Pentwater is a village in Oceana County in Michigan whose name comes from “Pent” or “Penned up” waters.
Pentwater sits at the outlet of the Pentwater River, which courses between the Lake Michigan shoreline and Pentwater Lake.
Pentwater’s lovely charm and calm blue waters are a perfect getaway for many tourists.
Everything in town is within walking distance, and Pentwater has marinas, shopping, camping, restaurants, and clean sandy beaches.
Charlie Mears founded the Pentwater community in 1867.
For over a hundred years, the village provided natural commodities to other communities surrounding the Great Lakes.
Today, Pentwater’s rich heritage continues, and the area remains rich in fishing, farming, and tourism, giving respite from the busy life of the Midwest cities.
Here are the best things to do in Pentwater, MI:
Have a Fun Day at Charles Mears State Park
Charles Mears State Park is a public recreation area encompassing 50 acres north of the channel connecting Pentwater Lake and Lake Michigan.
It was among 13 parks created in 1920 as part of the creation of the Michigan Parks State Commission.
There are paved campsite lots with fine sand; parallel to the harbor pier is a swimming beach.
The beach stretches almost a quarter-mile from the lighthouse and channel pier to the north.
This lovely stretch of sand draws in swimmers and sunbathers.
It bustles with kites, beach volleyball, sandcastles, and family fun during the summer.
You can see some of the world’s most spectacular sunsets on the beach.
Shore fishing is a popular activity.
You can also fish from the pier.
During winter, you can try ice fishing.
An interpretive trail for hiking winds around the tip of Old Baldy, a forested and wind-blown dune, provides excellent views of the village and the shoreline.
Sip Wine at Jomagrha Vineyards
You can find Jomagrha Vineyards tucked in the vineyards a mile from Lake Michigan in signature white barns.
It’s the home of John Sanford, a winegrower, and his second-generation assistant, Harry Sanford.
John and Harry tend the vineyards and create wine from locally grown grapes.
You can taste wines from new-generation hybrids, American and French, old-world French hybrid grape varieties, and traditional Burgundy and Bordeaux vinifera varieties.
Jomaghra was established in 1999 and continues steady and thoughtful growth, despite being a small winery.
Taste their red wines such as the de Chaunac, Frontenac, Bison Red, Marquette, Landot, Claret, Old Man Red, Reddy, Night Sky Red, Sweet Berry Red, and Labrusca.
Also, sample their white wines, such as the Aurora, Lakeshore White, Pinot Gris, Vignoles, Vidal Blanc, and Old Lady White.
Hit the Courts at Pentwater Tennis and Pickleball Club
The Pentwater Tennis and Pickleball Club fosters an excellent environment for all levels of players.
They believe it’s never too late for anyone to start playing, encouraging people to start early to make the most out of the beautiful game.
The club aims to rouse interest in tennis and pickleball in the Pentwater area, provide a first-class facility, and encourage good sportsmanship and fellowship.
It encourages developing recreational play, provides tournaments for members, and opens a facility for young people who want to learn to play.
The club features organized play on four tennis courts and six pickleball courts.
At their Tennis and Pickleball Club, learn the basics of grip, stance, forehand, volley, and serve.
Discover the Past at the Pentwater Historical Society Museum
The Pentwater Historical Society was founded in 1982 to share and preserve the heritage and history of Pentwater.
It seeks to connect people to Pentwater’s history by preserving, collecting, and sharing information and artifacts.
Enrich your lives by brushing up on local history.
The Museum welcomes people who want to share their interest and passion for history and create a sense of community.
Its collections provide a continuous source of learning and inspiration through professionally presented and inspiring programs and exhibits.
People can browse local publications, old yearbooks, photographs, postcards, and valuable artifacts from the middle 19thcentury to the 20th century.
The museum has docent-led tours that emphasize an inquiry-based and inquisitive approach, engaging students by visiting exhibits and discussing artifacts.
Listen to the Pentwater Civic Band
Every Thursday night in the summer, families gather at the Village Green in the heart of Pentwater for an idyllic and charming evening of music, nostalgia, and laughter.
The Green’s natural amphitheater, the backdrop of Lake Pentwater, and the rolling lawn create a perfect setting to play spirited marches, folk songs, oldies, and fight songs.
The Pentwater Civic Band comprises residents and visitors passionate about music.
They have played to audiences since 1947.
It continues the American tradition of community band concerts playing in American small towns before the radio came along.
The band welcomes all players, whether in high school or senior citizens.
Some have played in the bar every week for decades.
Bring a blanket or lawn chair, enjoy a meal or trek to the shops along Main Street, and refresh yourself with an ice cream cone.
Then sit back and relax as the band plays polkas, marches, show tunes, patriotic selections, and other old favorites.
Enjoy the Water at the Pentwater Yacht Club
Pentwater Yacht Club or PYC is an organization forged through camaraderie and shared interests one Michigan summer in 1935.
It’s below the Village Green in Pentwater and affords excellent westerly sights of Pentwater Lake and along the channel to Lake Michigan.
Each year, it offers water activities, including power boating, sailing, and associated sports.
The club promotes and engages in social activities, good fellowship, and recreation.
Likewise, the club sponsors youth club activities.
Other activities include dining on the water, friendship events, boating, Back from the Mac, Wooden Boat Show, ensign races, fashion show, music, etc.
Its fleets are the Sunfish Fleet, Ensign Fleet, and Offshore Fleet; its “Cross Over Sailing Champion” trophy encourages sailors to sail across all fleets.
Its Sailing Academy offers informational seminars, instructional courses, and on-the-water chances for boaters of every skill level.
Discover Imaginary Worlds at Storybook Village
A superb imaginative adventure awaits you and your kids at this colorful Pentwater bookstore.
Storybook Village is a haven for your children, where they can play, explore, and let their young minds run wild.
Thanks to the owner, Barbara’s know-how of the childhood world, and her husband, Tom’s architectural talent, the store comes alive.
The architectural flair of Storybook Village took inspiration from signature centennial landmarks in Pentwater.
You’ll find puppets, interactive toys, musical instruments, and award-winning books that engage the imagination.
In 2013, they added Starlight Theatre, which delights children with art and storytelling workshops, interactive puppet shows, author visits, and school field trips.
Children are also welcome to have parties with themes such as Pirate’s Dock, Fairies and Secret Fairy Hiding Places, and Outer Space Adventures.
Many teachers have recognized Storybook Village as one of the top 14 children’s bookstores in the United States.
Catch Fish with Terminator Charters
Terminator Charters is the brainchild of Captain Skip and Toni Berry, a husband-wife team who share a passion for fishing.
They both genuinely love seeing people experience their passion.
Their boat is a 1989 Tiara Open 3300 with heavy construction, a wide beam, and a large cockpit providing room for fishing, enjoying refreshments, and watching the rods.
Called the TERMINATOR III, the boat carries the needed equipment to ensure the best possible fishing experience.
They pursue brown trout and king salmon fishing in April and coho and rainbow trout fishing in mid-to-late May.
They also join the ‘grand slam’ of the 5 Lake Michigan salmonoids.
From June to August, Pentwater becomes a fish factory with a wealth of King Salmon.
And from late September to October, the lake usually churns out younger salmon and brown trout up to winter.
Lake Michigan has given Terminator Charters the experience of hunting fish and making them bite.
Get a Makeover at Lakeshore Salon
Lakeshore Salon promises a learning experience for personal beauty, specializing in skincare, facials, hair color, and make-up applications and lessons.
They pledge the finest facilities and personal service to their clients, who will always bask in a warm, refined, and relaxed atmosphere.
Owner Mary Schumaker regularly attends advanced training to ensure she is at the forefront of the industry’s latest advances.
She strives for a unique environment that promotes knowledge and education with personal care in every aspect of beauty therapy and skin care.
Try their innovative hair treatments such as color, foiling, haircut and style, styling, perming, hair wear hairpieces, smoothing keratin treatment, and waxing.
Let them guide you in skin science principles with enzymatic exfoliation, A+ smart serum peel, genesis peel, go spot go peel, pure C glow peel, saving face peel, and rosacea saving face peel.
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at Cosmic Candy
Your kids will love this old-fashioned candy store in Downtown Pentwater.
It features retro candy, hard-to-find-sweets, saltwater taffy, creamy fudge, toasted nuts, unique gift baskets, and gourmet popcorn.
John Nagel and Greg Lopus started Cosmic Candy back in 2006, which has become one of Michigan’s beloved “Pop and Pop” destinations.
John is the creative genius behind the popcorn flavors, having traveled the country hunting for the best flavors.
He also spent hours in the kitchen trying out new recipes.
Greg is the candy connoisseur tracking down rare treats of yesteryear, seeking and exploring new and exciting candies and filling the store with nostalgic treats.
Cosmic Candy’s savory popcorn coats each batch with white or yellow cheddar, tumbling them with delicious spices.
Their sweet popcorn started with an old-fashioned Caramel Corn recipe.
It has since branched out into other exciting flavors, like the famous Chi-Town Cheddar and the mind-bending Fizzy Cosmic popcorn.
Explore the Village Parks and Trails
There are many parks and trails within and around Pentwater where you can enjoy yourself in any season.
The Village Green is at the heart of the business district and used for unique events.
These include craft fairs, art shows, holiday and seasonal festivals, farmers’ markets, and band concerts.
Channel Lake Park is one of the most popular parks in Lake Michigan, a picnic and walking haven with two pavilions, benches, grills, and restroom facilities.
Chester Street Park is another haven for avid walkers with access to the South Pier walkway and a fantastic sunset viewpoint.
Pentwater Pathways Cross-Country Ski and Hiking Trail is a 300+-acre cross-country ski trail for nature enthusiasts and outdoor lovers where hikers, trail runners, and country skiers converge every year.
Longbridge Road Bridge Boardwalk is an excellent place for sunset viewings and birdwatching, featuring a gorgeous view of Pentwater Lake.
Admire Artworks at Painted Frog Art Studio
Painted Frog Art Studio is in downtown Pentwater, an excellent place for fun, creation, and art exploration.
Owner Michele Anscombe has earned renown for her skill in capturing and expressing personality and atmosphere within her subjects.
She aims to connect viewers and subjects with her realistic and expressive painting technique.
Her paintings have a great range of mediums and subjects, including watercolor, pencil, and acrylic depicting landscapes, mammals, insects, and amphibians.
She exhibits and creates artwork, sharing her passion for art by teaching formal and informal classes to the masses, from beginners to college students.
Michele has displayed her creations throughout the state and the nation.
Seek the wonders of nature through her artwork, where watercolor and acrylic paintings explore humans’ relationship with the outside world.
Take a Stroll along Chester Street Park
Chester Street Park is a quaint area in Pentwater that gives you beautiful views of the Pentwater River.
They have a beautiful walking path here that’s a haven for photography, especially since it’s right along the pretty houses and bungalows found along Chester Street.
During summer or spring, Chester Street Park really glistens due to the pristine and calm waters of the river.
Beyond taking a scenic stroll, this is an excellent place to do some jogging, walk your dog, or simply relax by the river as well.
Best of all, you can access Pentwater South Pierhead at the very end to beef up your itinerary.
Take in the Scenic Views at Pentwater Pierhead
Pentwater Pierhead is one of the most picturesque spots in Pentwater if you want to see the raw beauty of Lake Michigan.
There are two pierheads to choose from, each running across the Pentwater River.
The northern pierhead is located at the tip of Charles Mears State Park, while the southern one is right across it near Chester Street Park.
Regardless of which pierhead you choose, you’ll see the amazing cloud formations, pristine waters, and scenic sunsets that Lake Michigan has to offer.
An intimate and serene spot, Pentwater Pierhead is a perfect place for dates or to bring a small group of family or friends.
Grab a Bite and Take Photos at Brown Bear
Brown Bear is one of the most popular culinary institutions in Pentwater, famed for its historic aesthetic and delicious American comfort food, primarily its burgers.
The facade alone will wow you, as you’ll get 19th Century vibes because of its stone and wooden facade—be sure to take photos!
Brown Bear’s interior is even more impressive, boasting a rustic-looking bar.
Atop the second floor, you’ll get amazing views of the historic Hancock Street where this restaurant is located.
For the food, you can’t go wrong with their piña-peño burger, fried pickles, and onion rings.
One of the best pubs that double as a tourist attraction in Michigan, Brown Bear is a must-try.
Stay in at Hexagon House Bed and Breakfast
Hexagon House Bed and Breakfast is one of your best options if you want to stay in the picturesque village of Pentwater.
It’s a vintage house that exudes a lot of 19th Century bourgeoisie living, making this a great photo opportunity for the family.
From its gardens to its interior design, this is one of the prettiest accommodations in Pentwater.
Hexagon House Bed and Breakfast is also conveniently found along 6th Street, so it’s just a few minutes away from the scenic Pentwater Lake.
One of the best places for a honeymoon, anniversary, or a birthday, this bed and breakfast is sure to leave a memorable mark in your journey.
Take a Breather at Pentwater Municipal Marina
Pentwater Municipal Marina is an easy addition to your itinerary as it’s right along Downtown Pentwater, located at the end of South Hancock Street.
This place gives you access to both the Pentwater River and Pentwater Lake, giving it a serene ambiance that’s perfect for relaxation.
There are plenty of benches along with walking paths that accentuate the greenery near the lake and river.
Being that it’s a marina, it’s also a beautiful place for photography as the small boats that are docked accentuate its overall aesthetic.
Lots of locals visit here as well, making this a nice place to immerse yourself in the village’s community.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Have a Thrilling Journey at Mac Wood’s Dune Rides
Mac Wood’s Dune Rides gives customers a fun-filled 7-mile dune ride over the stunning Silver Lake dunes.
The rides started with Mac Wood in 1930, who thought them up as entertainment for his family.
Soon, neighbors and passersby became so interested in the journeys that Mac got determined to make dune scootering into a business.
Today, Mac Wood’s uses a vehicle modified with four aircraft tires that can carry about four persons per ride.
In this 40-minute ride, knowledgeable drivers educate everyone on the environment and history of the constantly developing dune mountains.
This ride is perfect for visitors of every age and accessible to the mobility-impaired.
You will climb to the summit at every dune ride and see a staggering panoramic view of the dune area.
You will drive past Lake Michigan and glimmering Silver Lake, visit lovely beaches, and cruise sweeps into the valleys.
One place you can visit is Little Sable Point Lighthouse, a guardian to ships that pass the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.
See the piping plovers who make their nests at the beach stops in Lake Michigan and find many ‘fossilized lightning’ fulgurites at Silver Lake.
You will want to visit magnificent natural wonders again and again with Mac Wood’s Dune Rides.
Have a Tee Time at Lakeside Links
A beautiful day spent on Lakeside Links will leave an impression no matter your age or skill level.
The holes wind through wetlands and hardwoods, providing breathtaking views of nearby Hopkins Lake.
The course blends well with the unspoiled natural world, providing a visually appealing spectacle.
You may encounter wild creatures such as wild turkeys, bald eagles, whitetail deer, and bobcats at the golf course.
At the Junior Golf Camp, kids aged 6 to 17 will learn rules, etiquette, chipping, putting, full swing, and on-course instruction.
Lakeside Links also offers a Tuesday Ladies’ League and a Wednesday Men’s League constructed around the enjoyment of casual golfers.
Take formal lessons from Scott Ashley, a PGA Golf Professional, teaching golf to everyone of all abilities and ages for over 25 years.
Saddle Up at Paradise Ranch
Paradise Ranch is in Mears, Michigan, 19 minutes from Pentwater.
Campers can learn horse care, the fundamentals of Western riding, and lessons from the Bible.
It offers around two outdoor arenas, four draft horses for wagons, 40 saddle horses, and 360 acres of trails.
At Cowpoke Camp, your child can enjoy riding lessons, campfires, and activities while learning cowboy cooperatives, primary horse care, and arena lessons.
At Trail Blazer Camp, your child will learn the fundamentals of horsemanship while hanging out with amazing counselors and learning to herd cattle on foot, grooming, and tacking.
At Range Rider, your child will have lessons about horses and God while having lots of fun with walking, trot, and canter arena lessons.
At Ranch Pathfinders, teens can enjoy horsemanship activities with biblical leadership training through riding lessons.
Pentwater has a rich history and heritage, and there is something for everyone within its shores and waters.
The village presents an adventure in every corner.
Whether you’re relaxing at the lake and parks, pursuing dining and recreation around town, or unleashing your imagination within its interiors, you’ll love Pentwater.
Start checking items off this list and witness the beautiful charm of Pentwater today.