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.
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 Butler, where 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.
If you are looking to plan a romantic getaway look no farther than the quaint and friendly towns along the Lake Michigan Beachtowns! We offer traditional wine & dine experiences along with some adventure, quiet time for just the two of you, and the most stunning sunsets you will ever see in your lifetime.
Cheers to spending time together at one of the many vineyards or wine & cider tasting rooms located along the Michigan Beachtowns. The Fox Barn Winery is the Silver Lake Sand Dunes-Hart area is a unique setting within a restored barn where you can taste their wines along with a ‘Barn Bites’ food board. 12 Corners Vineyards & Winery is located in Benton Harbor but they also have tasting rooms located in Grand Haven and South Haven. Oceana Winery & Vineyard is located in New Era between Silver Lake Sand Dunes & Muskegon but you can also try their wines at their tasting room downtown Muskegon. Fenn Valley Winery has been around since 1973. Their vineyard hosts tours throughout the year and they have a tasting room in Saugatuck. Virtue Cider is located on a working farm complete with tours, sheep, pigs, and chickens. Learn more about the Michigan Beachtowns Beverage Trail here!
Peddle & Paddle
Each of the Lake Michigan Beachtowns offer a variety of ways venture around the area by bike, by kayak, or by SUP. Bring your own or rent from many local rental companies by the hour, by the day, or by the week. The Michigan Beachtowns have hundreds of miles of biking paths and trails for the serious biker and those looking for a casual, scenic ride. While the big lake can be friendly to paddlers, the inland lakes and rivers offer up a relaxing day on the water without worrying about large waves. For the more adventurous paddlers, surf board rentals and lessons are available through Third Coast Surf Shop in Southwest Michigan or you can try Kiteboarding with the help of MacKite.
Listen to Live Music at a Brewery
Grab a tasting flight and cozy up together at one the Lake Michigan breweries. Our Brewing Company in downtown Holland is a nano-brewery and was founded by two couples and their motto is “Smaller on Purpose.” Saugatuck Brewing Company is the only brewery in Michigan to feature a Brew on Premise Program where you can work with their master brewers to create your own special beer. Oddside Ales in Grand Haven recently expanded its downtown taproom complete with garage doors that open up for alfresco drinking and dining. Unruly Brewing Company in downtown Muskegon is the first brewery to brew been in Muskegon since 1957 and offers an outdoor beer garden in the warmer months. Big Hart Brewing Company in Hart hosts live music, karaoke nights, and Trivia nights. Three Blondes Brewing was founded by 3 sisters who were born and raised in South Haven. During the winter months you can snuggle together in one of their igloos nicknamed the Blondomes. In the Saint Joseph area, pick up a free Makers Trail passport and start collecting stamps from more than 40 participating craft breweries, wineries, and distillers.
Discover Iconic Lighthouses
The most romantic times of the day to view and visit one of the Lake Michigan Beachtowns lighthouses is first thing in the morning or leading up to sunset. Walk the pier, beach, or nearby boardwalk hand-in-hand. Saint Joseph’s lighthouses are accessible from Tiscornia Park. South Haven’s lighthouse is a short walk from downtown via the boardwalk. Holland’s Big Red is best viewed from Holland State Park. Grand Haven’s lighthouses can be found where the boardwalk ends at Grand Haven State Park. Muskegon’s lighthouses keep guard over the Muskegon Lake channel. Little Sable Lighthouse is located at Silver Lake Sand Dunes State Park and is open for tours during the warmer months. Before your trip, join the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s Passport Program and collect stamps and stickers at each of the Beachtown lighthouses!
Share a Romantic Meal
Houndstooth Restaurant in Benton Harbor is a New American restaurant that was founded by two siblings and features a fine dining experience without the pretense. The menu ebbs with the season and with the culinary duo’s mood. Menu items include Blue Crab Dumplings, Roasted Chicken, and Creamsicle Poke Cake. Taste in downtown South Haven is a small plates restaurant and martini bar with items to share including sushi, sweet & spicy shrimp, a Michigan cheese plate, and signature martinis. Salt of the Earth in Fennville offers scratch cooking from fresh local ingredients. Their menu changes seasonally including their selection of entrees, shared plates, and wood fired pizza. Seventy-Six is located downtown Holland and serves up modern, American comfort food. They offer lunch & dinner along with changing list of modern cocktails like the Tequila ‘Mockingbird’ and a Winter Margarita with elderberry and pear puree. Noto’s at the Bil-Mar in Grand Haven has one of the most spectacular views of Lake Michigan you can find along the shoreline. Noto’s offers spins on Italian classics, wood fired pizzas, apps, and small plates. The Lake House on Muskegon Lake has a marina view and a menu fitting for a fine dining or casual dining experience. What’s not to love about Big Hart Brewing? They serve up their craft brews along with a large menu of small plates, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees.
Watch the Sunset Over Lake Michigan
There is no better way to end a romantic day than with a breathtaking sunset over Lake Michigan. All of the Michigan Beachtown beaches offer stunning sunsets all year long. The ‘golden hour’ leading up to sunset provides the best lighting for romantic selfies.
Stay at a Charming Inn, Bed & Breakfast, Hotel, or Vacation Rental