20 Things To Do in St Joseph, Michigan

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

St Joseph is in southwest Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of North America’s Great Lakes. St Joseph is around 1 hour 30 minutes’ drive from Chicago and 192 miles west of Detroit. St Joseph is one of Michigan’s smaller cities and offers more of a small-town vibe. There are plenty of parks, activities for kids, cultural experiences and of course the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. Check out these 20 things to do in St Joseph when planning your trip to Michigan.

St Joseph, Michigan

20 Things To Do In St Joseph

1- North Pier Lighthouses

Catwalk Leading To St. Joseph North Pierhead Lighthouse
Visiting North Pierhead Lighthouse is one of the things to do in St Joseph MI in winter for an incredible sight.

You should definitely head to the city’s iconic lighthouses when you visit St Joseph.

Named the North Pier Inner and Outer Lights, these two are some of the most iconic lighthouses in Michigan.

The lighthouse station was built back in 1832 but the lighthouses date back to 1906/7.

The Outer Lighthouse is 35 feet tall and sits on the end of a pier.

You can head along the pier to see the lighthouses up close or view them from the nearby sands.

If you are a photographer, it’s well worth staying for sunset as you can photograph the beautiful setting sun as well as the lighthouses.

North Pier Lighthouses are at St Joseph, MI 49085.

2- Harbor Shores Golf Course

Golfer Wearing Glove Placing Golf Ball
Playing golf is one of the fun things to do in St Joseph MI.

If you or someone in your family are keen on golf then you’ve got to check out Harbor Shores Golf Course.

Though the course is in Benton Harbor it’s just a six-minute drive from downtown St Joseph.

This 18-hole course is one of the best golf courses in the whole of Michigan and well worth a visit for enthusiasts.

It’s not just locals that visit this course, it’s used by people throughout the Midwest.

Harbor Shores Golf Course is at 201 Graham Ave, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.

3- Box Factory for the Arts

Box Factory for the Arts is a vibrant and thriving arts space on Broad Street in St Joseph.

The brick wall exterior that is splashed with colour makes this place instantly inviting.

The mission at Box Factory for the Arts is to support emerging artists while enriching the local community.

There’s a wonderful gallery to explore at Box Factory.

A number of changing exhibits showcase a wide variety of artistic talents.

From ultra-modern painting and printmaking to wood work there’s plenty to see.

As well as the gallery, Box Factory hosts a number of events including jazz and folk nights as well as weekly open mic nights.

You can also take different classes or workshops.

You can learn a new skill like drawing, quilting or even candle-making.

Box Factory for the Arts is at 1101 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085.

4- Silver Beach County Park

Silver Beach County Park is a wonderful park, garden and beach area at the mouth of the St Joseph River on the shores of Lake Michigan.

This is certainly one of the most popular things to do when visiting St Joseph.

The beach is one of the best beaches in Michigan and therefore draws the crowds.

Though most choose to visit in summer this county park is beautiful year-round but chances are you might have the place more to yourself during winter.

During summer people head to the water to swim and play and volleyballers and sunbathers hit the beach.

The beach also has a play area and walking paths.

Silver Beach County Park is is open daily from dawn until dusk at 101 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085.

At the popular Silver Beach County Park one of the most popular things to do aside from visiting the beach is riding the carousel.

A carousel first arrived at Silver Beach in 1910 and many were attracted to the intricately carved horses.

The carousel used to be part of the Silver Beach Amusement Park that was open between 1892 and 1971.

Though the original is not still in use, the carousel you can ride today was designed with the original in mind.

So, whether you are an adult or a child, grab some cotton candy and take a ride on this St Joseph favourite.

The Silver Beach Carousel is at 333 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085.

6- Lake Bluff Park

Just outside of downtown St Joseph you will find Lake Bluff Park sitting above the shores of Lake Michigan.

The park not only provides plenty of wonderful views of the surrounding lake but also walkways to enjoy.

Views of the pier and lighthouses are also excellent from up in the park.

The park also has a bandshell for concerts, a war veterans’ monument and historical markers that detail some history of the local area.

Lake Bluff Park is at 520-598 Lake Blvd, St Joseph, MI 49085.

7- Heritage Museum and Cultural Center

The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center on Main Street makes for an excellent and informative activity, especially if it’s raining in St Joseph!

The museum showcases a variety of historical time periods.

From the tragic events of the Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 disappearance to the history of the St Joseph’s lighthouses there’s plenty of local history to learn about here.

You should also keep an eye out for events that are being hosted around the time of your visit.

Past cultural events have included Chinese calligraphy and Chinese traditional games.

It’s an excellent place to learn more about other cultures.

Heritage Museum and Cultural Center is at 601 Main St, St Joseph, MI 49085.

8- Curious Kids’ Museum and Discovery Zone

If you are visiting St Joseph with your kids then hitting the Curious Kids’ Museum and Discovery Zone will be a real crowd pleaser.

The Curious Kids’ Museum is set across two floors.

You will find a farmers’ market, face painting (always a firm favourite), and a miniature veterinarian clinic.

There’re also some more science-based projects on the second floor of the museum.

All the experiences at this museum allows kids to learn through play.

Just be careful, they might have so much fun they will want to return every week!

Curious Kids’ Museum and Discovery Zone is at 333 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085.

9- Whirlpool Compass Fountain

Another fun experience to enjoy with kids is the Whirlpool Compass Fountain.

This fountain is within the Silver Beach County Park.

This large water fountain has lots of water jets that run to a set schedule in spring, summer and fall.

They shoot up into the air creating an arched dome over the compass circle.

You will find only happiness in this area as people splash around and play in the water.

Whirlpool Compass Fountain is at 200 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085.

10- Lumberjax: Urban Axe Throwing

For some reason hurling an axe at a wooden target is entirely therapeutic.

There are experts on hand to help you get started and navigate any potential dangers.

Don’t worry you will get a full coaching session before its time to start throwing an axe.

After a session of axe hurling, you can enjoy a pint with your friends.

Lumberjax: Urban Axe Throwing is at 2808 Niles Ave, St Joseph, MI 49085.

11- White Pine Winery

Farmer Pouring Red Wine Into Wineglass
Going wine tasting is one of the fun things to do in St Joseph MI.

White Pine Winery is owned by a husband-and-wife team, Sandy and Dave Miller.

In 1999 the Millers planted a vineyard called Sophie’s Vineyard after their child.

There is a particularly focus on Merlot and Cabernet.

They also make ice wines and Rieslings from other fruits as well.

You can head there for a tasting and they also have a selection of wine-themed gifts for sale too.

You’ve got to try the white sangria it’s one of the best wines they’ve got.

White Pine Winery is at 317 State St #1247, St Joseph, MI 49085.

12- Lions Park Beach

While many visiting St Joseph will head to Silver Beach most locals choose to head to Lions Park Beach.

This beach is south of Silver Beach.

Lions Park Beach is a small spot but it’s charming and peaceful.

The beach has three shelters, restrooms, picnic tables and grills so it’s ideal for a family looking for a place to spend lunch time and an afternoon together.

Lions Park Beach is at St Joseph, MI 49085.

13- Krasl Art Center

The Krasl Art Center is just a short walk from Silver Beach County Park.

The mission at Krasl Art Center is to strengthen the community and provide change through visual arts.

The center started out with a handful of artists holding a clothesline exhibition at Lake Bluff Park back in 1962.

The same group founded the Joseph Art Association in 1979 and then built the Krasl Art Center.

While at the center you can enjoy art exhibitions, installation, participate in art classes, workshops and camps.

The original clothesline exhibition has continued and is now known as the Krasl Art Fair.

Krasl Art Center is at 707 Lake Blvd, St Joseph, MI 49085.

14- Silver Harbor Brewing Company

Craft Beer Flight Wooden Tray
Tasting local beer is one of the things to do in St Joseph MI this weekend.

Sometimes a trip is made infinitely better with a delicious cold brew.

At Silver Harbor Brewing Company, the aim is to “Eat. Drink. Beer Happy.”

While they do serve an array of wines and cocktails it is of course mostly about the beer at this brewery.

They brew a variety of beers from dark beers to light beers, American beers to Belgian beers.

What started off as a homebrew batch of beer back in 2011, this brewmaster and his beers have definitely improved leaps and bounds since.

Silver Harbor Brewing Company is an excellent daytime or evening watering hole to enjoy with family or friends.

Silver Harbor Brewing Company is at 721 Pleasant St, St Joseph, MI 49085.

15- Shop at Olive Cart

If you are a bit of a foodie and love to discover new products then definitely head on down to Olive Cart.

This downtown gourmet grocery shop is all about top quality products with great taste.

All of the products on offer at Olive Cart are made from locally-grown fruits and herbs from Michigan.

The products are definitely handmade rather than mass produced.

They stock a range of products from oils to jams, jellies and chutneys to pasta sauces, salsa and stuffed olives.

This is a wonderful place to pick up a St Joseph souvenir to take back for friends and family.

Olive Cart is at 421 State St, St Joseph, MI 49085.

16- Striker’s Bowl

You just can’t beat some tenpin bowling.

Striker’s Bowl is a family-owned and operated bowling alley.

If you are searching for a taste of local St Joseph there’s no better place to be.

They’ve got 30 lanes, they host daily winter leagues, special themed nights and there’s even a full sports bar which serves seasonal craft beer.

The bar also has a full snack menu which includes things like pizza and wings if you get peckish between bowls.

Striker’s Bowl is at 2705 Cleveland Ave, St Joseph, MI 49085.

17- Tiscornia Park

Tiscornia Park is on the opposite side of the mouth of the St Joseph River to Silver Beach County Park.

If you are looking for a place to take photographs of the two St Joseph lighthouses from the mainland then this is a lovely spot to head to.

Tiscornia Park is a truly beautiful place, grassy sand backed dunes are the perfect backdrop to a white sandy beach.

As most people tend to head to Silver Beach you will find (especially earlier on in the day) that Tiscornia is much quieter.

Visit early and in the winter and you will find few people strolling along the sand.

Tiscornia Park is at 80 Ridgeway St, St Joseph, MI 49085.

18- Explore downtown St. Joseph

St Joseph is one of Michigan’s historic cities.

Formerly a village in 1834 it became a city in 1891.

Exploring the older downtown area is therefore a fun thing to do on your trip to St Joseph.

It’s often great to wander around with no plan, seeing what you stumble upon.

There are lovely independent stores, galleries, restaurants and artisan shops.

While tree line streets boast excellent colours in fall in winter St Joseph feels more like a scene from a winter snow globe.

19- Relax at Revive Spa

Perhaps the weather is rainy and you don’t fancy going outside.

Well, why not head down to Revive Spa.

Everyone deserves to really relax on vacation and Revive Spa is just the place.

Open daily apart from Sundays (when they are closed until fall time) there’s no better place to kick back and leave the world behind.

They’ve got a day spa offering massages and skincare.

They’ve got a floatation therapy room, saunas and more.

Revive Spa is at 313 Main St, St Joseph, MI 49085.

20- St Joseph River And Benton Harbor

The 206-mile-long St Joseph River flows through southern Michigan and northern Indiana and empties into Lake Michigan in St Joseph.

The area of Benton Harbor is a wonderful spot to check out.

There are plenty of wooded trails around the river as well as miles of shoreline beaches at the river’s opening.

Many have nicknamed this part of St Joseph as “The Riviera of the Midwest”.

Benton Harbor is just a couple of minutes’ drive across the river from St Joseph and is well worth visiting for the day.

Check out the Benton Harbor Arts District, watersport on the river and the riverside walking trails for a cultured and outdoorsy day out. 

St. Joseph Light House at dusk
Visiting St. Joseph Lighthouse is one of the things to do in St Joseph at dusk.
Previous article20 Things To Do In Schaumburg, Illinois
Next article20 Things To Do In Grenada
harriet comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!