Looking for things to do in Saugatuck, Michigan? We have you covered in today’s post! We’re sharing where to eat, where to stay and what to do in this charming Michigan town!
The possibilities are endless for things to do in Saugatuck, Michigan. Saugatuck is the perfect place to pause, and reserve a room in one of their many little hotels, away from the hustle of your busy world. An ideal place to relax, reconnect and revisit in every season of the year, it’s no wonder Saugatuck is a favorite location for Michigan weekend getaways.
If you follow us on Instagram, you know we recently planned a week long Ultimate Michigan Road Trip. Our first stop from Chicago was Saugatuck and we completely fell in love with this quaint beach town.
Whether you are looking to bike, hike, boat, get to the beach, golf or endulge in endless breweries and eateries, there are endless things to do in Saugatuck, MI. So, it is no surprise that Saugatuck is a favorite of travelers across the globe. We can certainly see why!
Depending on how much you’d like to see and do, Saugatuck is easily a trip you could make from the surrounding areas in as little as a day or as long as a week. Saugatuck was only an overnight stay on our trip through Michigan and I felt we had plently of time to enjoy the shops, eat at a few local hot spots, enjoy the beach and more.
In this post, we will cover things to do in Saugatuck, where to stay, how we felt about travleing during COVID-19, neighboring towns, shopping in Saugatuck and more.
THINGS TO DO IN SAUGATUCK, MI
If you are traveling through, or staying in Saugatuck, you cannot miss hanging out in charming and vibrant downtown Saugatuck. The downtown area is full of unique boutiques, pubs, cafes, galleries, restaurants, and gardens.
If you can, I recommend bringing your bikes as Saugatuck is the the perfect place to bike around from the shops, to the beachfront, eating and more. The downtown area itself is just a few blocks wide and long so you can see everything you want in the area in just a quick morning or afternoon.
If you’re looking for things to do in Saugatuck and love to shop around, wee fell in love with a number of cute boutique shops including Amazwi Contemporary Art, Gina’s Boutique, and Article’s – An Urban Boutique.
In the heart of downtown, you will also find the Saugatuck Center For the Arts which brings lively theater, concerts, exhibitions, documentary film, workshops, farmers’ markets and more all year long.
SAUATUCK DUNE RIDES
Saugatuck Dune Rides is one of West Michigan’s premier attractions! Saugatuck Dune Rides is taking limited reservations, but it’s a fun and exciting way to see the sand dunes in the area. See their website for how they are taking measures to protect guests during these uncertain times.
SAUGATUCK STATE PARK
Want to hike, run, disc golf, bird watch, ski, or snow shoe through the trails? All of that can be done at the Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Saugatuck Dunes has 13 miles of sandy hiking trails. A visit to Saugatuck State Park was one of our favorite things to do in Saugatuck.
The southern portion of the park is mostly made up of the dedicated natural area. The park has fresh water coastal dunes that are over 200 feet tall. The park’s terrain varies from steep slopes to rolling hills.
If you are looking for great outdoor activities everyone in the family can enjoy, add this to the top of your list of things to do in Saugatuck.
Just $11 when purchased with your license plate registration renewal, the Recreation Passport is your very own key to exploring Michigan’s state parks, trails, historic sites, boat launches, and more. Non-Resident Daily Pass is $9.
Lose track of time beach combing, swimming, building a sand castle, and watching the sunset at our award winning Oval Beach. Celebrated around the world for its beautiful sweep of shoreline and backdrop of rolling dunes, this is the main beach in town and the most happening place to soak in the sun.
Its impressive pedigree of awards (Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 25 Beaches in the World, National Geographic Traveler’s Top Freshwater Beaches in the USA, and MTV’s Top 5 Beaches in the USA) is proof of its status as a summertime favorite and natural beauty spot. Easy parking, concessions, and a picnic area will keep the whole group happy until the sun goes down.
TIP: During the Summer months, the beach can be quite busy. I would recommend getting there early to grab a spot away from people, if needed. There is a large main section of the beach from the parking lot. However, if you prefer to social distance, you can find secluded parts of the beach directly north or directly south of the main beach.
RETRO BOAT RENTALS
If you’re looking for things to do in Saugatuck, MI and prefer to be out on the water – look no further than Retro Boat Rentals. I mean, how adorable are these?
Their fleet of meticulously maintained and rare classic fiberglass runabout boats from the jet-age era (1958-1963), have been made available for everyone to enjoy and take out on the beautiful waterways of Saugatuck/Douglas.
With fanciful fins and headlights, retro cool colors and chrome details, they’ve kept their vintage style but retro-fitted them with electric motors. Retro Boat Rentals also offers a Pontoon boat for rent, as well as Donut Boats and Duffy Boats, that are electric as well, for larger groups.
All of this can be found at The Old Boat House, a waterfront bar and restaurant along the Kalamazoo River. Whether you’re renting a boat, or just want to enjoy their beautiful patio, come experience this unique setting along the waterfront in Saugatuck.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN SAUGATUCK, MI
We can’t talk about things to do in Saugatuck without talking about all of the incredible places to eat and drink around town!
In Saugatuck you’re surrounded by incredible orchards, farms, fishermen, wineries, Farmers’ Markets, and more. There’s no shortage of things to do in Saugatuck if eating and drinking is involved. Whether you’re interested in a night on the town, drinks by the water or quick bites, this lit includes just a few of our favorite places to eat in Saugatuck.
For an even more extensive list, visit the Saugatuck Visitors Guide.
WHERE TO EAT IN SAUGATUCK FOR A NIGHT ON THE TOWN
BOWSIE’S CHOPHOUSE | Downtown Saugatuck
Chef Chris Dobler’s was named Best Area New Restaurant for 2015. We concur. Once you’ve tasted their excellent Shrimp Cocktail, Seafood Bisque or Spicy Mussels, their extraordinary 24 oz. Cowboy Ribeye, Lamb Chops, Roasted Organic Half Chicken (nice and moist, yet crispy), Dover Sole, Truffle Fries or Grilled Caesar, you’ll rave too!! Desserts? Never a disappointment.
EVERYDAY PEOPLES CAFE | Downtown Douglas
Everyday People Cafe has an eclectic menu filled with exciting dishes and bold flavors! Locals rave about their Greek Salad, Drunken Shrimp, Grecian Lamb Chops Mussels, Wasabi Tuna, and Spanish Tapas!! Their wine list also comes highly recommended. Summertime grilling in the garden and music abounds! Downtown Douglas is just 1.5 miles away from downtown Saugatuck.
SALT OF THE EARTH | Downtown Fennville
Chef Mathew Pietsch makes magic using local Saugatuck ingredients. All the flavors prevail beginning with creative cocktails including Hemingway Mojito, Apple Crisp or a Scratch Made Margarita. Hungry? Try their Grilled Hanger Steak, Pan-fried Perch, Wood fired Salmon, or Pizza. Finish with Toasted S’mores, or Apple Crumble. Every weekend they offer great live music, too!
CLEARBROOK GRILL ROOM |Saugatuck
The Clearbrook Frill Room is a lovely haven for fine dining overlooking their beautiful gardens and golf course. Head there for a delightful, relaxing experience. This is a favorite of locals who crave their Almond Crusted Walleye, the Grilled Wild Salmon, Blueberry Pulled Pork, their fabulous pastas and pizzas and The Mackinac Fudge Sundae.
HAWKS HEAD | 20 minutes south, near South Haven
Hawks head has a great contry setting with delicious food. Give their signature Coconut Curry Chicken, Angus Ribeye, Drunken Duck the Scottish Salmon, Sweet Potato Brulee or the Peach Cobbler a try for a real treat.
BELVEDERE INN & RESTAURANT | Saugatuck
The Belvedere Restaurant has seasonal hours, along with a seasonal menu in addition to a number of Special Events menus. A full wine and spirit menu is offered. There is no dress code and reservations are recommended. The restaurant is nonsmoking.
COAST 236 | Saugatuck
Located in downtown Saugatuck, Coast 236 Restaurant & Bar sources meaningful ingredients from water & land, crafting approachable, coastal-inspired food, cocktails, & wine flights. Sit by the fireplace in the cozy dining room, outside in the beautiful garden, or grab a stool at the bar.
Catch some live music, a cooking class, or a fun-filled happy hour. During the summer, they serve dinner 7-days a week from 5–10p, and brunch from 10–2p. In the fall/winter months (typically October-June), they serve dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5–10p; Sundays they serve brunch from 10a–2p, and dinner from 5–9p.
BUTCH’S DRY DOCK | Downtown Holland
Consistently fabulous food in a white linen dining room OR a lively pub setting … with an amazing selection of retail wine, beer, and cider in between. Owner Butch and Chef Clark Frain cook with the seasons — eclectic American Fare — and a terrific wine, beer, liquor, and cocktail list!
WHERE TO EAT IN SAUGATUCK ON A MORE CASUAL NOTE
VIRTUE CIDER | Fennville
Virtue is a craft cider company launched in 2011 in Fennville, Michigan, by Gregory Hall, former brewmaster at Goose Island. Their mission is to make proper farmhouse ciders from local heirloom apples and employ traditional farmhouse production methods that include native and secondary fermentation.
They partner with local family farms by purchasing the highest quality apples for our ciders. Tour their two traditional cider houses to see how their ciders are made. Sample their ciders straight from the source in their Taproom or take home some bottles for yourself from the Bottle Shop. They are pet-friendly, too!
I highly recommend adding this to your list of things to do in Saugatuck!
THE SOUTHERNER | Saugatuck Riverfront
Located along the Kalamazoo River, The Southerner brings Southern cooking to Saugatuck. Give these local favorites a try – Heavenly Fried Chicken, Flaky Biscuits, Braised Greens, Hickory Smoked Ribs and Sausages, Texas quail, and Tarheel Pulled Pork. Memorable are Deep Fried Whitefish, the Hanger Steak, the Grassfed Beef Burger, Shrimp & Grits, Braised Greens and Blackberry Crisp. Wine & beer lists are limited, but their selections are superb. Cocktails are ALWAYS carefully crafted and pack a punch.
PHIL’S BAR AND GRILL | Downtown Saugatuck
Many would say Phil’s Bar and Grill offers some of the best bar food and more. The menu, while exciting and ecletic is casual but really tasty. From Spicy Quesadillas to Thai Mussels, Lobster Cobb Salad, Wild Salmon, Lamb Chops, Grilled Scallops, and Crab Cakes. This Wine List is very interesting and the beers on tap always intrigue.
THE BUTLER RESTAURANT | Saugatuck
The Butler restaurant features a wide selection of American food with its signature Butler Burger, casual waterfront dining with spectacular views of Lake Kalamazoo harbor, boardwalk and boats. Outdoor dining and live entertainment from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Tiki Bar is really fun in the Summer, too!
WALLY’S | Downtown Saugatuck
A classic where locals and tourists love to gather, hear live music, and enjoy a beer. Try the fried perch, burger, quesadilla, or the special of the day. We love the heated porch!
SAUGATUCK BREWING COMPANY | Douglas
LUCY’S LITTLE KITCHEN | Downtown Saugatuck
Lucy’s Little Kitchen was created by the same owners as Everyday People Cafe. This local favorite is a bright and charming place that buzzes with energy!
We love whatever he puts into the smoker and everything he brings in from local farms! If you’re looking for recommendations, try the Tuna Nachos, Lobster Rolls, Ceviche, Truffle aioli, Burgers with Bacon and Onion Jam, BBQ Pulled Pork, and fantastic cocktails! Terrific.
GUARDIAN BREWING | Saugatuck
Gardian Brewing is a relatively new addition to the Saukatuck scene. The brewery makes great beers and yummy food. The menu is small, but special. Try the Korean BBQ Wings, Kale & Winter Squash Salad and the Cuban On Dutch Crunch Bread. And for dessert…the Popcorn Ice Cream is pretty spectacular.
BORROWED TIME | Downtown Douglas
Borrowed Time is a wine bar and small plates restaurant, serving unique wine, seasonal food, craft beers, unique spirits, & homemade desserts.
They go beyond traditional dining, striving to create unique, memorable experiences with food and drink, among friends, in a comfortable atmosphere. Expect constantly rotating wines from around the world, craft beer made mostly in the mitten, unique small batch liquors, seasonal and inventive small plates, and homemade desserts.
MERMAID WATERFONT BAR & GRILL | Downtown Saugatuck, Riverfront
The Mermaid is a family-owned, full-service restaurant in Saugatuck, MI, serving fresh fish and other favorites. Their dockside eatery has patio seating and overlooks the Kalamazoo River. Excellent customer service is important to us. We strive to create a safe and comfortable space where individuals and families feel both welcomed and valued
IDA REDS | Downtown Saugatuck
Many would say Ida Reds is a Saugatuck favorite for Breakfast or Lunch. They have excellent specials. Try their omelets, pastas and their interesting assortment of creative salads. Note, they are almost always swamped and only accept cash.
WICKS PARK BAR & GRILLE | Downtown Saugatuck
Located on the Kalamazoo River near The Saugatuck Chain Ferry, Wicks Park Bar & Grille is the perfect place for great Cocktails, Starters, Salads, Pasta, Burgers and Sandwiches. The food is as lively as the music, and we love a seat at the bar.
PUMPERNICKLE’S | Downtown Saugatuck
Try an omelette in the morning. Salads, soups, or grilled sandwich for lunch. Homemade baked goods anytime of day. Enjoy their new beer, wine & cocktail list! Be sure to make reservations as this hot spot can fill up quickly.
THE OLD BOAT HOUSE | Downtown Saugatuck
The Old Boat House is a waterfront Bar, Food & Fun! Casual food, craft cocktails, large waterfront patio. You can also rent retro boats and more!
UNCOMMON COFFEE ROATERS | Saugatuck
If you’re looking for a good cup of coffee, and a quaint spot to enjoy some morning people watching, add Uncommon Coffee Roasters to your list of things to do in Saugatuck.
By sourcing their coffee from sustainable small farms and cooperatives around the globe and roasting their beans in small batches, they ensure every cup has the richest flavor possible. They also care about the community, and as an NGLCC Certified LGBT business, they are proud to offer a safe gathering place for the local LGBT community.
WHERE TO STAY IN SAUGATUCK, MI
After you have tackled your long list of things to do in Saugatuck, MI rest your head on a number of the quait stay options Saugatuck has to offer.
From charming and quaint bed and breakfasts to historic inns and cozy cottages, Saugatuck is filled with quaint places to stay which will make your trip a memorable one. Here are just a few of our recommendations on where to stay in Saugatuck, MI.
For a full list of hotel, vacation rentals, bed & breakfasts and more be sure to visit the official Saugatuck Visitors Guide.
BELVEDERE INN & RESTUARANT | Saugatuck
TYPICAL RATES: $179 – $399
The Belvedere Inn is one of the few European-style bed and breakfasts in Michigan. The Inn is exquisitely restored mansion on 5 acres just 1 ½ miles from downtown Saugatuck.
Built in 1913 during a period of wealth the Belvedere Inn epitomizes the character of a lovely English Country House where one can fantasize distinguished shooting partners dropping in for afternoon tea. The Belvedere has been expertly modernized to provide the highest standards of comfort while retaining its old-world charm.
The Irish chef patron and his fellow proprietor have created a beautifully appointed bed and breakfast in Saugatuck. To step inside is to recapture something of the vibrant past of the building. Its history is perpetuated through skillful restoration, gleaming hardwoods and the patina of fine antiques.
MARYWOOD MANOR BED & BREAKFAST & COTTAGES | Saugatuck
TYPICAL RATES: $225 – $245/night plus tax and include breakfast
The Marywood Manor Bed and Breakfast stands amid its own well-tended gardens quietly tucked away at the end of a private street in downtown Saugatuck. This intimate 1886 four-square colonial bed and breakfast enjoys an excellent location just a few steps from all activities, shops, art galleries and fine dining.
his small charming bed and breakfast has four three-room private suites named after Saugatuck attractions. Guests can relax over breakfast on the inn’s seasonal front porch or in the privacy of their suite.
Marywood’s perennial garden offers gorgeous flowers, plush green lawn and lovely plantings. It is a wonderful place to sit back and relax with a cup of your morning coffee. There are several secluded nooks with seating, ideal for private conversations, or where guests can admire a trellis draped with orange trumpet vine.
INN OF SAUGATUCK | Saugatuck
TYPICAL RATES: $150 – $250
Luxury short-term accommodations right Downtown Saugatuck, Michigan The Inn of Saugatuck is a perfect home base for your West Michigan getaway. This lovely Bed and Breakfast is walking distance from many fine restaurants, shops, galleries, and other interesting diversions.
WICKWOOD INN | Saugatuck
The Wickwood Inn is a Saugatuck Boutique Hotel in the heart of this lovely town.
WHERE FOOD LOVERS GATHER “Today’s ‘foodie’ originated in a little shop on the Upper West Side in the late 70’s,” per the New York Times. Well, that was New York City and now here we are in small-town Saugatuck, Michigan.
This is where best-selling James Beard Hall of Fame cookbook author and co-founder of The Silver Palate and owner of Wickwood for 3 decades, Julee Rosso, first began to source the freshest local farmer’s market ingredients. Those ideas continue as she creates new recipes to share everyday with the guests of Wickwood. Taste her experienced cooking in the fresh three-course Farm to Table Breakfasts, Afternoon Sweets & Treats and Evening Sips & Small Plates Hour – all complimentary.
LAKE SHORE RESORT | Saugatuck
TYPICAL RATES: $165 – $340
Lake Shore Resort more than lives up to its name by providing a Michigan vacation that promises guests a front row seat to the awesome sights and sounds of Lake Michigan within minutes of downtown Saugatuck/Douglas.
The “Lake Shore” is the area’s only motel resort lodging facility overlooking Lake Michigan with private access for the exclusive use of its guests. A majority of the resort’s guests are adults seeking a quiet and relaxing stay on the lake amidst natural surroundings. The resort offers 30 recently renovated rooms that are comfortably furnished with a king bed or 2 full-size beds providing a two-person maximum occupancy.
We hope you enjoyed this guide to things to do in Saugatuck! If you have any questions, please do not hesigate to email us or message us on Instagram. We’re happy to help you plan your trip to this great Michicagn Town!