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21 May 2024

Things to Do in Saugatuck: 1 Day Itinerary

Things to Do in Saugatuck: 1 Day Itinerary

Saugatuck is a charming coastal town located in southwest Michigan, nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan. Known for its beautiful beaches, towering sand dunes, and stunning sunsets,  the town has a rich history, dating back to the 19th century when it was a bustling lumber town. Today, it is a popular travel destination, including a vibrant art scene, boutique shopping, and a diverse culinary scene. In this blog, we’ll cover things to do in Saugatuck, including where to shop, dine, and adventure!


Why Visit Saugatuck Michigan?

Saugatuck is a popular travel destination for both Michigan natives and out-of-state visitors. It is a popular weekend getaway spot for residents of nearby Grand Rapids, Holland, and Kalamazoo. The town is also a popular travel destination for Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis residents, as it’s just a 2.5-hour to 4 hour drive from each of these.

With a laid-back vibe and endless things to do in Saugatuck, the town has become a beloved travel destination for those looking for a quick getaway, or a week-long stay. Saugatuck is filled with beautiful historic homes, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, and art galleries. The Saugatuck Center for the Arts is a hub for the town’s art scene, hosting exhibits, events, and performances. The town also has a rich boating and maritime heritage, with a working hand-cranked chain ferry that crosses the Kalamazoo River, allowing access to Saugatuck’s Oval Beach and the Saugatuck Historic Museum.


How Do I Spend a Day in Saugatuck?

Things to do in Saugatuck: Morning Activities

Hike and Breakfast

Start your day right with a walk up the 302 stairs at Mt. Baldhead park. From the top of the dune enjoy stunning views of Lake Michigan and downtown Saugatuck. Continue your hike along wooded trails, or take the sandy trail down the dune to Oval Beach and Lake Michigan. After conquering that 804 foot elevation, it’s time to reward yourself with a stop at Woosah for a coffee and muffin, conveniently located just a mile from Mt. Baldhead. Need more? There are many great cafes and restaurants in Saugatuck, including Ida Red’s, where you can enjoy a classic American breakfast or lunch.


Things to do in Saugatuck: Afternoon Adventures


Who doesn’t love shopping? With picturesque streets and a historic downtown, exploring the shops is one of our favorite things to do in Saugatuck. The town is known for its boutique shopping and is home to a variety of shops, with everything from clothing and jewelry, home goods, gifts, and art.

Be sure to stop at Landsharks, the place to be. With a hip vibe and awesome product, our store has been locally owned and operated since 1989. You can’t miss us, located right in the middle of all the action in downtown Saugatuck on Butler Street. Take your time shopping for all your favorite clothing, accessories, and shoes for both men and women, and our friendly staff will be happy to help with any of your shopping needs.


Explore Art Galleries

Saugatuck is known for its vibrant arts scene and is home to many art galleries. The art galleries in Saugatuck feature a diverse range of art, including paintings, sculptures, pottery, and glass blowing.  Many of the art galleries are located in historic buildings and are housed in former homes and shops. The best way to explore Saugatuck’s art scene is on foot! Stroll around downtown Saugatuck to get a sense of the town’s artistic spirit. 


Lunch at a Waterfront Restaurant

For lunch, head to one of Saugatuck’s waterfront restaurants to enjoy a meal with a view. The Butler Restaurant and The Barge are both popular restaurants located on the Kalamazoo River in Saugatuck. Both restaurants have outdoor patio space that’s open in the warmer months, making it the perfect place to soak up the sun and enjoy a meal with friends and family. 


Boating and Water Sports

Saugatuck’s waterfront location makes it the perfect place to enjoy boating and water sports. Spending time on the water is one of the best things to do in Saugatuck! The Red Dock is a great place to watch the boats in the Saugatuck harbor and to enjoy a rum punch or creative sandwiches. 

If you’re interested in getting out on the water, there are many companies in Saugatuck that offer boat rentals, fishing charters, and boat tours. The Star of Saugatuck offers tours of the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan, and is easily accessed in downtown Saugatuck. The Star offers a variety of tours, including sunset cruises, and Lake Michigan tours. Four smaller groups, Saugatuck’s newest tour operator, Inshore Adventures offers unforgettable bass and pike fishing charters on the Kalamazoo river as well as exhilarating jet boat tours from the Kalamazoo River to the Allegan Dam,


Things to do in Saugatuck: Evening Entertainment

Dinner at a Fine Dining Establishment

For dinner, head to one of Saugatuck’s fine dining establishments. The Bowdies Chophouse is known for its high-quality steaks and seafood, as well as its extensive wine list. Or try the Clearbrook Grill Room. With a classic 1950’s golf club atmosphere, it’s the perfect place for a special evening out. Looking for a more casual, bar-like atmosphere? Head to Phil’s Grill or Wally’s, both local favorites for perch or a burger.


Live Music and Performances

After dinner, head to one of Saugatuck’s live music venues to enjoy a performance. The Saugatuck Center for the Arts is a hub for the town’s performing arts scene, and it hosts a variety of events and performances. The SCA is home to the Mason Street Warehouse, which is a professional equity theater company that produces a variety of shows, including musicals, plays, and cabarets. The Mason Street Warehouse hosts performances year-round and is a must-visit for anyone interested in experiencing Saugatuck’s vibrant performing arts scene. In addition to the Mason Street Warehouse, there are many other venues in Saugatuck that host live music, including restaurants, bars, and outdoor venues. Whether you’re in the mood for jazz, rock, or blues, you’re sure to find a live music venue that suits your taste.


Final Thoughts

Saugatuck offers a delightful blend of coastal charm, artistic vibrancy, and culinary excellence, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a memorable getaway. Saugatuck invites you to immerse yourself in its unique culture.

And, if you’re looking for more recommendations, don’t forget to ask our team here at Landsharks. Pop by for some shopping and a chat with our team! We’ve been a part of the Saugatuck community for over 40 years and we love sharing things to do in Saugatuck with visitors!

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