18 Best Things to Do In South Haven (Michigan)

South Haven is a charming beach town in Michigan. The city covers a total area of 3.50 square miles, of which land area is 3.40 square miles and water area is 0.10 square miles. There are lots of things to do in South Haven and places to visit. The beautiful beaches along Lake Michigan and the natural scenic surroundings make South Haven an excellent tourist attraction in the region. 

To enjoy boating and fishing on great Lake Michigan, you will find public boat launch facilities, charter boat fishing, and marinas. If you want to enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling, you will find the 14-mile long Van Buren Trail and Kal-Haven Trail.

To make your trip to South Haven memorable, here is a list of the 18 best things to do, attractions, and places to visit in South Haven, Michigan.

South Haven attractions:

01.‌ South Haven lighthouse:

The South‌ ‌Haven‌ ‌Lighthouse is one of the best attractions in South Haven. It was built in 1872 and is still operational. The 35-feet-tall lighthouse is at the entrance to the Black River on Lake Michigan.

Engineer James G. Warren designed the current tower. The US Lighthouse Service was selected to demolish the wooden lighthouse and replace it. In October 1903, ten workers came to the USLHS tender hyacinth and started the project. The entire project took more than a month to complete. On October 14 of the same year, they brought the Lantern House from Muskegon, Michigan, where he was here for about forty years.

The position of the South Haven lighthouse was not satisfactory. So, in 1913, they moved the cast-iron lighthouse to the end of the 425-foot pier.

Lake Michigan has 102 lighthouses on the shores of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding coastline are beautiful. Travelers can enjoy these views while walking on the lighthouse pier.

Besides, visiting a lighthouse is one of the best ways to learn about its rich history. The Historical Association of South Haven features exhibits on the history of South Haven and the lighthouse. Check out the official website for opening hours and to plan your visit.

Address: Hartman School Building, 355 Hubbard Street, South Haven, MI 49090.

North Beach, Things to Do In South Haven Mi
Image by H. Michael Miley / flickr

02. North Beach, South Haven:

North Beach is a large and crowded beach in downtown South Haven. Because of its diverse natural beauty and access to the lake all year round, it is quite a place of attraction for visitors and locals alike.

For panoramic views of Lake Michigan, visitors can climb a wooden stairway to the top of a tiller. A barrier-free beach walkway is also available during summer.

Visitors can fish here, fly kites, swim, play beach volleyball, and much more. North Beach is ADA accessible and has a playground for kids. There is also a picnic area where you can enjoy a beach picnic.

There are restrooms and parking areas available for tourists. The parking lot is about 200 feet away from the lakeshore. Primetime parking is hard to find, as the parking lot is relatively small. It will cost you $7.00 per car here.

North Beach is open to the public daily from sunrise to 11 p.m.

Address: 60 Water St South Haven, MI 49090.

Michigan Maritime Museum
Chris Light, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

03. Michigan Maritime Museum:

The Michigan Maritime Museum is one of the major destinations in the Great Lakes. It is perfect for exploring the fresh-water marine heritage. You can explore their exhibits from both on and off the water. A variety of events take place at the museum, including the Waterfront Festival.

There are five separate structures in the museum. Each provides a variety of engaging opportunities for visitors. They provide permanent and changing exhibits on Michigan maritime history. They also offer a workshop for teaching boat-building and related marine skills. The museum is small but full of info.

Not only adults but also kids will enjoy this museum equally. It would be a very thrilling experience for them. You will also see a nice tail ship in which you can also ride. The entrance fee for the museum is quite reasonable.

The Michigan Maritime is not only a museum but also a research library in South Haven, Michigan.

Museum authorities have raised funds to start construction on their new Maritime Heritage Center building. Check out the official website for the latest updates and to plan your visit.

Address: 260 Dyckman Ave, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

04. Kids’ Corner Playground:

Kids Corner Playground is a large children’s playground that features open space and an impressive wooden constructed playground. It has large wooden structures where children can enjoy climbing, swinging, sliding, and crawling. The park also includes a picnic area where you can enjoy a family picnic after a day of fun.

Kids Corner Playground is a fantastic playground with lake views as it is next to the lake. So, the sound of the waves and the pleasant wind will rejuvenate your body and mind.

It is a magnificent park with lots of free parking. So there is no hassle for those who bring cars.

Address: 82 Monroe St, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

05. Van Buren State Park, South Haven:

Van Buren State Park is located 3 miles south of South Haven. It comprises 400 acres of land along Lake Michigan. High dune formations and a mile of sandy shoreline are the park’s major attractions.

Being close to the sea, you can enjoy the beautiful view of the sunset from here. The Lake Michigan shoreline offers excellent swimming and a lovely beach for sunbathing. You can also arrange a picnic party here. They will provide you with picnic tables, grills, and a picnic shelter.

In the campground, you will find two modern lounges and a shower building. Bathroom facilities are adequate and clean. There is also a children’s play area.

You can enjoy cycling on the Van Buren State Bike Trail. The trail will lead you right into South Haven. You can also do many activities here, like hiking, fishing, Walking Trails, kayaking, Kite Surfing, and so on.

The staff at the park are friendly. They are always ready to help you.

Address: 23960 Ruggles Rd, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

Fun things to do in south haven:

Sailing South Haven
Image by Chuck Grimmett / flickr

06. sailing south haven:

Sailing South Haven was founded in 2010. It is currently the premier charter company in southern Michigan.

If you like to travel by boat, Sailing South Haven will be the place of choice for you. It is in historic downtown South Haven, Michigan. They will give you a two-hour trip to Lake Michigan. 

The Margaret Ann ship is perfect for getting out on the lake and enjoying the ambiance of being surrounded by water. It is a 37-foot blue-water cruiser. They outfitted it with all essential safety gear. 

The United States Coast Guard has certified them. They also do regular inspections to make sure everything is in top shape. Their crew will help to ensure a memorable experience for you. They are very professional. So, it will be safe and comfortable for you to travel. Check out the official website for more information and booking.

Address: 515 Williams St Dock on the riverside of Old Harbor Inn, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

07.‌ Kal-Haven Trail:

If you like cycling, the Kal-Haven Trail will be the optimum choice for you. It is also a perfect destination for hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. The trail is a 33.5-mile linear path for using various purposes.

The Kal-Haven Trail connects the cities of South Haven with Kalamazoo. Along the way, it has crossed many small towns and bridges. As a part of the Kalamazoo River Valley, it was extended from the trailhead to downtown Kalamazoo in 2008.

The Kal-Haven Trail is a unique example of high-quality landscapes. Because of that, The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Pure Michigan designated the Kal-Haven trail as one of the “Pure Michigan” trails.

Hikers and cyclists are more likely to come here in summer. Also, many people like to walk along this trail. You will see greenery on both sides of the Kal-Haven trail. The leaves of the tree come in different colors in different seasons.

The most exciting thing about the Kal-Haven Trail is seen in winter. This season is quite enjoyable for snowmobilers. During this time, a 4-inch base of the ice is formed.

However, to operate a snowmobile, a snowmobile trail permit sticker is required. You can buy the sticker from the DNR E-license website or the Michigan Snowmobile Association website. Check out the official website for more details and to purchase your trail permit pass.

Overall:

Kal-Haven Trail would be one of the best places to go to enjoy various activities in South Haven.

Address: 10th Street, Kalamazoo trailhead, Baily Street, South Haven trailhead, South Haven, MI 49090.

Jensen Charters
bogdanstepniak, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

08. Jensen Charters:

The Burger Boat Company built the Elsie Jensen in 1945. It is a 48 ft. x 13 ft. fishing tug. Chris Jensen of South Haven was the recipient of the Elsie J. It was used for fishing until 1976.

On Lake Michigan, Jensen Charters provides several boat cruises. They offer Sunset Cruises, Pirate Treasure Trip, Day/Morning Cruise, Private Cruises, Bachelorette / Bachelor Parties, and Wedding Ceremony.

Here you will find plenty of room to enjoy the scenery while traveling on the tug. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between June – Labor Day, they conduct a rearrangement of a pirate treasure raid.

If you want to have an enjoyable time with family and explore the stunning Lake Michigan, then Day / Morning Cruise will be better for you. The great thing is, you can arrange a bachelor party and a wedding party here. Check out the official website for more information and to book your tour.

Overall:

Sailing with Jensen Charters would be one of the best things to do in South Haven.

Address: South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

Gingerman Raceway south haven
Image by artistmac / flicker

09. Gingerman Raceway, south haven:

GingerMan Raceway is a racing track located east of the town of South Haven. It is one of the best attractions in South Haven for racers.

The path, built-in 1995, opened in 1996 for the first entire season of racing sports cars and motorcycles. It is a great place to spend a weekend. You can bring your car or rent from here. You can also learn to drive.

GingerMan Raceway’s racing tracks are much smoother. There are multiple racing lines in the corner. They have very minimal obstructions on the road. Driving here will increase the line of sight for the drivers and riders. There is a safe location outside the paddock area with satisfactory views for visitors.

They are ready to assist you in any matter and will also help you do excellent racing. Check out the official website for more information.

Address: 61414 Co Rd 388, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

10. KJC ATV Rentals & Trails of South Haven:

A unique attraction in South Haven is the KJC ATV Rentals and Trails. They groomed ATV trails as a recreational park. You can enjoy here many scenic views in South Haven.

They offer many trails with fun twists. The ATV trails run through some beautiful woods. They are easy to navigate and are well maintained. Some portions of the tracks are challenging, while others are simple. 

You can ride brand new four-wheelers here. KJC ATVs are clean and easy to drive. They have a Ten meter per hour speed restriction. This speed may seem slow to you at first. But after a while, it will feel right. They also provided safety pointers there. There are many staffs here to assist you. They are very knowledgeable and friendly.

Check out the official website for more information and to plan your visit.

Address: 24835 68th St, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

Places to visit in south haven:

Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum
Marlene Calderon, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

11. Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum:

Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum is a farmhouse at 903 Bailey Avenue in South Haven, Michigan. It is significant as the birthplace and childhood home of horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey.

The Liberty Hyde Bailey homestead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because it influences the life and philosophical outlook of Liberty Hyde Bailey.

Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum is one of the oldest standing homes in South Haven. Its mission is to educate others about Dr. Liberty Hyde Bailey, and in doing so, celebrate his life, his work, his philosophy, and his legacy.

The Bailey Museum’s gardens and grounds feature several lovely gardens with interpretive signage, a series of community garden plots, the Bailey Farm’s old smokehouse, the South Haven Blacksmith Shop, and Carriage Barn, and a nature trail. The beautiful scenery here will catch your eye.

The museum has a short nature trail running through a wooden stand on the east side of the property. You can walk through it and enjoy its beauty.

Besides the historic home, the museum features both permanent and rotating historical exhibitions, a series of horticultural gardens, a nature trail, and South Haven’s historic Blacksmith’s Shop. Check out the official website for more information.

Address: 903 S Bailey Ave, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

12. Decadent Dogs, South Haven:

If you are a dog lover, you should go to South Haven at least once. There are pleasant Decadent Dogs stores there. They are in the middle of downtown South Haven of Michigan. It’s a favourite place for dog lovers.

Decadent Dogs Stores provide quality products. All are in a price range. So, there will be no hassle for you. They’ll provide you with quality products in a reasonable price range.

You will find here everything for your pet. Decadent Dogs have a wide range of items: clothing and accessories, fun toys and puzzles, flags, gifts, healthy food, etc. Treatment options for both dogs and cats are also available here. 

Decadent Dogs carry a friendly atmosphere. They have knowledgeable staff, and they will give you the best service. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 9.30 a.m to 6 p.m and Sunday from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. Check out the official website for more information.

Address: 505 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

13. Bumbleberry Acres:

If you want to spend a holiday in a beautiful place with your family, the family-friendly firm Bumbleberry Acres in South Haven is ready to welcome you.

If you like wildflowers, here they will give you a basket of flowers for 5 dollars. You can put as many flowers as you want in the basket. They will also wrap flowers for you when you return to the store.

Bumbleberry Acres is a family-owned farm market. Blueberry u-pick offers a lot of activities for the kids. You can meet their miniature animals, ride a barrel train, or take a farm trip and ride a wagon in a corn maze.

You may choose from many bushes at a reasonable price. You can buy gifts from their store, buy fresh fruits, and even vegetables that grow on their farm. The staffs are so friendly there.

You may also meet and pet the animals on the farm. They have goats, donkeys, rabbits, and other animals.

October becomes an exciting month for people of all ages to visit their attractions. Check out the official website for more information and the latest updates.

Address: 6785 Baseline Rd, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

14. Black River Books:

Black River Books has over 40,000 books, which makes it a must-visit place for book lovers in South Haven. Black River Books initially started as a hobby, but later it became a passion and then a business. They later transformed the Business into a bookstore. It’s an independently owned store with over 2000 square feet of space.

You will find a wonderfully well-organized used and new book, and the prices are reasonable. The owner of the store is a knowledgeable and friendly person.

They’ll offer you a pleasant browsing experience in a relaxed atmosphere. There are many comfortable chairs. You can enjoy tea, coffee, or cocoa while reading books.

There is plenty of natural lighting inside the store. Two-walled windows serve as sources of this light.

There are magnificent arrangements available for both adults and children. Attractive books for kids are available. They will have a great time here.

Black River Books has some interesting old leather-bound law books. A couple of these will bring a subtle touch to anyone’s library. You will find books of different genres and authors here. You can even get cooking and gardening books.

Address: 330 Kalamazoo St # 2, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

15. Maria’s Taste Of Italy, South Haven:

Maria’s Taste of Italy has become a destination for actual family-friendly Italian dining. It is an Italian restaurant in South Haven, Michigan. Here you will find homemade Italian meatballs.

If you like Italian food, then “Maria’s Taste of Italy” will be the best choice for you. You can come here to enjoy the recipes that have been with the Distefano family for over 70 years. They always get excellent reviews from travelers across the country.

Their food and style of serving are both remarkable. The price of food is also very reasonable. Their Italian gelato ice cream and pies are very delicious.

There is no precedent for anyone to be disappointed by eating here. Staff are friendly and treat customers like family. You can have a nice dinner with your family by sitting on the magnificent decoration of Maria’s Taste Of Italy. Check out the official website for opening hours and menus.

Address: 330 Center St, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

16. Michigan Theater:

The Michigan Theater is a great place for movie lovers. It is a non-profit organization in Ann Arbor, South Haven.

They provide musical performances and showcases independent films and theatre productions. They focused on protecting the historic Michigan Theater and State Theatre.

The Michigan Theater is one of the few exhibitors in the country with union projectionists that can present films in a wide range of celluloid and digital cinema formats digital formats in theater spaces.

Over 7,100 paying members benefit from Michigan & State’s 365-day-a-year film program. Every year, they draw about 250,000 visitors.

The auditorium has 1610 seats, and the screening room has about 200 seats. The ticket prices, popcorn, and soda prices are very reasonable compared to the Chicago suburbs.

Address: 210 Center St, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

17. South Haven Ice rink:

South Haven Ice Rink is located very close to the center of South Haven. It is an excellent place for those who like to skate. Kids are also welcome here.

Almost every day throughout winter, the ice rink is available for skating. But it is usually open during all weather. Here you can enjoy the beauty of winter nights while skating under the seasonal light.

This ice rink has a cooling system. It circulates poly glycol through the coils beneath the ice, which keeps the ice at a constant temperature.

Professional staff always clean the ice surface. So, you will have a fantastic skating experience on a full-size ice surface.

The ice rink has a warming house where you can rent a skate. Skate aids are also available for toddlers and individuals who are shaky on skates. It’s a fun place to hang out with the kids.

Overall:

Skating at the South Haven Ice rink would be one of the best south haven winter activities.

Address: 546 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

18. Michigan Flywheelers Museum:

The Michigan Fly Wheeler Museum is a volunteer organization. They are working to promote antique flywheel engines and tractors. At the Michigan Flywheeler Museum, you can learn about rich farming history.

The museum is near South Haven, 2.3 miles east of the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. There is a display of old farm equipment, a sawmill, and a shingle mill, including the “Old Town.” You will also find a 1920s era community filled with businesses like Over The Forge blacksmith shop, Albert & Sons Farm Machinery Repair, and Old Tyme Jail.

You can make the whole museum tour by yourself. Many information plates will give you historical information about places like antique machinery, sawmills, shingle mills, and businesses in the Old Town.

You can also arrange a guided tour during operational hours (Wednesdays, Saturdays, or Sundays). Tour guides will tell you about the history of the museum and explain various topics. They are very knowledgeable and friendly.

The Michigan Fly Wheeler Museum arranges many events. Check out the official website for more information.

Address: 06285 68th St, South Haven, MI 49090, United States.

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