Saugatuck’s Top 9 Reasons to Make the Drive

Saugatuck’s Top 9 Reasons to Make the Drive

By Michael Dwyer

Oval Beach - Photo by Michael Dwyer

Oval Beach

1. Award winning Oval Beach continues to be a hot attraction for visitors. People come to sunbathe, swim and build sand castles. Packed full of families having fun, the beach is open year-round to enjoy the sand dunes, waves or sunsets.

2. Since 1913 the Saugatuck Drug and Soda Fountain has refreshed everyone who walks through the door. Old-fashioned malts or sodas cool down the child of any age. Do you need a kite, beach ball or new flip-flops? They have it, along with funny t-shirts, snacks and toys.

Saugatuck's Duck Boat Tours - Photo by Michael Dwyer

Saugatuck’s Duck Boat Tours

3. Take a Duck Boat Tour. It’s a great way to get an overview of the entire area – by land and water – do it early in your visit. 31 feet long, 20 people, and one entertaining driver make this WWII amphibious vessel a splash with first timers to the area.

4. The Chain Ferry provides a unique way to cross the Kalamazoo River. This small ferryboat is tethered to both sides by chain. Human-powered by hand-crank makes the ride memorable. Only $1 each way per adult (50 cents for kids) and bikes, pets and infants are free.

Saugatuck's Chain Ferryboat - Photo by Michael Dwyer

Saugatuck’s Chain Ferryboat

5. A town without commercial stores – it’s true – Saugatuck has only one-of-a-kind, independent small businesses. Clothing stores, art galleries and specialty food stores are around every corner of this easy walking town.

6. Food and drink are plentiful as well. Unique dinning places, wineries, a brewery and even a cider mill will give visitors more than enough to keep them going all day and night.

7. Lake Michigan Sunsets are wonderful. Grab the kids or your spouse or both, and go listen for the sun to sizzle its way into the great lake.

8. The high population of Bed and Breakfast accommodations is amazing. So many to choose from, and all a bit different; check the Saugatuck Website for all the details.

9. Nearby Douglass is part of the same community. It’s an add-on to what makes Saugatuck a huge success for Michigan.

Michael Dwyer is a freelance writer and travel columnist. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at [email protected]

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at [email protected].


  1. kate casey says

    Thank you for the lovely article about Saugatuck and Douglas. If I may add one more thing The area from oval beach to the inlet Is 173 acres that was bought by the state of Michigan And was given to Saugatuck to manage, It will remain at Natural Area With no development.
    We all feel blessed to be able to live and work in this area it is as wonderful as you can imagine!

  2. Here is a helpful list of parking suggestions from the Saugatuck/Douglas Business Association:
    1. City of Saugatuck parking lot on Culver Street between Scooters and Saugatuck Center for the Arts. Free week days and $5 weekends (Memorial Day thru Labor Day) and holidays.
    2. Weekends and holiday, Chemical Bank parking lot on the corner of Mason and Griffith. Free week days and $5 weekends (Memorial Day thru Labor Day) and holidays.
    3. Saugatuck Center for the Arts on Culver Street – check sandwich board for daily availability.
    4. Dykstra Funeral home on Culver Street – free parking on Saturday, Sunday and holidays unless needed for funeral (will be posted).
    5. Small parking lot on north side of Dockside Market Place.
    6. FREE shuttle service. Parking at Saugatuck High School parking lot on Elizabeth Street with stops downtown at the chain ferry and information booth. Begins the weekend of June 29th and runs thru Labor Day weekend. Runs on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Operates longer on 4th of July, and Venetian Festival Saturday. Also operates on Sidewalk Sale, August 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    7. Park at the high school and walk 3 short blocks to the downtown area.
    FREE shuttle service is provided by Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Groovy Paws, Pink Patio, Pumpernickel’s, Saugatuck Tea Party Café, and Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises for your convenience.

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