"The best of the West" Top 5 Page for this destination South Haven by Bunsch

South Haven Travel Guide: 81 reviews and 204 photos

Step back to a more relaxed lifestyle

Your pace may be quick in the city, but as you arrive in beautiful South Haven, at the western edge of Michigan and situated on the eponymous lake (check out the lighthouse, which reminds me of Rockport, Massachusetts' Motif No. 1), you'll find yourself beginning to unwind, to slow down, to take a few extra minutes to revel in your surroundings. I haven't had the pleasure of visiting in the shoulder seasons, but the summer is a marvelous carpet of treats: festivals, concerts, walking the dunes, boating, swimming, homemade ice cream, blueberries in every conceivable dish (but so good, just eaten in the hand), cool breezes at night.

Take a stroll on the dunes

Van Buren State Park, on Ruggles Road just south of the town, offers access to Lake Michigan and the sand dunes -- just don't get too close to the nuclear plant a little further down the coast! There is a nice bath house where you can shower after enjoying a dip in Lake Michigan. There's also a picnic area, grills, and children's play area. But for real adventure, try climbing one of the dunes. You'd be amazed at how massive and steep some of them are!

A bit of history

The South Haven Visitors Bureau has a helpful pamphlet giving the history of the town, whose status as a draw for tourists is documented by a 1900 resort directory listing 96 resorts within the municipal boundary! North Shore Drive was the site of many of the old hotels, simply because of proximity to the water. Ferries from Chicago used to make daily trips. Of interest is the synagogue; South Haven welcomed Jews even during periods when diversity was a dirty word. Old resort names like Fidelman's, Mendelson's and Weinstein's are found in the early directories, though in many instances these properties have now changed hands (and names).

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Compact central area, nice shopping, great boating, beach
  • Cons:Still looking to find some
  • In a nutshell:C'mon down for the Blueberry Festival!
  • Last visit to South Haven: Aug 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (2)

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2009 at 5:07 AM

    What a great introduction for setting the tone for a visit to South Haven! It is, indeed, a place to unwind. Enjoyed reading your insights and descriptions.

  • riorich55's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    Didn't notice your tips until after we had gotten back from our trip last weekend. Missed the Blueberry Festival by 1 week, but then again we may not have gotten a last minute room


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