West Michigan Pike
Heritage Tourism in Michigan
First came the cars. Then came an idea: to build an automobile touring route that stretched from New Buffalo to Mackinaw City. They called the idea “the West Michigan Pike,” and as it grew, West Michigan’s shoreline became a celebration of the road, the people, and the places along the West Michigan Pike.
The West Michigan Pike was developed and constructed between 1911 and 1922 as one of the nation’s first “tourist” roads, designed specifically to bring vacationers from Chicago to Michigan’s West Coast to escape the sweltering summer heat of the Windy City. A full-blown tourism industry with lodging, restaurants, and attractions grew up along the West Michigan Pike and flourishes to this day. The communities along the “Pike,” collectively known as Michigan Beachtowns, include the historic communities of St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, South Haven, Saugatuck/Douglas, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, and the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.
The West Michigan Pike
by Amy Arnold, published by MISHDA
Because of its size, this report has been broken into multiple PDFs. These files may also be found on the Michigan.gov site.
Volume 1: Historic Context Narrative
Volume 1: Historic Resource Survey
- Memories of Route 66 – My First Roadtrip
by Felicia Fairchild
- Historic Auto Trails of Michigan
- Return of the Pike
by Lee Lupo, MLive.com
- Michigan Road Trip – a 3-part series on Saugatuck/Douglas
by Ann L. Fouty, Grosse Pointe News
- The Evolution of Michigan Roadmaps
Michigan State University Library of Maps
- Ernest Hemingway on the West Michigan Pike
by Deborah Johnson Wood, Rapid Growth
- Photojournalist documents “West Michigan Pike” for possible historic certification
PDF of an article from MichiganHistoryMagazine.com site
- Get your kicks… on the West Michigan Pike
by Stephen Kloosterman, The Holland Sentinel
- West Michigan Pike promoters to show off lakeshore communities to travel writers
by Dave Alexander, The Muskegon Chronicle
- Tourist Guide to the West Michigan Pike
by Louis H. Conger, West Michigan Pike Association. Copyright 1922
Take in the most beautiful beaches and picturesque towns along Lake Michigan. Tag us or use #mibeachtowns to give us permission to reshare.