Situated at the border between Michigan’s Van Buren and Allegan counties, South Haven is a lakeside town that offers great opportunities for family fun and getting back to nature. A vacation rental in South Haven puts you within walking distance of picturesque hiking trails, beaches, and sand dunes. Get up close and personal with Lake Michigan on a modern or historic sailboat, or spend a day letting the kids run wild at the local amusement park.

1. Hitch a Ride in a Horse-Drawn Carriage

Settle yourself in your vacation rental, then take a tour around South Haven the old-fashioned way. Black River Carriage Company offers horse-drawn carriage tours that follow the lake and river shores in South Haven, providing an ideal way to spend a peaceful morning while scouting out a spot on the beach for later.

2. Enjoy Excitement at Fideland Fun Park

Located in South Haven, Fideland Fun Park is a classic, all-American amusement park that offers hours of fun for energetic kids and adults alike. Race your family on the go-cart track, or hop in a bumper boat and start a mock high-seas battle with your kids or some new friends. If the weather is pleasant, enjoy the mini golf course and finish off with an outdoor picnic. On overcast or rainy days, head indoors to play in the video arcade.

3. Hike the Kal-Haven Trail

Strap on your hiking boots and strike out on the Kal-Haven trail, a lush woodland path that stretches between New Haven and the city of Kalamazoo. The full 34-mile trail is partially paved in crushed limestone gravel and passes through a deep forest as well as areas of farmland. Enjoy a small taste of the outdoor adventure lifestyle and hike partway down the trail, then head back into South Haven at your leisure.

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4. Sample Local Produce at McIntosh Apple Orchard

Enjoy the best fresh fruit that Michigan has to offer with a visit to South Haven’s McIntosh Apple Orchard. This local orchard and cider mill offers plenty of kid-friendly activities, including a farmer’s market. Arrive during the harvest season to pick your own fresh apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and more.

5. Visit the Michigan Maritime Museum

Fancy yourself a history buff? Be sure to visit the Michigan Maritime Museum to get a firsthand look at the maritime history and culture of South Haven and Michigan at large. This institution houses a range of exciting artifacts, including antique sailing equipment, photographs, and records. While at the museum, book a sailing excursion on the Friends Good Will, an authentic replica of a 19th-century schooner, to get a feel for what sailing was really like in the old days of Lake Michigan.

6. Catch Some Rays at North Beach

Located along Lakeshore Drive on the border of South Haven, North Beach is a stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline that offers an authentic oceanside beach feeling. Spend an active afternoon playing beach volleyball on one of the public courts or swimming in the shallow freshwater near the shore. Bring along a picnic lunch, or take a short walk inland to access the many restaurants and cafes along Lakeshore.

7. Get Back to Nature at Van Buren State Park

Within easy walking or driving distance from a vacation rental in South Haven, Van Buren State Park comprises a mile-long stretch of beach and sand dunes heading further inland. Spend a day at this park and take in the picturesque views of Lake Michigan. Let the kids run up and down the tall dunes, or, if the weather is nice, head to the water to spend the day swimming. Bring hiking boots or your mountain bike to take advantage of the woodland trails that run throughout the park.

8. Explore the Kids Corner Playground

On Monroe Boulevard in South Haven, Kids Corner is a beloved playground that’s fun for kids of all ages. Let your little ones run free and blow off some steam at this extensive wooden playground structure while you enjoy the views from its location within walking distance of the banks of Lake Michigan. Dense trees surrounding the playground offer plenty of protective shade, and covered picnic tables are perfect for taking a break and grabbing a snack when the kids get tired out.

9. Snap a Photo at the South Haven Lighthouse

The original South Haven Lighthouse was constructed in 1871 to illuminate the point where Lake Michigan feeds into the Black River. Walk out along the attached pier to view the current metal lighthouse, which replaced the wooden structure in 1903. At sunset and in the evening, the light creates a dramatic focal point that adds majesty to this vista of the lake. Snap a photo during the day and marvel at the bright red color of the lighthouse against the blue water backdrop. For an even more stunning view, book a South Haven vacation rental in the winter and visit the lighthouse while it’s partially encased in ice by the frozen lake.

10. Sail Lake Michigan

Book a sailing charter through Seasun Sailing Charters in the neighboring town of Saugatuck to experience Lake Michigan. A short drive from a vacation rental in South Haven, this company offers sailing day trips for groups and events of varying sizes. Schedule a small family outing and learn the basics of sailing from an experienced captain, and enjoy views of South Haven, Saugatuck, and the surrounding areas like you’ve never seen before.

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