South Haven was one of Michigan's top resort towns at the turn of the 20th century, quickly becoming known throughout the United States as the "Catskills of the Midwest." Today, the town still draws tourists in droves to its beautiful recreational beaches and harbor, showcasing gorgeous panoramic lakeshore landscapes and historic sites such as the preserved South Haven Lighthouse. Visitors can explore nearby park areas such as Van Buren State Park or bike along the lovely Kal-Haven Trail, which connects to nearby Kalamazoo. The Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum preserves the childhood home of the noted botanist, who co-founded the American Society for Horticultural Science. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.South Haven Lighthouse
© R. Gino Santa Maria/stock.adobe.com
South Haven Lighthouse, also known as the South Haven South Pierhead Light, is a lovely historic lighthouse originally constructed in 1872, overseen today as a living history museum under the care of the Michigan Maritime Museum. The lighthouse, which is still operational today, is located at the mouth of the Black River and features one of only four surviving catwalks in the state that links its lighthouse tower to the shoreline. Its current tower is a shortened version of the Muskegon South Pierhead Light, replacing an earlier wooden tower. Visitors can tour the lighthouse throughout the year as part of guided tours offered by the Museum and see its lovely 2.5-story keeper's house, which features a hipped roof and wood paneling. The keeper's house is operated as the Marialyce Canonie Great Lakes Research Library, showcasing volumes related to the state's maritime history and industry.
355 Hubbard St, South Haven, MI 49090, Phone: 269-637-6424
2.The Kal-Haven Trail, South Haven, Michigan
The Kal-Haven Trail is a lovely multipurpose rail trail stretching along the former route of the Kalamazoo and South Haven Railroad, stretching for 33.5 miles between South Haven and Kalamazoo. The trail, which is officially known as Kal-Haven Trail Sesquicentennial State Park, traverses past lovely small towns, farmland areas, and forests, embarking at South Haven's 67th Street and Baseline Road. Major deer fly populations call the trail area home at areas such as the city of Gobles. Hikers and cyclists use the route throughout the summer months, with horseback riders permitted on an 1 1-mile section of the trail. Two primitive campgrounds connect to the trail, open to visitors at an additional fee. During the winter months, the trail is a prime spot for snowmobiling at sites such as the 10th Street trailhead in Kalamazoo.
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3.Cogdal Vineyards, South Haven, Michigan
© Cogdal Vineyards
Cogdal Vineyards were the vision of married duo Jack and Deb Murdoch, established in 2008 on a plot of land formerly owned by Jack's grandfather, Harry Cogdal. The winery, which is located less than half a mile from the shores of Lake Michigan, is home to seven acres of estate grape vineyards, producing a wide variety of superior grape varieties for bottling. A plethora of delicious white and red wine varieties are produced throughout the year, including dry Riesling, Vin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Vin Rouge varietals. Many wines have won major awards at national and international competitions, including the Michigan Wine Competition and the International Taster's Guild Wine Judging. Visitors can sample wines at the winery's delightful tasting room, which showcases lovely cherry and maple wood elements and rustic decor.
7143 107th Ave, South Haven, MI 49090, Phone: 269-637-2229
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4.Overhiser Orchards, South Haven, Michigan
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Overhiser Orchards has been operated by the same farming family for more than five generations, dating back over a century and a half to 183. The delightful farm offers you-pick experiences for families to pick sweet and sour cherries, plums, apples, peaches, and pears throughout the harvest season directly from its orchard lands. Young visitors can get up close and personal with farm animals at the farm's petting zoo, while adults can fish for bluegill, bass, and sunfish at the farm's fully-stocked pond. Wagon rides and hands-on farm educational experiences are hosted throughout the year as part of special events, including a harvest celebration that offers pumpkin patch picking experiences and a themed corn maze. Farm-fresh products for sale throughout the year include homemade doughnuts and delicious fresh apple cider.
6405 109th Ave, South Haven, MI 49090, Phone: 269-236-6312
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5.Warner Vineyards, South Haven, MI
Warner Vineyards is one of Michigan's oldest wineries, located along the banks of the gorgeous Lake Michigan Shore appellation in downtown South Haven. The winery is the product of the third generation of the Warner family, in operation since 1938 as part of the family's farm operations. High-quality wines produced by the winery have been served at the White House and at several Super Bowls, winning major awards at international wine competitions. Wines showcased throughout the year range from classic varietals such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay to peach and honey wines and sangrias. Visitors can sample wines at the winery's downtown tasting room, located within the city's Old Harbour Village shops. More than 25 wines are available for sampling at any time throughout the year, with cheese boards available to complement all tastings.
515 Williams St, South Haven, MI 49090, Phone: 269-637-6900
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6.The Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, South Haven, Michigan
© The Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum
The Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum commemorates the birthplace and childhood home of renowned horticulturalist Liberty Hyde Bailey, designated as a Michigan State Historic Site in 1963. The historic farmhouse was constructed by Bailey's father between 1853 and 1858, located on the family's gorgeous 80-acre farm. Bailey spent the first 19 years of his life at the farm before entering into Michigan Agricultural College in 1878 and becoming the co-founder of the American Society for Horticultural Science. In 1937, the 1.5-story Greek Revival clapboard farmhouse was donated to the city of South Haven for use as a living history memorial facility to honor Bailey's life and achievements. Today, visitors can explore the National Register of Historic Places-listed facility as part of guided tours and see reconstructed historic rooms throughout the home. Outside, several gardens showcase lilies and kitchen plants, while a nature trail winds through reclaimed farmland near the property.
903 S Bailey Ave, South Haven, MI 49090, Phone: 269-637-3251
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7.Maria's Taste Of Italy, South Haven, Michigan
© Alessio Orrù/stock.adobe.com
Maria's Taste Of Italy is a delightful family-friendly Italian dining destination in South Haven's downtown district, owned and operated by the Distefano family. The restaurant serves up family recipes that have been perfected for more than seven decades, including recipes using housemade Italian sausage and meatballs crafted by AJ and Donna Distefano. Favorite dishes include the restaurant's signature family recipe lasagna, crafted with fine mozzarella, provolone, romano, and parmesan cheeses. A wide variety of gourmet and signature pizzas are served up throughout the week, including specialties like chicken pesto, margherita, and Hawaiian pizzas. Toasted sandwiches are also served up, along with classic Italian pasta and seafood entrees.
330 Center Street, South Haven, MI 49090, Phone: 269-637-3663
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8.Three Blondes Brewing, South Haven, Michigan
© Three Blondes Brewing
Three Blondes Brewing is the vision of married duo Linda and Ray VanDerZee, operated as a neighborhood gathering place microbrewery and restaurant since 2018. The family-owned brewery crafts delicious flagship and specialty brews throughout the year, including unique favorites like its Dill With It Cucumber Dill Berliner Weisse, Rubia Picante Spicy Jalapeno Blonde Ale, Hoosier Hearts Kiwi Extra Pale Ale, Cold Heat Coffee Vanilla Rye Porter, and Fat Tiki Fruit Beer. Diners can enjoy drafts and gastropub fare at the brewery's unique Blondome facility, a geodesic dome located outside on its patio. Delicious entree selections include boom boom beer-battered fish and fries platters, beer-drenched cheesesteak sandwiches, and ultimate barbecue burgers topped with pomegranate barbecue sauce and Swiss cheese. Gourmet pizza varieties range from crab rangoon pizzas to vegetarian pizzas topped with red beet hummus, squash, and roasted mushrooms.
1875 Phoenix St Suite B, South Haven, MI 49090, Phone: 269-872-3911
8 Best Things to Do in South Haven, Michigan
- South Haven Lighthouse, Photo: R. Gino Santa Maria/stock.adobe.com
- The Kal-Haven Trail, South Haven, Michigan, Photo: rocketclips/stock.adobe.com
- Cogdal Vineyards, South Haven, Michigan, Photo: Cogdal Vineyards
- Overhiser Orchards, South Haven, Michigan, Photo: Viktor Gmyria/stock.adobe.com
- Warner Vineyards, South Haven, MI, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- The Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, South Haven, Michigan, Photo: The Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum
- Maria's Taste Of Italy, South Haven, Michigan, Photo: Alessio Orrù/stock.adobe.com
- Three Blondes Brewing, South Haven, Michigan, Photo: Three Blondes Brewing
- Cover Photo: Kenneth Keifer/stock.adobe.com
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