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5 Reasons to visit Saugatuck Michigan with the family, including dune rides, hiking trails, and rootbeer floats.


The Sinchak family loves Saugatuck. We’ve been escaping to the golden shores of Lake Michigan ever since our babies were born. We’ve cradled them to sleep dockside. We’ve watched them grow up digging in the soft sands of Oval Beach and, later, hiking the nature trails of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park. And while our children were busy being kids, you better believe the adults were enjoying themselves too, taking in the art galleries, learning about the area’s history, and enjoying the adventure. When it comes to family vacations, nothing beats Saugatuck.

Here are my top five family-friendly Saugatuck must-sees for adventurers and leisure-loving families alike:


While there may be other places in Michigan to find a ride down the dunes, Saugatuck provides some of the only guided tours, making Saugatuck Dune Rides the ultimate dune-exploration experience.

Jump inside an open-roof, five-row dune car and enjoy a 40-minute ride through Lake Michigan’s “living” sand dunes. You’ll learn about the history of the lost town of Singapore, the surrounding wildlife, and you’ll even have a chance to get out and walk around in the rarely seen environment. The staff at Saugatuck Dune Rides are amazing people and have a vast knowledge of the area. They really do make the most out of every trip!

*Lux tip: The Dune Rides book up fast. I’d recommend securing your spot shortly after booking your stay with Lakewood Lux!


Smack in the center of town (or a short walk from many of the Lakewood Lux properties), you’ll find the Saugatuck Chain Ferry waiting to take you to the other side of the Kalamazoo River. If you’re coming from downtown Saugatuck, it’s a great way to visit Mt. Baldhead for some amazing panorama views, and if you’re coming from the Lakewood Lux Treetops cottages or the A-Frame, using the ferry is a great way to visit downtown without having to worry about driving or parking.

The chain ferry, Diane is a Coast Guard-certified vessel that runs across a 400-foot-long chain pulled through a set of gears by two operators at either side of the river. The hand-cranking fun lasts 5 minutes and costs $3 for adults and $1 for kids from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Kids under two, pets, and bicycles ride free. I recommend checking hours prior to riding.


If a five-minute ride on the ferry is too short for your liking, and you think your kids can handle a longer trip down the Kalamazoo River, I’d suggest a ride on the Star of Saugatuck II. The authentic sternwheel paddle boat provides hour-and-a-half narrated tours down the river and out onto Lake Michigan. Go any time of day, but I particularly recommend a sunset cruise as it’s not as hot outside and you can capture the spectacular Lake Michigan sunsets. On board, adults and children alike can enjoy an array of beverages and snacks (and there’s a restroom on board).

*Lux tip: the Star of Saugatuck offers a discount if you pay by cash.


No vacation is complete without a beach––and Oval Beach’s long sweep of shoreline is a summertime favorite. Named in 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, Oval Beach is the perfect place to soak in some sun, let your kids run wild, and enjoy easy parking and concession stands.

*Lux tip #1: it’s only a 15-minute (hilly) hike from the Lakewood Lux Treetops and A-Frame! Well worth all the huffing and puffing to catch the incredible sunsets over the water.

*Lux tip #2: Want to elevate your group’s picnic lunch or private sunset dinner? Hire best friends, Katie and Jenn to create a magical beach occasion for you and your loved ones with their luxury picnics and events company, Sincerely, K & J.


Right near Oval Beach is the Root Beer Barrel roadside attraction that pays homage to homemade rootbeer and foot-long hotdogs. Built in 1952, the barrel sat abandoned on the side of the road until 2012, when a group of amazingly awesome local history buffs, alongside the Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society, swooped in and restored the building before opening it for business.

In addition to root beers, you can enjoy sundaes, floats, and mac ‘n cheese-smothered chili dogs. I highly recommend the Tony Dog and potato salad!


Fun for the whole family. This is an 18-hole natural-style course with snack-shack/office to rent clubs

I promise, if you’re bringing your family along with you to Saugatuck, these five recommendations won’t disappoint.