Michigan’s Lake Michigan shoreline is dotted with charming towns that offer a blend of natural beauty, local culture, and recreational activities.

Among these, New Buffalo, South Haven, and Grand Haven stand out as must-visit destinations for travelers looking to experience the essence of the Great Lakes region.

Here’s what makes each of these towns unique and what you can do there.

New Buffalo, Michigan

Located at the mouth of the Galien River, New Buffalo is the gateway to Michigan’s Harbor Country. This quaint town is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant marina, and friendly atmosphere.

New Buffalo Beach:

Spend a day lounging on the sandy shores or swimming in the clear waters of Lake Michigan. The beach also has a dune walk with scenic views of the lake.

Galien River County Park:

Explore the wetlands and wildlife through the park’s elevated walkways and lookout tower. Kayaking along the Galien River offers a serene experience.

Downtown New Buffalo:

The town’s center is home to a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants. Don’t miss the local farmers market for fresh produce and artisan goods.

South Haven, Michigan

South Haven is a harbor town known for its historic lighthouse, vibrant arts scene, and its role as a center for agricultural tourism within the state.

South Beach and North Beach:

These beaches are perfect for a day under the sun, offering volleyball courts, playgrounds, and picnic areas. The South Haven Lighthouse on South Beach provides a picturesque backdrop.

Michigan Maritime Museum:

Learn about the maritime history of the Great Lakes, including historic boat rides on the Friends Good Will sloop.

Blueberry Festival:

If you’re visiting in August, the National Blueberry Festival celebrates South Haven’s rich agricultural heritage with blueberry picking, parades, and culinary events.

Grand Haven, Michigan

Grand Haven is known for its stunning waterfront, iconic lighthouse and pier, and the world-renowned Musical Fountain. This lively community offers something for everyone, from beach enthusiasts to history buffs.

Grand Haven State Park:

The park’s sandy beach is ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and beach volleyball, with the Grand Haven Pier and Lighthouse offering a scenic walk.

Musical Fountain:

Enjoy nightly shows during the summer months. This synchronized water and light show, set to music, is one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Downtown Grand Haven:

The heart of the city is filled with unique shops, galleries, and eateries. The boardwalk along the Grand River is perfect for a leisurely stroll, leading to the pier and lighthouse.

Tips for Travelers


Each town offers a range of lodging options, from cozy bed and breakfasts to lakeside rentals. Book in advance during peak summer months.

Seasonal Activities:

While summer is peak season for beachgoers, fall brings beautiful foliage, and winter offers cross-country skiing and ice skating opportunities.

Local Eats:

The region’s agricultural bounty is reflected in its cuisine. Enjoy fresh seafood, farm-to-table dishes, and, of course, Michigan’s famous cherries and blueberries.


New Buffalo, South Haven, and Grand Haven each offer a slice of Michigan’s Lake Michigan shoreline at its best.

Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or cultural experiences, these towns provide a perfect backdrop for a memorable getaway. So pack your bags, and set off to explore the charms of these Michigan gems.