LGBTQ Family Fun Along the Art Coast

Looking for a family-friendly vacation spot in a safe, inclusive environment? Look no further than the Art Coast of Michigan. With stunning outdoor scenery and fun activities for every age, Saugatuck/Douglas provides a warm welcome to all families looking for their ultimate escape.

A long-standing history of inclusivity, a vibrant LGBTQ+ community, and a plethora of kid-friendly activities make Saugatuck/Douglas the perfect location for LGBTQ families looking for their ideal vacation getaway. 

But don’t just take our word for it. Many publications have featured this area as a welcoming and fun travel destination, including Thrillist (6 LGBTQIA-Friendly Small Towns You Need to Visit and This Tiny Michigan Town is One of America’s Best LGBTQ+ Destinations), Vacationer (22 Small LGBTQ-Friendly Cities in the U.S.), GayCities (This Small Midwest Town Should Be Your Next Weekend Getaway), and PrideSource (Have You Been to These Surprisingly Queer Michigan Road Trip Destinations?).

Here are our top recommended kid-friendly activities and attractions for a memorable summer family getaway.

 

Mt. Baldhead

To burn off some of that youthful energy, climb up the 302 steps to the top of Mt. Baldhead and get a bird’s eye view of the Kalamazoo River, downtown area, and Lake Michigan. You’ll also catch a close-up glimpse of the Mount Baldhead Radar Tower, a Cold War relic dating back to the 1950s and one of the most iconic sights along the Saugatuck shore. Kids will love running down the sandy dune on the west side of the mountain, which will bring you to Oval Beach.

Oval Beach

Considered one of the best beaches in the country according to Condé Nast TravelerOval Beach features soft white sand and stunning Lake Michigan views. It’s a great place for kids to spend the day swimming in salt-free water, soaking up the sun, and building a few sandcastles.

 

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Spend the day wandering through the sandy forest paths of Saugatuck Dunes State Park, where all trails lead to the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. This beautiful patch of the Art Coast features 13 miles of trails with coastal dunes and forested areas that attract rare birds and endangered species.

Saugatuck Dune Rides

Take a thrilling 40-minute off-road, open-roof dune ride through the rolling hills of sand overlooking Lake Michigan on the Saugatuck Dune Rides. You and your family will enjoy discovering all the natural beauty of the area and experiencing tales from the local lore delivered by highly engaging and comedic tour guides.

 

Star of Saugatuck 

For the quintessential Saugatuck water experience that family members, young and old, will enjoy, take a ride on the Star of Saugatuck. This 51-ton double-decker paddlewheel boat traverses the Kalamazoo River into Lake Michigan, giving you a relaxing view of the town, harbor, and scenic natural areas. Refreshments are served onboard, and the tour narrations are both fun and informative.

Donut Boats 

Rent a donut boat from Retro Boat Rentals and take the entire family (including Fido) for a spin around the Kalamazoo River. Shaped just like its name, donut boats feature a round table in the middle perfect for enjoying food and beverages with a group. These boats can also be anchored or beached in a special designated “cove” area to allow for swimming or just hanging out. 

Plan an Active Escape in the Art Coast

We know how addictive hobbies can be (ever tried pickleball, anyone?). Whether you’re visiting Saugatuck/Douglas for a workcation or traveling for pleasure, you don’t have to miss out on your favorite pastime while you’re here. To help, we’ve compiled a sport-by-sport breakdown of all the places you can go to stay active doing the hobby you love.

For the Runners, Hikers, and Swimmers

Saugatuck Dunes State Park
If you’re looking for an adventure-filled day, look no further than Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Home to 2.5 miles of sandy Lake Michigan shoreline, coastal dunes, forests, and 13 miles of trails, this park is a paradise for hikers, trail runners, swimmers, and more. 

Mount Baldhead and Oval Beach
If you’re a runner or hiker and up for a tough training session, ascend the 302 stairs up this 230-foot dune. With an elevation of 804 feet, Mt. Baldhead gives you spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the Kalamazoo River. Once you’ve caught your breath, follow the trails down to beautiful Oval Beach, where, if it’s a warm summer day, you can go for a swim.

For the Disc Golfers and Bikers

Shore Acres Township Park
Popular with the locals, this park, adjacent to Saugatuck Dunes State Park, offers a two-mile mountain bike trail and disc golf course, which includes a challenging mix of open and wooded holes with elevation and unique sandy terrain. The mountain bike course is short but fun, with tight turns, sand, and a few hills to get your adrenaline pumping.

Beeline Trail
Start in Saugatuck and end on the south side of Lake Macatawa in Holland. This trail lets you explore both cities with a 24-mile round-trip. Begin with a hearty breakfast in downtown Saugatuck and be back here for dinner and drinks afterwards.

Beach to Bayou Trail
Short but sweet (less than two miles), this trail starts or ends at Wade’s Bayou Memorial Park on Kalamazoo Lake and runs down Center Street through downtown Douglas until you hit the waters of Lake Michigan at Lakeshore Drive. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, combine this outing with a kayak or stand-up paddleboard excursion (read on for more info!).

Don’t have your own bike with you? Big Lake Outfitters and In The Elements Rental make it easy to rent and ride while you’re here.

For the Pickleball or Tennis Enthusiasts

Schultz Park 
Schultz Park near downtown Douglas offers eight new pickleball courts, where the Douglas Saugatuck Pickleball Club has open play Monday-Friday, 9-12 am. If you’re in town often and would like to join, the fee is $45. Not interested in open play? The club keeps one court available to the public at all times. 

Saugatuck High School 
Saugatuck High School features four outdoor, hard-surface tennis courts available to the public. You’ll want to go during daylight hours because these courts do not have lights. 

For the Golfers

Clearbrook Golf Club
This scenic 18-hole, par-72 course offers 6,556 yards of beautiful hardwood-lined fairways, well-bunkered greens, and several challenging water features—including a meandering “clear brook” which inspired the club’s name. Come for an inspired day on the greens and stay for the amenities, including a driving range, two putting greens, a practice bunker, and a restaurant and bar that’s a local favorite. 

The Ravines Golf Club
Envisioned and built by the legendary Arnold Palmer, this exceptional 18-hole, par-72 course offers stunning natural vistas over 7,070 yards designed by the master himself. A Certified Audubon International Course and Certified US Kid’s Golf Family Course, the Ravines is sustainably designed and a great place to play golf with the whole family. Amenities include a full driving range, a short game practice area, two putting greens, a golf shop, and the Grill Room, where you can end a long day of golfing with, you guessed it, an Arnold Palmer. 

For the Kayakers and Paddleboarders

Wade’s Bayou Memorial Park
If you’re looking for a place to launch your kayak or stand-up paddleboard, look no further than this charming little park in downtown Douglas. Stay in the bayou for a low-key paddle and wildlife viewing, or venture into the Kalamazoo River for a longer haul. 

Goshorn Lake
If you’re visiting friends or renting a cottage at this beautiful inland lake, you’ve got to get out on the water! This no-wake lake is perfect for paddle sports and offers plenty of opportunities for swimming, fishing, or just gazing at the sunset. 

If you don’t have your own boat or board, our friends at Third Coast PaddlingBig Lake Outfitters, or In The Elements Rental can set you up with rentals.

Top 5 Ways To Celebrate Dad In The Art Coast

With exhilarating outdoor experiences, a lively craft beverage scene, and so many more activities to explore, there’s no shortage of ways to make Father’s Day memorable. Here are our top 5 ways to celebrate Dad in Saugatuck/Douglas this year and every year.

1. Hit the Links

If your dad likes to swing a club, head over to The Ravines Golf Club, West Michigan’s only Arnold Palmer Signature Design Championship Golf Course. This sweeping 18-hole, 7,070-yard, par 72 course features immense and visually stunning natural vistas. Another must-visit course is the Clearbrook Golf Club. This mature 6556-yard, par-72 course features intriguing holes to test every club in your bag. And if the larger courses feel too intimidating, there’s always Saugatuck Mini Golf which offers a lovely natural-style setting with fabulous water features and 18 fun, challenging holes.

2. Take to the Trails

Spend the day at Saugatuck Dunes State Park and explore the miles of beautiful hiking trails that wind through the dunes and forest. Your father will love the opportunity to get some fresh air and exercise while enjoying the stunning views of Lake Michigan. If hiking isn’t his thing, biking is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of our region and pack in some exercise as well. Bikes can be rented from Big Lake Outfitters and In The Elements Rental. For a list of bike routes and trails, click here.

3. Just Add Water

Help dad catch the big one with a charter boat fishing excursion. Half-day and full-day sportfishing expeditions in Lake Michigan can be chartered through Saugatuck Charter FishingBest Chance Too Charters, and Big Lake Outfitters. Or, if you’re looking to explore the water together under your own power, paddle your way through the beautiful Kalamazoo River while enjoying the stunning scenery and wildlife. Rent kayaks from Big Lake OutfittersThird Coast Paddling, or In the Elements Rental, and get ready to treat your pop to a thrilling adventure. And for a more relaxing way to experience our waterways— the Kalamazoo River, Lake Kalamazoo, and Lake Michigan—hop aboard the historic Star of Saugatuck paddlewheel ship for a tour like no other.

4. Belly Up To The Bar

Cement your standing as your father’s favorite child by treating his taste buds to a delicious craft beer tour experience. The Art Coast is home to four craft breweries, each offering distinctly different flavor profiles for their beers. Be the designated driver and try out Saugatuck Brewing CompanyGuardian Brewing CompanyWaypost Brewing Co., and the Mitten Brewing Company. Want to take the experience up a notch and join in on the sampling? Charter a beverage tour through Coastal ToursUntapped Sights & Tours, or Singapore Shuttles for worry-free transportation between breweries. 

5. Eat Your Heart Out

This small coastal getaway features some big and bold flavors, and you’ll want to make sure your father gets his fill. Please his palate at Bowdie’s Chophouse for a decadent and delicious steak dinner. This elegant restaurant offers top-quality cuts of meat, fresh seafood, and an extensive wine list, making it the perfect place to treat your dad to a special meal. If more casual grub set against waterfront views seems more his speed, be sure to hit The Butler and try their famous Butler Burger, a local favorite for the past 60 years. Or treat dad to dinner at the Mermaid Waterfront Bar & Grill, a delightful dockside eatery overlooking the Kalamazoo River that serves fresh fish and other culinary favorites. 

New Wave Wellness In The Art Coast

Evergreen Lane Farm and Creamery

A New Wave Wellness vacation can be a great way to prioritize self-care and living a more balanced life. Involving a wide range of physical, mental, and spiritual activities, New Wave Wellness embraces holistic health concepts and alternative practices to promote optimal health. Reset and recharge in the Art Coast with these less conventional activities and reap the rewards of improved health and well-being.

Knock On Wood

“Forest bathing,” known as shinrin yoku in Japan, is a highly researched practice linked to many health benefits. It simply involves spending time among the trees and practicing mindfulness in nature.

Studies have shown that being immersed in nature slows breathing, improves concentration, and makes people feel more centered. There is no better place to practice forest bathing than among the wooded trails of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park, where you’ll be surrounded by soaring maples and fresh-scented pines, along with the meditative sights and sounds of the water. 

“Herbal” Remedy

With more states legalizing its use, cannabis consumption has become more mainstream, resulting in a change to the stigma historically associated with the plant. Surveys indicate that an overwhelming majority of adults consuming cannabis are doing so for health and wellness purposes, preferring holistic solutions over pharmaceuticals to treat medical issues. Backed by increasing scientific support, cannabis use has been associated with numerous medical benefits, including pain relief, improved sleep, and decreased anxiety. Find cannabis products such as edibles, topicals, tinctures, and more in Saugatuck/Douglas/Fennville at Green KoiNew StandardJARS Cannabis, and City Hall Provisions.

Hold Your Horses

Relax, restore, and reflect for a quiet couple of hours in the company of horses. The Red Horse Center for Collaborative Leadership is a place where horses, nature, meditation, art, and peace converge. Participate in a Herd Meditation, which offers peace and quiet, fresh air, meditative exercise, and reflection with a supportive herd of horses. Or create a personal Thrive Story through a facilitated process involving exploration of the seven chakras, guided meditation, supported art expression, and horse interactions.

Satya Yoga
Satya Yoga

Get Your Goat

Schedule time with Evergreen Lane Farm and Creamery to “Hike with the Herd.” This hour-long relaxing stroll in the orchard is led by a knowledgeable guide and includes the farm’s playful and unpredictable goats—the most entertaining hiking companions you’ll ever encounter. While goat yoga has become quite the rage, spending any time wandering around with goats can induce laughter, lower stress and anxiety, and enhance your mood.

Eat Well, Be Well

Take control of your health with nutritional and dietary supplement counseling from Ladyhawk Nutrition. A naturopathic doctor will review your health history, eating habits, the stresses in your life, and any medicines, vitamins, or nutritional supplements you take and will make healthy eating plan recommendations to improve your well-being. Other available services include homeopathic remedies counseling, iridology (the practice of looking at the irises of your eyes for constitution and possible weaknesses), reflexology of the hands and feet, hair mineral analysis, and others. 

In A Good Light

Indulge in some LED Light Therapy at SPAlia to treat various skin conditions, such as acne, fine lines, and psoriasis. LED (light-emitting diode) light therapy is a non-invasive, painless treatment that uses blue or red light to enter the skin’s layers and help improve it. NASA began studying LED’s effects in the 1990s, using it to promote wound healing in astronauts by helping cells and tissues grow. SPAlia offers several facial services that use an FDA-cleared LED light medical device with topical heat to disinfect, detoxify and eliminate bacteria under the skin, revealing a smoother, healthier complexion and more even skin tone. The combination of blue or red light therapy, along with the application of skincare products made from Dead Sea minerals, aims to rebalance and clarify the skin for a more healthy, unified appearance.  

Left To Your Own Devices

According to WebMD, research has shown that nearly 61% of people admit they’re addicted to the internet and digital screens. This constant connection can affect your quality of life by overloading your senses, impacting your sleep quality, and adding stress. Consider taking a Digital Detox vacation in the Art Coast, where you intentionally reduce your screen time and take a break from all your social media apps. By temporarily giving up digital devices during a “digital fast,” you can improve your mental and physical health by reducing the stress that results from constant connectivity. 

The beauty of digitally detoxing in Saugatuck/Douglas is that there are plenty of outdoor and indoor activities that will help calm your mind, reconnect you with nature, and keep you from being bored without your screens. Try a Yoga & Healing Sound class at Satya Yoga in Saugatuck, where a gentle yoga session ends with a long savasana resting pose and sound bath. Participants are bathed in sound waves from crystal singing bowls and other sound healing instruments in a meditative experience that will leave you feeling calm, centered, and relaxed. Or challenge yourself to a Hot Yoga class at Encompass Wellness and Fitness Center, a practice that has been known to improve flexibility, ease depression, and reduce stress.

Family Fun in the Fall

There’s no time like autumn in Saugatuck/Douglas when the trees display a riot of color, the air is a little crisp, and the crowds have thinned out. It’s the perfect time for families to enjoy an active weekend getaway sure to leave lasting memories.

 

Places to Stay

The AmericInn and Best Western are traditional hotel options, but families with younger children will appreciate the added draw of indoor pools. For a stay that feels more like home, try a vacation rental from Mill Pond Realty Vacation RentalsShoreline Realtors Vacation Rentalsor Vacasa Vacation Rentals. Or, for a more traditional inn experience that welcomes children, the Maplewood Hotel, built in 1860, is located in the heart of Saugatuck and within walking distance of all downtown Saugatuck attractions.

 

Things to Do

If you know anything about the Midwest, you know that a visit to the local apple orchard is a must. Our area resides along a 30-mile stretch known as Michigan’s “Fruit Belt”—an agricultural region of abundance where apples and pumpkins are plentiful in the fall. Enjoy some apple picking, as well as fresh cider and donuts, at Crane Orchards. Then challenge your family through their 20-acre, intricately designed corn maze. The corn maze is available September through October, and maze designs are changed each year. Other fun fall activities at Crane’s include a tractor-driven hayride and a cow train that the little ones are sure to enjoy.

Virtue Cider not only offers delicious hard cider for the adults to enjoy but is also situated on an idyllic working farm that is open for families to explore. The outdoor area just outside the craft cidery’s tasting room features picnic tables, fire pits, yard games, and even a playhouse. The picturesque farm is home to heritage breed animals such as chickens, Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs, and Icelandic Sheep that children will get a thrill out of seeing. During the fall, Virtue Cider hosts many family-friendly special events.

For the quintessential Saugatuck water experience that family members young and old will enjoy, take a ride on the Star of Saugatuck Cruise. This 51-ton double-decker paddlewheel boat traverses the Kalamazoo River into Lake Michigan, giving you a relaxing view of the town, harbor, and scenic natural areas. Cruises start in May and go through October, offering a fun and different perspective on fall colors.

For an activity the kids will never forget, hike the Ball and Chain. Take the hand-cranked Chain Ferry (the last of its kind in the US) and then head up 302 steps to the top of Mt. Baldhead to get a bird’s eye view of the Kalamazoo River, downtown area, and Lake Michigan in all of its autumn splendor. You’ll also catch a close-up glimpse of the Mount Baldhead Radar Tower, a Cold War relic dating back the 1950s and one of the most iconic sights along the Saugatuck shore. Kids will love running down the sandy dune on the west side of the mountain, which will bring you to Oval Beach, recognized as one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 25 Beaches in the World.” Bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy while admiring the scenic shoreline—you may need some energy for the trip back!

Rent bikes from Big Lake Outfitters and explore our bike-friendly towns, stopping along the way to enjoy a bite to eat. Biking from Saugatuck to Douglas is a breeze when you use the bike lane along the Blue Star Highway. Or ride along the Beach to Bayou Trail which is a short but sweet (less than 2 miles) trail that starts/ends at Wade’s Bayou on Kalamazoo Lake and runs down Center Street taking you to the waters of Lake Michigan at Lakeshore Drive.

 

Where to Eat

There are many family-friendly restaurants in Saugatuck/Douglas. To experience a local favorite for breakfast, stop by Ida Red’s Cottage, but be sure to bring cash, as this establishment does not take credit cards. For an incredible view of the Kalamazoo River, The Southerner serves delicious southern fare along with some gracious southern hospitality. The Farmhouse Deli & Pantry makes a great stop for lunch featuring fresh salads, gourmet sandwiches, a juice bar, and delectable desserts.

Scooter’s Café and Pizzeria is a local family favorite offering indoor and outdoor seating with a lovely river view. Combining food with fun, Alley’s is a classic American diner that also features eight lanes of bowling on the premises. And truly offering something for everyone, Saugatuck Brewing Company is a wonderful place for lunch or dinner with craft beer on tap for the adults and plenty of kid-friendly meal options.

And no family vacation in Saugatuck/Douglas would be complete without a visit to Kilwins Chocolates for a sweet treat. Watch fudge and caramel being made the old-fashioned way in shiny copper kettles, on marble slab tables, and crafted with wooden paddles. Family members of any age will enjoy trying their original recipe ice cream in handmade waffle cones or a hand-dipped caramel apple.

An Art Enthusiast’s Guide To The Art Coast

Saugatuck/Douglas has long inspired artists of all mediums and captivated the art lovers who visit. Home to numerous galleries, studios, exhibitions, and public art installations, art aficionados will find much to appreciate in the Art Coast of Michigan.

Saugatuck Center for the Arts

Exhibitions

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts regularly featuring exhibits throughout the year. From June 4-September 10, 2021, see Elevating Humanity: Forging Healing Through Connection, artist Sandra Antongiorgi’s collection of work which allows viewers to reckon with their shared legacy of inhumanity and invites people to connect with individuals most marginalized by systems of oppression.

Launched in 2021, the Saugatuck Douglas Fennville Arts Initiative is dedicated to placing highly interactive visual, performing, culinary, healing, and horticulture arts in public venues at no cost. From July 1 through October 10, 2021, Art of the People: Anishinaabe Contemporary ArtistsMaking Moves to Break Down Barriers will be on display at the Saugatuck Douglas Old School House. Prepare to discover a dynamic and evolving culture where history, identity, social justice, and environmental issues are brought up in the works presented by seven regional artists from the Anishinaabe culture. From July 15 through August 15, 2021, eight Latino artists take over the Fennville District Library with the ARTE:LATINO Contemporary Latino Art: Creativity Takes Courage exhibition. Never before seen contemporary works delve into civil rights and immigration as these artists look deeply inside themselves to find a voice of their Latino identity.

J. Petter Galleries

Gallery Strolls

While the long-established Fall Gallery Stroll is known for being the premier arts weekend of the year in Saugatuck/Douglas, other inspiring Gallery Strolls featuring special exhibits and activities happen here each season. Wander through dozens of galleries and artists’ studios, chat with the artists, watch live demos, enjoy live music, and sample delicious local bites and refreshments, all while expanding your artistic tastes. The picturesque streets of downtown Saugatuck and Douglas make for a charming backdrop as you stroll leisurely from one unique gallery to the next. 

Village Square Park Art Show

Art Festivals

Each year in July, the Saugatuck Douglas Art Club hosts two juried outdoor art fairs—the Waterfront Invitational Fine Art Fair and the Village Square Arts and Crafts Fair. Both are open-air art fairs that attract art collectors and art lovers from near and far. The fairs showcase the work of fine artists from around the nation working in a variety of media, including painting, photography, glass, woodworking, ceramics, jewelry, basketry, fibers, and sculpture.

James Conner Gallery and Studio

Artist Studios

Experience art at its source and get the opportunity to speak with artists directly with a studio visit. Discover the artist-owned Peachbelt Studio in Fennville, where original oil paintings by Dawn Stafford are exhibited in a rural historic red brick one-room schoolhouse circa 1867. Stop by the James Brandess Studios & Gallery, housed in the historic Post Office of Downtown Saugatuck, to see the artist in action painting landscapes, still-lifes, and portraits. Enjoy the ambiance of the 1890’s Fernwood Farm, which houses the solar-powered Khnemu Studio where resident artist Dawn Soltysiak makes handmade art and functional pottery. Of course, no artist’s farm would be complete without chickens and ducks roaming free, along with a horse, llama, and a few peacocks!

Downtown Saugatuck

Public Art

Art is everywhere around the Art Coast, and here are some of the places you can encounter it as you’re out and about.

One of the most iconic sculptures in Saugatuck, Family of Man IV, created by artist Cynthia McKean, resides in Coghlin Park, overlooking Lake Kalamazoo. Vibrant red with a dramatic silhouette, the sculpture represents the cyclical nature of mankind’s existence from the present to the past and the future.

Encounter Seurat in Saugatuck just across from Wicks Park. Adorning the walls of the public restroom is a stunning recreation of Georges Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The mural has been a Saugatuck fixture since 1977 and was painted by artist Carol Miron. Visitors can often be seen lounging leisurely on the grass around the park, just as the subjects do in the painting.

Located nearby on the Dockside Market Place building on Water Street is the colorful Smile! You’re in Saugatuck mural, which makes the perfect backdrop for a pic to commemorate your time with us.

The Village Square Park and playground is home to Romero Britto’s Big Temptation sculpture as well as the “Girl With Puppet” statue, erected by the Saugatuck-Douglas Art Club and Friends in honor of Burr Tillstrom, the famous puppeteer and creator of Kukla, Fran and Ollie and distinguished citizen of the area.

Stop by our Visitors Bureau in Douglas and see Big Fish, a colorful 12-foot by 8-foot rainbow fish sculpture created by artist Stephen Rubinkam in collaboration with local artists Jeff Blandford and Josh Russell.

At The Present Time – A 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Support small businesses this year and check off your holiday shopping list with must-haves that don’t come from a mall. A host of specialty boutiques and independently-owned galleries and storefronts line the walkable streets of our downtowns, giving you the opportunity to find distinctive gifts in a more relaxed shopping experience.

For the…

Arts Lover

Home to over 20 galleries and artist studios, there is no shortage of places here to shop for incredible artwork. Stop by the Jeff Blandford Gallery for unique and original plates, bowls, and vases to delight everyone on your list. Check out this artist’s intriguing glow glass pieces, made from phosphorescent glass and inspired by bioluminescent species, for a one-of-a-kind gift. Be sure to visit J. Petter Galleries, the largest fine art gallery in the area, which also offers extraordinary wine-themed gift and other items that make for the perfect host/hostess gift. Extraordinary ceramics, paintings, sculptures, and other handcrafted treasures can be found at Capizzo StudioFernwood 1891Armstrong De Graaf International Fine ArtButton GalleryMixed Media Gallery, and the Water Street Gallery, just to name a few of our galleries. For a complete listing of all our galleries and studios, click here. With many galleries offering gift cards, like Amazwi Contemporary Art Gallery, you can be sure your recipient will get exactly what they want.

Smaller, but just as meaningful, art gifts can also be found throughout the area. James Brandess Studios & Gallery is offering beautiful 2022 Calendars and Hand-Deckled Cards that are suitable for framing. And don’t forget to stop by The Laffing Glass to treat yourself and everyone else to a handcrafted, whimsical glass ornament or nightlight.

If experiencing the arts in a myriad of ways is what you’re looking for, gift someone with an SCA Art Pass. Passes can be used for performances, classes, concerts, or camps hosted by the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.

For the…

Foodie & Entertainer

Please someone’s palate with Michigan-made edible gifts from Crane’s Pie PantryThe Butler Pantry, and American Spoon. A seasonal favorite to share with friends is American Spoon’s Holiday Jam, a festive limited release made from a merry blend of figs, sour cherries, tart cranberries, and holiday spices. For the freshest, most aromatic herbs, spices, and teas available from around the globe, explore all the exotic offerings from Spice & Tea Merchants. Or, for a selection of small-batch and artisan extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from all over the world, stop by The Olive Mill. Your favorite gourmand is sure to appreciate a food gift basket from Isabel’s Market + Eatery or a gift card that can be applied to their specialty food items or demonstration cooking classes.

For the craft beer connoisseurs in your life, purchase a six-pack (or two) from Saugatuck Brewing CompanyGuardian Brewing CompanyWaypost Brewing Company, and The Mitten Brewing Company. Or pick up a bottle of Michigan wine or cider from Fenn Valley WineryCrane’s WineryVirtue CiderModales, or Michigan Wine Company. And don’t forget to pick up a gift certificate from one of our many fabulous restaurants for a memorable stocking stuffer.

For the…

Fashion-Forward

For unique Saugatuck apparel and a wide selection of men’s and women’s outerwear and activewear, be sure to stop by Landsharks. Stylish men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, all imported directly from France, are featured at My French Marta boutique dedicated to cultivating affordable French style. Carefully curated West Coast-inspired styles for both men and women can be found at Coastal Society, which also features a craft cocktail lounge on-site for the ultimate shopping experience. 

For the fashionista in your life, Articles Boutique offers a selection of classic modern styles with an urban edge, while TOTU Boutique features European-inspired fashion and accessories. Other on-trend clothing and accessories can be found at Brass Anchor Co.Gina’s Boutique, and Glik’s, while more classic styles can be found at Saugatuck Traders. And for a unique accessory that also makes a sustainability statement, check out Sea Bags for a wide assortment of stylish bags made from used sails.

For the…

Jewelry Lover

Make someone’s eyes sparkle with handcrafted fine jewelry from Koorey Creations for a blend of stunning originality and timeless design that’s sure to become a family heirloom. Find unique and beautiful artisan-made jewelry in precious metals and stones at Good Goodsalong with a variety of other beautiful handmade items. Or, for Southwestern-inspired jewelry, stop by Santa Fe Trading Co.  For inspiring and unique sterling silver necklaces, earrings and rings entwined with beautiful opals and semi-precious stones, explore the Blue Wildwood Jewelry Boutique.  Handcrafted fair trade jewelry can be found at Lucia’s World Emporiumwhile other covet-worthy statement pieces await your discovery at Endora BohemianArt Glass Alcove, and Urban Found.

For the…

Home Decorator

Plant lovers will love receiving a handcrafted traditional English-style terracotta pot or a beautiful pre-potted Kokedama moss ball garden from Puddingstone. Home décor enthusiasts will appreciate eye-catching finds, both vintage and new, from Upscale Mercantile. Stop by Brackett & Company to find urban contemporary, French country, and elegant estate quality home and garden accessories and furniture for the discerning decorator. While known for their stunning array of contemporary fine art, Roan & Black also offers beautiful home furnishings and accessories that are sure to spark delight.

For an eyeful of holiday inspiration, make Kindel & Company a must-visit on your shopping excursion. Dubbed as a “Lifestyle Mercantile,” this boutique is recognized for its creative decorating ideas, which are demonstrated on full display throughout the store. Looking for some holiday décor? Stop by It Is What It Is for festive and fun home accessories along with other handmade treasures and unique gifts. And don’t forget Tuck’s of Saugatuck, a year-round Christmas shop that features stunning collectible ornaments from Old World Christmas, Christopher Radko, Kurt S. Adler, and more.

For the…

Furry Members of Your Family

Spoil your beloved pet with a new collar, chew toy, or whimsical holiday hat from Lakeshore Pet Boutique, which also offers pet-themed items for humans and their homes. Or find a new bandana, food bowl, or specialty treat at LUXE of Saugatuck.

Turn Up the Heat

Romance isn’t hard to celebrate when you’re spending time in our charming coastal towns. There’s something enchanting about the way this area makes people feel. For an unforgettable Valentine’s Day weekend getaway or romantic retreat, we invite you to discover some captivating ways to while away the winter hours together and get the sparks flying.

Friday

Find the perfect room for your romantic retreat at The Belvedere Inn or The Wickwood Inn, both charming establishments that have the ideal ambiance to make you fall in love all over again. Or cozy up together by the fireplace with a book or board game in a suite at the Sherwood Forest Bed & Breakfast or The Rosemont Inn. Searching for a stay with other specific amenities? Explore more lodging options here.

After check-in, make your way over to the J. Petter Wine Gallery to appreciate some fine art and purchase a bottle of wine or champagne to enjoy later in the evening. Then head downtown in Saugatuck to bask in the glow of the twinkling lights as you stroll along our streets. Stop in a boutique or two, like Good Goods and Art Glass Alcove, to shop for one-of-a-kind treasures before grabbing dinner and a nightcap.

Saturday

After breakfast, grab some coffee from Respite Cappuccino Court or Uncommon Grounds, and rent some snowshoes from Landsharks and take in a long wintry walk to admire the stunning views at the Saugatuck Natural Harbor area. The rolling landscape of shifting sand, dune grass, and wetlands is a sight to behold during the colder months. Or, if cross-country skiing sounds like more your style, head to the trails of Saugatuck Dunes State Park and explore our winter wonderland. Be sure to make a quick stop at Oval Beach and look out for some unusual weather-related phenomenon like “erupting” ice volcanoes and sculpted ice spheres along the shoreline. Even if the conditions aren’t right for you to encounter these incredible winter anomalies; the serene and spectacular view of a frosty Lake Michigan is well worth the interlude.

After your outdoor adventure, warm up by pampering yourselves with a couple’s massage at Bella Vita Spa or Redefine Med Spa. Or, for a completely different way to relax and rejuvenate together, check out the salt cave experience at Massa Body.

Known for our culinary and craft beverage scene, there are many places open in the winter that will leave your palates pleased. Borrowed TimeWick’s Park Bar & Grill, and Guardian Brewing Co. offer heated outdoor seating areas should you want to dine al fresco while other establishments, such as Pennyroyal Café & Provisions and the Saugatuck Brewing Co. have take-out options that you can enjoy in the private comfort of your room.

Sunday

Sleep in and then take your special someone to dash through the snow in a horse-drawn open sleigh. Arrange for a 40-minute, private sleigh ride through the woods with Wild West Ranch for a romantic experience you both will never forget.

Enjoy lunch at Isabel’s Market + Eatery and grab some delectable croissants or cinnamon rolls for the car ride home. And before you say good-bye to the Art Coast of Michigan, you’ll want to peruse the many galleries in Saugatuck and Douglas. The Button GalleryMixed Media GalleryJames Brandess StudiosRoan & Black, and Armstrong De Graaf International Fine Art are just some of the many galleries worthy of a leisurely stroll through.

Tantalizing Tastes of Winter

Whether you’re planning a culinary-focused getaway or stopping for a sip. Winter is the best time of year to enjoy the delicious dishes and craft beverages of the region. And the best part? You get to avoid the crowds.

There’s no better way to warm up after a long wintry day than with a Michigan-made craft beverage. If beer is what you’re craving, try out Saugatuck Brewing CompanyGuardian Brewing CompanyWaypost Brewing Co., and the Mitten Brewing Company. Hard cider fans will appreciate a visit to Virtue Cider or Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant & Winery.

To experience our region’s wine varietals, check out Crane’sModales Wines, the nearby Fenn Valley Vineyards & Winery, or its Fenn Valley Tasting Room in downtown Saugatuck. And, for award-winning, handcrafted spirits, be sure to stop by the Coppercraft Distillery Tasting Room and the New Holland Brewing Tasting Room.

A must-experience culinary destination, as noted in Condé Nast Traveler’s “20 Best Places to Go in 2020,” Saugatuck/Douglas is a foodie favorite. Tempt your taste buds with a stop at Pennyroyal Café and Provisions for fresh farm-to-table seasonal dishes or Coast 236 for approachable, coastal-inspired fare.  For casually elegant dining combined with the region’s best live music, try Wicks Park Bar & Grille or Salt of the Earth.

Look no further than Bowdie’s Chophouse for an exceptional, intimate steakhouse experience that’s big on flavor. Or, if a burger is more your style, head for The Butlerwhere the selection ranges from the classics to more gourmet.

If sampling a variety of small plates is what you’re after, your trip needs to include a visit to Borrowed Time where seasonally-driven ingredients are artfully prepared and meant to be shared. A local favorite and hidden gem is Clearbrook’s Grill Room Restaurant, who have been serving their house special walleye since 1985.

Explore Our Winter Wonderland

Recapture the joy and spirit of childhood while sledding under a gentle cascade of snowflakes. Explore our tranquil woods and snow-covered dunes on snowshoe or cross-country skis.

With such a variety of outdoor adventures available in Saugatuck/Douglas, you’ll find it easy to create warm winter memories that will last a lifetime.

Get ready to bundle up and feel the crunch of snow beneath your feet. Stop by Landsharks in Saugatuck to rent skis, boots, poles, or snowshoes. Then head out to Saugatuck Dunes State Park to explore miles of spectacular scenic trails that are stunning no matter what time of year. Or make your way over to the Oval Beach Trails or Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, where you’ll breathe in the fresh cool air and marvel at the stark beauty of the wooded dunes and shoreline.

Don’t forget to bring your sled for some frosty downhill fun at Schultz Park in Douglas. For skiing and tubing enthusiasts, enjoy the charming and relaxing atmosphere of Saugatuck/Douglas as your home base and take a short hour-drive to the following ski resorts and ski areas:

And for a more relaxing yet equally spectacular outdoor adventure, let Wild West Ranch take you on a private horse-drawn sleigh ride through magical snow-covered woods.