20 Things To Do in Saugatuck

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With a population of just 900 permanent residents, Saugatuck certainly has that small-town charm. Don’t let that fool you into thinking this is just a sleepy rural town with nothing going on, though, as Saugatuck has a surprising range of impressive attractions that draw visitors from around the world.

From stunning natural landscapes to a rich history, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy. Founded as a thriving lumber town, Saugatuck has developed into a centre for the arts. A hub for music and dance in the early 20th century, it has since become well-known for its quaint art galleries and quirky stores. So here are the best things to do in Saugatuck, Michigan.

Saugatuck, Michigan

20 Things To Do In Saugatuck

1- Explore Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Saugatuck Dunes State Park in winter with snow
Exploring Saugatuck Dunes State Park is one of the fun things to do in Saugatuck.

Saugatuck is known for its natural beauty, in particular the sweeping sand dunes that run along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Head to Saugatuck Dunes State Park and spend a day exploring a uniquely lovely landscape with 2.5 miles (4 km) of shoreline, and miles of hiking trails winding through the area.

You can spend hours enjoying the peace and quiet of nature, with varying habitats around the park, from dunes, to wetland and forests, which make for a comfortable home for a whole array of wildlife.

The park is particularly popular with bird-watchers and nature lovers.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park is at 6575 138th Ave, Holland, MI 49423, United States.

2- Visit The Pump House Museum

Perched on the east bank of the Kalamazoo River, the Pump House dates back to 1904 when it was constructed as the city’s first water pumping station.

The pretty red-brick building has since been turned into a small history museum detailing the development and natural landscape of Saugatuck.

The Pump House museum is popular, especially for a local, small-town museum, welcoming over 10,000 guests each year.

With its fascinating displays, and frequent special exhibitions, there’s certainly plenty to see and to keep coming back for.

Go to 735 Park St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

3- Check Out Peterson Grist Mill By The Pond

Across the river is another pretty, historic structure, the Peterson Grist Mill By The Pond.

The quaint cottage and prominent waterwheel are privately owned so you can’t to go inside, but you can enjoy the historic architecture and feature from the outside as you take a walk along the riverside.

Find it at 844 Holland St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

4- Explore Mildred A. Peterson Nature Preserve & Interurban Trail

Head into Mildred A Peterson Nature Preserve when you want to feel like you’ve escaped into the wilds of nature without actually having to stray outside of the city centre.

Covering 16 acres (6.47 ha) of forest and wetland at the heart of Saugatuck, the winding walking trails of Mildred A.

Peterson Nature Preserve offer the chance for peace and quiet, charming views, and plenty of wildlife spotting and birdwatching, all within minutes of your accommodation.

Start at Mill St &, Simonson Dr, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

5- Head Out On The Kalamazoo With Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises

If you want to cruise along the Kalamazoo, there’s no better way to do it than by hopping aboard an authentic sternwheeler paddleboat and enjoying a guided tour of the waterside landmarks.

Along with standard tours, Star of Saugatuck also offers themed outings too.

From guided beer and wine tastings, to thrilling pirate adventures, there’s a host of fun to be had along the Kalamazoo.

Hop aboard at 716 Water St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

6- Set Sail From The Old Boathouse

If you’d rather set the pace and enjoy a private cruise, you can rent boats from the Old Boathouse.

They offer a range of vintage vessels and retro party boats, to suit whatever vibe you’re going for.

The Old Boathouse also has a waterfront bar selling drinks and snacks through the day to enjoy along with lovely riverside views, so it’s visiting even if you don’t trust yourself to be in charge of a boat.

Go to 730 Water St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

7- Kick Back In Cook Park

If you’re looking for somewhere to simply take a break for a while, head over to Cook Park.

Right at the heart of downtown, it’s easy to get to and has plenty of space for you to sit back and relax on its comfortable lawns and lakeside benches.

There are plenty of shops and cafes nearby for you to pick up snacks and refreshments.

Which you can then enjoy by the water as you watch the boats drift around Kalamazoo Lake.

Find it at 40 Butler St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

8- Ascend Mount Baldhead Park

Separating the Kalamazoo River from Lake Michigan is Mount Baldhead Park.

The stretch of forested wilderness is full of scenic walking trails leading through trees and across to the lakeside beaches.

Mount Baldhead is particularly well known for its lovely views.

If you think you’re fit enough to conquer the steep wooden stairways leading to the top of Mount Baldhead, then you’ll be rewarded with some beautiful panoramas across Saugatuck, Lake Michigan, and the surrounding dunes.

Start the climb at Mt Baldhead Park Trail, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

9- Relax On Oval Beach

saugatuck beach access
Looking for things to do in Saugatuck?

With long stretches of soft, white sand backed by impressive dunes and beautiful natural landscapes, Oval Beach is known as one of the top beaches in not only the United States, but the entire world.

Separated from the city by Mount Baldhead Park, the beach is well removed from the urban noise.

It is an ideal place for people to relax.

While there are some pretty walking trails through the forest to leading to the beach, there’s also plenty of parking for those who’d rather just drive.

Either way, make sure to bring snacks and drinks with you, as there are no cafés or shops close to the sand.

Head down to 690 Perryman St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

10- Slide Down Oval Beach Sledding Dune

One of the most notable features of Oval Beach are the towering sand dunes that stretch behind it.

Some of the hills of sand are tall and steep enough that visitors can have fun sledding down them.
You’ll need to bring your own sled, and enough energy to climb to the top of the dunes, but the fun is certainly well worth the effort.

Find it at 690 Perryman St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

11- Lay Back On Douglas Beach Park

If the hugely popular Oval beach is a bit too overcrowded for your liking, you can head a short way south along the lakefront to Douglas Beach instead.

Somewhat less famous, Douglas Beach boasts the same soft white sand and beautiful, natural backdrops, but with fewer hordes of tourists.

There are again no cafes or shops by the beach, so make sure to bring your own snacks and drinks.

Head along to 3099 Lakeshore Dr, Douglas, MI 49406, United States.

12- Conquer The Terrain With Saugatuck Dune Rides

If hiking through the dunes doesn’t sound like your ideal way to explore the landscape, then perhaps taking a dune buggy ride is more up your alley.

With Saugatuck Dune Rides you and your group can climb aboard an open-top buggy and enjoy a guided tour of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park.

Your experienced guide will take you on a thrilling off-road adventure, pointing out the notable natural landmarks and features while you just sit back and take it all in.

Go to 6495 Blue Star Hwy, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

13- Sample The Wares Of Saugatuck Brewing Company

At the Saugatuck Brewing Company, you can enjoy sampling a range of delicious, locally made beers.

With a wide variety to choose from, including limited edition seasonal specialties, you’re sure to find a new favourite drink, while The Brewing Company also hosts a packed calendar of events.
From comedy and live music to murder mystery evenings, there’s always something on.

If you staying for longer, you could even take advantage of their Brew On Premise Program.

Spend a few hours learning to brew and blend your very own beer, then head back in 2 weeks’ time to give it a taste.

Head over to 2948 Blue Star Hwy, Douglas, MI 49406, United States.

14- Sip In Style At Fenn Valley Vineyards

If you’re more of a wine afficionado than a beer fanatic, then perhaps head to Fenn Valley Vineyards.

Fenn Valley have been crafting award winning wine for 50 years, with tons of options to choose from.

From classic chardonnays and pinot grigios, to honeyed peach or raspberry wine, there’s sure to be a wine to suit your palate.

You can learn more about the winemaking process with a tour of the winery and vineyards, or simply relax and enjoy a guided wine-tasting or even a picnic in the vineyard.

Venture out to 6130 122nd Ave, Fennville, MI 49408, United States.

15- Raise A Glass At Virtue Cider

If cider is your preferred drink of choice, just across the street from Fenn Valley, Virtue Cider prides itself on using traditional techniques to craft its range of award-winning hard ciders.

Pick up some bottles to go or enjoy relaxing in the beautiful tasting lounges and patios.
Visitors can also take a guided tour of the farm and production houses.

You’re also free to explore the trails leading through the 48-acre farm by yourself.

Head out to 2170 62nd St, Fennville, MI 49408, United States.

16- Look Out For Kalamazoo Replica Lighthouse

Gaze out across Kalamazoo Lake and you may be able to spot the Kalamazoo Replica Lighthouse.

Built in 2002, the lighthouse is a recreation of the circa 1859 lighthouse which once guarded the mouth of the Kalamazoo River.

You can spot the Replica Lighthouse from across the lake, or head over to Douglas for a closer look.

Spot it at Douglas, MI 49406, United States.

17- See What’s On At Saugatuck Centre for the Arts

The city of Saugatuck is renowned for its arts scene, so you’ll definitely want to see what events are being held at the Saugatuck Centre for the Arts during your stay.

The centre hosts an array of concerts, plays, and film screenings.

If you’re not such a fan of performing arts, then you might prefer to visit the galleries instead.

Hosting an array of fine arts, sculpture, and even culinary exhibits, there’s sure to be something to pique your interests.

Go to 400 Culver St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

18- Relax At River Bluff Park

Just outside downtown Saugatuck, Bluff Park is another convenient option to get out in nature.

The forested park overlooks Tyler Bayou, offering charming views across the water to the Kalamazoo River beyond.

The leafy trails offer the atmosphere of being lost in nature, while in reality, you’ll only be a short walk from the city centre.

Find it at Saugatuck, MI 49453, United States.

19- Pay A Visit To The Allegan Area P.O.W Camp

If you have the time to head a few miles outside of town, you can find the Allegan Area Prisoner of War Camp a short journey southwest of Saugatuck.

Dating back to World War II, this Prisoner of War camp once held up to 250 captured German soldiers.

Long since decommissioned and abandoned, the site is now a fascinating ruin to be discovered and explored.

Head out to 42nd St, Allegan, MI 49010, United States.

20- Enjoy The View At Wade’s Bayou Memorial Park

Saugatuck colourful buildings across from the park
Wandering around town on foot is one of the things to do in Saugatuck to get your bearings.

For an alternative view of Kalamazoo Lake, head across to Douglas and take a break in Wade’s Bayou Memorial Park.

The charming little park features plenty of benches to sit on and enjoy the views across the water, along with a quaint pavilion and a good-sized fishing pier.

Go over to 52 Bayou St #22, Douglas, MI 49406, United States. 

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Steve Burden is an avid traveller and experienced writer. As a former pro wrestler, Steve used to travel frequently for work throughout the USA and Europe. Having spent the last decade travelling all over the world in search of new sights and experiences, he has turned his love for travel into a new career helping others decide on the best places to visit, as well as what to see when they get there.