LGBTQ Family Fun Along the Art Coast
Looking for a family-friendly vacation spot in a safe, inclusive environment? Look no further than the Art Coast of Michigan. With stunning outdoor scenery and fun activities for every age, Saugatuck/Douglas provides a warm welcome to all families looking for their ultimate escape.
A long-standing history of inclusivity, a vibrant LGBTQ+ community, and a plethora of kid-friendly activities make Saugatuck/Douglas the perfect location for LGBTQ families looking for their ideal vacation getaway.
But don’t just take our word for it. Many publications have featured this area as a welcoming and fun travel destination, including Thrillist (6 LGBTQIA-Friendly Small Towns You Need to Visit and This Tiny Michigan Town is One of America’s Best LGBTQ+ Destinations), Vacationer (22 Small LGBTQ-Friendly Cities in the U.S.), GayCities (This Small Midwest Town Should Be Your Next Weekend Getaway), and PrideSource (Have You Been to These Surprisingly Queer Michigan Road Trip Destinations?).
Here are our top recommended kid-friendly activities and attractions for a memorable summer family getaway.
To burn off some of that youthful energy, climb up the 302 steps to the top of Mt. Baldhead and get a bird's eye view of the Kalamazoo River, downtown area, and Lake Michigan. You’ll also catch a close-up glimpse of the Mount Baldhead Radar Tower, a Cold War relic dating back to the 1950s and one of the most iconic sights along the Saugatuck shore. Kids will love running down the sandy dune on the west side of the mountain, which will bring you to Oval Beach.
Considered one of the best beaches in the country according to Condé Nast Traveler, Oval Beach features soft white sand and stunning Lake Michigan views. It's a great place for kids to spend the day swimming in salt-free water, soaking up the sun, and building a few sandcastles.
Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Spend the day wandering through the sandy forest paths of Saugatuck Dunes State Park, where all trails lead to the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. This beautiful patch of the Art Coast features 13 miles of trails with coastal dunes and forested areas that attract rare birds and endangered species.
Saugatuck Dune Rides
Take a thrilling 40-minute off-road, open-roof dune ride through the rolling hills of sand overlooking Lake Michigan on the Saugatuck Dune Rides. You and your family will enjoy discovering all the natural beauty of the area and experiencing tales from the local lore delivered by highly engaging and comedic tour guides.
Star of Saugatuck
For the quintessential Saugatuck water experience that family members, young and old, will enjoy, take a ride on the Star of Saugatuck. This 51-ton double-decker paddlewheel boat traverses the Kalamazoo River into Lake Michigan, giving you a relaxing view of the town, harbor, and scenic natural areas. Refreshments are served onboard, and the tour narrations are both fun and informative.
Rent a donut boat from Retro Boat Rentals and take the entire family (including Fido) for a spin around the Kalamazoo River. Shaped just like its name, donut boats feature a round table in the middle perfect for enjoying food and beverages with a group. These boats can also be anchored or beached in a special designated “cove” area to allow for swimming or just hanging out.