Eye on Michigan
Follow us on Twitter for Updates Follow us on Twitter for Updates
  Trails & Bike Routes   Parks & Beaches   City Guides   Free Wallpaper     Home
Saugatuck, Michigan Parks, Trails, Restaurants, Attractions & More

Saugatuck is an historic community that is known for its artistic roots and waterfront on the Kalamazoo River, Lake Kalamazoo, and Lake Michigan. Ox-Bow Summer School of Art was established on Ox-Bow Lagoon in 1910 and has attracted well-known artists to the area. After 100 years, the school is still an influential, inspirational place and is associated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Saugatuck and Douglas feature many art galleries that are open to the public.

Saugatuck City Parks

While the beautiful waterfront brings out the artistic side in many, the beaches and parks in the Saugatuck area are also a great place to play and relax.

Oval Beach is a summer haven for swimmers and sunbathers and offers a nice, large sandy swimming beach on Lake Michigan. The park has three parking lots and a picnic area near the center of the park. Oval Beach is at the base of rolling dunes that populate the area between the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan. Mt. Baldhead is the largest dune, and a hiking trail connects Oval Beach to Mt. Baldhead Park.

On the Kalamazoo River-side of Mt. Baldhead, a 282-step stairway climbs from the parking lot of Mt. Baldhead Park to the top of the dune, connecting to the trail from Oval Beach. The stairway provides a good workout when scaling the mountain, and you may want to use one of the benches along the stairway to rest before climbing the rest of the way. A picnic shelter is located near the parking lot at Mt. Baldhead Park, and there are steps to a dock on the Kalamazoo River. Nearby, the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Museum is an excellent museum with interesting exhibits about the area.

Downtown Saugatuck features some very nice parks on the shore of Lake Kalamazoo, including Cook Park and Coghlin Park. Cook Park is at the end of Butler Street and features a picnic area near the Singapore Yacht Club. A boardwalk winds along the park and is used for relaxing strolls. Coghlin Park has a large picnic shelter and a grassy area overlooking Lake Kalamazoo.

Wicks Park features a wooden bandstand and is adjacent to the Saugatuck Chain Ferry, which transports visitors across the Kalamazoo River.

Willow Park has a large observation deck on the edge of the Kalamazoo River and has benches for relaxing on a summer day.

Village Square Park is at the intersection of Butler Street and Main Street. The playground on the north side of the Main Street is very popular with kids during the summer. On the south corner, there is a beautifully landscaped park with sculptures, including a statue in honor of Burr Tillstrom, a famous puppeteer and distinguished citizen of Saugatuck. Across Butler Street, there is a basketball court, tennis court, and restrooms.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

North of Saugatuck at 138th Avenue, Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers over 2.5 miles of shoreline on Lake Michigan and several miles of hiking and cross-country skiing trails. The park has trails that wind through woods with large old-growth shade trees and over rolling terrain. The beach trail will take you to a sandy beach on Lake Michigan. It's a long walk (close to two miles one-way), so you'll probably want to hike there in decent shoes and not flip-flops. If you prefer a shorter walk to the beach, Oval Beach may be a better choice.

Boardwalk, Bike Route & Trails

Saugatuck's boardwalk curls along Lake Kalamazoo past Singapore Yacht Club, Cook Park and Sergeant Marina. The boardalk offers scenic views for casual strolls.

The Saugatuck-Holland Route is a combination of bike routes and paved trails that allows cyclists to travel between Holland and Saugatuck. A bike route along 138th Avenue connects to the route and goes west to Saugatuck Dunes State Park and the Felt Mansion.

Along Blue Star Highway, there's a paved path that passes the historic SS Keewatin Maritime Museum and the Lake Kalamazoo Lighthouse. The route has nice view of Lake Kalamazoo.

The South Ridge Trail at Mt. Baldhead Park passes over rolling dunes meanders its way to Oval Beach. The hiking trail offer a few scenic views along the way.

Hikers and cross-country skiiers can enjoy miles of trails at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. Many of the trails pass through wooded areas.


The Saugatuck-Douglas area is a favorite docking spot for boaters who travel the Kalamazoo River to Lake Michigan. Public docking locations include Tower Marine on the south shore of Lake Kalamazoo and Sergeant Marina and Coral Gables on the northern shore of Lake Kalamazoo.

The Saugutuck area is also home to a couple of boating clubs that provide boat slips to members. Singapore Yacht Club is located near downtown at Cook Park, and the Saugatuck Yacht Club is on the southwest shore of Lake Kalamazoo.

On the west end of Spear Street, a short distance from downtown Saugatuck, there is boat launch on the Kalamazoo River. Douglas has a boat launch on Lake Kalamazoo at Shultz Park.


The Kalamazoo River is a popular spot for area fishermen, who cast their lines to catch steelhead, brown trout and salmon. Willow Park in Saugatuck is a favorite location for fishing from shore on the Kalamazoo River. If you don't own a boat, there are a few charter fishing services that will take anglers on fishing expeditions on the river.

A valid fishing license is required to fish on Michigan lakes and waterways, and you can get a Michigan fishing license at Big Lake Outfitters (640 Water Street in Saugatuck) or other bait shops and sporting good stores. You can also purchase a license online at the Michigan DNR E-License web site.

Around Saugatuck

Saugatuck is known as a romantic getaway destination, featuring many historic bed and breakfasts, including the Beechwood Manor Inn, Park House Inn, and The Kirby House.

Saugatuck's downtown shopping district features art galleries, unique shops, and boutiques. For food, The Butler, home to the Butler Burger, is one of the best known restaurants in Saugatuck. Coral Gables has a combination of bars and eateries. There are several other places to get a bite in town.

For history buffs, the Keewatin Maritime Museum is a step back in time. The steamship once served passengers on Georgian Bay and Lake Superior before arriving in Saugatuck-Douglas in 1967. The museum is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Near the steamship, you can see a beautiful replica of the Kalamazoo River Light, which was built on the Douglas side of Lake Kalamazoo in 2002. The original Kalamazoo River Light was built near the mouth of the Kalamazoo River in 1859, but was destroyed by tornado in 1959.

Historic walking tours of downtown Saugatuck are offered during the summer and leave from the information booth in front of the Butler Restaurant on Butler Street.

Trails & Bike Routes | Parks & Beaches | City Guides | Free Wallpaper | Eye on Michigan Home

Copyright © 2024 Eye on Michigan

Comments or questions, please email