5 Reasons to start planning your 2019 summer vacation in Michigan now

2019 summer vacation in michigan

Planning your 2019 summer vacation in Michigan is nothing to procrastinate. Popular summer vacation dates are the first to book up here in Saugatuck. To make sure you get the summer vacation you’re dreaming of, start planning now. Not convinced? Read on for 5 reasons you should get those 2019 summer vacation plans in motion.

5 Reasons to start planning your 2019 summer vacation in Michigan right now

Get the dates you want at your ideal home base

Now is your chance to define your perfect summer vacation in Michigan and not let limitations on available dates do it for you. Popular summer vacation dates are already getting scooped up at some of our vacation rentals. Make your plans now and reap the benefits of having set your summer vacation plans in motion early.

Save on travel arrangements

If you’re arriving to your destination via plane, your best chance to save on airfare is to plan early—especially if your vacation falls on a popular travel time. Plus, you get first dibs on the best airplane seats.

Have something to look forward to through the dreary winter months

Winter is coming, and that means the sun is going to be hidden behind clouds more often than it isn’t for the next couple months. Getting your 2019 summer vacation plans set now means you’ll have something real to look forward to when it’s dark and dreary. Daydream about sunbathing on Oval Beach, hiking through Saugatuck Dunes State Park, and roasting s’mores around a beach bonfire.

Collaborate with travel companions more easily

One of the biggest struggles about travel planning is coordinating with everyone who’s going on the trip. When you start planning early on, it’s easier to make sure everyone is on the same page. Planning your summer vacation to Michigan early gives everyone ample time to request time off at work, make arrangements for pet sitters, and gear up for a fun trip to the Great Lakes state.

Reduce stress

Nothing takes a load off your shoulders like checking something off on your to-do list. Taking care of next summer’s vacation plans now will ensure everything comes together exactly how you’re imagining it in your head. Once that’s all set, you can relax and focus on what’s in front of you.

The perfect fall 3-day weekend adventure

fall 3-day weekend

You’re a month into the rush of school, work, and the usual fall hustle. You’re enjoying the autumnal vibes, but you’re busy, so it’s hard to bask in them completely. Graciously, there is a fall 3-day weekend coming up that is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of this gorgeous, ephemeral season. Columbus Day weekend is October 5-8, and there’s going to be plenty of fall events happening in Saugatuck to make the most of it.

Make the most of this fall 3-day weekend

Saugatuck Ghoul Fest

October 6, 2018 – 11am-5pm

Enjoy some spooky pre-Halloween family fun at this annual event. Here you’ll find the “Art of Halloween” one of a kind bazaar, coffin races, kid friendly activities, live music and more!

Annual Saugatuck/Douglas Gallery Stroll

October 6, 2018 – 4-6pm

Get a hearty dose of art when you attend the annual Saugatuck/Douglas Gallery Stroll. Area galleries join together for a weekend full of artist receptions, openings, demonstrations and live music.

Blue Coast Artists Fall Tour

October 6, 2018 – 10am; October 7, 2018 – 7pm

This tour of 10 studios between South Haven and Fennville is packed with great art. You’ll view handmade ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, glasswork and more.

Music in the Vineyard at Fenn Valley

October 6, 1-4pm

Enjoy the crisp fall air and the changing colors of the scenery at Fenn Valley’s vineyard for another Music in the Vineyard session. Solo jazz guitarist Randy Reszka will perform on this weekend, and it’s sure to be a treat. Order a glass of Fenn Valley’s signature wines, sit back, and take in the autumn atmosphere.

Eat Drink Saugatuck/Douglas Harvest Dinner

October 6, 2018 – 6-9pm

Head to Wade’s Bayou for this outdoor harvest dinner featuring selections made with ingredients from local farms. Each course will celebrate the harvest season and feature a delicious beverage pairing.

J. Petter Galleries Harvest Dinner

October 6, 2018 – 7-9pm

J. Petter Galleries’ Harvest Dinner will be a tented meal on the gallery’s lawn. Tastings from seven local restaurants will be available to try while artists paint en plein air.

Find the perfect place to stay

Lakeshore Lodging has cozy cabins and homes encircled with vibrant fall foliage available for rent for your fall vacation. Check them out here.

Bring the whole family together in these large Lake Michigan vacation rentals

large lake michigan vacation rentals heron creek

When your family members live all over, it’s rare to get an opportunity to bring everyone together. But it is so important to make sure it happens. A vacation on the lakeshore could be just the thing to reconnect with everyone. These large Lake Michigan vacation rentals are great options for families of all shapes and sizes. Plan a Lake Michigan family vacation you and your family will remember for years to come.

Large Lake Michigan vacation rentals to host the whole family

Heron Creek

Sleeps: 16, Bedrooms: 5, Bathrooms: 3 

We reckon you’ll find yourselves spending most of your vacation in one of two spots at this secluded lakeshore home: Either on the large, shady bluff-top deck, or on the sandy private beach. Grab a refreshing beverage, recline in an adirondack with a lake view, and set to catching up with your family members.

Chestnut Retreat

Sleeps: 14, Bedrooms: 5, Bathrooms: 4.5

Chestnut Retreat’s open spaces are a breath of fresh air. Located just off of Lakeshore Drive in Douglas, this large vacation rental puts you within walking distance to Douglas Beach. Take advantage of the spacious gathering zones

Lake Perch

Sleeps: 12, Bedrooms: 5, Bathrooms: 5

Bringing together family with kids at a variety of different ages? You won’t find a better suited Lake Michigan vacation rental than Lake Perch. This home boasts a spacious lakefront yard, basketball hoop, tire swing and ping pong table. Adults will appreciate the cozy spaces to kick back both indoors and out, and everyone will enjoy the large private beach with direct access.

Lazy Chase

Sleeps: 12, Bedrooms: 5, Bathrooms: 5

Bright Lazy Chase is the perfect home base for a family gathering. Located in a quiet, wooded Douglas cul-de-sac, it’s a peaceful retreat that’s conveniently close to area attractions. Updated and tastefully decorated, the whole family will love this cozy home.

Where to bike in Saugatuck

where to bike in saugatuck

Exploring on bike is an entirely unique way to experience a place. Whereas a road trip is often much more about the destination, a bike ride is all about the journey. You see your surroundings in a much more intimate way. It’s easy to just pick a stop and explore as you go, and you get to enjoy the fresh air. There are a number of different ways to experience Saugatuck on bike. Here’s where to bike in Saugatuck.

Where to bike in Saugatuck

Rent a bike in Saugatuck

Enjoying Saugatuck/Douglas on bike doesn’t mean you have to haul your bicycles with you from home. There are a couple of spots you can rent bikes right in town, putting you in the center of the action.

Just Add Water

Just Add Water

Located right on Center Street in Douglas, Just Add Water is a great spot to pick up a couple of bikes. Choose to ride out to Lakeshore Drive for unbeatable bluff-top views, or head into town to explore the shops. Try a Madsen bike (see picture), featuring a large rear bucket with seats and seatbelts for up to four small children. Or take the seats out and carry your gear or your dog!

Big Lake Outfitters

This shop is located on Water Street in downtown Saugatuck and is another great option for bike rentals.

Leisurely road biking

If you’re looking for a low-intensity, leisurely road biking experience in Saugatuck/Douglas, here’s what we recommend.

Shore Acres/Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Downtown Saugatuck/Douglas

One of the best ways to explore the quaint streets of Saugatuck/Douglas is on bike. See the sights, stop in the shops that catch your eye, and enjoy the fresh air as you cruise through town.

Blue Star Trail

This growing paved trail takes you for a ride along the Blue Star Highway. It’s a great stretch of trail for a casual ride along our iconic highway.

Mountain biking

For those looking for a more challenging and fast-paced approach, try these trails.

Kal Haven Trail. Image: Chris McGuire Photography

Shore Acres

This park is located right next to Saugatuck Dunes State Park and Felt Mansion. It’s a forested environment with plenty of challenging features that will make for an exciting mountain bike ride.

Long ride

Work on your endurance and explore the surrounding area when you choose one of these longer pathways that are commonly used among bicyclists in the area.

Beeline Trail

This is the fastest bicycle route between Saugatuck and Holland, and it’s a scenic one at that. Clocking in at around 24 miles round trip, it’s also a good workout.

Kal Haven Trail State Park

Drive just 20 minutes south of Saugatuck to find the Kal Haven Trail, which connects South Haven and Kalamazoo, Michigan. The crushed limestone path is 34 miles long and guides you through wooded areas, past farm lands, and over rivers and streams.

Look for these spring wildflowers in West Michigan parks!

spring wildflowers in west michigan

As the snow melts (and it will melt again, we promise), bright little pops of color will start to push through the leaf litter, stretching toward the sky. These wildflowers will bloom as long as the budding trees above them allow enough sunlight to touch the ground. When the canopy closes, they’ll disappear, giving way to other shade-loving flora. But before they do, you can catch glimpses of spring wildflowers in West Michigan parks.

The Land Conservancy of West Michigan has put together wildflower guide to help you find spring and summer wildflowers in their preserves and partnering parks. Page through the guide to find beautiful photographs, detailed descriptions, months in bloom, and the locations and ecosystems in which you can find spring and summer wildflowers in West Michigan.

Some spring wildflowers start popping up in West Michigan as early as late February. Here are a few you might be able to find in March and April in Saugatuck’s forested parks.

3 spring wildflowers to find in Saugatuck


This wildflower is famous in Michigan–known to many as one you absolutely should not pick. Though you can find them in abundance, they are a protected wildflower in the state of Michigan and are therefore illegal to pick or transplant. Their brilliant white petals can fill a forest floor, turning pink as they age and wilt.

Wild Geranium

The purple-blue petals of the wild geranium appear to glow against the green forest growth. Their stalks grow to between one and two feet tall. Find colonies of this flower in shade or partial sunlight starting in April.

Yellow Trout Lily

The Yellow Trout Lily is so called because of the similarity the brown mottled pattern of its leaves bears to the fish. The bright yellow petals of its drooping flowers curve upward. It depends on an open forest canopy that allows in lots of sun, and it can be found in West Michigan as early as March.

Download the Land Conservancy of West Michigan’s guide for more wildflowers to find in the area throughout the season!

The best Lake Michigan waterfront pet friendly vacation rentals

Lake Michigan waterfront pet friendly vacation rentals

For the dog owners among us, a family vacation just isn’t complete if the pup can’t come too. One of the best ways to make the most of a Saugatuck summer vacation is to stay right on a Lake Michigan beach, but finding the perfect Lake Michigan waterfront pet friendly vacation rentals can be a challenge. We’re here to help.

We’ve pulled together 4 great Lake Michigan waterfront pet friendly vacation rentals. There’s something here for every kind of group, from cozy lakeside cottages to spacious, historic homes overlooking the bluff. Find the waterfront pet friendly vacation rental that best fits your vacation.

3 great Lake Michigan waterfront pet friendly vacation rentals

Beach Cottage

Sleeps: 8, Bedrooms: 3, Bathrooms: 2

This classic Lake Michigan cottage is a perfect spot for a family vacation. Tucked away in a wooded enclosure, this home feels very private. Cook out on the grill in the shady front yard and enjoy views of the lake while you picnic. Descend stairs down the bluff to reach this pet friendly vacation rental’s private beach.



6 best vacation rentals near Oval Beach

vacation rentals near oval beach

You don’t have to travel to Miami or Malibu for an amazing beach experience. You can find exactly what you’re looking for right here on the great Lake Michigan. Stay at one of the best vacation rentals near Oval Beach to see for yourself.

Saugatuck’s own world-renowned, award-winning Oval Beach draws beach bums from all corners. There’s a good reason why—its expansive, plush sandy shoreline is a beach-goer’s dream. With amenities like abundant parking, changing rooms, restrooms, built-in grills and a concession stand, it’s hard to have anything but a good time at Oval Beach.

And the fun isn’t restricted to summer—visit Oval Beach in fall or winter for scenic dune hikes around Mount Baldhead. Walking through dunes can get hot in summer, but it’s beautiful in fall and winter. Hike along the Oxbow Lagoon and the Kalamazoo River Channel, take in the diverse ecosystems near the Lake Michigan lakeshore, and get a chance to see the area’s unique wildlife.

Next time you come to Saugatuck, find a place to stay that puts you close to the beautiful Oval Beach.

Lakeshore Lodging vacation rentals near Oval Beach

Finding a great place to stay in Saugatuck is easy when you search with Lakeshore Lodging. Our inventory of properties has something suited to every vacation–and that includes a variety of vacation rentals near Oval Beach.

Vacation rentals within 5-minute drive to Oval Beach

Pack up the car and get thee to the beach! You’ll get there in no time when you choose to stay at one of these homes. There’s plenty of available parking at Oval Beach for a daily fee of $10.

Singapore Harbor #326

Sleeps: 6, Bedrooms: 3, Bathrooms: 2

Luxury condo overlooking Saugatuck harbor. Includes access to association pool.

Ferry’s Landing

Sleeps: 10, Bedrooms: 5, Bathrooms: 5

Modern farmhouse-inspired five-bedroom house centrally located near the beach and local businesses.

Home Away

Sleeps: 4, Bedrooms: 2, Bathrooms: 1

Quaint two-bedroom condo located right across the street from Just Add Water, where you can rent bikes and beach equipment.  

By the Beach

Sleeps: 8, Bedrooms: 4, Bathrooms: 2

This classic Lake Michigan cottage is just a short walk from Douglas Beach, but it’s also within a 5-minute drive of Oval Beach.

Vacation rentals within walking or biking distance to Oval Beach

Stay in downtown Saugatuck near the Saugatuck Chain Ferry, and Oval Beach is just a short walk (or bike!) and ferry ride away. Parking at Oval Beach can fill up fast, and you can avoid the $10 fee when you choose to walk. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from these homes to the beach, and the walk down Perryman Road isn’t very pedestrian friendly, so practice caution when you choose this route. You might also consider choosing the Interurban as your mode of transport from these vacation rentals near Oval Beach.

Saugatuck Townhome 7

Sleeps: 6, Bedrooms: 3, Bathrooms: 3.5

Upscale, European-style townhome with partial views of the Kalamazoo River.

Cozy Hideaway

Sleeps: 6, Bedrooms: 2, Bathrooms: 1.5

Quaint two-bedroom cottage with a tranquil backyard.

I Love Lucy

Sleeps: 6, Bedrooms: 3, Bathrooms: 2.5

Cute home right in downtown Saugatuck with great patio space.

There’s more to discover about beach bumming in Saugatuck

Want to know more about Oval Beach and other great beaches in the area? Sign up to receive Lakeshore Lodging’s exclusive Lake Michigan Beach Guide.