Saugatuck Michigan Guide! Top 20 FUN Things To Do! | Saugatuck Dunes State Park, Oval Beach, Places to Stay, Jet Ski Rentals, Dune Rides, Best Restaurants, Chain Ferry, Mt Baldhead | Michigan Beach Town For Your Summer Bucket List! 

Visit Saugatuck Michigan: Top 20 FUN Things To Do! | Saugatuck Dunes State Park, Jet Ski Rentals, Dune Rides, Best Restaurants, Chain Ferry, Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises, Mt Baldhead | Best Michigan Beach Town For Your Summer Bucket List! 

By Sherry Trautman | 

Saugatuck Michigan is a stunning Michigan destination town located along the shores of Lake Michigan. 

Why Visit Saugatuck and Douglas?

Well, first off, these lovely cities are located right along the glorious shores of Lake Michigan.  These beach towns offer incredible sandy beaches, sweep expanses of sand dunes, outstanding art and wine tasting, and a hoppin' downtown with great restaurants, shopping and night life. 

Plus, visiting Saugatuck Michigan with kids or visiting Saugatuck Michigan for a girls trip is so much fun!

  • Visitors from Michigan, Chicago and beyond visit this lovely beach town in southwest Michigan each year as it's a wonderful destination for family vacations or Michigan weekend getaways.  

Upon arriving in Saugatuck, I get this feeling of relaxation and community.  The downtown area has such a safe feel....a "pull up a lawn chair and relax" feeling.  It makes you want to grab an ice cream cone (or a hot coffee if it's a bit chilly), grab the hand of your loved one and start exploring.  

  • The city is very involved in the arts, wine, beach and food scene so there's fun for everyone.

We'll Show You Why This Beautiful Beach City MUST Be On Your Michigan Summer Bucket List!!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Saugatuck have sand dunes? Yes, absolutely! AND you can hike them or enjoy dune rides!

Is there a lighthouse in Saugatuck? NO! I was surprised by this too!

Why visit Saugatuck? Because it's an incredible southwest Michigan beach town, that's way! Oh, you can ride the Saugatuck Chain Ferry, dip your toes in the sand at Oval Beach, hike to the top of Mt. Baldhead, go for riverboat rides and shop in fantastic boutique shops all along Butler Street!

Interactive MAP of Saugatuck Michigan's Top Things To Do

  • Click on the plus and minus in the left corner to zoom in or out of the map.
  • Click on the icons for more info, addresses and photos of the stops.
  • Click on the map to drag and move it to view surrounding areas.
  • In the Header, click on the rectangle in the upper left of the map to see a menu of all of our stops. Click on anything that looks interesting to see where it is on the map. To hide the menu, click the rectangle in the header.
  • In the Header, click on the "square" icon in the upper right side to expand the map for better viewing.

1. Explore Saugatuck Dunes State Park!

Saugatuck Dunes State Park is an incredible Michigan state park to visit as you can hike, birdwatch, relax on the beach, wander 2.5 miles of lovely Lake Michigan shoreline, and explore 1000 acres of lovely property. There are also several picnic areas at the State Park.

2. Saugatuck Dune Rides: Who Doesn't Love a Dune Adventure?

How long are the dune rides at Saugatuck? About 40 minutes of entertainment, fun and excitement!

As one of West Michigan's premier attractions, your family will love whooping and hollering as you dip and dive over the dunes. Be sure to book your Saugatuck Dune Rides early as they can sell out the week before during the busy months of July and August.  

3. Visit the Felt Estate - Dorr E. Felt Mansion in Saugatuck

The Dorr E. Felt Mansion is located near the Saugatuck Dunes State Park and is open for tours and special events. It's a spectacular spot for weddings or special occasions!

The historic Felt Estate is a fabulous 12,000+ square foot mansion featuring 25 rooms, three floors, and a ballroom. Check their website for seasonal events or more information on touring the Felt Mansion and grounds.

4. Check out the Scenic Peterson Grist Mill By The Pond: Cool Hidden Gem!

The gorgeous Peterson Grist Mill is a vacation rental home so you can check out the mill from across the pond but be mindful that people are staying there.

SO, Chris and I just checked it out from a distance and then walked to the nearby marina. 

This pond leads out to the Kalamazoo River.

This lovely marina is located right behind the Peterson Grist Mill.  It's so pretty!

Saugatuck Michigan in Spotlight!

  • Did you know that Conde' Nast Traveler named Saugatuck within their list of "Top 25 Beaches in the World?
  • Conde' Nast also listed it within their 20 Best Places to Go in 2020 article!
  • The amazing town was also recognized by USA Today's "Best Small Coastal Town."  Seriously, How Cool Is That?

So you know what that means, right?  You just gotta see this place for yourself!  

5. Our Favorite Saugatuck Michigan Restaurants (See Their Locations on the Map Above)

Seriously.  All that's missing in this photo is you...And a cool drink...Maybe some sunscreen....So grab your flip flops and go!

  1. Coral Gables - 220 Water St, Saugatuck, MI 49453 Incredible Views of the Kalamazoo River!  Outside seating.
  2. Saugatuck Brewing Company - 2948 Blue Star Hwy, Douglas, MI 49406. Great place to grab a meal without the hassle of trying to find parking in the crowded downtown area of Saugatuck Michigan.  Outside seating.
  3. Wicks Park Bar & Grille - 449 Water St, Saugatuck, MI 49453. Right in the middle of downtown Saugatuck Michigan! Great spot to people watch with great food! Outside seating.
  4. The Mermaid Cafe - 340 Water St, Saugatuck, MI 49453. Right in the middle of downtown Saugatuck Michigan!  Outside seating.
  5. The Butler - Adjacent to Jones Park and Cook Park. 40 Butler St, Saugatuck, MI 49453 Outside seating. You can't beat the elevated views of the Kalamazoo River and the gorgeous marina!
  6. Red Dock Cafe - 219 N Union St, Douglas, MI 49406. Super laid back, casual. Outside seating.with parking nearby. 
  7. The BARge - 528 Water St, Saugatuck, MI 49453
  8. Pennyroyal Cafe & Provisions - Farm-to -table locally sourced menu. Sourcing directly from local farms gives them the opportunity to provide all of us with the freshest, most delicious fruits and vegetables! 

Saugatuck Brewing Company: Saugatuck Michigan

Wick's Park Bar and Grille: Saugatuck Michigan

Mermaid Bar & Grill: Saugatuck Michigan

The Butler: Saugatuck Michigan

6. Enjoy Craft Cocktails and Lunch at Coastal Society, Our Favorite Douglas Boutique and Craft Cocktail Bar!

Coastal Society is THE SPOT to hang out in the Saugatuck/Douglas area. You can relax in their shady outdoor patio and enjoy craft pizzas, salads and cocktails. 

  • Located in nearby Downtown Douglas, Michigan, this quaint hidden gem is both family AND pet friendly!
  • You can shop, relax (and I mean actually relax as they don't give you the eye after you've been there 15 minutes!), AND dine! It's the trifecta! 

Chris and I can't sing enough praises for Kim, the lovely owner, and this masterpiece of a boutique/restaurant/craft bar she built from the ground up. We greatly enjoyed chatting with her and "talking shop!"

I have to say, this is one of the best salads I've ever had. And I'm a salad freak!  This Coastal Society salad featured lovely edible flowers plucked fresh from their on-site garden...I even watched the chef do it!

  • I feel like the owner Kim and her staff really care about what they are serving their guests.  Their attention to detail really shines in their dishes, drinks and presentation (and presentation is huge with me!).  

Oh, and I enjoyed two craft cocktails of which both were spectacular. Both drinks utilized herbs and flowers which makes them extra special.  

Be sure to peruse Coastal Society's super cute boutique too! There's everything from home décor, gifts for family and friends, and great trendy/timeless apparel.  

We loved our shady spot in their back patio!  Lots of comfortable seating was available. So be sure to make some time to stop into Coastal Society next time you are in Saugatuck/Douglas region!

By the way, there's plenty of parking in Douglas! 

7. Go Wine Tasting in Saugatuck!

Did you know Saugatuck is located in the middle of the southwest Michigan wine trail?  Several local wineries such as Wyncroft Wine and  Modales Wines are great places to indulge in incredible wines.

Grab the Ultimate Wine Tasting Weekend by

8. Explore Cook Park: Enjoy the Hydrangeas and Relax Under a Shade Tree

Cook Park is a beautiful area to enjoy the views of the marina and Kalamazoo river. You can watch the Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises pass by while sitting under a shade tree.

  • This public park is located right next to The Butler Restaurant and is a great starting point for the Saugatuck Riverwalk

There is no fee to enter this park. Fun, FREE Saugatuck Michigan things to do!

What's Nearby Saugatuck Michigan?

9. Places to Stay in Saugatuck MI

These two lovely inns will make your stay memorable in Saugatuck Michigan. They are located right in downtown Saugatuck. 

Top Saugatuck Michigan Places to Stay:

The Inn of Saugatuck: Bed and Breakfast (Premier Michigan B and B)

447 Butler St, Saugatuck, MI 49453

The Inn of Saugatuck is a perfect home base for your West Michigan getaway! Their quaint bed and breakfast is located in the heart of Saugatuck, right on Butler Street! It's walking distance to lots of restaurants, shops, galleries, and the waterfront!

The Wickwood Inn: Saugatuck Michigan

510 Butler St, Saugatuck, MI 49453

If you are searching for quaint Saugatuck Michigan places to stay, check out the Wickwood Inn. It's right in the heart of downtown Saugatuck, close to the waterfront, restaurants, the Chain Ferry and tons of shopping. 

Carriage House at the Harbor in Nearby South Haven

Check out the Carriage House at the Harbor Bed and Breakfast! It's incredible!

Chris and I spent the weekend at this South Haven bed and breakfast and were blown away by the delicious gourmet breakfast, private balconies overlooking the South Haven Municipal Marina, fantastic location near North Beach (you can easily walk there!), lovely amenities, and close proximity to restaurants and bars.  You will quickly see why this is a premier Michigan B and B!

10. Saugatuck Shopping: Explore Butler Street for Excellent Shopping and Dining! 

Chris and I love to go downtown Saugatuck shopping!  The main street in Saugatuck is Butler Street and runs parallel with the Kalamazoo River. 

Butler Street offers great shopping for home décor, gifts, food items and apparel.  

in the know

There are public restrooms at the corner of Main Street and Butler. 

10: Oval Beach in Saugatuck: Dig Your Toes in the Sand at One of Michigan's Most Beautiful Beaches!

Oval Beach in Saugatuck: Perryman St. & Oval Beach Drive, Saugatuck, MI, 49453. It's a short drive from downtown Saugatuck Michigan.

  • Did you know Oval Beach in Saugatuck is listed in Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 25 Beaches in the World and National Geographic Traveler’s Top Freshwater Beaches in the USA!

Oval Beach is a perfect destination when visiting Saugatuck Michigan with kids. 

11. Jet Ski Rentals and Boat Rentals: Super Fun Day in Saugatuck Michigan With Kids!

Makin' Waves - 220 Water St, Saugatuck, MI 49453 (check our map above). Super convenient place for boat rentals and jet ski rentals in Saugatuck!

Retro Boat Rental - 730 Water St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, located next to the Star of Saugatuck! You can rent Retro Boats, Donut Boats, Duffy Boats, Pontoon Boats and more! So many fun things to do!

I mean, when in Saugatuck....

Makin' Waves and Retro Boat Rental is located right on the Water Street in Downtown Saugatuck, Michigan. What a fun way to enjoy a Michigan summer jet skiing or floating in a pontoon!! Fun things to do in Saugatuck Michigan with kids!

What is the most artsy town in Michigan?

Saugatuck!  This coastal town is known for its art scene and a part of what's nicknamed the “art coast of Michigan." SO, art lovers will be in heaven exploring the numerous art galleries and studios located in this coastal town along the shores of Lake Michigan.

What are more art towns in Lake Michigan? Nearby Douglas and South Haven!

12. J Petter Galleries (Petter Wine Gallery): Awesome Art Galleries in South Haven!

161 Blue Star Hwy, Douglas, MI 49406

J Petter Galleries- stroll through the gallery and studios to view a good collection of paintings, sculpture, glass, and more.

As an added bonus you can savor a glass of wine as you enjoy the art!!  I mean what's better than wine and art?? 

13. Wander the Saugatuck Boardwalk/Riverwalk-Paved Walk Path

If you love walking along rivers and marinas, you will love the Saugatuck Riverwalk.  Begin at the Chain Ferry/Wick's Park and walk all the way to the Butler restaurant! It's a stunning riverwalk that make your day!

  • The the location of the riverwalk on the interactive Saugatuck map near the top of this page.

14. Ride the Saugatuck Chain Ferry!

The Saugatuck Chain Ferry is a great way to get to the other side to visit Mt. Baldhead. I mean of course you can drive there, but why?  This way is WAY more fun. Plus we had to position our car in front of the Chain Ferry for a cool photo op!

  • $3.00 for passengers 11 yrs and older
  • $1.00 for children 10 yrs and under
  • Free for children 2 yrs and under

Where else can you get on the river with someone else doing all the work for only $3? I'm game.

Fun things to do in Saugatuck Michigan with kids!

About the Chain Ferry:  The chain ferry DIANE is a U.S. Coast Guard documented vessel.  The chain is continuous and 400’ long.  It goes thru a series of gears that pulls it from one side of the river to the other with generally two operators. 

The chain ferry operates in good weather only, so if it's windy, stormy or raining the ferry will not be operating.  You should definitely add the Chain Ferry to your list of Things to Do in Saugatuck.

15. Embark on the Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises! 

The pretty Star of Saugatuck runs May through October.  The scenic trip down the Kalamazoo river is approximately 90 minutes.  I love riding on paddlewheel boats as I find it really relaxing and peaceful.  I love watching the paddle churn up the water.  

It's a fun chance to see numerous restaurants and shops in Saugatuck as you meander down the river.  Maybe you will pick out your restaurant for dinner!  

The Star of Saugatuck has daytime and sunset cruises.  I really love the sunset cruises as it's not as hot and I love seeing the sunset on Lake Michigan.  The boat has restrooms and a variety of snacks such chips and candy.  They also serve drinks including water, sodas, beer, wine and mixed drinks.  It's really a great trip to this Michigan beach town.  

16. Hike Mount Baldhead for Incredible Views of Saugatuck Michigan!

As you can see, get ready to climb a serious amount of stairs to reach the top! But the incredible views of Saugatuck Michigan from the top makes it worth it!

That's one heck of a birds eye view of Saugatuck, isn't it!!

17. Visit Red Dock

Check out Red Dock, I mean how cute is this?!  Chris and I just happened to stumble upon this scenic area while driving into town.  We decided to stop and check it out.  I'm so glad we did as we discovered a fantastic spot for great photos and a peaceful walk along the water. 

You don't need to stop for long, it's a great place to jump out and stretch your legs and wander around.  Plus I love anything with boats, water and exploring!  The grounds are maintained but the parking lot is dirt. 

18. Visit Saugatuck Center for the Arts!

Saugatuck Center For The Arts- We really enjoyed popping into the Saugatuck Center For the Arts to see their latest art exhibits.   

In addition to art installations, Saugatuck Center For the Arts has a variety of live theater productions throughout the year.  It's a great place to check out while exploring and finding fun things to do in Saugatuck!

19. Obtain Brochures and More Info at the Saugatuck Visitors Bureau

Saugatuck Visitors Bureau

95 Blue Star Hwy, Douglas, MI 49406

If you are coming into this Michigan beach town from the south on Blue Star Highway be sure to stop at the Saugatuck Visitors Bureau for more ideas and brochures. They have great information about current events and festivals occurring in the city.

It's a great place to start your day.  They are located on the right side of the road before the bridge.  

Try This Farm to Table Restaurant in Saugatuck

GROW Café + Bistro - 302 Culver St, Saugatuck, MI 49453

They offer fabulous sandwiches such as Smoked Salmon Sandwich, the GROW burger and the Braised Pork Sandwich. Other yummy dishes such as the Vegetables + Eggs or the Fish Tacos. GROW Café + Bistro is open seasonally.

More Incredible Views of Saugatuck!


Visit Nearby South Haven!

South Haven

If you love Michigan beach towns, be sure to check out the incredible beaches, shopping, boat rides and restaurants in South Haven!

20. Getting Around Saugatuck Michigan: Parking Shuttle

So let's talk traffic and parking.  Once you arrive in Saugatuck, especially on a busy summer weekend, you will notice that parking is a nightmare.  At least it was for us when we visited over the July 4th weekend.  We trolled the streets waiting for someone to move their vehicle for over 40 minutes.  SOOO Frustrating!! 

But now we know the secret.....

If you are staying the night in Saugatuck, immediately find your hotel and park.  If you are in for the day, park in a safe location before you reach the center of Saugatuck. 

Unpack your vehicle and as you get settled into your room, call Interurban Transit Authority.  Cheap, fast and safe, this transportation system is an easy way to navigate around the town.  

Plus, Interurban costs only $1 per person per ride for adults and children over 12!!  Seniors and children under 12 are only 50 cents!!!  You can buy a punch card so you don't always have to have one dollar bills.  

  • Interurban provides transportation for Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township. Call 269-857-1418 for your ride anytime during business hours.  Check their website for their hours. 
  • Note that you will need exact change, so be sure to bring a bunch of quarters.

The ride can be scheduled as early as in 15 minutes or you can make a reservation for a specific time.  How convenient!! Here is their website for more info. 

Visiting Southwest Michigan?

See what else there is to do in the Southwest Region! St. Joseph, South HavenGrand Haven and Holland are all fantastic places to visit.  Check out our guides!

  1. Travel Michigan Home Page
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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "" A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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