4 Reasons to visit Oval Beach in fall

oval beach in fall

Oval Beach is undoubtedly the most popular beach in Saugatuck, and it’s one of the most popular beaches on the Lake Michigan lakeshore. Its scenic sandy stretches led Condé Nast’s “Traveler” to name it one of the world’s best beaches. The famous beach is most frequented in summer, but it’s just as worthy of a visit in autumn. Here are 4 reasons to visit Oval Beach in fall.

4 Reasons to visit Oval Beach in fall

Park for free

After Labor Day, there is no parking fee at Oval Beach. In the early autumn days, the weather is still plenty nice to enjoy a swim in Lake Michigan or picnic with a view. Having cost-free access to this award-winning beach is a major perk of visiting in the fall.

Explore the dune trails

Oval Beach is connected to some beautiful hiking trails that are incredibly scenic in the fall season. Plus, the cooler temperatures make for a much more comfortable hike. Whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or even crisp enough for a few snowflakes, this is a hike you won’t want to miss. It’s a brilliant way to experience how fall changes the lakeshore.

Kayak and catch vibrant views

Kayaking along the Lake Michigan lakeshore is a great way to get views you can’t see on land. In fall, those views are bursting with color. If you go later in the day, the setting sun will set the lakeshore aglow. Morning, afternoon and evening, paddling on the lake is a great way to spend the day, and Oval Beach is a great, easy access point to put in your kayak.

Get cozy and watch the sunset

We’re on the sunset coast of Michigan here in Saugatuck, and that means every night the sun descends over Lake Michigan and creates astounding plays of light. In the cool fall, evenings are best spent wrapped in a warm blanket on Oval Beach watching the sunset. Bring a bottle of wine or a thermos full of hot cider or cocoa and enjoy each other’s company as day becomes night.


Explore Lake Michigan beaches in fall

lake michigan beaches in fall

Lake Michigan beaches are heavily frequented in summer. Diving in the clear blue water of the big lake is a great way to cool down in the sometimes oppressive summer heat. Here’s a secret: there are as many reasons to love Lake Michigan beaches in autumn as there are in summer. Here are a few ways to enjoy Lake Michigan beaches in fall.

Things to do on Lake Michigan beaches in fall

Take a swim

Seem crazy? Maybe. But Lake Michigan’s waters actually hold on to some warmth into the fall, making October swims feel not unlike June swims. Put on your suit and get thee to a beach–you’ll probably be the only ones there! Be prepared and check the beach forecast before you go.

Watch a sunset

Lake Michigan is picturesque at sundown at all times of year, but the golden hour just seems a little . . . golder in autumn. The warm light reflects off of the trees’ vibrant fall colors, making them appear to glow. Watch the sky turn beautiful shades of lavender, pink, and orange as the sun tucks itself into Lake Michigan.

Take a hike

There’s no better way to take in the fall colors than on a hike through the woods. Pick a park with Lake Michigan beach access, like Saugatuck Dunes State Park, to walk through miles of beautiful forest, inhale the fall smells, and land on a nearly empty beach. With nothing around but the brisk breeze, bristling leaves and crashing waves, inner peace is within reach.

Get on the water

Launch a kayak or stand-up paddle board on a Lake Michigan beach to see autumnal views of the shoreline, which comes even more to life dressed in red, yellow, and orange. For a slightly different but equally beautiful view, put your kayak in a river that feeds into the lake, like the Kalamazoo River, and explore the views along the way to Lake Michigan.

Afternoon in Saugatuck: What to do

After your restorative morning filled with yoga, breakfast, and taking it slow, you’ll have the energy you need to take on an afternoon of fun in the sun. Summer is the best time to take advantage of Saugatuck’s natural assets, from its beautiful parks to its sprawling sandy beaches. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find something fun to do in the afternoon in Saugatuck. Nature, culture, and the refreshing beauty of Lake Michigan await.

How to spend the afternoon in Saugatuck

afternoon in saugatuckExplore one of Saugatuck’s parks

While Saugatuck is known for its glorious beaches, its natural areas are just as beautiful. An afternoon hike in the shade of the forest trees is a delightful way to get in touch with the nature. Saugatuck Dunes State Park boasts miles and miles of trails, rare and endangered plant species to observe, and access to a beautiful stretch of beach. For a less intense hike or a picnic with a woodland view, visit River Bluff Park. Shore Acres Park offers a 23-hole disc golf course that could make for a fun, active day.

Rent equipment to explore streets and waterways

There’s no need to pack your car full of equipment when you come to visit Saugatuck. Gear for a fun day on the water can be rented from a number of locations in town. Rent bikes, paddle boards, and more at Just Add Water afternoon in saugatucklocated right in Douglas. For a relaxing kayaking trip on the Kalamazoo River, stop by Wades Bayou.

Make a day of art exploration

Saugatuck is affectionately nicknamed “The Art Coast” for its rich history as an artists’ retreat. As a result, there are no shortage of places to admire and purchase beautiful art. Explore the galleries in town or attend one of the many events and workshops hosted by Saugatuck Center for the Arts.

Grab lunch in town

After all that activity, you’re going to be hungry. You can’t go wrong with a sandwich or selection of salads from Farmhouse Deli. If you’re in the mood for a hearty burger and a beer, stop at Phil’s Bar & Grille. For a classy waterfront meal of seafood, visit the Mermaid.

afternoon in saugatuckVisit a U-Pick orchard

Michigan’s west coast is full of great orchards, and fruit picking can make for a great day of sunshine and exploration. Visit Crane’s U-Pick for a seasonal selection of fruits. Or check out this comprehensive list of pick-your-own fruit orchards in the area to find your fruit of choice.


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.


3 Reasons Why You Need to Visit Mount Baldhead

mount baldhead

When you think Lake Michigan, the first things that come to mind are typically water, the beach, fishing, boating, and other beach-related activities. But, did you know that not far from the lake’s Oval Beach, there’s a spot when you can get an incredible view of the surrounding area? Climb to the top of Mount Baldhead, and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing overlook of Oval Beach, the town of Saugatuck, and more! Whether you’re looking for a short hike, an exercise challenge, or simply a place to enjoy nature, Mount Baldhead is for you. Here’s why you should visit!

For more great ideas for things to do while you’re in Saugatuck, be sure to check out our recommendations! At Lakeshore Lodging, we’re your resource for all things Saugatuck and the surrounding area. So, enjoy the best of our area on us!

3 Reasons Why You Need to Visit Mount Baldhead

1. The Views

Everyone loves a great view, especially when it’s as beautiful as the one at the top of Mount Baldhead! The picturesque scenery at the top allows you to see Saugatuck, the Kalamazoo River, and Lake Michigan, providing an unforgettable look at the area. Make sure you have your camera or smartphone handy because you’ll want to snap plenty of pictures! Take the 302 steps to the top from the harbor side, or descend the trail on the opposite side to Oval Beach.

2. The Mt. Baldhead Challenge

If you spend your free time strapped into a pair of running shoes, the Mt. Baldhead Challenge is for you. The 17th Annual Mt. Baldhead Challenge will take place this year on September 10, and the area’s most popular race! According to the race’s website, the 15K race begins in nearby Douglas, runs by the Lake Michigan shore, and eventually to the steps leading to the top of Mount Baldhead. The course goes by Oval Beach Park, and ultimately back to Douglas at Beery Field. You’ll break a sweat, but the views along the way will be well worth it. More details about this exciting race can be found on the Mt. Baldhead Challenge website.

3. A Great Location

Most scenic overlooks are out of the way – usually off of a highway out of town, or at the end of a long hike. Not Mount Baldhead! You won’t have to leave town to get here, because it’s in here Saugatuck. Enjoy the convenience of cooling off at Oval Beach after your hike, or simply taking your time and relaxing. There’s no rush!

Relax in Saugatuck When You Stay with Lakeshore Lodging

Vacationers flock to Saugatuck every year, and with good reason! An inviting, creative atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and plenty of great places to dine are just a few of the reasons why Saugatuck is one of the nation’s best places to vacation. The team at Lakeshore Lodging wants you to see what makes Saugatuck so special, and the best way to do that is with a stay in one of our Lake Michigan vacation homes. Our vacation rentals feature everything you need for a relaxing, worry-free vacation. Fully-furnished kitchens, hot tubs, and decks are just a few of the amenities our homes include! Plus, no matter where you stay, you’ll be only minutes from Saugatuck’s best attractions. Contact us today to start planning your Lake Michigan vacation today.

Here are 5 of the Best Beaches on Lake Michigan

best beaches on lake michigan

With scenic views,  gorgeous waters for fishing and boating, and miles of sandy beaches, Lake Michigan is the ideal spot for your next getaway. As perfect in the fall as they are in the summer, Lake Michigan beaches are a must visit at all times of year. Every great vacation by the water starts with the beach, and narrowing down the best beaches on Lake Michigan can be overwhelming. To make the decision process easier, we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the best Lake Michigan beaches.

5 of the Best Beaches on Lake Michigan

Oval Beach and Saugatuck Dunes State Park – Saugatuck, MI

Home to not one, but two, of the best beaches on Lake Michigan, Saugatuck is the place to be during summer in Michigan. Oval Beach encompasses everything that’s right about Michigan beaches – sunny, sandy shores, inviting waters, and some of the best in views of the lake. The clean sand and easy access are some of the visitors’ favorite features (according to TripAdvisor), and Oval Beach has received high praise from both Conde Nast Traveler and MTV in the past.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a beautiful beach, featuring enormous sand dunes waiting to be explored (via foot or dune ride), along with with access to 2.5 miles of beachfront! Visit in fall and experience this park in a whole new way.

Grand Haven State Park – Grand Haven, MI

This is one of the most popular Lake Michigan beaches, and with good reason. A frequenter of Lake Michigan “best of” lists, Grand Haven State Park covers nearly 50 acres of sand and sun. The Grand Haven lighthouse and pier are popular park attractions, where you can fish or explore more about this piece of Lake Michigan history.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Empire, MI

Previously named by Good Morning America as “The Most Beautiful Place in America,” Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is home to an abundance of natural beauty. From the relaxing beachfront, to the dunes and bluffs located on this 35-mile lakefront stretch, it won’t take long for you to see why it’s one of the best beaches on Lake Michigan. If you need a break from the beach, gear up for a hike on nearby North Manitou Island!

South Beach Park – South Haven, MI

South Beach Park isn’t lacking when it comes to family fun! Whether you’re enjoying a game of beach volleyball, visiting the South Haven Lighthouse (it’s been in operation since 1872!), or shredding the nearby skatepark, you and your family will have plenty to do. Of course, you can just go swimming – it’s a beach, after all, and an inviting one at that.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area – near Hart, MI

As beautiful as its name implies, the Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area is not only one of the best beaches on Lake Michigan’s, but a fascinating natural attraction! Rolling sand dunes that are perfect cruising in an off-road vehicle, paired with Lake Michigan and Silver Lake beachfront (the dunes border both lakes), make for a great time when you visit this 2,000-acre portion of Silver Lake State Park. Plus, the park offers a great dune hiking trail!