Spend New Year’s Eve in Saugatuck, Michigan

After a Christmas holiday spent with family, a New Year’s Eve celebration can be the perfect time to let loose and have a good time with friends. Spend New Year’s Eve in Saugatuck, Michigan and you’ll find great places to eat, drink and party–without the overwhelming crowds. Plus, after you’ve sufficiently rung in 2019, you can get a free ride home from the Interurban.

Visit Saugatuck for New Year’s Eve to take part in the fun activities. Get a Lakeshore Lodging vacation rental to return to when the night is over. Here’s what’s going on in town.

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve in Saugatuck, Michigan?

New Year’s Eve Dinner at The Kirby

A special 5-course dinner is on the menu at J. Paul’s at The Kirby for New Year’s Eve. $70 per person includes a delicious 5-course meal and a bubbly toast. Reservations are required.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display

Count down to midnight with the rest of town and celebrate 2019 with a gorgeous display of fireworks. Catch them in downtown Saugatuck when the clock strikes 12.

New Year’s Eve Celebration at The Dunes

Play bingo and celebrate the New Year well into the night at The Dunes Hotel & Resort.

Free rides from the Interurban

Don’t worry about driving to and from your Saugatuck/Douglas celebration destinations. From 6pm-2am, the Interurban will be offering free rides around town, so you can count on getting from A to B safe and sound.

Find your NYE home base

Saugatuck Townhome 7

Sleeps: 6, Bedrooms: 3, Bathrooms: 3.5

Located right downtown, this charming townhome is perfect for a New Year’s stay. Entertain your guests on the spacious main floor, and watch the fireworks from the living room balcony.

Roan and Black

Sleeps: 4, Bedrooms: 2, Bathrooms: 2

This stylish loft is perched above a contemporary art gallery. It’s a perfect spot to ring in the new year with the one you love.

Hoopdee Scootee Suite

Sleeps: 4, Bedrooms: 1, Bathrooms: 1.5

This centrally located apartment puts you in walking distance of the holiday festivities. It’ll be a cozy place to return to after a night celebrating 2019.

El Sueño Americano: Images of the confiscated possessions of migrants seeking the American dream

el sueno americano

This October, Saugatuck Center for the Arts will host an exhibition of thought-provoking photographs titled “El Sueño Americano”—or “The American Dream”—by photographer Tom Kiefer.  You can attend the exhibition’s opening reception on October 25, 2018. The images will remain on view through December 22, 2018. Learn all about the exhibition below.

El Sueno Americano
El Sueno Americano
El Sueno Americano
Images: Tom Kiefer

Tom Kiefer’s “El Sueño Americano” comes to Saugatuck Center for the Arts

Separating an object from its context can obscure its meaning, eliminating any sense of certainty you might have had about it. In its place sprout questions like “Whose was this?” and “How was this used?” and “What is it doing here?” The decontextualized object takes on a life of its own, becoming a kind of ghost of its former owner, replete with mystery.

This is the feeling Tom Kiefer’s series of more than 100 photographs titled “El Sueño Americano” inspires. The photos will be on view at Saugatuck Center for the Arts from October 25-December 22, 2018 in what will be Kiefer’s first major solo exhibition.

“I saw Tom’s work at Art Prize last year,” said Whitney Valentine, the education and exhibitions manager at Saugatuck Center for the Arts. “With our Growing Young Artists program still at the forefront of my mind, I was incredibly moved by his images and knew that our West Michigan community would benefit greatly from seeing his works.”

She reached out to Kiefer and secured this October’s exhibition featuring new work. In the time that has passed since, the exhibition has received a flurry of national attention.

“While the aesthetics of the images alone are striking, the work reminds us of the game-changer that is context. The stories behind these objects, especially the mysteries, are what give the work its real power,” Valentine said.

The extraordinary ordinary

The objects within Kiefer’s photographs once belonged to migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. When Border Patrol officials apprehend undocumented migrants, they confiscate “nonessential” possessions and discard them. Kiefer worked as a janitor for a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol facility in Arizona for 12 years, and it was during this time that he began collecting these items from the trash. At first, he sought packaged food to donate to a local food pantry. But the more he dug, the more items he discovered, and the more questions he had. He began to collect and photograph the objects, and “El Sueño Americano” was born.

“Tom’s images remind us how extraordinary ordinary items can be,” Valentine said.

Stuffed animals soiled in the spots where children once held them. Plastic water jugs insulated by torn clothing. Toothbrushes, shoelaces, and rosaries—all labeled “potentially lethal” by Border Patrol. These are the objects in Kiefer’s bright photos.

The images’ effect on viewers can be destabilizing. Curator Tori Pelz said the exhibition reminds her of a variously attributed quote on the role of art, which is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

“I think the best art wakes us, calls us to attention, and offers a new perspective on the familiar,” Pelz said. “Tom’s photos possess both a commanding visual presence and a powerful human message.”

Immigration is a divisive political topic. Tom’s work, Valentine said, brings a necessary element of humanity back into the discussion.

“The photographs of the migrant’s personal objects remind us that at the heart of this issue is people—children who treasure their teddy bears, people trying to feed themselves and their families, and those who can’t imagine taking a trip without brushing their teeth,” Valentine said.

Experience “El Sueño Americano” and meet the artist

October 25 marks the exhibition’s opening. It kicks off with “Tacos, Tequila, and Tom”—a themed party featuring the alliterative trio in its title. One $15 VIP ticket gets you two tacos, a tequila-based cocktail (or another drink of your choice), and a guided tour of the exhibition with Kiefer and Pelz. This portion of the opening reception takes place from 5-6 p.m. If you are unable to make it at that time, you can still enjoy tacos, cocktails, and mingling with the artist during the public portion of the reception from 6:30-8 p.m.

“This is Tom’s first major solo exhibition, but since we’ve announced it, he’s received a dizzying amount of national press, and this exhibition is now booked for the next two years,” Pelz said. “In short, he’s kind of a big deal. And he’s eager to speak to what this work means to him, personally.”

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.

Recharge and reset: Get ready for summer with a wellness vacation in Saugatuck

wellness vacation in saugatuck

It can be hard to make time for wellness when you’re wrapped up in the hustle of work and life. Add to that the bummer winter weather that makes everything look and feel gray, chances are your workout routine hasn’t been your top priority.

No judgment here. But now that our little part of the planet is tilting closer to the sun and summer’s approaching, there’s never been a better time to energize with some exercise. Devote some time to taking care of your body with a wellness vacation in Saugatuck. In addition to gorgeous outdoor areas to hike and explore, Saugatuck offers a variety of great gyms, yoga studios, and spas where you can give your health the attention it deserves. Here’s where we recommend you go:

Where to exercise on your wellness vacation in Saugatuck

Stretch your muscles and wake up your body with some energizing exercise. Take advantage of Saugatuck’s local gyms and yoga studios.

Encompass Wellness

Encompass Wellness offers a suite of great classes to shake up your workout routine. Tired of the same old cardio? Try cardio drumming or Piyo. A class at Encompass Wellness will remind you that exercise is fun. Find out how you can get a deal on two Encompass Wellness classes when you stay with Lakeshore Lodging in April.

Satya Yoga

A regular yoga practice can be a stabilizing force when life gets hectic. Kick start your yoga journey on your wellness vacation in Saugatuck. Find tranquility, balance, and breath with a class at Satya Yoga.

Blue Star Gym

Blue Star Gym offers both fitness classes and a modern training facility. It’s a great option for the gym rat, with all the equipment you need to make sure you don’t miss leg day. 

Where to pamper yourself on your wellness vacation in Saugatuck

Relax and refresh with a trip to one of Saugatuck’s spas.

Bella Vita Spa and Suites

Soothe your aching muscles with a massage at Bella Vita Spa and Suites in downtown Saugatuck, or tend to your skin care needs with a facial.

Redefine Medspa

Redefine Medspa in Douglas offers a suite of massage and facial options. Refresh your look with their waxing and injectable services, too.

Waterfront Day Spa

This spring, Waterfront Day Spa will offer spa packages that include a massage, facial, body scrub & wraps. Pre-book yours today to ensure you take advantage of this holistic self care opportunity!

Joli’ of Saugatuck

Visit Joli’ of Saugatuck for a rose quartz facial or get a skin care consult to get on the road to looking fresh for summer 2018.

How to master vacation rental cooking

vacation rental cooking

Cooking for friends and family is a joy. Good food is a force of connection, and the conversations had over preparing and eating meals become some of the most memorable. For many, vacation often means eating at a lot of restaurants. But when you stay in a vacation rental with a gorgeous kitchen, you can bring those good meal making feelings with you. Vacation rental cooking requires a little planning, but it can be remarkably rewarding.

We’ve got some tips that will help you make the most out of your vacation rental cooking experience.

Vacation rental cooking tips and tricks

vacation rental cookingPack the essentials

Vacation rental kitchens often have a basic selection of tools and equipment, but if you have some holy grail tools you can’t live without, pack them! And if you have a favorite seasoning or condiment that you aren’t sure you’ll be able to find at your destination, make sure you bring it along. Plan on purchasing fresh ingredients when you arrive.

When you arrive: Take stock of your rental’s offerings

Before you go grocery shopping, explore your vacation rental’s cupboards. Find out what seasonings, condiments, and tools are at the ready. Plan your meals around what you have, and make a list of what you’ll need. This way you can avoid purchasing a surplus of groceries, and your menu is kind of shaped by the space you’re spending vacation in.

vacation rental cookingKeep it simple

When it comes to vacation rental cooking, simplicity is key. You’re on vacation—don’t stress over a complex meal! Plan on using fewer ingredients so grocery shopping is quick and easy. You want to avoid ending up with too many leftover, unused groceries. And plan meals that don’t require a lot of tools. You won’t want to be bogged down with a lot of dishes to clean up.

Plan ahead

Plan all of the meals you’re going to make during your stay in advance so you can limit the amount of time spent in a grocery store. When it’s time to shop, get the essentials at a local supermarket or take advantage of a grocery delivery service like Shipt (now available in both Saugatuck and Douglas!).

vacation rental cookingWelcome serendipity

Add local flare to your meals with things you find in your travels. Visit the local farmers market, buy supplies for your own artisanal cheese platter at a local shop, and forage for herbs in the wild or in your vacation rental’s garden. Spend the day at a U-Pick orchard and make a dessert from what you gathered. These are the kind of things that will make your meals unique to your vacation and totally unforgettable.

Enjoy the process

Cooking is fun. Take your time when you’re putting together your meals and relish in the process. Get everyone involved by assigning different people to chop vegetables, cut bread, or prepare appetizers. Make an event out of cooking your meals, and you’ll make loads of delicious memories while you’re at it.

What to do next time in Saugatuck

what to do next time in saugatuck

There are a few things that everyone does their first time in Saugatuck–and for good reason. Favorite activities like the Dune Rides are quintessential Saugatuck experiences that are perennially popular because they’re good, and they make for great traditions. But for your next time in Saugatuck, we invite you to consider shaking things up.

To help spice up your next visit to Saugatuck, we’ve compiled a list of activities, places, and restaurants that’ll show you just how multifaceted this town is.

What to do next time in Saugatuck

Fun for Friends and Family

If you liked the Dune Rides . . . try Harbor Duck Adventures

The Saugatuck Dune Rides are always one of the first things families do together when they visit Saugatuck. Next time, instead of getting a dose of history and scenery on the sand, try a tour on an amphibious vehicle with Harbor Duck Adventures. You’ll get even more area history, and a chance to ride on an antique, WWII-era vehicle.

retro boat rentals next time in saugatuckIf you liked the Star of Saugatuck . . . try Retro Boat Rentals

The Star of Saugatuck II is a classic way to enjoy Saugatuck’s waterways. First-time visitors often ride aboard the over-100-year-old sternwheeler to see the sights and learn about the area’s history. If you enjoyed that, next time try renting your own slightly-less-retro boat with Retro Boat Rentals. Select from a fleet of jet-age (‘50s-’60s era) runabout boats to explore the Kalamazoo River, or even make your way out to Lake Michigan.

If you liked touring art galleries . . . try making your own art at Express Yourself Art Barn

The Art Coast is filled with opportunities to view and purchase art, but maybe lesser known are opportunities to create art. Express Yourself Art Barn is a great spot for groups and families to put that artistic license to work.

saugatuck dunes state park next time in saugatuck

If you liked hiking Mount Baldhead . . . try the trails at Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Beloved Mount Baldhead is a popular place to get some exercise and catch a bird’s-eye view of the area. If you want to explore even more of the nature Saugatuck has to offer, you have to check out Saugatuck Dunes State Park. This park offers miles and miles of winding trails and access to some beautiful stretches of beach–some of which tend to be less crowded in the summer.

Beach Bumming

If you liked Oval Beach . . . try West Side County Park

Oval Beach is world-famous for its quality. Its wide stretch of soft sands means it can host lots of visitors, and the added bonus of changing rooms and a concession stand sweetens the deal. If you liked Oval Beach, but want to avoid the crowds this time around, try West Side County Park. Located just a 12-minute drive south of downtown Saugatuck, West Side County Park features a playground, a gazebo overlooking the bluff, and a wheelchair accessible ramp down to the beach.

just add water next time in saugatuckIf you liked swimming and sunbathing . . . try renting a SUP board at Just Add Water

Taking a dip in Lake Michigan is always refreshing and fun, but you can take playing in the water to the next level with a beach rental from Just Add Water. Try paddle boarding along the shore. Or just take your beach bumming to the next level with an umbrella or beach chair rental.

Wining and Dining

If you liked a wine tour . . . try a cider mill tour

The Saugatuck area features some great wineries, and wine tours are an exceedingly popular way to get a taste of the local culture. But wine isn’t all Saugatuck has to offer! Next time you visit, try touring Virtue Cider’s farm and learn all about the cider-making process.

If you liked Phil’s Bar and Grille . . . try Hercules Bar and Grill

Phil’s Bar and Grille is a favorite first stop when you first explore Saugatuck’s culinary scene. It’s a great example of the area’s delicious offerings. If you liked that, next time try Hercules! If you like steaks, seafood and chops, you’ll like Hercules. Be sure to try their delicious housemade cocktails, too.


If you liked Wally’s Bar & Grill . . . try The Corner Bar

Wally’s is a super popular spot to enjoy drinks with friends and see favorite local music acts. If you enjoyed that your last time here, next time, try The Corner Bar. A local favorite, it’s another great spot to grab a drink and catch entertainment.

What is There to Discover at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts?

saugatuck center for the arts

When it comes to art, the people of Saugatuck know a thing or two. After all, Saugatuck-Douglas is the “Art Coast of Michigan,” and you don’t have to walk far at all before you find one of the town’s many art galleries. The Saugatuck Center for the Arts is the best place in town to experience everything art-related, from theatre to music to painting exhibits. If you want to put a finger on the pulse of Saugatuck’s thriving art community, then a trip to the Saugatuck Center for the Arts is in order. Here’s what you’ll discover!

Be sure to check out our recommendations for things to do in the Saugatuck area! With our suggestions in hand, you’ll find the very best Saugatuck experience while you’re here. At Lakeshore Lodging, we’re your Saugatuck vacation resource.

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts


The Center is home to excellent theatre and music performances! From July 21 to August 6 “Fully Committed” is on stage. Then, from August 18 to September 3, “It Shoulda Been You” is sure to draw an audience. On October 14, “An Evening With Paula Cole” will entice your ears. Then, on November 5, familiar face, Jeff Daniels with the Ben Daniels Band are a musical treat. A full list of shows and concerts can be found on the center’s website.


It’s not all about the performing arts here! Art exhibitions of varying disciplines are on display at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. A wide variety of mediums and methods make the Saugatuck Center for the Arts an ideal spot for vacationers to get to know the soul of Saugatuck.

Education and Events

In addition to exhibits and live performances, the Center also hosts exciting events! Whether it’s the Creativity Revealed events, or the educational Toddler Tuesday (featuring painting, yoga, and snacks), there’s an event here for everyone. The center also hosts theatre camps,

Every Friday from late May until September 29, the Center will host a Farmers Market! Don’t miss out on the best local produce, goods, and more. The Farmers Market will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine.


The Saugatuck Center for the Arts is located at 400 Culver Street, Saugatuck, MI 49453. The Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Saugatuck’s Source for the Best Lake Michigan Vacation Homes

What draws so many people to Saugatuck? Try beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, an inviting community, and an abundance of local dining. That’s not all, but it should be enough to grab your attention. If you’re planning on visiting one of Michigan’s most popular vacation spots, then call Lakeshore Lodging. Throughout the Saugatuck-Douglas area, we offer the best Lake Michigan vacation homes you’ll find, no matter how big or small of a house you seek. Full of great amenities and located conveniently close to the best things to do in Saugatuck, a Lakeshore Lodging vacation home is the way to experience Michigan’s Art Coast. Contact us today to start planning your Lake Michigan vacation.

Taste the Best of Saugatuck at Savor the Art Coast

saugatuck shopping

Western Michigan’s Art Coast is brimming with delicious food and a burgeoning restaurant scene. So, it’s not uncommon that some festival celebrating the craft of cooking, and some might argue eating, is underway during your Saugatuck stay. But, for all the great festivals and events that call Saugatuck home, only one is as all-encompassing as the Savor the Art Coast food festival. Here, restaurants, wineries, breweries, and artisans come together to offer festival-goers samples of their favorite and most popular dishes. Top it all off with live, local music and dancing, and

Naturally, when you’re on vacation in Saugatuck, you will want to try as much of the local cuisine as possible. That’s part of what makes a trip during Savor the Art Coast so ideal: you get to try whatever restaurant you want while you’re there. In addition to great events like this, Saugatuck is home to many must-see attractions of which your friends at Lakeshore Lodging have put together a list. You’re going to love your time here in Saugatuck!

Savor the Art Coast Food and Fun You Should Plan On

Formerly known as the “Taste of Saugatuck,” Savor the Art Coast took on the new moniker a few years ago. And, it’s all the same great food and fun you’d expect! Whether you’re searching for the quintessential Saugatuck dish or wanting to try as much as you can while you’re there, Savor the Art Coast is an excellent opportunity for vacationers to feel like locals. The food festival is sponsored by the Saugatuck Visitors Bureau, as well as many of the restaurants, winemakers, and breweries you’ll find set up there. It’s truly a celebration worth attending if only for the love of food. Whether you consider yourself a foodie or not, you need to check out the festival while you’re here!

Who Will Be There?

Of course, every year, different restaurants, wineries, and breweries show up for folks to try their food. In fact, what makes the festival so great for the festival-goer is that restaurants are in competition for best dishes in different categories like savory dishes, best pairing, and more. If you love good food, then Savor the Art Coast is for you! In addition to great food, you’ll enjoy live music in the park, fun activities, great beer, and more. What’s not to love?

Other Important Information

When is it?

The last Sunday in August from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where is it?

Wicks Park in downtown Saugatuck.

How much does it cost?

Admission into the festival is free. Small plates from vendors vary.

The Perfect Vacation Activity

When you’re looking for local flavor while on vacation, events like Savor the Art Coast are a perfect idea! It and many other great things to do await you here in Saugatuck, MI. And, at Lakeshore Lodging, we want you to have the very best Saugatuck experience. That’s why we offer excellent lodging options to pair perfectly with your vacation here. So, browse our available properties and see for yourself how your trip to Saugatuck can be both comfortable and fun! Contact us today to book your Saugatuck stay!