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Saugatuck, Michigan Travel Guide

Sep

29

Welcome to my NEW travel series where my aim is to inspire you and encourage you to travel well while focusing on your overall health and wellbeing. I will share healthy travel tips, favorite restaurants, hidden gems, and more.

I’m constantly inspired by culture, adventure, art, music, and food. Whether it’s staying at a five star hotel and eating at a Michelin rated restaurant or renting an AirBnb and sipping coffee with the locals, I want to share it all with you.

 When the time comes for you to plan your next trip, you’ll have a resource of hidden gems and my personal favorites from all areas of the world that you can reference and plan your own adventure with!

There’s something magical about the towns of Saugatuck and Douglas…

Maybe it’s the crisp air from Lake Michigan or the moment you watch the sun set that it suddenly feels as if someone is giving you permission to take a deep breathe.

Saugatuck is a hidden gem located about an hour and 20 minutes north from the Indiana state line. It’s smaller and lesser known neighboring town, Douglas, is also not to be missed. Both are nestled along the eastern shore and are rich with art, culture and good food.

RESTAURANTS

Saugatuck and Douglas may be small lakeside towns but they have plenty of places to dine. The vibrant dining scene also showcases local flavors and each year Saugatuck hosts a food festival with over four dozen of Saugatuck’s finest restaurants, shops, and galleries opening their doors and inviting the community to come and sample their offerings. Even the biggest food snobs will not be disappointed here.

PennyRoyal – Saugatuck, MI. Open for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner this restaurant features food that has been prepared the old-fashioned way, sourced with local ingredients that highlight West Michigan farms. Gluten and dairy-free friendly but they don’t have a lot of substitutions like gluten-free bread. Their menu changes often but I suggest asking your server what they recommend. **If you can, request to sit out back under the cafe lights.

Coast 236 – Saugatuck, MI. Open for dinner and located downtown Saugatuck, this restaurant is the epitome of coastal dining with its white interior and airy vibes. The menu changes seasonally but if they have it, order their vegan caramel gelato. They also have killer mocktails. Gluten and dairy-free friendly. **Sit outside in the back if you can OR request the window seat at the front of the restaurant.

Farmhouse Deli – Douglas, MI. Prepare to eat some of the best sandwiches you have ever had! Get here early for breakfast or allow yourself time to stand in line but I promise it’s worth it. My favorites: Vegan Bahn Mi on GF bread, Pork Bahn Mi, Turkey Wrap on GF bread, and the egg sammie on GF bread. They also have fabulous sweets and a small grocery section.

EveryDay People’s Cafe – Douglas, MI. I have not been here yet but a few people have recommended it. The menu looks delicious and healthy-ish. They also have jazz nights and Sunday pop-ups where they pick a theme, close down the restaurant and serve from an outdoor kitchen.

Isabel’s Market and Eatery – Douglas, MI. Frank and I were lucky to attend the grand opening for this grocery store/restaurant/cooking class space. They have a limited menu but everything is delicious and you can just imagine the love and thought that goes into making it with each bite you take. Isabel’s was started out of the frustration of lack of gourmet grocery stores nearby and I wish we had one in Chicago. Don’t forget to stop by their bakery section for some GF sweets and a latte.

*Of course I couldn’t leave you without adding in the other places I researched but haven’t had a chance to visit yet. Pumpernickels, The Southerner, Grow Food, and The Biscuit are all on my list and should be on yours too!

CAFES

UnCommon Coffee Roasters – Saugatuck, MI. Located in the heart of downtown Saugatuck and quite frankly one of our favorite coffee shops in the area. If you go you must try the “Trailblazer”. They also have GF treats but they sell out quickly. 

Farmhouse Deli – Douglas, MI. Of course, they would be on here twice. Their latte’s and treats are just as good as their sandwiches. 

Respite Cappuccino Court – Douglas, MI. Cappuccino, food, and smoothies…oh my! If you’re going hungry you may as well order a bikini bowl with your lavender latte.

Insider Tip:

If you’re driving up from Chicago, add Whistle Stop Grocery into your navigation as a pit stop. Visit their cute shop and order an oat milk latte with a gluten-free brownie (they often run out so call ahead).

HOTELS

There are multiple definitions that take shape when someone thinks of the word ‘hotel’. These days a hotel could be someone’s house, a boutique building with only a few rooms, a boathouse, treehouse, or a luxury resort. A hotel is so much more than “just a place to sleep”, it’s the feeling you get as you are welcomed into a new town or city. It’s the warm welcome of the owners showing you around the neighborhood or a cocktail waiting behind the front desk. From the music and smell to the thoughtful design and decor; it’s the smallest of details that make a hotel extra special. I’ve added below two of my favorite hotels in Saugatuck/Douglas, MI for whenever your curiosity takes you there.

Lake Shore Resort – Saugatuck. I have to preface this recommendation with the fact that it is a bit hard to get a room here but despite it being busy all the time…it still has an unusual quietness to it (perfect if you enjoy privacy like me). Andrew, the owner, along with his parents are some of the nicest people and Andrew does an amazing job at keeping the grounds perfectly manicured. From the breakfast delivered to your room to the evening coffee with sunset views…it’s one of the few places that just does it all really well. During my last visit I was able to learn about the history and how this special place has been passed down through generations (I will add more on that in the near future).

**PS. If you are having a hard time reserving a room, try to book early in the season.

Fields Of Michigan – South Haven. Ok, so this place is NOT in Saugatuck or Douglas but it’s only 20 minutes south and I need to tell you about it. My cousin who is just as much of a travel enthusiast as me recommended this place. I have not been yet but she raves about it and I am hoping to stay before the end of October this year. Fields of Michigan is basically glamping with a spa and from the website images, it looks like the perfect spot to get away for a few days.  

THINGS TO DO

Saugatuck and Douglas have plenty to do, especially if you’re visiting on the weekends. A local band playing outside your favorite cafe or an art fair set up along the pier. There is always something going on. Below is a list of some of my favorite things to do while you’re in town.

Bike Ride to town. One of the perks of staying at Lake Shore Resort is that you get access to their bikes for free. Frank and I love to ride the bikes to Isabel Market for lunch and eat outside on their picnic tables.

Sign up for yoga. Another perk of Lake Shore Resort is its free yoga classes down on the pier. The best for soaking in the morning sun and getting your day started on the right foot. 

Visit Oval beach and Saugatuck Dunes State Park. I haven’t been to Oval beach yet but I hear great things. Frank and I have visited the Saugatuck Dunes several times and we love the quietness of it. It’s lesser-known and the coastline is beautiful but make sure you wear good shoes and wear bug spray because it’s about a mile hike through the woods.

Get coffee and tour the art galleries. Grab a coffee from one of the cafes mentioned above or find one that sparks your interest and walk around to all the beautiful local art galleries (what the area is known for). 

Sample local wines. I’m not a wine drinker but there are plenty of wineries in the area and you can click here to find some that might be worth visiting. 

Visit Peterson Mill. One of the most photographed locations in Saugatuck.

Visit Virtue Cider. Are you visiting Saugatuck in the fall? Head to Virtue Cider and sip some amazing cider with all the Fall colors.

SHOPPING

Articles Wardrobe and Home: The essence of a small downtown shop offering unique clothing, home decor, books, gifts, candles, jewelry, handbags, and greeting cards.

Coastal Society: Spirits and shopping.  

The Brass Anchor: Clothing, jewelry, and more. 

Endora Bohemian: One of my favorites and the owner is super friendly. They sell a mix of everything but a lot of it is very unique! They have odd hours so make sure to check their website before you plan to visit. 

If you’re driving up from Chicago there are some wonderful shops along the way (some of my favorites are Sojourn and Alapash). I recommend giving yourself at least 2-3 extra hours to stop by these towns and shops…

Three Oaks, MI – Trilogy Antiques and Alapash New Home

New Buffalo, MI – Sojourn, Stolkholm Objects, Alchemy Arts and Antiques, One Oak Street

I hope you enjoyed the travel guide! Please watch the video below (Frank works so hard on these and he’s super talented) and head to our YouTube Channel to like and subscribe. Stay tuned for more coming soon.

Saugatuck, Michigan Video

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