Vacations are usually booked in the hopes of finding time to relax, unwind and rejuvenate the mind and body. While it would be ideal to be able to escape the responsibilities of everyday life for an extended period of time, this isn’t always practical. Fortunately, travelers who set their sights on South Haven, Michigan boost their chances of packing a lot of fun and revitalizing adventures into even the quickest of getaways. This charming city sitting on the pristine shores of Lake Michigan is a destination that lets travelers make the most of outdoor activities, leisurely beach lounging, and fantastic flavors. Combined, it’s sure to be a destination that captures your attention and has you returning time and again. If you only have 48 hours in South Haven, here are a few of the must-see stops along the way to make the most of your time.
Day 1: Making the Most of the First 24-Hours
South Haven is a city of many intriguing landmarks but perhaps none are as highly-regarded and popular as the lakeside beaches that dot this destination. While you can’t go wrong when choosing a South Haven Beach when time is of the essence a trip to North Beach off Lakeshore Drive is essential. Head out nice and early to beat the afternoon crowds and settle in somewhere preferable along the sandy stretches to take in the sunrise or early-morning birds out looking for breakfast along the waves. While setting your eyes on the horizon is part of the appeal of this beautiful beach it’s also the home of the South Haven Lighthouse, adding an extra element of intrigue to your visit. Once you’ve had time to relax on the sand, meander over to the wooden pier and wander above the water as you make your way towards the lighthouse. It’s brilliant red façade and block top make it hard to miss. It’s also one of the best places to take photographs at North Beach.
After a tranquil start to the day, amp things up a bit by hitting Kal Haven Trail. With a trailhead located at N. Bailey Avenue, this path is perfect for a moderately difficult trek that takes you through lush landscapes and under covered bridges too. The path is paved meaning it’s also ideal for those who prefer to take to the trails on a bike.
Use your extra energy you’ve saved up for your first day in South Haven to head over to the Michigan Maritime Museum in the late afternoon on Dyckman Avenue. This museum may be small but it’s packed with artifacts that highlight the rich maritime history of this area. Intriguing, engaging and educational, it’s a wonderful stop when you’re looking for a better understanding of South Haven’s history and relationship with Lake Michigan.
End your evening with a meal at Tello Italian Bistro on Phoenix Street. The rich, Italian menu selections are sure to please as you dine by candlelight with soft jazz playing in the background. Loved by locals and visitors, this restaurant has long been a fan-favorite in the area.
Day 2: Highlights of the Second 24-Hours in South Haven
Day two is bound to be just as fun as day one in South Haven when you begin your early morning at South Beach. If you happen to be traveling with children, this is sure to be a highlight as you’ll enjoy stretches of white sand that are dotted with playgrounds and even a skate park for the agile traveler in your group.
When everyone has had their fun by the shore, pack up and head over to Cogdal Vineyards on 107th Avenue. Choose to take a tour of the vineyards for a look at how this successful operation remains sustainable in the area or sign up for a savory wine tasting experience. Indoor and outdoor seating options mean you can cozy up for a sip or soak up the view as you enjoy innovative and regional flavors.
When the wine has left you hungry for something more robust, make dinner at Clementine’s on Phoenix Street the final stop of your South Haven adventure. Clementine’s is known for its pub-style atmosphere and a vast variety of menu items to choose from. Whether you’re craving seafood, burritos, rib eye steaks or pasta, Clementine’s is happy to accommodate.
Set Your Sights on South Haven
When time is of the essence and the destination has to be just right to achieve that desired level of vacation-style relaxation, look no further than South Haven. Between the wine tastings, beaches, and winding trails, you’ll be captivated by the beauty and excitement that awaits you. Ending each day of your trip on a flavorful and fun note is a great way to leave South Haven on a sweet note. While you’ll love your first trip, don’t be surprised when many more trips to this Lake Michigan-side city find their way onto your annual calendar.
Caitlyn Knuth is a travel writer whose own adventures have inspired her to write about everything from the most delicious cafés in Paris, France to the breathtaking salmon runs in Juneau, Alaska. Working in association with Beachwalk Properties, she enjoys writing and sharing about South Haven in the hope others will pack up and head out on Michigan-based adventures of their very own.