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Dune trails, wetlands, vineyards, and water — Saugatuck has it all for the outdoor adventurer.


Whatever your favorite outdoor hobby, you’re bound to find something right up your alley in the Saugatuck area. Here are a few suggestions for different vacation personalities:


With six public beaches to choose from in Saugatuck and Douglas, finding the perfect place to bury your toes in the sand isn’t an issue. Award-winning Oval Beach is a big draw for locals and travelers alike, and is probably the most lively beach if you’re looking to pick up a volleyball game, socialize, or people-watch. If you’re looking for something a bit more private and family-friendly, Douglas Beach  should be your destination. It has the best sunset views. I’d also suggest Pier Cove beach for the best skipping stones, and West Side County Park for its playgrounds and pavilions.



If you’re looking for a bit more activity on your favorite stretch of sand, then challenge yourself to the 350 stairs that line the secluded Laketown Beach. Or better yet, hike to the top of Mount Baldhead for the best views of the area (a mere 307 stairs in comparison). If you’re going to attempt the mount, however, you might want to do a little training first.



Explore the living-dunes inside Saugatuck Dunes State Park, or discover the interdunal wetlands of the Harbor Natural Area. The dunes cover 1,000 acres of Lake Michigan shoreline and includes 25k of hiking trails, while the Harbor Natural Area is 173 acres of historic land at the original mouth of the Kalamazoo River. It’s a great place for fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching.



Whether you’re an experienced sailor looking to voyage onto the Great Lake, or a group of fun-seeking friends up for some laughs, Saugatuck can outfit your excursion. Here are a few options to check out:

  • Retro Boat Rentals: With fanciful fins and headlights, retro-cool colors and chrome details, these vintage-looking boats have been retro-fitted with electric motors for a quiet and environmentally friendly ride. Grab your favorite cocktail, and tool the Kalamazoo River in style.
  • Sailing Saugatuck: Offers sailing tours of Saugatuck’s only authentic tall ship. Hop aboard for one of their two-hour daily cruises (the sunset slots fill fast!), or charter the boat and have the perfect backdrop to your small wedding, bachelorett party, anniversary dinner, or other special occasion.
  • Jet skis are never not fun. Making Waves Boat and Jet Ski Rentals is conveniently located in downtown Saugatuck, just south of Wick’s Park. They rent pontoons too!



Once you’ve managed to visit Saugatuck’s beaches enough (is that possible?), you can spice up your vacation with a few of these day-trips and activities:

  • Visit the Windmill Island Garden during tulip season for its gardens –– they’re amazing! –– or any other time of year to see its 250-year-old windmill, a carousel, and Dutch-costumed guides who are always eager to teach visitors about Dutch culture and the windmill’s grinding process. The gift shop has thirty different kinds of authentic Dutch cheeses!
  • Tee up at the 18-hole, Arnold-Palmer-designed Ravines Golf Club.
  • Spend the day at Crane Orchards where there are plenty of U-pick fruits to choose from. Sample fresh-baked, homemade fruit pies, wines, and ciders (and typical restaurant fare) in the rustic family restaurant, on outdoor patio accompanied by live music, or find a picnic table somewhere around the property. In the fall, their corn maze can’t be beat.
  • Wild West Horseback Ranch offers trail rides, carriage rides, and pony rides year round, plus sleigh rides in the winter months.


There’s really so much to see and do in and around Saugatuck. I didn’t even mention yoga on the beach, live music venues, or the Lake Shore Wine Trail! Read about a few of my favorite vineyards here . And if you’re staying at a Lakewood Lux property, I’m happy to recommend more of my favorites. My vacation homes are more than places to stay, they are experiences.