View Full Version : Southwest Michigan
02-13-2004, 11:57 AM
Can anyone give me some ideas on places in S.W. Michigan to take the wife and three year old for a few days this summer. It's an easy day's drive from here. I'm thinking maybe St. Joseph or Benton Harbor and parts northward of there. Want to be near or on the Lake. Would like to see some boats as well. How about it, Great Lakers?
02-13-2004, 02:03 PM
Beware the race riots that break out every decade or so in Benton Harbor. Try South Haven - made for boaters!
Drift fishing the St.Joe is loads of fun, especially in Steelhead season.
02-13-2004, 05:52 PM
If you're thinking about camping, Warren Dunes is a great state park on Lake Michigan.
02-13-2004, 11:02 PM
South Haven is beautiful -- great beach, quaint downtown. My favorite of the SW Michigan harbor towns. We sail our 20' wood Highlander right off the beach unless the water is really rough. Stop in at the maritime museum. A few years back, Wooden Boat brought the boat show to the Great Lakes and South Haven hosted.
Saugatuk is an artsy town with a nice harbor. Holland has camping on the beach, I believe, but get your reservation in now.
Stay away from New Buffalo -- a mud hole of a harbor with way too may oversize platic boats in front of way too many condos.
Lots of info on the web...google on some of the towns along the coast.
Last summer I drove thru a race riot in Benton Harbor /St Joseph. was quite interesting... smile.gif
02-14-2004, 08:59 AM
South Haven or Saugatuck definitely. Spent a long weekend in Saugatuck last summer. Nice little town.
02-14-2004, 11:24 AM
I too reccommend South Haven or Saugatuck. If you go there contact Mike Kiefer at Great Lakes boats if your in the market for one as he builds great ones he can also put you in contact with members of the South West Michigan Traditional Small Craft Association, and their calendar of events. You may be able to hook up with them for a really great small boat messabout, and turn a good time into a great time.
02-16-2004, 09:09 AM
Thanks for the feedback. This info is much better than AAA. I'm glad I put this question on the forum. I had no idea about Benton Harbor's history. I usually try to avoid race riots. I did a google on Benton Harbor and race riots and found enough to keep me away. I've never been to that part of Mich. and wanted to do some exploring. Sounds like South Haven and Saugatuck will be be the place to go. Are there any other places to avoid in this area?
02-16-2004, 10:34 AM
Not that I'm aware of. I think you're pretty much good anywhere north of Benton Harbor.
I think its worth the drive to get up to Traverse Bay....thats where I would go.
the further north you get the cleaner the air. Anything south of Benton Harbor you may as well be in Chicago or Gary Indiana.
02-16-2004, 02:08 PM
We've been to Mackinaw and truly loved it. We will get up their again, someday.
We're looking to save the amount of time we spend driving with a three year old in the back seat. It can get pretty ugly sometimes. South Haven looks to be around 300 miles as the crow flies. We can knock that out in a day pretty easily. This is the closest "big" water around us.
About eight years ago my wife and I spent 10 days in the Great Lakes area. We spent a night in Cadillac, a few nights in Mackinaw, then drove around Superior and had a great time just seeing things. It was a great road trip, but that was before the "cabin boy" arrived on the scene.
02-16-2004, 05:36 PM
I would also recommend the S Haven/Saugatuck area, lots of B&B,s resteurants,camping facilities, and tourists. Get reservations in early.
One camping place I haven't seen mentioned is Van Buren County park. Big place, on the lake back in the dunes. Modern camping facilities. It is just south of S Haven.
I don,t know how you will come up North, but try to get on the "old" highway that runs between the Interstate and the lake. Very nice scenery, minimal traffic.
BTW, even if you would have driven down Main Street in BH during the "riots", you would have never known it. They happened in a very small residential area, off the beaten path.
If you want to read something that is a little closer to the truth about what happened in BH, read this link.
Stop by and see me, I am on the old hwy, the lake is across the street and you can look at my 25 ft Lyman Crusette Hard top that I am rebuilding. Cold Beverages available. I am in the book.
This is a great place to camp...
Lake Michigan Recreation Area (http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hmnf/pdf_manistee/Lkmirec_txt.pdf)
Just to the south of the Recreation Area is the Nordhouse Dunes - backpack in and camp on the shore of Lake Michigan!
Alan D. Hyde
02-17-2004, 01:12 PM
You can't beat the Lake Campground in the State Park in North Muskegon.
Most places are sold out within half an hour of reservations on them opening (six months prior).
A few are kept as non-reservable spaces, for first-come, first-serve occupancy.
02-17-2004, 08:33 PM
Lived in Michigan City, Indiana for over twenty years; fully acquainted with all the towns up the east coast of the Lake. Advice? Be near a place with SAND DUNES, in capital letters. They are the great rescource of Lake Michigan. A lot of the World's best foundry sand came from there, untill foundries started evaporating due to palstic. People here have already mentioned some of the best palces.
02-18-2004, 07:01 PM
And if you are inclined towards slipping up in the Traverse City / Mackinac direction, take some time and visit the Sleeping Bear Dunes (National SeaShore). These are well worth the visit if you get "up north".
Andreas Jordahl Rhude
02-19-2004, 07:01 AM
Saugatuck, but beware of the gorn-eye-horda and juice-eye-gork (terms we little kids named the millions of dead alewives (SP) and stinky sea weed that covered the shores back in the 1970s).
Dem alewives is goooood eatin boys! :D
Oh yea...and has anyone heard anymore about that sea-monster sighted by the nuclear plant outfall near Zion Illinois? :eek:
[ 02-19-2004, 11:46 AM: Message edited by: TimH ]
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