A First Timer’s Guide to Saugatuck/Douglas

Nestled along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan in a backdrop of stunning natural beauty, Saugatuck/Douglas is a place rich with character, culture and creature comforts. Whether you’re looking for romance, adventure or relaxation, you’re sure to find it here – along with that special magical quality that turns so many first-time visitors into regulars. Here are some ideas to help you make the most of your visit to the Art Coast of Michigan.

Explore the Great Outdoors

Saugatuck/Douglas is best known for fun in the sun – because of our location along Lake Michigan’s coastline, we’re a popular summer vacation destination. With activities like dune rides, historic boat rides and miles of hiking and biking trails, there’s truly no place like Saugatuck/Douglas in the summertime.

But with other outdoor amenities like Saugatuck Dunes State Park, walkable downtowns and agricultural draws like apple orchards and vineyards, there are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had year-round.

Wine & Dine

With so many activities and things to do in Saugatuck/Douglas, you’ll want to stay fueled. Our reputation for good food has attracted cookbook authors and award-winning chefs to live and work in our region, and our lineup of unique restaurants, bars and alcoholic beverage makers has turned us into a destination for food-lovers.

Whether you’re looking for southern comfort food done right, coastal inspired fare, an upscale steakhouse or a classic burger and fries, you’ll find it all and more here. There are plenty of dining options for even the most discerning palate to enjoy or try something new.

There’s no shortage of great beer, wine and spirits to quench your thirst, either. Enjoy a pint or a cocktail with your meal, or make beverage tasting the center of your experience. With businesses like Coastal Tours, you can responsibly taste all day long.

Discover the Arts

Long known as the “Art Coast of Michigan,” our creative roots go back 100 years to the day when the Art Institute of Chicago established its Ox-Bow School here. Today, dozens of working artists call it home, enriching our community with an appreciation of art that spills over into the many galleries and cultural events around our communities.

If you like to wander from gallery to gallery perusing for the perfect piece of artwork, our walkable downtowns of Saugatuck and Douglas are perfect for strolling. If performing arts are more up your alley, Saugatuck Center for the Arts is the arts hub of our region, bringing in revolving exhibits, live concerts, independent films and Broadway-caliber theater productions year-round.

When to Visit

There’s no bad time to visit Saugatuck/Douglas. Everyone should experience summertime in Saugatuck at least once, perfect for beach lounging and sidewalk strolling. Summer is also peak season, where you’ll find larger crowds and higher lodging rates.

Visiting in the Spring, Fall or Winter brings a different kind of fun – annual events like Tulip Time, Mountainfilm Festival on Tour, Mt. Baldhead Challenge, Halloween are big draws to our area. Seasonal activities like apple picking and snowshoeing are also enjoyed in these shoulder seasons as well. If you’re looking for less crowds and lower rates while still enjoying all our region has to offer, these seasons make the best choice.

Where to Stay

Here, you’ll find accommodations for every price point and lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for a hotel, bed & breakfast, vacation rental or a resort, you can discover your perfect “home away from home,” here in Saugatuck/Douglas.

Getting Here & Getting Around

Just a short drive from several major cities in the Midwest and a quick hop from the Grand Rapids Airport, the easiest way to get to Saugatuck/Douglas is by car, and some visitors will incorporate a few night’s stay here as part of a longer road trip along the historic West Michigan Pike.

While here, rent bikes to tour our towns or take advantage of our area’s unique local transportation options. The Saugatuck Interurban is a demand-response public bus system providing transportation for Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township for just $1. If visiting during the summer months (May – October), travel with the Saugatuck Harbor Water Taxi, just $3 one-way, or $5 round-trip for a unique, fun way to tour our towns.

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