Top-Rated Things to Do in Saugatuck, MI


By Sarah Anderson

Saugatuck, Michigan is a charming town nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan. Known for its vibrant arts scene, stunning beaches, and picturesque harbor, Saugatuck attracts visitors from near and far. Whether you’re a nature lover, art enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Saugatuck has something for everyone.

One of the top-rated things to do in Saugatuck is exploring the Saugatuck Dunes State Park. This 1,000-acre park offers miles of hiking trails through scenic dunes, forests, and marshes. You can also enjoy swimming at the secluded beach or have a picnic on the shore. The park is a haven for wildlife, so keep an eye out for deer, foxes, and a variety of bird species.

If you appreciate art and culture, a visit to the Ox-Bow School of Art is a must. This historic art school, nestled in a picturesque setting along the Kalamazoo River, offers classes, workshops, and exhibitions. You can explore the galleries and see works by both established and emerging artists. The Ox-Bow School also hosts artist residencies, where you can observe and interact with artists in their creative process.

For a unique shopping experience, head to the Saugatuck Antique Pavilion. This sprawling antique mall houses over 175 dealers and offers a wide range of treasures. From vintage furniture to collectibles, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye. The mall is a treasure trove of history and nostalgia, and browsing through its aisles is a delight for antique lovers.

No visit to Saugatuck is complete without a trip to the Star of Saugatuck. This paddlewheel boat offers scenic cruises along the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan. You can sit back and relax as you take in the breathtaking views of the shoreline and the charming coastal towns. The boat also offers sunset cruises and special events throughout the year, making it a memorable experience for all.

These are just a few of the top-rated things to do in Saugatuck, MI. Whether you’re exploring nature, discovering art, or enjoying a leisurely boat ride, Saugatuck is a destination that promises unforgettable experiences. So pack your bags and get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of this delightful Michigan town.

Explore the Stunning Beaches

One of the top attractions in Saugatuck, MI is the collection of stunning beaches that line the shores of Lake Michigan. With their pristine sands, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque dunes, these beaches offer a perfect escape to nature and relaxation.

The Oval Beach is a must-visit destination for beach lovers. Located just a short drive from downtown Saugatuck, this beach is known for its soft golden sand and breathtaking views. Whether you want to swim, sunbathe, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, Oval Beach offers it all.

Douglas Beach is another popular spot that attracts both locals and tourists. This beach is renowned for its calm waters, making it ideal for families with young children. The shallow depth and gentle waves provide a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all ages.

Name Location Features
Oval Beach Just a short drive from downtown Saugatuck Soft golden sand, breathtaking views
Douglas Beach Located in Douglas, MI Calmer waters, ideal for families

For those looking for a more secluded and tranquil beach experience, consider visiting Saugatuck Dunes State Park. This park offers miles of pristine shoreline and towering dunes, providing a serene and unspoiled environment. Explore the hiking trails or simply relax on the beach and watch the waves roll in.

No matter which beach you choose to explore, the stunning views and peaceful atmosphere are sure to leave a lasting impression. So grab your sunscreen, towel, and beach chair, and get ready to unwind and soak up the sun in Saugatuck, MI.

Visit the Historic Saugatuck Lighthouse

One of the must-see attractions when visiting Saugatuck, Michigan is the historic Saugatuck Lighthouse. This picturesque lighthouse is located at the entrance of the Kalamazoo River and has been a beacon of light for sailors since 1871.

The Saugatuck Lighthouse offers visitors the opportunity to explore its rich history and enjoy stunning views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding area. The lighthouse is open for tours, allowing you to climb to the top and take in the panoramic views of the lake and coastline.

During your visit, you’ll learn about the lighthouse keepers who once lived and worked at the lighthouse, and the challenges they faced in maintaining the beacon. The museum inside the lighthouse houses artifacts and exhibits that showcase the history of the lighthouse and the maritime heritage of the area.

For those who enjoy outdoor activities, the Saugatuck Lighthouse offers access to beautiful sandy beaches, perfect for relaxing or taking a stroll along the shoreline. The lighthouse grounds also feature picnic areas, allowing visitors to enjoy a meal while taking in the scenic views.

Visiting the Saugatuck Lighthouse is a great way to immerse yourself in the rich history and natural beauty of the Saugatuck area. Whether you’re interested in lighthouse history, enjoy photography, or simply want to enjoy a peaceful day by the lake, the Saugatuck Lighthouse is a must-visit destination.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the lighthouse.

Note: The Saugatuck Lighthouse is currently operating as a private residence and is not open to the public. However, visitors can still enjoy the views and learn about the lighthouse’s history from the outside.

Take a Scenic Boat Tour

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Saugatuck is by taking a scenic boat tour. Whether you’re a nature lover or simply looking to relax and enjoy the stunning views, a boat tour is a must-do activity in this charming Michigan town.

There are several boat tour options available in Saugatuck, ranging from sunset cruises to dune rides. One popular choice is the Star of Saugatuck, a paddlewheel boat that offers narrated cruises along the Kalamazoo River. As you sail along the calm waters, you’ll have an opportunity to spot wildlife, admire the unique architecture of the surrounding homes, and learn about the history of the area from the knowledgeable crew.

If you’re more adventurous, you can also opt for a dune ride tour. These tours take you through the magnificent sand dunes of Saugatuck, giving you a chance to experience the thrill of off-roading on a comfortable and custom-built dune buggy. As you traverse the rolling hills of sand, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding countryside.

No matter which boat tour you choose, you’re guaranteed to be in awe of Saugatuck’s natural beauty. The peacefulness of the water, the enchanting wildlife, and the captivating scenery will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to take a scenic boat tour and see why Saugatuck is considered one of the top-rated vacation destinations in the Midwest.

Discover Local Art Galleries

When visiting Saugatuck, MI, one of the top things to do is explore the local art scene. This charming town is known for its vibrant arts community, and there are several art galleries that showcase the talent of local artists.

One of the must-visit galleries in Saugatuck is the Water Street Gallery. This contemporary gallery features a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, and glasswork. With rotating exhibitions and a diverse range of artists, there is always something new and exciting to discover at Water Street Gallery.

Another popular art destination is the Armstrong-DeGraaf International Fine Art Gallery. This gallery specializes in high-quality artworks by internationally recognized artists. From stunning landscapes to abstract masterpieces, the Armstrong-DeGraaf Gallery offers a unique collection that will impress any art enthusiast.

If you’re looking for something a bit more unconventional, consider visiting the Good Goods Gallery. This gallery is known for showcasing functional art, including handmade furniture, ceramics, and jewelry. The Good Goods Gallery is a great place to find one-of-a-kind pieces that are both beautiful and practical.

Art lovers will also appreciate the Amazwi Contemporary Art Gallery. This gallery focuses on contemporary African art and aims to promote cultural exchange and understanding. With thought-provoking exhibitions and a commitment to showcasing diverse perspectives, Amazwi Contemporary Art Gallery is a true gem in Saugatuck’s art scene.

Whether you’re a seasoned art connoisseur or simply appreciate beautiful creations, exploring Saugatuck’s local art galleries is a must-do activity. These galleries not only provide an opportunity to admire stunning artworks but also support the talented artists who call this charming town home.

Indulge in Delicious Dining Options

When visiting Saugatuck, MI, you won’t want to miss out on the amazing dining options available in this charming town. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner with a waterfront view or a casual meal with friends, Saugatuck has something to satisfy every palate.

One popular dining spot is The Southerner, a Southern-inspired restaurant that serves up mouthwatering dishes such as fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and bourbon pecan pie. The cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make this a must-visit for anyone craving classic Southern comfort food.

If you’re in the mood for some fresh seafood, make sure to check out Marro’s Italian Restaurant. Located right on the water, this family-owned restaurant offers a wide selection of seafood dishes, including their famous Lake Michigan perch. With its rustic charm and delicious food, Marro’s is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.


Explore the Downtown Shopping District

When visiting Saugatuck, make sure to set aside some time to explore the charming downtown shopping district. This area is known for its unique shops, boutiques, and art galleries, making it a perfect destination for those looking for one-of-a-kind items.

Stroll down the tree-lined streets and discover a variety of stores offering everything from clothing and accessories to home decor and gourmet foods. You’ll find a mix of local businesses, well-known brands, and independent vendors, ensuring there is something for everyone.

Take your time to browse through the collections of handmade jewelry, artwork, and antiques. Stop by the local bookshops and peruse the aisles filled with fiction, non-fiction, and unique finds that will satisfy any book lover.

If you’re in need of some souvenir shopping, you’ll find plenty of options in the downtown area. Look for local ceramics, hand-poured candles, and other unique gifts that will remind you of your visit to Saugatuck.

During your shopping adventures, take a break in one of the many coffee shops or cafes scattered throughout the district. Rest your feet and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee or indulge in a sweet treat.

Make sure to also explore the art galleries in the area. Saugatuck is known for its thriving arts scene, and the downtown district is the perfect place to view and purchase original artwork. From paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media, there is a diverse range of artistic styles to choose from.

Whether you’re looking for a unique gift, a piece of artwork, or just want to soak in the charming atmosphere, the downtown shopping district of Saugatuck is a must-visit. Spend a leisurely afternoon or an entire day exploring the shops, galleries, and eateries, and you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.

Experience the Saugatuck Dune Rides

One of the most exhilarating and unique experiences in Saugatuck is taking a dune ride. Saugatuck Dune Rides offers a thrilling adventure that allows you to explore the stunning sand dunes along Lake Michigan.

During the ride, you’ll be seated in a comfortable open-air vehicle specially designed to navigate the sandy terrain. You’ll be taken on a guided tour through the dunes, where you’ll learn about the history, geology, and ecology of the area.

The dunes are not only beautiful, but they also offer incredible panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding landscape. As you cruise through the dunes, you’ll have the opportunity to spot wildlife, including birds, deer, and even foxes.

For an extra thrill, Saugatuck Dune Rides also offers “sunset rides” where you can witness a breathtaking sunset over the lake from the top of the dunes. It’s a magical experience that provides a unique perspective of the natural beauty of the area.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adrenaline junkie, or simply looking for a fun and memorable activity during your visit to Saugatuck, the dune rides are a must-try attraction. So buckle up, hold on tight, and get ready for an adventure you won’t soon forget!

Enjoy a Winery or Brewery Tour

One of the top-rated things to do in Saugatuck, MI is to take a winery or brewery tour. The area is known for its thriving wine and craft beer scene, making it a perfect destination for enthusiasts.

On a winery tour, you can explore the beautiful vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and, of course, taste a variety of delicious wines. Some popular wineries in Saugatuck include Fenn Valley Vineyards and Crane’s Winery.

If you prefer beer, don’t worry! Saugatuck has several breweries that offer tours and tastings. You can visit places like Saugatuck Brewing Company or Guardian Brewing Company to get an inside look at how their tasty craft beers are made.

During the tour, you will have the opportunity to talk to knowledgeable staff who will explain the different types of wines or beers and provide interesting insights into their production. You can also take home your favorite bottles or cans as a souvenir of your visit.

Whether you are a wine connoisseur or a beer lover, a winery or brewery tour is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Saugatuck, MI. So, grab a friend or loved one and prepare to indulge in some of the best local libations the area has to offer!

Hike the Beautiful Nature Trails

One of the top-rated things to do in Saugatuck, MI is to hike the beautiful nature trails. Saugatuck is known for its breathtaking natural scenery, and exploring the nature trails is the perfect way to experience it.

There are several nature trails in the area that cater to different skill levels and interests. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a trail for you. You can choose to hike through lush forests, along picturesque lakes, or even up sand dunes for a more challenging adventure.

As you hike the nature trails, you’ll be surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. You may spot birds, deer, and other wildlife along the way. The trails are well-maintained and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Don’t forget to bring your camera, as there will be plenty of photo opportunities along the way. Capture the vibrant colors of the changing seasons, or the sparkling waters of the lakes. You’ll want to preserve the memories of your hike in Saugatuck’s beautiful nature trails.

So, lace up your hiking boots, grab a water bottle, and head out to explore the beautiful nature trails in Saugatuck, MI. You won’t be disappointed by the scenic beauty and tranquility that awaits you.

Attend a Live Performance at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts

If you’re looking for a cultural experience in Saugatuck, don’t miss the opportunity to attend a live performance at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. This unique venue offers a variety of shows and events throughout the year, ranging from theater productions to musical performances and art exhibitions.

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts is dedicated to showcasing local and regional talent, as well as hosting nationally recognized artists. Their state-of-the-art facility provides a comfortable and intimate setting for audiences to enjoy performances of all kinds.

Whether you’re a fan of theater, music, or visual arts, there’s sure to be something on the center’s calendar that will pique your interest. From Broadway-style musicals to classical concerts, contemporary dance performances to thought-provoking art installations, the Saugatuck Center for the Arts offers a diverse and engaging program for visitors of all ages.

In addition to their regular performances, the center also presents special events and workshops, giving visitors the opportunity to interact with artists and learn more about their craft. This hands-on approach allows for a deeper appreciation and understanding of the creative process.

Before or after the show, be sure to visit the center’s art gallery, which features a rotating collection of contemporary works. From paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media pieces, the gallery showcases the talent and creativity of local and national artists.

Address 400 Culver Street, Saugatuck, MI 49453
Phone (269) 857-2399

Attending a live performance at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Saugatuck. Make sure to check their schedule and book your tickets in advance to secure your spot at one of their unforgettable shows.


What are some top-rated attractions in Saugatuck, MI?

Some top-rated attractions in Saugatuck, MI include Oval Beach, Saugatuck Dunes State Park, and Saugatuck Chain Ferry.

Is Saugatuck, MI a good destination for outdoor activities?

Yes, Saugatuck, MI is a great destination for outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, boating, and swimming in the area’s beautiful natural surroundings.

What is the best time to visit Saugatuck, MI?

The best time to visit Saugatuck, MI is during the summer months from June to August when the weather is warm and sunny, and outdoor activities and events are in full swing.

Are there any art galleries or shops in Saugatuck, MI?

Yes, Saugatuck, MI is known for its thriving arts scene. Visitors can explore numerous art galleries and shops in the area, showcasing a variety of local and national artists.

Are there any notable restaurants in Saugatuck, MI?

Yes, Saugatuck, MI has a diverse culinary scene with several notable restaurants. Some popular choices include The Southerner, The Butler, and Phil’s Bar & Grille, offering a range of cuisines and dining experiences.

What are some top-rated activities in Saugatuck, MI?

Some top-rated activities in Saugatuck, MI include visiting Oval Beach, exploring Saugatuck Dunes State Park, taking a ride on the Saugatuck Chain Ferry, and visiting the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.


How to spend one day in Saugatuck, Michigan

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Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson, an Anchorage-based travel writer contributing her expertise to TravelAsker. Her in-depth knowledge of Alaska, both in her hometown and throughout the state, makes her the go-to local expert. From top-notch accommodations to delectable dining spots and thrilling activities, Sarah’s insightful recommendations ensure you’ll have a fantastic family trip in Alaska.

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