Saugatuck, Michigan is a small harbor town with an artsy vibe. It’s filled with antique shops, art galleries, and cafes that add a nostalgic charm to the already quaint atmosphere. Surrounded by beautiful beaches and hiking trails, the cozy vacation rentals in Saugatuck are situated within driving distance to many of the town’s most popular attractions. Check out these 12 kid-friendly activities and points of interest in Saugatuck.

1. Browse the Antique Stores Nestled in Downtown Saugatuck

painted old bike
Source: Flickr/njenney

Give your kids some spending money, and spend an afternoon browsing the antique shops along Saugatuck’s main drag. While the smaller shops are interesting, you don‘t want to miss the Saugatuck Antique Pavilion, which boasts 48,000 square feet of space filled with antique and retro items. When you need to take a break from shopping, visit the Saugatuck Drug Store‘s old-fashioned soda fountain for an ice cream sundae or cone.

2. Visit Pier Cove Beach at Sunset

Source: Pixabay/prunkova

After a long day, take your family to Pier Cove Beach just before sunset to enjoy its picturesque views. Take a barefoot stroll along the edge of the beach, where you and your kids can dip your toes in the water as the sun sets over Lake Michigan. Bring your camera with you; this small beach isn‘t typically crowded in the evening, providing a great opportunity to snap some amazing pictures.

3. Take a Dune Ride

trees on the mountain
Source: Facebook/Saugatuck Dune Rides

Learn about Michigan’s most-famous ghost town — Singapore — during a 40-minute dune ride. The town succumbed to a massive fire in the late 1800s, and now, its ruins are buried beneath the sand dunes that line the shores of Lake Michigan. As your family rides through the sand dunes, listen to a guide discuss the area‘s history while admiring the local wildlife.

4. Go Sailing on Lake Michigan

Source: Pixabay/hermaion

Charter a boat from Sweetwater Sailing or rent a pontoon boat from Makin‘ Waves Boat Rental, and spend an amazing day on the water. Sail through the harbor of Saugatuck, out onto Lake Michigan, and take in the breathtaking views. Don‘t leave your fishing gear at your vacation rental. Cruising Lake Michigan on a sailboat or pontoon boat provides the perfect opportunity to catch a largemouth bass or walleye.

5. Kayak Down Kalamazoo River

Source: Pixabay/Survivor

Rent kayaks or standup paddleboards from Running Rivers to use throughout your trip. Simply store them at your vacation home when they aren‘t in use. No experience is necessary to go kayaking or paddleboarding, but the staff at Running Rivers provides basic instructions to ensure everyone in your group is comfortable before hitting the river. Let older children and teens navigate the waters from their own kayak or paddle boat, and put your littlest ones into a kayak with you for the duration of the ride.

6. Spend the Day at Tunnel Park

white sand at the tunnel
Source: Flickr/Kate Ter Haar

Even though the area is filled with sand dunes, Tunnel Park is the only spot where a tunnel goes through a dune completely. Let the kids play at the park‘s playground, which includes a dune climb and a lake for swimming. Then, make your way up the dune stairway to the picnic area to enjoy lunch and a breathtaking view. The park is also home to two sand volleyball courts, restrooms, and seasonal concessions.

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7. Go Swimming at Oval Beach

Source: Pixabay/PublicCo

Conde Nast Traveler named Oval Beach one of the top 25 beaches in the world, so it‘s definitely a spot Saugatuck vacationers must visit. The fresh water beach features a beautiful blue shoreline and plenty of amenities to please the kids. When the kids tire of swimming, let them play at the beach‘s playground or build sand castles before grabbing lunch at the on-site concessions stand. Rent a kayak for the afternoon, or spend the day searching for signs of wildlife along the shores.

8. Get Creative at Express Yourself Art Barn

inside the art barn
Source: Flickr/Express Yourself Art Barn

Visit Express Yourself Art Barn to let your kids create an age-appropriate work of art. A beautiful old barn houses this studio and gives visitors the chance to fuse glass, work with a pottery wheel, and paint ceramics. Whether you’re creating a piece of jewelry or a mosaic work of art, Express Yourself Art Barn has a project for each person in your family to enjoy.

9. Explore Fennville’s Forever Curious Children‘s Museum

Source: Pixabay/jarmoluk

If you have little kids or toddlers, take them to Forever Curious Children‘s Museum to let them explore the facility’s hands-on exhibits. The center has a variety of activities for little ones to enjoy, including a rock climbing wall and a pretend vet clinic.

10. Ride Hydrobikes Down Kalamazoo River

If your family is adventurous, head over to Saugatuck Hydrobikes, an outfitter that rents hydro bikes to visitors so they can take a bike ride right down the river. The hydro bikes have a platform, and they are practically impossible to tip, so everyone in your family stays stable and safe as they ride. Consider renting a tandem hydro bike if you have small children, as this bike has a unique platform that provides ample space for your little ones.

11. Travel Across Kalamazoo River on the Saugatuck Chain Ferry

people inside the ferry ride
Source: Flickr/Katherine Johnson

The Saugatuck Chain Ferry is the last hand-cranked ferry in the United States. It takes 200 cranks to pull the ferry across the water. The short trip across the river only takes about five minutes, but your kids will love watching this Victorian ferry in action.

12. Pick Fruit at Crane Orchards

Source: Pixabay/Couleur

Head over to Crane Orchards, where your family can spend the day picking in-season fruit. Pick peaches and cherries during your summer trip, or visit in the fall to pick apples and pumpkins. Take your bounty back to your vacation home so you have a regular supply of fresh fruit during your stay. The orchards also house a playground area for kids.

 
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