Hot cider, pumpkin patches, apple picking, and hayrides: these are the hallmarks of the Fall harvest! South Haven is one of the best areas to keep the harvest tradition alive, especially for young families looking to craft and capture memories that will a lifetime! Plus, we can always use more excuses to enjoy warm cider and donuts. So explore the brilliant fall colors of the South Haven countryside, do some picking of their own, or even get lost in a corn maze!
Start off the harvest season at this family farm that dates back to 1958. DeGrandchamp Farms Cranberry Harvest begins in mid-October. Once a year, the farm opens its fields and invites attendees to witness the beauty of harvesting cranberries in the natural bogs.
Catch a hayride to the bogs throughout the day to watch the crew rake in bright, red cranberries from the flooded bogs. Then, head to the sorting line to learn about how cranberries are sorted, packaged, and shipped. Cranberry products are available for purchase at the retail market, including jams, salsas, dried fruit, and baked goods. Fresh cranberries are available in October and November.
Grab the family and head to Overhiser Orchards to pick your own pumpkins or apples and explore the farm and its many harvest activities. Available apples for u-pick include Empire, Cortland, Jonamac, Blondee, and Gala. Munch on some fresh donuts while you sip cider, pet the farm animals, or feed the birds with the farm’s sunflower seed harvest.
Take time to get lost in the corn maze or head over to the sunflower field for the farm’s new nature walk. Hayrides are available, weather permitting. You can even fish in the pond on-site, but save some room for the corn maze!
A true farm for the whole family, Bumbleberry Acres features u-pick, farm animals, a playground, wagon rides, and more. Halloween is always an especially fun time at Bumbleberry, so be sure to visit online for special events and activities!
At the Dutch Farm Market just north of South Haven, apples (Red Delicious, Matsu, Cortland, Yellow Delicious, North Spy, Ida Red, and Rome) and Bosc pears are available for picking, and free wagon rides are available until the end of October. The market store has all the apples and pears, and everything from homemade jams, taffy apples, fresh-pressed cider, honey, and maple syrup, to home-baked pies, bread, turnovers, and donuts, to name just a few.
Can’t squeeze a trip to the farm into your schedule?
There’s good news! You don’t have to compromise on freshness. The South Haven’s Farm Market operates through September under the Huron Street Pavilion in downtown South Haven, and Barden’s Farm Market on the corner of Phoenix and Blue Star Highway is open daily! Drop in for baked goods, craft beer, and something sweet for all your friends and family!
Discover the best fall beach destinations in Southwest Michigan
Summer isn’t the only time to visit Lake Michigan’s beaches in Southwest Michigan. Fall days and lake temperatures are often warm from September until early October. Then from October through November, pull on a sweater, fleece, or jacket and enjoy the wilder Big Lake waves and less-crowded beaches from golden sunrise to star-studded night. For many, fall is their favorite beach season. Come see why.
Visit nine Lake Michigan beach towns If you’re planning an autumn getaway, solo retreat, or fall color tour along the lakeshore, add these Lake Michigan beach towns and their beaches to your itinerary.
Grand Mere State Park | 7337 Thornton Drive Grand Mere boasts sweeping dunes, deep blowouts, a mile-long sandy beach, and hikes beneath canopies of colorful leaves.
This is one of Southwest Michigan’s most popular year-round beaches with its 2,450 feet of shoreline from the mouth of the St. Joseph River to Park Street. The park gives you access to the South Pier, and you can walk to the beach from downtown St. Joseph.
This is one of the most beautiful, lesser-used beaches in Southwest Michigan. It is also a trailhead for a 10-mile natural and urban fitness hiking and biking adventure — the trees are autumn showpieces along the way.
Warren Dunes State Park | 12032 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer Three miles of beach frontage, including a separate dog-friendly beach. A top pick for its giant dunes and beautiful fall foliage.
Weko Beach | 5237 Lake St., Bridgman Nestled among 42 acres of wooded dunes, it has 960 feet of sandy beach with some of the area’s favorite fall foliage and water vistas.
Seven favorite fall things to do at our beaches
There are so many ways to fill several fall days in Southwest Michigan. Here are locals’ and visitors’ top picks from high adventures to total relaxation.
Take a fall color tour
Follow the West Michigan Pike routes in this guide. Along the way, visit our pick-your-own and farm markets to gather just-harvested fruits and vegetables, plus bread, jams, desserts, and more for your fall beach picnic. This is also one of the best times of year to look for colorful rocks, beach glass, and fossils along the water’s edge.
Paddle along the shoreline
Most beaches offer easy access to take your canoe, kayak, or SUP from the parking lot to the shoreline. Several also have launch areas on scenic rivers that empty into the big lake. Shoreline paddles give you gorgeous views of fall foliage along the bluffs and across the dunes.
Watch for migratory birds on their Lake Michigan flight path
The migration flight path along Lake Michigan’s shoreline is almost as ancient as the dunes. Fall is a peak time for birdwatching, seeing everything from songbirds and shorebirds to raptors.
Be captivated by Great Lakes freighters and barges
It’s hard not to be drawn to the St. Joseph River and harbor when the big freighters and barges arrive or depart from St. Joseph. Watching these big ships navigate past the railroad swing bridge is especially enthralling. We hope you will also see the big ships at night easing through the channel by spotlight or their lights reflecting in the still harbor waters — it will take your breath away. Fall is the last season to be awed before the gales of November stop the shipping traffic on Lake Michigan until the next spring.
Reel in the big ones from our piers, rivers, and the Big Lake
Pier fishing for feisty salmon, trout, and steelhead is a thrill in Southwest Michigan. You can easily access some of our favorite fishing spots from New Buffalo Public Beach, Silver Beach County Park, Tiscornia Beach, and South Haven’s South Beach.
Go surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving
Many people are surprised to learn that you can surf, snorkel and scuba dive off the coast of Lake Michigan. Calmer days on the Big Lake are best for the latter two watersports, but frequent north and south winds make for surfable waves in the fall. You can often spot surfers from the shore at Lions Park, Silver Beach County Park, and Tiscornia Beach — or go out and ride the waves on your board!
See the best sunsets
It’s a daily ritual to head to any of our beaches to watch the sun sink below Lake Michigan’s horizon in a swath of peach, yellow, lavender, and scarlet colors brightening the evening sky. Even on overcast evenings, you will still find colors and a peaceful ending to your day on our shore.
Stay over at near-the-beach lodgings
Lodgings in Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, and Stevensville are just minutes from our beaches, resort town shopping, dining, fall festivals, and attractions. It’s a great time of year to get the hotel rate and amenities you want, especially on weekdays.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The town’s trendy art galleries, romantic lodging options, acclaimed dining and unique shopping – nestled along the Lake Michigan shoreline and defined by natural landmarks like the Kalamazoo River and Saugatuck Dunes State Park – create the perfect setting for outdoor enthusiasts and city-dwellers alike.
This Valentine’s Day, treat your special someone to a romantic trip to the Art Coast of Michigan, anchored by these holiday happenings.
Valentine’s Day Dinners in Saugatuck/Douglas
Say “I Love You” at the Belvedere Inn & Restaurant, February 14 & 15, 2020
Nothing says, “I love you,” like a fine dining experience at the Belvedere Inn & Restaurant; and Chef Shaun Glynn and his staff know how to create just that.Learn more
Cost: $75 per adult. Reservations Required
Valentine’s Dinner on the Italian Coast at Coast 236, February 14, 2020
Enjoy an Italian-inspired, three course l prix fixe menu at coastal inspired restaurant, Coast 236 in downtown Saugatuck.
Cost: $48 per adult. Reservations Requested
Valentine’s Dinner at The Loft at Borrowed Time, February 14, 2020
Enjoy an intimate 3-course dining experience with a birds-eye view of the restaurant from Borrowed Time’s loft.
Cost: $35 per adult. Reservations Requested
Winter Dinner in Eastern Europe at GROW, February 14, 15 & 16, 2020
Escape to Eastern Europe without the plane ticket at this pop-up dinner at GROW in Downtown Saugatuck featuring five courses, five bubbles and five toasts. Learn More
Cost: $75 per adult. Reservations Required
Valentine’s Day Dessert Plate & Coffee Pairing at Uncommon Coffee Roasters, February 14, 2020
After dinner out, enjoy a special Valentine’s Dessert for two, featuring a flour-less chocolate cake for two topped with espresso ganache, fresh berries and whipped cream. This shareable plate comes with two pour-over coffees using Uncommon’s favorite Love Wins Blend.
Cost: $10 per couple
Valentine’s Weekend Wine, Cider and Beer Experiences
Vino-tines at Fenn Valley Vineyards, February 15 & 16, 2020
Enjoy sparkling and still wines, cheese and chocolate, expertly paired by the staff at Fenn Valley Vineyards. Guests also receive a souvenir sparkling wine flute, chocolates and a rose for your valentine. Learn More
Cost $50 per couple
Galentine’s Day Beer Pairing, February 13, 2020
This event is part education, part decadence. Learn from instructor, Kim Collins, about pairing and Guardian beer. Three cheeses and three chocolates paired with six unique beers. Kim Collins is a Certified Cicerone, owner and head brewer of Guardian Brewing Company. Learn More
Cost: $25 per adult
Brew Your Own Beer at Saugatuck Brewing Company (by appointment only)
Base fee includes your personal instruction, brewing equipment and base ingredients up to (71) twenty-two-ounce bottles of your crafted brew. You may design your own label for an additional cost of $35 (must include government warning). Price includes beer sampling as well. Learn More
Cost: $275-$300 per couple
5th Annual Wassail at Virtue Cider, February 15, 2020. Noon – 8 p.m.
Head to Virtue Cider for horse-drawn sleigh rides, live ice sculpting, snowshoe tours, cider, traditional English fare, live music and a processional through the apple orchards to bless the trees for the coming harvest. Learn More
Cost: Entrance is free. Food, cider, sleigh rides and Chicago bus shuttle sold separately.
Make it a Weekend: Other Happenings and Activities During Valentine’s weekend
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, February 13, 2020
Screening at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts at 7 PM. Directed by veteran Hollywood sound editor Midge Costin, the film reveals the hidden power of sound in cinema, introduces us to the unsung heroes who create it, and features insights from legendary directors with whom they collaborate. Learn More
Cost: $12 per adult
Winter Gallery Stroll, February 15, 2020
Get away with your special someone for the evening and tour area art galleries, each open with specials and entertainment. Learn More
Joshua Davis Performs Live at Salt of the Earth, February 16, 2020
Come see singer/songwriter extraordinaire, Joshua Davis perform at Salt of the Earth in Fennville on Sunday, February 16. Enjoy a delicious, special Valentine’s Weekend dinner and drink menu during the show. Learn More
Cost: $20 for concert tickets in advance, $25 day of. Dinner and drinks sold separately. Reservations requested.
Book Your Valentine’s Getaway in Saugatuck/Douglas Today!
From romantic Bed and Breakfasts to sleek boutique hotels and everything in between, there’s a place for everyone in Saugatuck/Douglas. Click here for special Valentine’s weekend deals and rates! Learn More.