South HavenWest Michigan.
South Haven is unique among Lake Michigan beach towns in that the downtown is right next to the beaches and the harbor. It's OK to walk straight from the beach in swimwear to the downtown, although you may want to cover up a bit.
There are about a thousand boat docks in the city as well, most of which are in walking distance to the downtown, so there are plenty of boaters to liven things up.
- From Chicago, take I-94 to I-196 (at St Joseph). You can also follow the old Chicago Road, now known as M-83 and Blue Star Highway, which starts at New Buffalo and winds along the coast through a number of harbor towns.
From I-196, take Exit 20 (Phoenix Street) west to downtown and then on to South Beach.
You can also take Exit 22 to North Shore Drive and follow it in across the bridge to the downtown.
- From Detroit, take I-94 to Kalamazoo, and follow M-43 through Kalamazoo to its end in South Haven.
By carThe intersection of Phoenix and Center Streets marks the town center. There is plenty of parking in the downtown parking lots (except for a few festival days) and more parking at the beaches. You can park on most streets, unless you see a no parking sign or yellow curb.
By bikePark your car and get on your bicycle, South Haven is a bike friendly city and you can get anywhere in just a few minutes.
On footWalking works too and it is good for you.
Michigan Maritime MuseumNice displays of Lake Michigan maritime history, the old wooden lifeboats are very beautiful and make you wonder how many storms they survived.
Friends Goodwill Tall ShipKeep your eyes peeled for the pirate ship, matey! Ask about a tour, they generally will let you tour the boat if they are not getting ready for their next trip. Help support our tall ship with a donation.
South Haven Municipal MarinaBoat docks, public park, beautiful views of the lighthouse and sunset from the public deck on the water.
South Haven LighthouseTake a walk on the South pier out to the lighthouse. When waves are washing over the pier, stay off, people have lost their lives this way. When it is calm, look for fish on the south side of the South Pier. Ice may form in the colder months, watch out for ice.
- Sunset, Viewing the sunset is a ritual for visitors. Any beach will do, many people like to walk out to the lighthouse to watch the sunset over the water.
- Monroe Boulevard Bluff, Spectacular view of the lighthouse, pier, catwalk and Lake Michigan horizon.
- Storm Watching, Many of the storms that come in over the Lake are quite dramatic. If you notice a front coming through, stop at one of the beaches or Monroe Boulevard Bluff and watch nature's power. When it is windy, the Lake furiously pounds the pier and Lighthouse with waves. Winter snowstorms are especially dramatic.
- Iceberg Watching, After it has been cold for some time, mountains of ice build up on the pier and along shore. The ice looks like a craggy mountain range. Sometimes, storm waves will move the ice around and spray bursts up into the air as storm waves hit the icebergs. Do not walk on the ice, it is very dangerous, the ice shifts and moves, and the waves undercut the ice from the lake side.
address: 903 S Bailey Ave South Haven, MI 49090
address: 06285 68th Street, South Haven, MI 49090
Go to the beach. South Haven has two main beaches:
South Haven, MI 49090
Both are directly adjacent to the piers. The South Beach is known as a more family beach, while the North Beach is the favorite of students, especially from Western Michigan University. There are other beaches too, drive along North Shore Drive and there are a number of street ends and small trails leading to public beach accesses.
Fishing - in early spring, around late March and April, salmon and lake trout are running and can be caught from the piers. Some people like to use flashing spoons and some like deep diving Rapalas. Spawn bags also work well. Other times of the year, people still fish, there are perch, bass and other fish taken from the piers and various fishing sites upstream as well.
Harborwalk - there is a sidewalk route that will take you from the South Pier at the South Beach, along Riverfront Park and the harbor, through the downtown, across the Bascule Bridge, past the Maritime Museum and the marinas, and out to North Beach and the North Pier.
Pick Blueberries - there are a number of blueberry farms in the area where you can pick your own blueberries (and eat lots while you pick). You can also get a quart or two at the farmers market, or a number of roadside stands.
Ice Cream at Sherman's Dairy
Blueberries at the Farmer's Market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings
The Vineyard, across the street from Joe's, offers a lunchtime buffet during the week that is quite nice.
South Haven is extremely popular as a resort town, and lodging is not cheap. Renting a house by the week is probably the most popular type of lodging, but there are bed and breakfast inns, and hotel/motels too.
There is a campground out east of town on Phoenix Street (CR 384), along the Kal-Haven Trail. There are several RV parks on the north side.
There is a small public campground (bicycle access only) along the Kal-Haven Bicycle Trail on the bluff just east of the covered bridge.
address: 515 Williams StreetOld Harbor Inn's room amenities include plush robes, kitchenettes, balconies, and fireplaces.
Take a drive along the Blue Star Highway to Glenn and Saugatuck.