Top 5 Reasons For An Art Coast Family Reunion
If you’re planning your next family reunion and have relatives with wildly different interests, how about holding it in a beautiful lakeshore town with plenty to do for everyone? Nestled along the scenic Kalamazoo River and just minutes away from Lake Michigan, Saugatuck/Douglas has stunning natural attractions, unique shopping, and a vibrant culinary scene that your entire family will love. From top-rated accommodations to gorgeous beaches and more, here are five reasons why the Art Coast should be your next family reunion destination.
Known as the “Art Coast of Michigan,” Saugatuck and the neighboring village, Douglas, are home to dozens of painters, sculptors, and other artists. The art enthusiasts in your family can while away the hours wandering through numerous downtown galleries and shop for finely crafted goods from local and national artists. If music and theater are a must, check out the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, which hosts Broadway-caliber performances and nationally known musicians and comedians. During the summer, there are also free outdoor concerts that everyone will enjoy.
No matter the season, Saugatuck/Douglas offers outdoor activities for the whole family. Summertime is a dream in the Art Coast, with miles of beaches along Lake Michigan to explore, including Oval Beach, one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 25 Beaches in the World”. Interested in boating? Numerous companies offer charter boats for sailing, fishing, or sunset cruising. Or you can rent a boat or kayak and explore at your own speed. Fall is the perfect time to watch the trees change colors while you hike through Saugatuck Dunes State Park or make the steep trek up the steps to Mt. Baldhead. Winter is a sleepier time for Saugatuck, where you can wander around downtown and enjoy the festive lights during the holidays. Want a little more action? Rent cross-country skis or snowshoes from Landsharks and go on a snowy adventure in the woods.
With numerous spots to eat, drink, and be merry in the area, you’ll have no problem finding a place everyone loves. Choices range from fine dining to farm-to-table, pizza joints, and more. West Michigan’s temperate, lakeshore climate is to thank for all this culinary diversity and abundance. The region has a rich agricultural heritage, with local farms and orchards producing much of our food. Visit a farm stand like Barden’s Farm Market or a U-pick like Pleasant Hill Farm to select your own fresh produce to bring home. Or visit the Farmer’s Market at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts that happens every Tuesday and Friday, May through September. Are there craft beer, wine, and spirits lovers in your party? Saugatuck, Douglas, and Fennville have award-winning breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries to explore.
Have certain family members who long for their next retail fix? Downtown Saugatuck and Douglas offer an array of charming boutiques where they’re bound to discover treasures not found in any mall. There’s something for everyone—art collectors, antique hunters, jewelry lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and more. You’ll even find Michigan-made gourmet treats—great for gifts or to enjoy with the family.
Finding the right place to stay for your reunion is a must. From resorts to rentals to cozy inns, Saugatuck/Douglas offers a wide array of accommodations for groups small and large. (The properties are listed below from smallest to largest capacity.)
The Belvedere Inn – Treat the family to a stay at this European-style estate with gorgeous gardens and upscale accommodations. With ten rooms, each with a Queen bed, the Belvedere is best for groups of 20 people or fewer.
Rosemont Inn – With 14 rooms and a three-bedroom condo, this historic, 120-year-old bed and breakfast accommodates 28 people. The Rosemont also offers beach access to Lake Michigan and includes an on-site meeting room. Please note that this property typically requires a minimum guest age of 17 years, but if a family rents the entire inn, the Rosemont allows children.
Starlite Resort – Enjoy the vintage vibes of this 29-room motel reminiscent of the roadside motor inns popular in the 1950s. Your family will love the pool, hot tub, large picnic area, and areas for volleyball and horseshoes. For larger groups, this motel offers 10-room blocks that can accommodate up to 30 people.
Maplewood Hotel – This historic hotel near the heart of downtown Saugatuck offers 15 rooms, including standard rooms with Queen beds, Deluxe rooms with a King or Queen bed and fireplace, and a Suite Room with King or Queen bed, fireplace, and sitting area. Great for groups of 32 or fewer.
Holiday Hill Resort– Just a short walk to Oval Beach and Saugatuck’s historic chain ferry, the Holiday Hill Resort sleeps 20-22 adults and 12-14 children, for up to 34 guests. The Captain’s Cottage includes a gathering space with a large open floorplan, full kitchen, and dining area. For large groups, availability is best in May and October.
Old Pike Cottages – With nine cottages on the Kalamazoo River and a heated pool open April-November, Old Pike Cottages can accommodate reunions small and large. Cottages include one-, two-, and five-bedroom options and can accommodate up to 38 guests.
Captain’s Quarters – Book rooms for the whole family at this 15-room motel that accommodates up to 38 individuals. Lodging options include King, Queen, and Queen double rooms on this park-like property, including picnic tables, fire pits, and outdoor seating.
Saugatuck Retro Resort Motel – Recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of the 17 Most Retro Hotels in America, the Saugatuck Retro Resort Motel takes guests back to the time of roadside hotels in the 1950s. This unique, 22-room property can accommodate 54 people and includes a pool and outdoor firepit.
Hop and Vine Inn – A Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice winner for 2020, 2021, and 2022, this lodging offers 18 unique units that can accommodate up to 69 people. Guests will love the peaceful country backdrop along with amenities such as an indoor heated pool, volleyball and pickleball courts, basketball hoop, play structure, and campfire pit.