South Haven, Michigan sits right on the lake, so the scenery already is enough of a reason to visit—but there’s so much more. Agriculturally, there’s much to explore, from farms to top-notch cuisine—a foodie gem. Plenty of hotels are at your disposal, but you may opt to stay in a classic mansion. Your days will be filled with tranquil bike rides and beach strolls, or possibly simply, with a bottle of wine and a sunset. Check out our picks for the best things to do in South Haven, Michigan.
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See the Lighthouse
The South Haven Lighthouse makes for stunning pictures rain or shine, even in the snow. An easy stroll via a still intact catwalk makes accessing the historical structure easy for both kids and adults. The red icon has been around since the 1800s, solidifying it as a significant site on Lake Michigan. From the edge of the pier, boats picturesquely float by, which makes totally beautiful silhouette photos at sunset.
Stroll Kal Haven Trail
Kal Haven Trail belongs in a movie, as serene railroad tracks turned paths wind through tree canopies that become a true spectacle during the fall and spring. Rent a bike, or hit the route by foot—either way, you’ll be able to drink in water views, and the breathtaking wooden covered bridge. The flat terrain makes it a more leisurely outing, and be sure to pay attention when passing Bumbleberry Farm because here you can stop for tasty fresh fruit.
Go to the Beach
Never underestimate a beach day at beautiful Lake Michigan, which is so expansive you’ll feel like you’re at the ocean. North Beach is equipped with recreational activities like volleyball, or you can just enjoy lounging on the soft sand. Concessions are on site offering traditional and small snacks, so visitors can spend the whole day treading water. Enjoy watching talented kite surfers skim the water, or become brave enough to give it a try yourself.
Ice Skate in the Winter
South Haven Ice Rink is open from November to March and is a festive place to bring the family during the winter. An overhead pavilion allows skaters to enjoy the magical falling snow, while still being protected a bit from the elements. Come on a glow party night, get into the sport of curling—there’s more going on here than just skating. Bonus—downtown, and all its great restaurants are a short walk away.
Explore Horticulture at Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum
Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum allows guests to peer into the 19th-century life of a famed farmer philosopher, who was affectionately known as “America’s Father of Modern Horticulture”. Registered as a National Historic Site, the Museum is informative and engaging. And, of course, there are impressive gardens to browse. The exterior is absolutely lovely, as if it were straight out of a fairytale.
Gravity is a wine tasting room with a pleasant variety. Tastings are offered in the rustic atmosphere, and you are bound to learn quite a lot about wine. Warner Vineyards is also a great stop for a tasting, and they have the best sangrias. Good wine says a lot about a town. Cogdal Vineyards is another great place to toss a few glasses back.
Eat Donuts at McIntosh Orchards
Okay, there’s much more than just amazing, sweet, indulgent apple cider donuts! McIntosh Orchards is more of a local goodies store where guests can also taste wine—we recommend blackberry or blueberry—hands down. You have to get here early to nab fresh-picked fruits, and the most heavenly donuts. Speaking of cider, the hard variety is delicious. And don’t leave without some decadent fudge!
Eat Local Specialties
Taste is a top-rated restaurant in South Haven. While the cuisine is at times upscale, and always delicious, the atmosphere is not stuffy, but rather casual and welcoming. Enjoy beet and goat cheese salad, the best tomato bisque ever, out of the box sushi and fish tacos. The tuna tartare with guacamole and Korean barbecue chicken are next level.
Slumber at Yelton Manor Boutique Hotel
No stay in this lakeside Michigan town is complete without a night at Yelton Manor Boutique Hotel. Only adults are allowed to bunk at these high-end waterside mansions with over the top elegant flare, and extreme attention to detail. All the decor is traditionally classic, with patterned wallpaper, quilts, stained glass and unique rooms—yet it’s all so polished. Relax on the deep porches, especially when cool breezes are blowing in. Meals are superbly crafted with farm-fresh ingredients, and guests can even learn some of the preparation techniques. Triple chocolate brownies and aromatic popcorn are available all day. Talk about a fairytale ending to your South Haven stay.