Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Saugatuck, MI

  • Published 2023/01/17

An offbeat destination with plenty of varied activities to offer, Saugatuck, Michigan, is a magical place and has been one of the top romantic getaways in recent years.

Boasting turquoise beaches and golden dunes, this city is a paradise on Earth.

It is the ultimate getaway, perfect for solo travelers and couples alike.

If you are looking for recreation and rejuvenation, add this destination to your bucket list today!

Here are some of the best things to do in Saugatuck, Michigan:

Soak Up the Sun at Oval Beach

Oval Beach

Tim Kornoelje /

Oval Beach is one of the major draws of Saugatuck.

Travelers come here to relax and spend their afternoons near the sea; however, the beach is rarely overcrowded and is always left spotless.

This is the perfect place to spend the day soaking up the sun and unwinding.

Waves crashing on Oval Beach shore

FotoKina /

With a beautiful backdrop, it’s the perfect place for Instagram photos.

However, with the water level rising, there is significant erosion—so it is recommended you plan a visit to this scenic beach as soon as possible!

Sunset at Oval Beach

QaoQao4810 /

Take Up the Saugatuck Dune Rides

Scenic view of Saugatuck Dune

Dean Pennala /

A trip to the Saugatuck Dunes is likely to become one of the major highlights of your trip.

One of the most sought-after activities in the town, the Saugatuck Dune Ride is a wholesome family activity.

On the ride, which is about 40 minutes long, you will get to see the natural lifestyle of Saugatuck.

View of Saugatuck Dune

T-I /

They’re power-packed with entertainment and fun, so you won’t want to miss out on these phenomenal trips.

The guide on the way will let you know a few amazing facts about the city, and it is a different kind of experience, one you will remember for a long time.

View of Saugatuck Dune

Rosetta_stoned /

Venture on a River Cruise

River Cruise in Saugatuck

Kenneth Sponsler /

The Saugatuck River Cruise is a luxurious way to explore the waters here.

Many tour operators in the city—including some more popular ones, like the Star of Saugatuck—provide these lavish cruise tours.

You should take up one of the early morning rides or one of the sunset ones as they will offer the most scenic views of the city.

Head Over to Mount Baldhead Park

Mount Baldhead Park is the best place for recreational activities in the region.

Known for its peaceful environment, this park is offers hiking and walking trails and is one of the most frequented spots in Saugatuck.

The hike up is excruciating—plenty of steps to climb to reach the top—but you will enjoy the view.

There are no specific activities in the park, but you can spend some time with yourself here.

The place is aesthetically pleasing, and you can snap some amazing pictures there.

The vantage point of the park offers gorgeous views of the city.

Enjoy a Trip Aboard the Saugatuck Chain Ferry

Saugatuck Chain Ferry

Thomas Barrat /

Going on a trip aboard the Saugatuck Chain Ferry is one of the most beloved activities in the city.

It is an old-fashioned way to glide over the water but is still impressive and enjoyable.

The costs are minimal, and the trip on the old-world cruise is sure to transport you back to a whole other era.

A couple waiting to board the Saugatuck Chain Ferry


The operators provide informative insights about the place and the history of the ferry and waterways of the region itself.

You can visit it early in the morning to avoid the growing crowd and the afternoon heat.

If you are a bit old school, you will love crossing the river through this ferry ride.

Go on a Shopping Spree at Butler Street

Visitors shopping at Butler Street

Kenneth Sponsler /

Butler Street is one of the best places to go shopping in Saugatuck.

The locale offers much more than just plain shopping benefits.

You can snap some cool street pictures while rummaging through an endless array of souvenir and gift items that you can take back home.

The atmosphere of the street is quirky and ever-so-lively.

In addition to getting your hands on the best shopping merchandise, you can also taste some delicious street food.

It is an underrated spot in Saugatuck, and you should definitely explore it.

Read Your Favorite Book Near the Kalamazoo River

Kalamazoo River

FotoKina /

Are you the type of traveler who likes to carry a book on all trips?

The green spaces and docks overlooking the Kalamazoo River are ideal for relaxing with a good book.

The area around the Kalamazoo River is calm and serene.

It is a silent place where you can sit and look forward to a quiet experience, basking under the sun by the rocks with your favorite novel.

Benches near Kalamazoo River

Chad Hutchinson /

Bring along a packed lunch or some snacks, and you can make a whole day out of your trip.

The Kalamazoo River is swift and does not make any noise.

The only sounds you’ll hear will be of birds chirping and leaves rattling.

You won’t get to enjoy such a peaceful ambiance anywhere else.

Bird on a tree at Kalamazoo River

Caleb Putnam, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Seek Blessings at All Saints’ Episcopal Church

All Saints’ Episcopal Church

Teemu08, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Victorian-style All Saints’ Episcopal Church is a popular worship place in Saugatuck.

The church welcomes people from every faith.

The aura of the church is serene and blissful, and you will feel an upsurge of positive vibes in the church.

You can also come for the Sunday service, but make sure you arrive early in the morning in time for the proceedings!

Savor Wine and Admire Art at J. Petter Galleries

The renowned J. Petter Galleries houses fine art pieces that you can marvel at while savoring some lovely wine.

The gallery has the best pieces and unique finds which won’t be available anywhere else.

There are over 1,000 artworks on display, all of which have been curated to make the finest collection.

It is an art tour that you definitely do not want to miss out on.

To go along with the art pieces and everything else, they also sell wine.

So, if you loved the wine you tasted, you can take back a bottle with you.

Though they can come across as slightly expensive, you probably won’t mind spending.

Brew Beer at the Saugatuck Brewing Company

Would you like to stir or brew your own beer?

Well, here’s your chance to do just that.

The Saugatuck Brewing Company will help you brew your first pint of beer right on the site!

Every pour is crafted authentically, and the resultant beer is as smooth and fresh as it gets.

Their refined menu is classic and has something for everyone.

They also serve lip-smacking food for your dinner; their focaccia sandwiches are the best, and you won’t be able to stop yourself from ordering brimming pints of beer.

It can get a little crowded during peak hours, so make sure to reserve a table beforehand.

Go Back in Time at the Saugatuck-Douglas History Museum

The Saugatuck-Douglas History Museum is the city’s one-stop shop for all the history buffs out there!

A relatively small museum by area, the venue packs quite a punch.

Starting from old pictures to archives on the city’s history to interactive displays on the region’s life and how it has evolved, the museum will give you plenty to marvel at.

This local museum is as intriguing as one of the big city venues, offers a unique insight into the region’s past, and is definitely worth your time.

It is located close to downtown Saugatuck and can be reached via the ferry.

Go Picnicking at Coghlin Park

The lush Coghlin Park is among the most popular picnic spots in the city.

It is an expansive green garden area with a picnic shelter.

The park overlooks the Kalamazoo River and makes for quite a setting for impromptu days out.

The park is away from the buzz of the city and offers a tranquil atmosphere.

You can pack snacks and relax at the park.

It is not so crowded, so you can almost have the place to yourself.

The atmosphere is calm and breezy, a quick getaway from the hectic city life.

You can visit it in the evening hours to avoid humid temperatures.

It is suitable for families as well.

Explore the Saugatuck Center for the Arts

The Saugatuck Centre for the Arts is a lively place.

It is a beautiful property, a venue that oozes creativity and art.

There are a lot of creative events that take place all year round, so make sure you check out the calendar before planning your visit.

The center also offers one-time workshops for visitors who want to learn something new and innovative.

A live theater also showcases evening performances, including live shows and music acts.

Their motto is to infuse cultural values in every individual and preserve art.

They have a growing community of art enthusiasts who gather here for events.

Catch Hold of a Souvenir at Country Store Antiques

If you are fond of gathering vintage items, then this is the best store for you.

Country Store Antiques has unique and vintage items that will serve as the perfect reminder of your trip to the city.

There are a variety of crafts—mostly locally produced—that you can choose from.

It might take you a while to rummage through all the options, but you will definitely arrive at one or the other souvenir that suits your taste just right.

Tee Off at Clearbrook Golf Club

Top golfers have teed off at the 18-hole Clearbrook Golf Course, which has served as a qualifier for the famous Michigan Open.

Featuring large, expansive greens and challenging slopes surrounded by lush flora and brightly colored flowers, this course is a par 72.

In addition to bunkers and water hazards, the fairways are surrounded by trees.

It has several obstacles to keep you on your toes.

You may use a variety of clubs on the course since there is no time to lose focus.

The golf club includes everything you need for a terrific round of golf, including practice bunkers, chipping greens, putting greens, and a driving range.

You may also enjoy a delicious home-cooked lunch and stunning views at the onsite clubhouse.

Take Photographs at Peterson Mill

Peterson Mill is located between the Kalamazoo River and a pond surrounded by trees.

Saugatuck’s Clearbrook Golf Club is just a 20-minute walk away, and this apartment complex offers fully furnished accommodations.

Peterson Mill is one of Saugatuck’s most popular tourist attractions.

Watching it in action is fascinating because it’s still churning water the way it did when it was first built.

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Saugatuck with a cup of coffee and a camera.

In addition, you may book here for a few days’ stay if you wish to have a serene retreat away from the city.

See Amazing Works of Student Artists at the Ox-Bow School of Art

Are you interested in learning more about the art form?

Visit the Ox-Bow Art School!

Two Chicago painters, Frederick Fursman and Walter Marshall, founded it in 1910.

Located on a 115-acre campus, the institution is open to visitors from all walks of life who are interested in the arts.

Year-round programs are available for established artists, students pursuing degrees in the arts, and those just starting in the field.

Many young and aspiring artists come here to study to get their feet wet in the art world.

The institution also accepts credit from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for courses taken at the university.

These courses can fulfill both on-campus and off-campus requirements for a student’s degree.

In addition, the school organizes a variety of activities and events for students to take part in throughout the year.

Cap Off Your Day at Phil’s Bar & Grille

Phil’s Bar & Grille specializes in providing fantastic American-style comfort cuisine to its customers.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll adore what this area has to offer.

Online reviews list the restaurant as one of Saugatuck’s most highly rated and reviewed restaurants, making it one of the city’s most popular eateries.

A wide variety of delectable culinary options is available for diners at this establishment.

It has everything from broasted wings and scallop pad Thai to lobster cobb salad and vegetarian risotto.

The Butler Street location of Phil’s Bar & Grille makes it easy to explore the area’s plethora of boutiques and restaurants after you’ve finished your meal.

Enjoy an Overnight Stay at Wickwood Inn

Make reservations for the weekend at Saugatuck’s first bed & breakfast, the magnificent historical Wickwood Inn.

A stay at the Wickwood offers a unique hospitality experience, from the chic design accents to the opulent and exquisite cuisine.

The eleven lovely guest rooms combine the finest practical design with the warmth of heritage, and their team of seasoned hospitality professionals is committed to giving visitors total comfort.

King-size Vispring beds from The Luxury Bed Collection are adorned with sumptuous Matouk linens, adding a touch of luxury to the quaint rooms.

Wickwood Inn offers a warm lakeside retreat where everything slows down, and life is as pleasant and laid-back as it should be, thanks to its cozy, intimate atmosphere.

Play, Shop, and Dine at Ravines Golf Club

In Saugatuck, Ravines Golf Club provides first-rate playing conditions at a remarkable price.

Feel the distinction of unique qualities like aesthetically pleasing and calm settings, highly competent service, and hospitality.

It is a stunning location ideal for golf vacations, wedding celebrations, and business conferences.

Utilize the entire driving range, short game practice area, and two putting greens to hone your talents.

Visit the golf shop for the newest styles in men’s and women’s clothing and the newest accessories and supplies for perfecting your game.

The Grill Room at Ravines Golf Club overlooks the picturesque 18th hole and is the ideal spot to start or end your game.

Browse Items to Purchase at Butler Pantry

In the picturesque city of Saugatuck, The Butler Pantry, West Michigan’s most unique gourmet kitchen shop, was established in 1977.

When The Butler Pantry first opened its doors, the goal was to establish a place where cooking skills, gourmet food delight, and a passion for excellent wines all combined to create a gastronomic experience.

They offer a huge selection of cookware, cooking utensils, exquisite wines, and gourmet meals.

The staff members are ready to share their love of cooking with customers and are extremely educated about the culinary arts.

Visit The Butler Pantry to see the newest and coolest kitchen appliances, watch a culinary demonstration, or just taste a few of their gourmet delicacies and delectable coffee.

Relax and Indulge in a Delicious Meal at Belvedere Inn and Restaurant

Experience the warmth and comfort of a bed & breakfast while staying in accommodations at an upscale, sophisticated lodging at Belvedere Inn and Restaurant.

The Belvedere Inn is a European Style Boutique Inn, often known as Mini Versailles.

It is in a rural setting yet has the refinement and flair of a large metropolis.

Visitors are greeted with a hearty welcome by the founders, two former Chicagoans, and they immediately feel at home.

The Belvedere Restaurant offers changeable hours, seasonal cuisine, and many special event dishes.

The restaurant is non-smoking and has a comprehensive wine and spirits list.

Additionally, the Belvedere Restaurant organizes various special events and private gatherings.

Come by Good Goods

Good Goods was founded by owner Sandra Randolph in 1989 as a modest one-room business in an old Italianate structure that had previously been used as a boarding facility.

It now fills the full building with a magnificent garden area following years of construction and restoration.

For more than 30 years, Good Goods has been bringing its customers the finest handmade in America from its location in the quaint seaside town of Saugatuck, Michigan.

Numerous North American artists who labor tirelessly to share their handcrafted creations with the world are represented by Good Goods.

You may be guaranteed to discover handmade products that have an enduring quality and make daily life joyful thanks to more than 150 artisans.

Visit the exquisite designs, art, and American handmade collection at Good Goods.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Meander in the Fenn Valley Vineyards

Are you fond of wine tastings?

Do you love discovering authentic flavors of wine?

Then, stop by the Fenn Valley Vineyards for their collection of premium wines, ranging from classic to new flavors.

You can also attend one of the guided tours in their vineyards, which offer guests the opportunity to learn about the complete winemaking process.

The tours last for two hours and are perfect for wine lovers or those who want a day out.

Final Thoughts

In Saugatuck, Michigan, you may find award-winning beaches, gorgeous canals, and grassy dunes, as well as a flourishing art scene.

Plan a visit to Saugatuck as soon as possible, and experience this tourist’s paradise in Michigan.

© All rights reserved.