Saugatuck, Michigan is a charming small town located along the shores of Lake Michigan. This picturesque town is known for its beautiful beaches, quaint shops, and stunning natural scenery. It was the perfect place for an end-of-summer reunion with my dear friends Olivia, Tyler & Elizabeth! Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-packed trip, Saugatuck has something to offer everyone!
Saugatuck is located about two and a half hours from Chicago and three hours from Detroit. It’s a popular midwest summer destination and I heard so much about the cute town while living there, but never got to head there! From NYC it was a pretty easy & seamless flight! You fly directly into Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, which is about 45 minutes away from Saugatuck. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle for a 40-minute drive to town.
Saugatuck offers a variety of accommodations, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals. If you are looking for a unique and cozy experience, consider staying in one of the town’s historic bed & breakfasts, such as The Wickwood Inn. This is where we stayed and fell in love with the inn’s quaint charm, incredible service, and delicious breakfasts! For those looking for a more modern and luxurious experience, there are several boutique hotels and vacation rentals available as well and I’d recommend Lakeshore Resort for a curated stay!
One of the main draws of Saugatuck is its natural beauty. Take a stroll through the town’s many parks and trails, such as the Saugatuck Dunes State Park or the Mount Baldhead Park, which offers stunning views of the lake and the town. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even climb the 282 steps to the top of the Mount Baldhead stairway for a panoramic view of the area.
Another must-visit attraction in Saugatuck is Oval Beach. This beautiful beach has been named one of the best beaches in the world by Conde Nast Traveler and offers soft sand, clear water, and stunning sunsets. You can rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards to explore the lake or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun. For a more cultural experience, visit the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, which hosts a variety of events and performances throughout the year. There are also several art galleries in town showcasing the works of local artists.
Saugatuck offers a variety of dining options, from casual cafes to upscale restaurants. For a delicious breakfast, check out Pumpernickel’s, which offers a variety of sweet and savory breakfast items, or Tree of Life for a quick smoothie or juice. For lunch head to Pennyroyal Café for seasonal farm-to-table dishes or the Mermaid for fresh seafood and waterfront views! When it comes to dinner, be sure to go to the Southerner for delicious Southern comfort foods or for an upscale option, Coast 236 or Bowdies Chophouse!
- Mermaids – Dockside eatery for seafood fare & sandwiches with patio seating that has a great view of passing boats. They have delicious tacos & margaritas! We had our first lunch here and it was the perfect spot.
- Tree of Life Juice – Perfect for breakfast on the go! This juice & smoothie joint has pressed juices, Acai bowls, and avocado toast as well as a cute curation of home goods!
- Pennyroyal Café – With an emphasis on local & seasonal farm-to-table bites, this is a great spot of breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Fun by a culinary powerhouse couple, they’re serving tasteful food prepared the old-fashioned way & sourced with local ingredients.
- The Southerner – Chef Matt Millar, a James Beard Finalist runs this fried chicken spot. It’s a local favorite and is known for their crispy fried chicken, golden biscuits, and southern-style comfort foods.
- Bowdies Steakhouse – Posh, casual, neighborhood nook with choice steak mains & creative cocktails, with an outdoor patio.
- The Grilled Cheese Shack – This little food stand is serving one thing, well. That’s grilled cheeses!
- Coast 236 – Airy site with a seasonal patio for creative American eats & brunch with house & classic cocktails.
- The Grill at Clearbrook Restaurant – Exceptional small plates, entrees, and desserts–all house-made and accompanied by spectacular views from every table.
- Belvedere Inn & Restaurant – European-inspired fine dining in a grand country estate.
- The Mitten – Vintage baseball-themed microbrewery that expertly pairs handcrafted beers with gourmet pizzas
- Sand Bar Saloon – Enjoy the local flavor of this downtown Saugatuck bar with live music and plenty of beer on tap
- The BARGE
- Copper Craft Distillery Tasting Room – Distiller of premium, award-winning spirits with a tasting room for sampling rum, gin, vodka, whiskey, bourbon, and more!
- Phils – A local dining and bar in Saugatuck!
- Corner Bar & Grill
Coffee & Bakeries:
- Biggby Coffe – Grab a coffee, espresso, latte, creme freeze smoothie, or treat yourself to a delicious bagel or muffin!
- Saugatuck Drug Store Soda Fountain – Stop, shop, and treat yourself at this vintage drugstore soda fountain.Serving shakes, malts, ice cream, and more.
- Kilwin’s Chocolates & Ice Cream – Confectionery shop selling original recipe ice cream, chocolates, and Mackinac Island-style fudge!
- Charlie’s Round the Corner Ice Cream – This iconic ice cream store in downtown Saugatuck has delicious desserts and a small window to order from!
- Uncommon Coffee Roasters
- Catch a sunset sail on Lake Michigan!
- Grab a book at The Book Nook of Saugatuck
- Catch some laughs at the Coral Gables Comedy Club
- Enjoy a spa day at Masa Body
- Visit a Winery or Brewery
- Virtue Cider – Delicious farmhouse ciders crafted from the highest quality local Michigan heirloom apples. We had flights of cider here and it was such a great way to explore all their cider variations. They’ve got great snacks to pair with the ciders, too!
- Modales – Right next to Virtue! We loved this winery with the rolling hills of grapes
- Guardian Brewing Company – Michigan’s first 100% LGBTQ+ and women-owned craft brewery with 22 different craft brews and a locally sourced and seasonal menu. They have a nice patio in the back!
- Hit up the Beaches:
- Douglas Beach Park
- Laketown Beach
- Oval Beach – our favorite!
- Pier Cove Beach
- The Wickwood Inn – This is where we stayed — and loved! The Wickwood is a luxurious historical inn in downtown Saugatuck. It’s a romantic inn that offers farm-to-table breakfasts, and cozy quarters and is super convenient!
- Lake Shore Resort – Enjoy stunning views of Lake Michigan at this gorgeous modern property. A large heated pool, private lake access, bikes, and yoga are just a few of the many resort amenities! They’ve got a well-curated gift shop as well!
Saugatuck, Michigan is a hidden gem in the Midwest, offering natural beauty, charming shops, and a variety of activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-packed trip, Saugatuck has something to offer everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the beauty and charm of this small town on the shores of Lake Michigan.