July & August In Saugatuck
“Summer – sun drenched days and starlit nights.”
~ Mama Cass Elliot
Summer Things To Do In Saugatuck, Michigan
It’s the season when there’s no better place to be than in our small village on Lake Michigan… the sand sings under warm summer breezes and dips in the cool lake refresh. There are Berry Crisps, Heirloom tomatoes and pesto, young sweet corn fresh from The Farmers’ Market on every daily menu at Wickwood. Sitting on our back porch with minty iced tea or a glass of Sangria while you leisurely savor the solitude of a summer afternoon is heaven.
It’s the season of beach picnics, all day sails, Parades and Fireworks, Mason Street Warehouse Summer Stock, The Chamber Music Festival, art shows and artists doing demonstrations in the galleries or at their studios. There’s time for fishing, kayaking, rides on the chain ferry to Oval beach, bluegrass and folk at Salt of the Earth, jazz at The What Not, or blues at Saugatuck Brewing Company … just another lazy summer to savor where the living is easy.
We’ve created a getaway guide with some local favorites, suggested stops and insider secrets to help you love life like a local. Use our tips as you will, but let your imagination be your guide!
Live Like A Local & Love Our Villages
Sun Drenched Days & Starlit Nights… Summer In Saugatuck
There aren’t many better places on this Earth than Summer in Saugatuck. The sandy beaches, undeveloped coastline, and freshwater waves of Lake Michigan create the best playground for kids of all ages. The area farmers harvest daily, so the menu at Wickwood features berry crisps, heirloom tomatoes and pesto, young sweet corn, and everything else that is juicy, flavorful and fresh. This time of year, you might decide to laze away the day, simply by sitting on the back porch with minty iced tea, or a glass of Sangria. No one will bother you. Perhaps you want to soak up the sun and sink your toes in the sand? Perfect. If you crave more activity, Summer here is ripe for picnics, parades, fireworks, theater, live music, outdoor art exhibits, festivals, al fresco dining, wine tasting, and more. With everything so close by, you’ll still find time for fishing, kayaking, sailing, riding on the chain ferry, shopping, and more. The change in season here means that people truly savor Summer. Summer life here is simply wonderful as there are so many things to do in Saugatuck.
1. Why Waste Time? | Get Going With The Good Life!
You’ve arrived! Head straight to Farm House Deli and find everything you need for your picnic basket: salads, cheese, crackers, sandwiches, specialty sodas and more. Chef Christine Ferris’ insists on working with what’s fresh at the Farm Market, today! That means every bite will taste like Summer.
Next, drive directly to Douglas Beach and snag one of the free parking places at the top of the stairs. Try the award-winning Oval Beach, or hike in to the beach at the Saugatuck Dunes State Park. No matter where … it’s time. Sink your toes in the sand, and say hello to the good life! Settle in for a picnic. Stroll along the singing sands. Skip Stones. Dive in and refresh. Forget you ever had a care in the world.
2. Explore Downtown Saugatuck |Free Parking At Wickwood
We know one of the complaints about visiting Saugatuck on a busy Summer weekend. Parking. Life’s too short for hassles! Ease on into Wickwood’s private parking lot. There’s a free space waiting for you.
As you stroll through downtown for your sneak peek (don’t worry, there will be more time for shopping, later!), notice its lack of chain stores and restaurants. Your first stop, before they close up at 3:00, should be the Green Market in the parking lot at the Saugatuck Art Center (SCA). Find fresh produce, plants, herbs, flowers, jams, syrup, breads, gourmet baked goods and more.
Walk back through the park and along the docks, or meander your way through town to find an ice cream cone. There are SO many options, but we like Charlie’s Round the Corner for its array of locally sourced flavors and their impressive portions.
3. You’ve Read the Accolades | Now It’s Time To Experience Wickwood For Yourself
There are so many choices about where to take a great vacation. The entire staff at Wickwood Inn is aware of your options. Their goal? To exceed all of your expectations while anticipating your needs. (That dinner reservation you forgot to make for tonight? No problem!)The level of care you receive throughout your stay is on par with the attention to every detail throughout the Inn. Fine Art. Fresh Bouquets. Designer Fabrics. Luxurious linens. It’s easy to understand why Travel and Leisure calls Wickwood “one of the World’s most Romantic Inns.”
4. You Won’t Believe What’s Within A Stone’s Throw | Small Town Life At Its Best
It’s tempting just to sink in at Wickwood. There’ll be time for that later. Right now, it’s back to the beautiful outdoors! Hop on the Chain Ferry and delight in your historic passage across the Kalamazoo River. Disembark and visit the Pump House Museum’s annual exhibit. Cross the street and take the climb up the 302 stairs of Mt. Baldhead. Yes, it’s a steep hike, but there are lots of benches for you to catch your breath and capture the panoramic views. The vantage point at the top is worth the effort, so keep climbing if you can. In fact, take the trail over the dune a ways, and you’ll soon reach a sand amphitheater overlooking the big lake. The perfect place to soak up some sun, shut your eyes, let go of any layers of stress that may remain.
The climb down goes more quickly. Grab the Chain Ferry again for your return voyage. Stroll along the docks and stretch your legs as you watch the boats glide by.
5. The Hike Has Made You Hungry | Your Lavish Happy Hour Awaits
You love all of the attention to detail throughout the Inn, but if you’re honest, the real reason you chose Wickwood is for the raves about Julee Rosso’s food. All complimentary with your stay. Enjoy a taste of wine, or bring a favorite bottle of your own. Start with the Gazpacho and Dijon Mustard Breadsticks. Linger over the Artisanal Cheese Board and sample your way through the Basil Pesto and Toasted Tomato Cheese Pyramid, Herbed Garlic Spanish Olives, Roasted Yellow and Cherry Tomatoes, and Blueberry Chutney. Marvel at the combination of Watermelon wrapped in Prosciutto (so simple, and SO delicious!). The fresh Corn, Sundried Tomato and Bean Salsa atop Crostini bursts with flavor, and the Margherita Pizza Flatbread, with house made Hazelnut Basil Pesto, Fresh Tomato, Arugula, and Fresh Mozzarella, tastes like Summer itself.
6. Fine Dining Overlooking Lake Macatawa | Dinner At Boatwerks
Enjoy the scenic route up to neighboring Holland. The view from this restaurant will amaze! Request an outdoor table so you can watch the sunlight skip across the water while the boats drift by. Boatwerks takes inspiration from ingredients that are fresh the fields and from our Great Lakes. With everything from hand-tossed thin crust pizza to freshly baked almond crusted whitefish, there’s something for all to enjoy. If you’re more in the mood for checking out Holland’s downtown 8th street, try: Butch’s Dry Dock, Mizu Sushi, Hops, or The Curragh.
7. More Arts & Culture Along the Waterfront? | We Got That
Time to discover why Saugatuck has been named “One of the top 5 Art Towns in America” by American Style Magazine. For over 100 years, OxBow has indeed been “serving as a haven for the creative process through instruction, example, and community.” Their Friday Night Open Studio sessions sure are a fun way to connect with community. We love strolling around this beautiful campus, exploring the latest paintings, drawings, ceramics, metals, papermaking, printmaking, and glass projects. View the gallery. Watch a demonstration. Build your collection by participating in the Live Auction.
8. Did You Wear Your Dancing Shoes? | Listen To Live Music All Around Town
You have options. Have a local brew and dance at Saugatuck Brewing. If you feel like staying close to the waterfront, try the deck at The Butler. Check out who’s playing at The What Not, The Red Barn, Wally’s, Marro’s, Salt of The Earth, or the Sand Bar Saloon. Hop around town and dance the night away.
9. Wake Up & Greet The Day | You’ll Work Up An Appetite Along The Way
There are SO many wonderful choices here for a little exercise, and early morning is a great time to do it. Head out to Clearbrook, The Ravines or Hawkshead and hit 9. Take in the trails and the beauty at the Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Bike through town and head out to Lakeshore Drive. Stroll on the singing sands at our award winning Oval Beach. Play tennis on the courts Downtown or at the High School. Venture out on Lake Kalamazoo in a kayak or on a stand up paddle board. Play disc golf amidst the dunes at Shore Acres Township Park. Catch some fish on a charter boat in the Big Lake.
10. Is It Wrong To Be This Excited About Brunch? | Welcome To Wickwood’s Signature Amenity
After last night’s Sips & Small Plates, you really are excited for Brunch. You can’t help but go immediately to the Four Berry Bowl with Berry Glaze, bursting with Summer flavor. The Very Corn Pudding with Red and Yellow Peppers is something you would never create at home, but it’s so good, you try it with both toppings: Spiced Maple Syrup and the Spicy Tomato Salsa. It’s difficult to determine which is best. Then there’s the Egg Dishes, the Meats, the Homemade Almond and Golden Raisin Granola and selection of Greek Yogurts. However, you think your favorite just might be the Cardamom Cake with Coffee Glaze . . . or, perhaps it’s the Blueberry Razzle Dazzle Cake? Oh my!
11. You Wanted Idyllic | This Is More Than You Imagined
It’s okay. Lose track of time. Completely. This is what you came for. Set out and see what captivates. Pick strawberries at Earl’s, blueberries at Krupkas, or peaches at Crane’s. Tour the vineyard and enjoy the tasting room at Fenn Valley. Check out the art scene at Peachbelt Studio, Blue Roan Studio, Khnemu Studio, Lake Effect Pottery, Town Hall Studio and more. Sip bottle to branch cider at Virtue Farms. Explore the eclectic collection of antiques and found objects at Olde House Antiques, Saugatuck Antique Pavillion, Amsterdam, and Sunset Junque. Taste cheeses and see the goats at Evergreen Lane Creamery. See what’s at the roadside stand and coming out of the wood fired oven at Kismet Farms & Bakery. Enjoy the absence of traffic and the rural beauty along the 2 lane roads. Life here is simple. You determine its pace.
12. Zero Proof Sugarcane Juice Bar | Lucy’s Little Kitchen
It’s easy to find the large umbrellas that adorn Chef Balmer’s dining patio in downtown Saugatuck. Lucy’s Little Kitchen is a great place to mingle with locals and tourists alike. You can cool off with a freshly squeezed custom juice drink and grab a lobster roll or tuna nachos if you like.
13. You’ve Been Out & About | Now It’s Award Winning Beach Time
It’s the combination of size, lack of development, sandy beach, and freshwater that garners national attention for Oval Beach. You won’t be disappointed. Drive on in and pick a spot. Read a book. Flip through magazines. Toss a frisbee. Build a sand castle. Take a nap. Walk. Swim. Doze off again. All the while, soak up the sun in blissful relaxation.
14. This Day Just Keeps Getting Better | Pampering Awaits at Wickwood
Ah . . . by now, walking into Wickwood feels like returning home. Sit back. Have some juice, coffee, tea or water. Relax in the gardens or in the gazebo. Now’s a good time to have the Innkeeper call ahead for your dinner tonight. She’ll be happy to do so.
15. Sips & Small Plates | You’re Feeling Rather Spoiled
Tomorrow night, when you can no longer simply walk from your room into an elegantly set dining room where food and beverages await . . . you might be more than a little sad. Time to savor every bit and each moment. Tonight, you start with the Pomodoro Soup and it only gets better from there. The Zucchini Butter with Chopped Red and White Radishes on Crostini is colorful and fresh. Tonight’s flatbread, Pepperade with Mozzarella and Parmesan Shards is something you hope you can replicate at home. But don’t think about home right now. Right here is exactly where you want to be.
16. Relax Into the Romance | Your Evening Has Options
As you know by now, Summer here is a series of options. All of them excellent. Keep the romance going during an exclusive sunset sail with Captain Mort and Sweetwater Sailing. Or, take in an exhibition or show at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Mason Street Warehouse, Hope Summer Repertory, or Red Barn Theater. Perhaps there’s a Gallery opening you want to stop by on the way? Try LaFontsee, Water Street, and Roan & Black and see what’s happening.
17. You Got A Taste Earlier In The Day | Now It’s Time To Take In The Real Thing
We love the energy and the options at Chef Balmer’s fine dining venue, Everyday People Cafe. Whether you sit at a booth, a table, a high top, or one of the comfy bars, you’ll feel right at home in the buzz of this place. For locals, a lot of life is celebrated at this restaurant, and visitors are always invited to join in on the fun. Portions here are substantial, so select from the starters, small plates or entrees. You’ll delight in fresh combinations created by ingredients from local farms.
It Doesn’t Matter What Time
18. Sunday Morning’s Are Made For Sleeping In | Enjoy
Forget about your alarm. There’s no need. Wake whenever. Take full advantage of the In Room Coffee Service. Read the morning paper. Or Don’t. Simply indulge.
19. You’re Impossibly Relaxed | And Loving Brunch
Each taste of fruit, champagne, egg, meat, and sweets bring you more delight. Your stay here has changed your perception of excellence in service and in complimentary fare.
20. It’s True | You Hate To Go
Wickwood has provided you with such respite. Such time to relax and reconnect. You hate to say goodbye. But you know you’ll be back again . . . . soon, you hope.
But right now, you’re excited for the day ahead. It’s such an easy, quick trip into Grand Rapids. First stop: Propaganda Doughnuts. These doughnuts are not your average gut-bomb from the grocery store. High-quality ingredients and exceptional technique makes for a much more tasty delight. Grab what sounds best or whatever is left. It will be lip-smacking good.
Next, Grand Rapids Downtown Market, a celebration of everything local. Local Food. Local Vendors. Local Entertainment. It’s all here, and Summer is the season of bounty.
There’s still time for one more stop. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Featuring an impressive variety of art and plants, the 132 acre gardens have something to pique any interest. Nature Lovers won’t want to mis the Tropical Birds, Great Lakes Garden and Kettle Pond. Art lovers will enjoy sculptures by Dietrich Klinge, Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin. Everyone should save time to smell the flowers. Visit the Acclaimed Orchid Wall and Picturesque Pathways.