From the shores of Union Pier in Harbor Country to the Art Coast of Michigan in Saugatuck/Douglas to the beach communities in South & Grand Haven, a string of quaint Lake Michigan beach towns are an ideal summertime escape in Southwest Michigan. Each of these towns is filled with fun summer experiences and nine quality assured bed and breakfasts to use as a home base. Each of these Michigan Bed and Breakfasts Inns offers wonderful hospitality, local recommendations to experience the area, and homemade breakfasts to fuel your day while you explore Southwest Michigan. You also can have peace of mind for a wonderful stay since each inn is quality-assured and inspected by the renowned Michigan Bed and Breakfast Association.
Southwest Michigan has attracted visitors since the early 1900s. Summer vacationers were drawn to its beautiful beaches, quaint towns, forest-covered countryside, and the family-owned farms and fruit orchards that thrived with the area’s fertile grounds. Now Southwest Michigan has evolved to offer something for everyone, including antique shops, art galleries, golf courses, water sports galore, hiking, bicycling, live theater, music, and fun summer festivals. Read along as we highlight the different beach towns in Southwest Michigan, unique experiences, and the best Bed and Breakfasts in the area.
You could spend years exploring Southwest Michigan, and many visitors do. Still, one reasonable itinerary could include staying a few nights in each lakeside community-starting in Union Pier, which is closest to Chicago, moving on to South Haven, Saugatuck/Douglas, and ending in Grand Haven. All four destinations are within a 100-mile stretch of the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline.
First on our list is Harbor Country. We are featuring Union Pier, located within the larger area of Harbor Country that comprises eight small towns. The area is intrinsically tied to the land, first through the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, the original inhabitants of this area, and later as a popular getaway destination, brimming with orchards, farmstands, breweries, and vineyards. Union Pier is unique in that it is situated between the shores of Lake Michigan and the Galien River, providing wonderful opportunities for river kayaking.
Quality Assured MBBA Member Inns in Union Pier
- Goldberry Woods – A Modern Farm Resort located in Union Pier A unique farm-to-table experience that could include glamping in their vintage campers, staying in a quaint cottage, or experiencing their traditional bed and breakfast rooms in the main house. The inn sits on the banks of a meandering river that you can navigate by kayak, canoe, or paddleboard and has an ideal location that is only a 12-minute stroll to a sugar-sand Lake Michigan beach. You’ll find plenty of luxury, too, including jetted tubs and a year-round pool. The inn is known for its fabulous breakfasts, including fresh eggs from the henhouse. The entire inn can be rented for weddings or special events. Be sure to check out their special page for special offerings.
2. Garden Grove Inn- a peaceful enclave in the heart of Harbor Country
Enjoy the country cottage charm at the Garden Grove Inn, located in a 100-year-old farmhouse that was once a fruit farm. The inn’s comfortable seven guest rooms offer the perfect home base to explore the beaches and all that Harbor County has to offer, including water sports, hiking in nature, biking, wineries, breweries, shopping, and more. The innkeeper loves to share her favorite experiences, breweries, and dining spots. After your days of exploration, return to the inn and relax in the peaceful gardens, enjoy a romantic soak in your double jacuzzi tub, or retreat near your cozy fireplace. Breakfast is a feast each morning and is “egg-centric,” accented with sweets. The inn has some offers and events that can be found on their website here.
Eleven of the Best Things to Do in Union Pier, Mi
- Visit St. Julian Winery and Distillery, which is Michigan’s largest winery. This family-owned winery was founded by Mariano Meconi in 1921.
- Explore Warren Dunes State Park, where you can hike, swim, and enjoy the scenic views of Lake Michigan. Here you will find breathtaking dunes that rise 260 feet above Lake Michigan.
- Experience Hesston Steam Museum, where you can ride on historic steam trains and learn about the history of steam power.
- Rent a bike or stand-up paddleboard from Red Arrow Ride and explore the nearby beaches and trails.
- Shop for antiques and collectibles at the Antique Mall of Union Pier or Burnison Galleries, where you can find unique and interesting items.
- Explore the walking trails around Garden Grove Inn
- Relax by the pool at Goldberry Woods
- Visit the Gallen River Country Park, where you can walk on a canopy trail, enjoy the wetland views, and spot wildlife.
- Taste craft beers and food at Greenbush Brewing Company.
- Visit Three Oaks, where you will find a colorful mix of art galleries and shops and the acclaimed Acorn Theater. This 250-seat live-entertainment venue features musicians, actors, and other performers from around the world. Also in town is the Vickers Theatre, an intimate, 150-seat movie house specializing in award-winning independent, classic, and foreign-language films.
- Check out the Lake Michigan Wine Trails and watch for the occasional blue-colored “wine trail” signs. They’ll direct you to some of the area’s numerous vineyards and wine-tasting centers.
Imagine a summer holiday that includes pristine beaches, a historic lighthouse and maritime museum, award-winning eateries, romantic wineries, quaint boutiques, and beautiful natural surroundings- South Haven has it all, and this popular summer destination is a perfect place for a relaxing summer getaway.
The fertile soils around Southwest Michigan, combined with the weather, make for perfect growing conditions for growing grapes. This part of Michigan boasts some of the state’s wineries. Check out the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, and you’ll find plenty of places in this area to sip on high-quality wines. (along with the wines from our member inn highlighted below)
Quality Assured MBBA Member Inn in South Haven
3. The Vintage Inn at Veritas Estate- located in South Haven
The Vintage Inn is a five-bedroom bed and breakfast with boutique accommodations and farm-to-table dining in a renovated 1904 farmhouse. The 5-acre estate surrounding the Inn is home to Veritas Estate Winery and vineyard, extensive gardens, and forest trails. Experience their upscale farm-fresh breakfasts and luxury amenities for some well-deserved relaxation.
Ten of the Best Things to Do in South Haven
- Take a hike on the 33-mile Kal-Haven Trail, which connects South Haven to Kalamazoo.
- Enjoy an afternoon paddle on the 20-mile Bangor/South Haven Heritage Water Trail, which connects the two towns via the Black River.
- Check out South Haven’s maritime past at its Michigan Maritime Museum. The museum also offers sailing and riverboat excursions on several restored and replica vessels.
- Spend a day on the beach. South Haven has 7 to choose from, including a secluded beach to watch a sunset or one perfect for renting paddleboats, sailing, and other water sports and fishing.
- Plan your visit for the second week of August and attend the happening Blueberry Festival.
- Plan a day trip on the Blue Star Highway, where artisans, galleries, and antiques converge on a 16-mile stretch of scenic roadway.
- Have a meal at the historic Clemintines, which boasts a gorgeous 19th-century exterior and matching saloon.
- Visit the 400-acre Van Buren State Park and explore its many trails four miles south of South Haven.
- Take a picture of the South Haven Lighthouse.
- While staying at the Vintage Inn, savor a glass of their old-world style wine.
SAUGATUCK & DOUGLAS
The lovely harbor town of Saugatuck, along with its smaller sister town of Douglas, includes a riverfront setting since the Kalamazoo River flows into nearby Lake Michigan. Here you will find lush woods, soaring dunes, and an endearing small-town center filled with 19th-century architecture. The area is sometimes called the “Art Coast of Michigan,” which includes a thriving art community, art festivals, and galleries.
Quality Assured MBBA Member Inns in Saugatuck/Douglas
4. Hotel Saugatuck– Saugatuck
Located at the gateway of Saugatuck’s Historic District, this 18-room bed and breakfast offers the ultimate luxury. The inn is just a short walk to downtown Saugatuck and or to Douglas, where you will find many unique boutique shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
Each of their 18 spacious rooms features king beds, fireplaces, Jason Hydrotherapy tubs with Microsilk technology, a separate shower with rain shower head plus body sprays, flatscreen TVs, and luxury linens.
5. Judson Heath Colonial House
Judson Heath Colonial Inn sits in the heart of Saugatuck’s downtown Historic District. This totally renovated historic inn is a wonderful home base to explore Southwest Michigan. The inn’s mantra is where “hip meets historic,” and you’ll quickly see that these innkeepers love what they do, sharing local farm fresh breakfasts and warm hospitality.
Guests experience touches of the home’s rich history in decorative and trim details, but when it comes to guests’ comfort, everything is about luxury and the latest in tech support. All of their rooms feature luxury linens and bedding, flat-screen TVs with Roku, bedside USB ports, and WiFi.
6. Wickwood Inn, Saugatuck
Life at the Wickwood Inn revolves around warm hospitality, charming décor, and delicious food – all in a quaint and convenient in-town setting of Saugatuck. The inn boasts farm-to-table breakfasts, afternoon sweets, and social hours that are all complimentary.
This historic eleven-room inn includes an extensive remodel with a stunning, elegant, and comfortable vibe. You’ll find a unique interior design incorporating a carefully curated collection of art, furnishings, and amenities, including plush Matouk linen and towels to luxurious baths with Waterworks fixtures. Guests can bask in luxury and enjoy everything the “Art Coast of Michigan has to offer.
7. Rosemont Inn, Douglas-
A hidden gem tucked away on a side street along Lake Michigan’s southwest shoreline of Douglas, this lakeside retreat makes for a wonderful Southwest Michigan getaway. Guests enjoy stunning water views from Douglas Beach, just across the street!
The Rosemont has welcomed guests for over 121 years; you can stroll the inn’s beautiful gardens, take a dip in the heated outdoor pool, relax by the fire pit, and enjoy a cup of coffee and a good book while relaxing on the old-fashion porch. Rest well and replenish in your comfortable and well-appointed room, all with romantic fireplaces. A full buffet breakfast is served each morning. And for a spa-like experience, enjoy the indoor spa area with a 10-person hot tub and a dry sauna. Bikes are provided for easy access to downtown Douglas and Saugatuck.
Twelve of the Best Things to Do in Saugatuck/Douglas
- Relax on Saugatuck’s Oval Beach
- Take a 90-minute cruise on the Star of Saugatuck, an old-fashioned, sternwheeler paddle boat that travels the Kalamazoo River to Lake Michigan.
- Ask a local about the former site of Singapore, an abandoned lumber town that was eventually swallowed by the dunes
- Plan a fishing charter
- Climb the 302 steps to the top of Mt. Baldhead, the area’s tallest dune.
- Check out the galleries on Center Street in Douglas
- Have a fresh brew at Saugatuck Brewing Company.
- Explore the Saugatuck Antique Pavilion
- Spend the day in Saugatuck Dunes State Park, which covers 1,000 acres and has two miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan. Climb the dunes, which reach up to 200 feet!
- Cross the river on the historic and one-of-a-kind chain ferry in Saugatuck
- Spend the afternoon sipping wines on the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail,
- Relax at the pool or sauna at Rosemont Inn.
Grand Haven is known for its twinking lighthouses at sunset and its pristine freshwater beaches. This all-American beach town is filled with fun summer activities, including relaxing on the sand or dining in the Marina restaurants. Guests love to walk on the scenic boardwalk that juts out onto Lake Michigan at the mouth of the river.
Visitors enjoy the pristine beaches, watching the surfers at the State Park, watersports galore, and a welcoming quaint village filled with great eateries, breweries, and shops.
Quality Assured MBBA Member Inns in Grand Haven
8. Looking Glass Beach Front Inn
Looking Glass Beachfront Inn is located directly across the street from Lake Michigan, with easy access to the beach, pier, and lighthouse. The inn’s location also offers easy access to downtown Grand Haven. Many of the rooms have water views, and the best seat in the house is on their breathtaking porch with beautiful vistas of Lake Michigan and lighthouses.
9. Washington Street Inn
The Washington Street Inn welcomes guests to a beautiful, historic 1902 home in Grand Haven, one of Lake Michigan’s most popular resort towns.
With gleaming hardwood floors, oak woodwork, and beveled and leaded glass windows, the inn offers five guest rooms in a post-Victorian, craftsman-style home. The inn is known for its delicious breakfasts and warm hospitality.
Nine of the Best Things to Do in Grand Haven, Mi
- Watch a sunset from the porch of Looking Glass Beach Front Inn
- Have a cold brew at the local brewery- Burzurk Brewing Company
- Check out the two lights on the south pier that are connected by a lighted catwalk that also connects them to the shore and the Boardwalk.
- Visit the Grand Haven Musical Fountain, which was built in 1962. In one typical performance, the fountain will process over 90,000 gallons of water with a synchronized display of water, lights, and music.
- Rent a bike and enjoy a bike ride on the over 100 miles of bike paths throughout the area.
- Spend an afternoon shopping in downtown Grand Haven.
- Have a gourmet sandwich at the Toasted Pickle.
- Enjoy a ride on the Harbor Trolley
- Hire a fishing charter
Book Your Stay Today
at the Best South Michigan Lodging
Now that you know about the best summer getaway to Southwest Michigan and the Best of the Best Michigan Lodging, book your stay today at an MBBA member inn.
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