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.

Cheers Your Way Across the Beachtowns Craft Beverage Trail

Odd Side Ales flight of beer

As you travel through the Lake Michigan Beachtowns, don’t miss stopping at the many spots along our Craft Beverage Trail! We have breweries, vineyards, tasting rooms, distilleries, and cider mills. Discover some new favorites and bring them home as souvenirs and gifts!

Holland

New Holland Brewing was founded in 1997 and today is recognized as one of the leading innovators in the revolution of craft brewing and distilling. Their Pub on 8th in downtown Holland where you can sample the beers on tap as well as their Michigan made bourbon, gin, vodka, and rum. New Holland also has a few menu to pair with your drink of choice. Farmhaus Cider Co. in Hudsonville has their Cidergarten Tap Room located on their 150 year old family farm. On the weekends, they invite local food trucks to sell food to enjoy with their ciders. Our Brewing Company is a nano-brewery in the heart of downtown. They create small batches of complex beer using local ingredients that you can drink while playing trivia, games, and live music. Learn about all of the Holland area stops along the Lake Michigan Beverage Trail here!

Muskegon

Unruly Brewing was the first brewery to brew been in Muskegon since 1957. Their downtown taproom is always alive with live music and their outdoor beer garden is a favorite spot in the summer months. Down the way from Unruly is 18th Amendment Spirits who found their home inside of the former Savings & Loan Bank. Their craft cocktails are made from house made ingredients and freshly squeezed juices. Take your chance on the ‘Dealer’s Choice’ and trust their barstaff to create an original, handcrafted cocktail based on your preferences. North of Muskegon, in Whitehall, you will find Fetch Brewing Company who has an ever changing on tap list. They are known for hosting local food trucks and live music and open mic nights. Learn about all of the Muskegon area stops along the Lake Michigan Beverage Trail Here!

Saint Joseph

Southwest Michigan is home to their very own Makers Trail! Grab yourself a free copy of the Makers Trail Passport which will help you discover over 40 participating craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries. You can also download the Makers Trail app to help navigate to each stop. Collect stamps at each participating location to earn rewards including apparel, tickets to the Makers Trail Festival, Yeti tumblers, and overnight stays in the Saint Joseph area. Learn more about the Makers Trail here!

Silver Lake Sand Dunes – Hart

Big Hart Brewing Company’s mission is to provide the best beer, the finest in fresh local food, and excellent service. They are committed to showcasing the bounty of Hart and Oceana County. Big Hart serves up their craft beers as well as their Big Hart blends of wine. The Fox Barn Winery in Shelby is a fruit and asparagus farm with over 2000 acres. In 2005 they introduced their Farm Market and then their Winery soon after. They serve up their fruit wines as well as hard ciders on tap and ‘Barn Bites’ like cheese & crackers and smoked fish dip. Learn more about the Silver Lake Sand Dunes area craft beverage stops here!

Grand Haven

Oddside Ales in downtown Grand Haven began as a humble microbrewery in 2010 and has since grown so much that they now brew in their own 44,000 square foot facility. Their taproom has gone through 3 expansions and now has 27 taps of their newest craft brews. Across the street from Oddside you can find Long Road Distillers. Long Road was the first craft distillery in Grand Rapids and has recently opened up a sister location in Grand Haven. They serve up specialty cocktails with their Michigan made spirits as well as farm-fresh food. Vander Mill in Spring Lake started as a cider mill in 2006 and then began distributing their hard cider in wine bottles and kegs in 2008. Their mainstays are Ginger Peach, Bluish Gold, Hard Apple, and Totally Roasted. During their Sunday Brunches, you can order ‘cidermosas’ to go along with your cider doughnut sliders. Learn more about the Grand Haven area craft beverage stops here!

South Haven

Situated on the riverbank in downtown Paw Paw, Warner Vineyards turned the village’s old water-works building into their Wine Haus. They offer wine, beer, and cider tastings as well as host live music and food trucks. You can find one of Warner’s tasting rooms in downtown South Haven, Holland, and New Buffalo. Harbor Light Brewery in downtown South Haven is just down the road from the area’s famous lighthouse. They have 20 original house-made beers on tap as well as 6 ciders. Three Blondes Brewing was founded by three sisters who were born and raised in the South Haven area. Their revolving tap list includes the likes of Boom Boom Betty, Just Took A DNA Test Turns Out I’m 100% That Beer, and Dill With It. Learn more about the South Haven area craft beverage stops here!

Saugatuck-Douglas

Saugatuck Brewing Company boasts two tasting rooms, 16 taps, hard cider, wine, full menu, and outdoor patio dining. They are currently the only brewery in Michigan to offer a Brew on Premise Program. Participants work with the SBC’s brew masters to create their very own unique beer. Virtue Cider in Fennville makes farmhouse ciders from local heirloom apples and an expansive barrel-aging program. Taste and sip their ciders while touring one of their cider houses and wandering around their gardens to greet their pigs, sheet, chickens, and more. Fenn Valley Vineyards & Winery offers tasting, tours, and many events throughout the year including cooking classes, festivals, and live music. They also have a tasting room in downtown Saugatuck! Learn more about the Saugatuck area craft beverage trail stops here!

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Most Romantic Things to Do Along the Michigan Beachtowns

Michigan Beachtowns Romantic Trip Ideas

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.

Michigan Beachtowns Hiking

Go for a Hike

The parks and trails along the Lake Michigan Beachtowns provide a romantic backdrop for a hike for two all year long. Muskegon State Park and PJ Hoffmaster State Park have miles of wooded trails and sand dunes over looking Lake Michigan and are dog friendly.  Hoffmaster’s trail system connects to the North Ottawa Dunes trails, the new Ottawa Sands Park, and the Kitchel-Lindquist Hartger Dune Preserve north of Grand Haven if you are looking for a longer hike. To experience something otherworldly, head to the Silver Lake State Park Pedestrian Dune Access area to see mountains of sand dunes and watch hundreds of ORVs fly through the trails. Climb to the top of Mount Pisgah in Holland for a stunning view of both Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan. For those who are not afraid of heights, the steep, wooden stairs of Mount Baldhead bring hikers to the top of a 794 foot overlook of Saugatuck. Black River Preserve in South Haven has easy-to-difficult hiking trails with a one mile frontage of the Black River and other area streams. Weko Beach & John DeeDee Howard Trail is the Saint Joseph area are great spots for a hike.

Spend a Day at the Beach Michigan Beachtowns Beaches

Pack a blanket, your favorite snacks & beverages, towels, chairs, some books & magazines, your headphones, sunglasses, and sunscreen and prepare yourself for a relaxing day for two. If you are looking for a day at the beach close to all of the action Silver Lake Beach, South Beach, Oval Beach, Holland State Park, Grand Haven State Park, Pere Marquette Beach, and Little Sable Lighthouse Beach are perfect for people watching and catching some rays. Looking for something a little more quiet? Muskegon State Park, Newcome Beach, Rosy Mound Natural Area, Tunnel Park, Grand Mere State Park, & Douglas Beach are for you! If you want to add in a little adventure, consider renting ORVs at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes and finding a spot along Lake Michigan for the two of you. Learn more about all of the Michigan Beachtowns beaches here!

Visit a Vineyard or a Tasting Room

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!

Micihgan Beachtowns Paddle SportsPeddle & 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 LighthousesHolland Michigan Lighthouse

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.

Lake Michigan SunsetWatch 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

There is quaint and romantic place for the two of you to stay no matter what season along the Lake Michigan Beachtowns. Check out the latest lodging and getaway specials here!

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