Saint Joesph, Michigan
My sister and I grew up spending the summers in many of the towns along the Southwest Michigan coast. Lake Michigan never really gets super warm, so it’s a great place to cool off during the day and watch sunsets in the evening. Saint Joseph, Michigan is a hot spot for hitting the beach and perusing all the cute local shops. Not only is St. Joe a great vacation spot it’s also host to one of the most prestigious art festivals in the country. The old brick streets and farmers markets give St. Joe a very quaint feel with the comforts of a larger town. Sailboats, speedboats and cargo ships can be seen coming and going from the port as you watch from the lighthouse pier. Some of our favorite local spots are Clementine’s restaurant (get the onion rings!), Silver Beach for swimming and walking the pier, and we can’t forget the South Bend Chocolate Cafe.
St. Joe also has a Curious Kids’ Museum and a Carousel for when you are sick of the sand or a rainy day. For lodging, we recommend the Holiday Inn Express for the easy time we had booking and staying. Its a few short miles south of town located along the bluff on the coast of Lake Michigan. Another alternative is renting a house for a week. St. Joe has many houses for rent during the summer and winter months. AirB&B is also a great way to find place to stay in St. Joe.
Wine & Beer Country
Along with many coastal town Southwest Michigan also has a great wine and beer culture. Many vineyards dot the countryside growing grapes and fruit for some of the best wine in the midwest. This part of Michigan is notorious for growing grapes for Welches Grape Juice. If you are from the U.S. I’m sure you’ve heard of them. They have wine tours that take you all over the southwest Michigan region. Some of our favorite wineries include Lemon Creek Winery, St.Julian Winery, and Tabor Hill Winery. You can view the full list of wineries on the wine trail here to plan your trip! While were on the topic of alcohol we can’t skip the newly emerging craft beer culture of Michigan! Bells Brewery is just getting popular outside of Michigan, but it’s always been a local favorite. I have to say Bells is a cool place. Located in Kalamazoo Michigan it’s about an hour from the western coast. If you want to go in and just pick up your favorite beer they have a spot for you; it’s a little office right next to the brewery where you can walk in to grab a 6 pack of Two Hearted or pick up the makings for at home brewing. In my mind it’s like a humidor tobacco shop for beer. They have beer nerds ready to help you create some homemade, handcrafted brew. On the other side of the building they have the Eccentric Cafe. I’m going to sound bias here, but we love it! The Eccentric Cafe is a full restaurant, bar and beer lover’s paradise. They have a large indoor seating area along with – and this is our our favorite part – a full brick patio, lawn with seating and a stage for bands. We always sit outside and we definitely recommend it! The food is awesome and they have a range of hoppy selections, so you are bound to find something to love. I also recommend trying a flight of beer; they are not too small, but fun to share. You can always get their signature Oberon if you are not the adventurous type (ProTip: If you like Bell’s Brewery, but have never been to their cafe, you’re missing out on a bunch of their beers that they only sell there). Here is a full list of Michigan breweries.