of Petoskey on US 31 along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Notable for: A late 19th century resort developed by the Chicago-based First Congregational Church, and expanded with the advent of rail service and Lake Michigan passenger liners around the turn of the 20th century. The Loeb family, founders of Sears, Roebuck & Company, built an experimental farm here, and Charlevoix was popular with Chicago gangsters during Prohibition.

aerial view of charlevoix
User:My name [CC BY 3.0 (]

Where to Eat: For breakfast and brisket BBQ, check out Smoke on the Water. Sandwich and burger fans will want to visit Scovie’s Gourmet. Terry’s Place is the number one rated restaurant in town and you’ll not be disappointed.

Where to Stay: Weathervane Terrace Inn is an historic, romantic hotel centrally located. Charlevoix House offers a B&B experience in the heart of town.

Use and book through our interactive map for accommodations!

Don’t Miss: The Mushroom House Tour – 28 magical structures designed by Earl Young in a storybook style. Castle Farms Guided Tour – the restored 1918 experimental farmhouse modeled after stone buildings in Normandy. Now a premier wedding venue and home to Michigan’s largest outdoor model railroad and a WWI museum.

mushroom house in charlevoix
Kathleen Conklin from Falls Church, USA [CC BY 2.0 (]


red lighthouse in manistique small town on lake michigan
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Location: On Lake Michigan’s North Shore on US2 in Schoolcraft County, Upper Peninsula

Notable for: Nicknamed the “Emerald City” after the nearby Kitch-iti-kipi springs.

aerial view of manistique
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown [Public domain]

Where to Eat: For waterfront dining, The Upper Crust gets top marks. We like the vintage speakeasy atmosphere at Tap 21. Try the Cedar Street Café for an outstanding breakfast in a quaint atmosphere.

Where to Stay: Top rated Quality Inn gets good reviews, but our surprise preference is the Econolodge.

Don’t Miss: Kitch-iti-kipi – Michigan’s largest freshwater spring, also known as the “Mirror of Heaven.” The Manistique Boardwalk and River Walk is a lovely shoreline stroll with informational signage and views of the famous red lighthouse.

kitch-iti-kipi spring near manistique
Doug Coldwell [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

If you enjoyed this post on the 5 Best Small Towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan, you may want to check out 10 Fun Things to Do in Silver Lake, Michigan – another favorite area with dunes right on Lake Michigan.

10 Fun Things to Do in Silver Lake Michigan

things to do in silver lake campground michigan

Looking for sand dunes? Michigan has ’em! And Silver Lake Sand Dunes is a great Michigan dunes vacation. See things to do in Silver Lake Michigan for a plan!

If you grew up in West Michigan like I did, chances are you have fond memories of a visit to Silver Lake sand dunes. Vacationing on the Lake Michigan dunes is a popular summertime activity for Michiganders and out of staters, too. There’s just nothing like it anywhere!

lake michigan dunes
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

This post contains affiliate links and/or references to our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on or make a purchase using these links.

The magnificent Silver Lake Sand Dunes are adjacent to Silver Lake, Michigan, which is located near the Lake Michigan community of Mears in Oceana County, north of Muskegon. The lake is separated from Lake Michigan to its west by Silver Lake State Park, which has recreational facilities and an off-road vehicle area.

Check out things to do in Silver Lake Michigan and plan the experiences you’re going to love in this unique destination!

1. Play on the Silver Lake Dunes

There are many fun things to do in Silver Lake Michigan, but the big draw, of course, is the sand. Silver Lake Sand Dunes are the only dunes in Michigan where it is legal to drive on the sand.

You can take Silver Lake dune rides in your own off-road vehicle if you have one, rent a dune buggy or ATV, or ride along in a multi-passenger specialty vehicle. If you plan to do your own driving, click here to review the Silver Lake dunes rules from the Michigan DNR.

If you don’t own an ORV, you’ve got plenty of options. For our money, the dune rides Michigan boasts are the real deal in terms of thrills.

Most people think of a traditional sand dune buggy when they consider their options. But be aware you can rent Jeeps and ATVs, too.

Silver Lake Michigan Dune Buggy Rentals

For Silver Lake dune buggy rentals, your go-to is the aptly named Silver Lake Buggy Rentals, where you’ll find 2 and 4 person options.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes ATV Rental

Wild Bill’s ATV Rentals is your source for Silver Lake ATV rentals as well – this is a single person, four wheeler vehicle.

Silver Lake Jeep Rentals

Perhaps the above Silver Lake dune rentals don’t appeal. You’re not limited just to dune buggy rides in Michigan if that’s the case. Open air Jeep Wranglers are perfect for self-drive or be-driven guided options. Get in touch with Parrot’s Landing Jeep Rentals and Tours for the lowdown.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes Rides

Don’t feel like driving yourself at all? For sure, these big dunes can be intimidating, but you can still enjoy a thrill with Mac Woods Dune Rides. Personable guides will take you on a 40 minute journey from the dunes summit at Silver Lake. Sand dunes rides wouldn’t be complete without splashing along the water’s edge, too. Mac Dune Rides’ experience is safe for all ages, and accessible for the mobility impaired.

Walking, Picnicking, or Sand Boarding at Silver Lake

With over 2000 total acres of dunes, Silver Lake State Park has plenty of room for those who prefer to get where they’re going on their own power. The designated walkable part of the state park makes the Lake Michigan dunes experience even more thrilling.

test hill silver lake dunes
Test Hill [Image in public domain]

If you’re a sand boarder, this is one of the best places to practice your skills. Those in the know rate the slope’s pitch and sand texture as the very best. Need a board? Rent one at Wave Club Watersports.

Beach lovers can stake a claim on Lake Michigan sand dunes or Silver Lake Beach. Michigan’s soft, golden sand is perfect for a day spent relaxing and picnicking at the water’s edge. For a change of scenery, check out Charles Mears State Park in close by Pentwater, which has swimming, picnic, and play areas.

Pentwater Harbor Navigation Project at Mears State Park
Cpmwjune [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

2. Silver Lake Camping in the Scenic Outdoors

Each of these Silver Lake campgrounds promises fun and relaxation in scenic surroundings. Near Silver Lake Sand Dunes, camping options vary from simple tent sites to amenity-laden resort-style experiences for those who like to bring the comforts of home along.

Silver Lake State Park camping has been popular ever since its opening in the 1950s. The Silver Lake State Park Campground has 200 sites with eco-friendly and many accessible features. Modern facilities include an off-road recreation area, boat launch, hiking trails, fishing pier, playground, and more. Note: alcohol is prohibited within a ¼ mile of the off-road area and completely prohibited throughout the park from late May to early June.

things to do in silver lake campground michigan
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

Other camping options are plentiful: the Silver Lake Resort and Campground has over 200 full hook-up sites on 30 acres, with camping cabins, heated swimming pool, camp store, and family movie nights. Playground, picnic area, pavilion for groups, laundry facilities, catch and release fishing pond.

The Silver Creek RV Resort welcomes big rigs and large groups from April 1 – October 31. This gated entry resort has full hook-up sites, each with concrete slab. The community includes a gathering center, fitness center, pickle ball and basketball courts, arcade, pool and hot tub and store. Playground, pet area and wi-fi provided.

Sandy Shores Campground has been located across the lake from the dunes in a beautifully wooded, grassy setting for almost 40 years. This is the only private park with beach on Silver Lake. Michigan camping should include a swimming area with a sandy bottom perfect for all ages, and you’ll find it here. Outdoor heated pool, full playground with equipment, laundry, spacious sites and basic wi-fi.

silver lake dunes michigan
Dale Fisher, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [Public domain]

Silver Hills Campground offers a range of experiences from rustic, non-electric sites to self-catered A-frame cabins. Back-in and pull-through options offer electric, optional water and pond views. Pool, bath house, and store on site.

3. Stay in kitschy Silver Lake Sand Dunes hotels

Silver Lake, Michigan hotels are mostly traditional, but there are a couple of kitschy, retro options you will want to consider for a unique, throwback experience!

The Gateway Motel is an unassuming, 18-unit, family-owned accommodation in a quiet country setting 9 miles from the dunes. Accommodations are clean and simple, with cable TV, Wi-fi, mini-fridge and microwaves in the room. Continental breakfast included, open year ’round.

Try a rustic or full service cabin rental at Dune-Town (formerly Jellystone Park). The Dune-Town Silver Lake experience includes more than 200 campsites, but you’ll want to check out the cabin rentals. Take your pick from self-catered duplex units with kitchens, rustic cabins, or “camping rooms” (like a motel room) that sleep four. On duty every Tuesday and Thursday during peak season for “tuck-ins” – a bedtime story where you’re staying with milk and cookies – is Yogi Bear. Silver Lake’s most endearing tradition, Yogi is also available for singing birthday balloon deliveries.

Great for couples or family groups, Sierra Sands Family Lodge is a 12 minute walk from Silver Lake beach, and has a playground, outdoor swimming pool, outdoor fireplace and picnic area, and free wifi.

For those who prefer a more branded experience, or are looking for Pentwater MI hotels, these hotels near Silver Lake Sand dunes fill up fast during the season: Dunes Express Inn and Suites and American Host Inn.

Check out our interactive map for great places to stay near Silver Lake Sand Dunes!

4. Try an Escape Room

Looking for things to do near Silver Lake MI that are mentally challenging but not overly physically strenuous? If you’ve never tried this unique experience, you’ll want to get a group together and head over to Bamboozled Escape Rooms. You and your team will be locked in, and given a series of clues to solve in order to achieve the steps necessary to free yourselves within an hour’s time. By appointment only.

5. Play on the water near Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Michigan is revered for recreation that revolves around the water, and there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of that here in this beautiful setting.

For recreational boaters, water skiers, and jet skiers, Wave Club Water Sport Rentals is your outfitter. Choose from water ski boats or pontoons to fit your group (up to 12), powerful wave runner machines, and a full range of paddle equipment. Life jackets and safety instructions included with all rentals.

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Paddlers who want to explore inland waterways should check out Pentwater Outfitters, where you’ll find a full range of SUP boards, canoes, and kayaks, and comfortable apparel to complement your experience. Guided trip options and lessons available.

6. Visit a Lighthouse

little sable point lighthouse things to do in silver lake michigan
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

One of a 3-lighthouse cluster, Little Sable Point Lighthouse is a remarkable brick structure which dates back to 1874. Still equipped with its original lens, the lighthouse has a copper roof cap. You can climb to the top for a small fee, and educational guides are on hand during the season.

7. Tour and Taste at a Michigan Winery

Years ago, we’d laugh at the thought of Michigan wines, but the industry has matured and is producing impressive, nuanced offerings nowadays. Take a break from the water and sand to sample and tour at these friendly locations!

Fox Barn Winery – a restored antique tasting barn and food board for patio dining are just two of the features here. With more than 2000 acres of a 5-generation family farm given over to vines and woodlot operations, a full range of vintages includes dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet varieties. Note their specialty asparagus wine, which sells out every year.

Pleasant Valley Farm and Vineyard – 100% farm sourced interpret classical Europe and modern day styles. Private tastings and tours by appointment, yoga class and tasting, and special events during the season. Wedding venue holds 150 (more guests if outside).

Jomagrha Vineyards and Winery – a small boutique winery established in 1999 with hand-crafted French and new generation hybrids, Bordeaux and Burgundy viniferas. Tasting room is housed in one of the distinctive white barns on the property.

8. Walk or Bike a Beautiful Trail

The William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail State Park is the pride of this area and with good reason! Part of Michigan’s “Rails to Trails” project, the 22 mile paved trail has now been expanded in the hopes of linking now to other projects.

bike trail with two cyclists
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Originally laid as a rail bed in the 1870s and a popular stop as a passenger pigeon hunting center at that time, the trail is an easy, flat surface with five waypoints which have drinking water and restrooms. The route takes you through forested areas, Christmas tree farmland and the fruit orchards so typical of West Michigan.

9. Race Go Karts, Bumper Boats, Zip Line and more!

Craig’s Cruisers Family Fun Center – Since 1979, a simple go-kart track has evolved into a destination for a variety of fun things to do in Silver Lake. From soaring over the lake on a single or double zip line, to double bumper or swan paddle boats and three kinds of go-karts, you’re sure to have a blast at Craig’s Cruisers! See how good a racer you are on the outdoor track, or partner up for 18 holes of mini-golf.

10. Get Acquainted with an Old-Fashioned Country Dairy

The Country Dairy has been family owned for four generations, boasting Michigan grown and made cheese and ice cream from local milk. Products are certified non-GMO and hormone free. But that’s only part of the story.

silver lake michigan things to do country dairy holstein cows
Image by Cally Lawson from Pixabay

Tours take you literally from farm to table during 90 minutes of guided learning about dairy practices, the industry, and the farm itself. The Country Dairy encompasses the entire process of producing and handling milk and turning it into fresh product.

Tour the bottling plant and learn how the farm’s 1200 Holstein cows are fed and milked, sample the incomparable chocolate milk and cheddar cheese curd “moochies.” The Farm Store and Deli serves up a variety of salads, sandwiches, and Country Dairy ice cream treats, and offers gift boxes in various sizes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our top ten list of things to do in Silver Lake Michigan. The Lake Michigan lifestyle can’t be beat! Check out our post on the 5 best small towns in Michigan on Lake Michigan for more fun ideas!