South Haven Things to Do

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    Michigan Theatre
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Most Recent Things to Do in South Haven

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    Explore the Great Lakes' maritime heritage

    by Bunsch Updated Sep 2, 2015

    The Michigan Maritime Museum is a wonderful venue for those interested in nautical stuff, because not only does it have a fascinating permanent collection and a changing array of exhibits in its galleries; it is also a "hands on" museum where you can board the Evelyn S, a restored commercial fish tug now land-locked on the campus, or the star of the show, the historic tall ship, Friends Good Will, which played a role in the War of 1812. Queasy sailors may wish to board and explore dockside, but more adventurous types can take a passenger voyage or one of the educational sails which are on offer. There is a fine exhibit of Coast Guard rescue vehicles and much information about the 46 Coast Guard stations on Michigan shores. The campus also provides easy access to the South Haven Harborwalk, which is dotted with informational markers along the Black River to give a sense of the commercial history of the harbor.

    The museum is closed from January 1 through April 30, but open daily from May 1 through September 25, 10 AM to 5 PM (or until departure for the sunset sail). For the balance of the year, the museum is open Thursday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM.

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    • Festivals
    • Sailing and Boating

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    Wander around the South Haven Center for the Arts

    by Bunsch Written Aug 30, 2015

    Here's a great place to see exhibits by local artists in a funky old building -- with very pleasant receptions! Drawings, paintings and sculpture are generally on offer. The Arts Center is also the home of a regional juried show.

    Open Monday-Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM, and weekends from 1 PM to 4 PM.

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    MICHIGAN MARITIME MUSEUM

    by LoriPori Written Sep 15, 2013

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    One of the things to do in South Haven, is visit the MICHIGAN MARITIME MUSEUM.
    The Museum highlights Great Lakes Heritage and consists of a Center hosting permanent and changing exhibits, a boathouse, Lightkeepers House and Great Lakes Research Library.
    The Library contains nearly 4,000 books, maps, nautical charts, periodicals and more.
    You can even go on the motorized launch boat, Lindy Lou for a cruise on the Black River. From the late 1890's through the early 1930's, motorized launches traveled the Black River delivering guests to resorts and taking picnickers to parks. The cost for this is $20.00 per person which includes Museum Admission.
    General Admission:
    Adults $6.00
    Seniors $5.00
    Children under 17 $4.50
    Open everyday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

    Michigan Maritime Museum

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    MICHIGAN THEATRE

    by LoriPori Written Sep 15, 2013

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    Right downtown South Haven is the retro MICHIGAN THEATRE. They offer the latest movies at unbelievable prices. Fun thing to do if it's a rainy day.
    Matinees - All shows before 6:00 p.m. $4.00
    Evening - all shows 6:00 p.m. and after $5.50
    Monday Special 2 tickets for $8.00
    Bring your own bucket and fill it with Popcorn for .50 cents. Also .50 cents for drinks.

    Michigan Theatre

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    VISIT THE SOUTH HAVEN VISITOR INFORMATION CENTER

    by LoriPori Written Sep 15, 2013

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    I wanted to visit the SOUTH HAVEN INFORMATION CENTER to get some brochures and information about South Haven. I was not disappointed as I got tons of leaflets, brochures and even books about the town. I use them for the scrapbooks that I make. The main information Center is right downtown South Haven on Phoenix Street. When we were there, construction was going on two blocks of the street. But it was not hard to get to. If you look carefully at my main photo you can even see the large crane reflected on the window.

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    Pay a visit to DeGrandchamp Farms

    by Bunsch Written Aug 30, 2011

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    Whether it is to see the 150 acres of blueberry bushes or the sample their delicious harvest, a South Haven guest ought to make the effort to get to DeGrandchamp Farms, three miles south of the town on Blue Star Highway.

    Today, DeGrandchamp has a packing and shipping facility with a large farm market, featuring many blueberry and cranberry items (they have 40 acres in cranberries) as well as container-grown nursery stock. One particularly nice feature is that nearly all of their jams, preserves, barbeque causes and other berry treats are available for taste-testing. After carefully evaluating the blueberry-cherry, blueberry-raspberry, and blueberry-cranberry preserves, I finally opted for all three! (Yes, they do have single-fruit preserves as well.) The bakery at the farm market has all kinds of tasty goodies, but I virtuously chose not to indulge. My companion had no such qualms and purchased a nice slab of fudge.

    Boxes of blueberries are readied for shipping An array of products for the visitor It's hard to choose just one!
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    National Blueberry Festival

    by Bunsch Updated Aug 27, 2011

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    South Haven is known as the Blueberry Capital. To celebrate this honor, the National Blueberry Festival is held every August. Not only are there loads of blueberry products available, but there is plenty to see and do -- concerts by the Black River, a craft show, 5K run/walk, blueberry pie social, blueberry pie-eating contest, fish boil dinner, the annual AAUW book sale, and children's activities are all part of the free weekend event.

    In 2011, the festival took place on August 11-14, but poor weather on Saturday definitely made for a challenging time. So plan on being in South Haven for the 50th anniversary festival in 2013!

    You can find all sorts of blueberry items... Official 2008 Festival Shirt! One of the Blueberry Queens sells raffle tickets
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    Where shall we worship this Sunday?

    by Bunsch Written Aug 27, 2011

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    It's true, I'm an avid Episcopalian...but that doesn't mean I'm not willing to sample other denominations, particularly when my hostess is the head of the bell choir at a particular church! At the National Blueberry Festival, First Congregational was well represented. The AAUW Booksale took place within its fellowship hall; members of the parish had baked and were selling all manner of blueberry items (pies, turnovers, muffins...); two young people were amongst the "royalty" and a lot of members were involved in the Kiwanis Blueberry Pancake Breakfasts. All of which meant that the congregation was somewhat reduced in size, but those who were present made a joyful noise unto the Lord and the pastor, the Rev. Jeffrey Dick, gave a very interesting sermon.

    I'll try to visit South Haven's Episcopal Church next time I'm in town, but meanwhile, I can recommend the UCC.

    First Congregational Church Shelly ringing in the Bell Choir room
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    • Festivals

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    South Haven Pier and Lighthouse

    by Bunsch Updated Jun 18, 2011

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    Living in the northeast, I have a fair amount of contact with lighthouses -- in fact, I kayak out to one quite often during the summer months. But I knew nothing of South Haven's bright red beacon until a local friend sent me a postcard of the lighthouse under assault by icy Lake Michigan waves. It was warmer when I visited, thank goodness!

    The lighthouse, and the pier on which it sits, were originally constructed of wood. A replacement for the 1871 lighthouse was crafted in steel in 1903, and is still in use.

    The lighthouse, now a part of the Michigan Maritime Museum, is open for public tours during Harborfest (held each June over Fathers Day weekend). During the balance of the year, people may stroll along the pier.

    Big waves in Lake Michigan (not my pic)
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  • Love antigues and historic stuff?

    by sofia2121 Written Mar 20, 2010

    South Haven is full of history,especially if you are into old historic places. They have a Maritime Museum that offers information about all of the shipcrecks that have ever occurred in Lake Michigan. The have a replica of an old ship, huge, that takes your out on a cruise. South Haven has a bunch of historic inn you can stay in. Hotel Nichols has been around for over 100 years and offers tours. We also recommend Crane, an orchard, for lunch. It is over 100 years old as well. It is decorated wt antigues and the orchards are beautiful.

    Maritime museum historic room Cranes
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    Michigan Maritime Museum

    by deecat Updated Sep 23, 2009

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    The very first thing that Mickey and I did after we parked our car at the Yelton Bed and Breakfast, was to walk to the Michigan Maritime Museum This museum cherishes and keeps the history of the Great Lakes. It is open year-round and available for group and school tours.

    At this museum includes:

    The Gallies and Museum Store

    The VanOort US Coast Guard Boathouse

    The Padnos Boat Shed

    The Friends Good Will Historic Tall Ship

    The South Haven Harbor Walk

    Great Lakes Research Library

    Offerings for Classes and Programs

    Lightkeeper's Dwelling

    Sea Scouts Program

    Evelyn S.--Fish Tug

    Small Craft Display

    Historic Reenactments

    Annaul Classic boat Show

    The five photographs show some of what we saw here.

    The people who work here are so enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and helpful. We had several conversations with two different men. We discovered the role of the Friends Good Will's role in the War of 1812; learned about the restored collection of the last 3 types of wooden rescue craft used by the United States Coast Guard; became acquainted with the 46 Coast Guard Stations built on Michigan shores.

    It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed our self-guided tour along the historic South Haven harbor. There were historic markers which we read that were placed along the Black River.

    Michigan Maritime Museum Inside US Coast Guard Exhibit Inside Maritime Museum Harbor Walk US Coast Guard Exhibit
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    • Sailing and Boating

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    South Haven Pier & Lighthouse

    by deecat Updated Sep 23, 2009

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    Be sure to see all three photographs

    We were delighted to walk the South Haven Pier and to see the small Lighthouse.
    The very first lighthouse was wooden and built in 1871 by the "United States Lighhouse Board. That first one was square with an open base.

    The second lighthouse was made of steel [1903] and is the one that exists today. About 1923, it was electrified and painted red over the previous white paint.

    The city now owns the lighthouse and pier because in 1989 the Coast Guard was going to demolish the catwalk. To stop this action, The South Haven Lighthouse and Catwalk Preservation Committee was put together. They raised money from grants and donations and gave it the look that it has today. Thank goodness there are people who care to preserve rather than to destroy.

    Every June about Father's Day, the South Haven Lighthouse is open for tours during Harborfest. The rest of the year [including when we were there], we have to be satisfied to take photos, enjoy the scenery, and see sunsets.

    I noted in the Lighthouse Brochure that "later this year, the responsibilities and ownership of the lighthouse will be handed to the Michigan Maritime Museum"!

    South Haven Lighthouse Mickey in Front of the South Haven Lighthouse Sail Boat Just off the South Haven Light House
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    South Haven Visitor's Bureau

    by deecat Updated Sep 23, 2009

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    Mickey and I make it a point to always touch base with the Visitor's Bureau whenever we enter a town. This visitor's bureau was an especially lovely one.

    The woman who worked here was pleasant, helpful, and filled with great ideas. We collected several brochures, maps, and booklets.

    Photographs:

    1. The Outside of South Haven's Visitor's Bureau

    2. A lovely spot to sit in the South Haven's Visitor's Bureau. It's ideal for reading the materials you have collected and for looking out on the streets to see the activities.

    3. Mickey talking to the woman who works at the Visitor's Bureau

    Before we left on our trip, we had ask for the main brochure about South Haven to be sent to each of us. We both received it a week after requesting it, and found it to be quite helpful. It was researched, written, and presented by the South Haven Visitors Bureau.

    So, as soon as you enter South Haven, be sure to go to Phoenix Street to visit the Bureau and to pick up all the useful information. Feel free to ask questions. An insider's view is always best.

    South Haven Visitor's Bureau Inside Visitor's Bureau Mickey Talking to Visitor's Bureau Employee
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    Walk: Kal-Haven Trail State Park

    by deecat Updated Sep 23, 2009

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    During our planning sessions at home, we readily agreed that we wanted to see and to walk a portion of theKal-Haven Trail. This trail is part of the Kal-Haven Trail State Park and is operated by Van Buren County and is promoted by the Friends of the Kal-Haven Trail. The trail is a combination of walking, biking, and, in portions, horse trail.

    This huge trail links Kalamazoo in the southwest to South Haven, a Lake Michigan resort area. At one time, a railroad[1870] ran through it and that was converted to a trail with "a limestone/slag surface. Motorcycles are not allowed. When there is a 4" snow base, snowmobiling is permitted. Cross Country skiing is also permitted.

    This complete trail covers 33.5 miles and goes through small towns, over bridges, meanders through countysides, and passes historical points of interest.

    Photographs:

    1. A scene from the walking trail toward the beginning of the trail in South Haven
    2. A Gazebo across water along the trail.
    3. A covered bridge locate 1/2 mile east of Blue Star Highway that crosses the south branch of the Black River. The materials to build this bridge were donate by Robert Nichols of South Haven and is dedicated to the memory of his father, Donald F. Nichols.
    4. A plat portion of the walking trail.
    5. A wooden trestle bridge.

    Along the trail you may see, mushrooms, flowers, bridges, butterflies, and wildlife.

    MICKEY AND I WALKED FIVE MILES OF THE TRAIL

    Park hours are:
    8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the year.

    Fees are:

    Individual day pass: 3.00
    Individual annual pass: 15.00
    Family day pass 7.00
    Family annual pass 35.00

    Note: Mickey and I had our $3.00 ready, but the place to pay was closed informing us to pay a worker along the way. No worker ever showed up. So, we were able to walk a small portion of this great trail for free

    Kal-Haven Trail State Park Trail Gazebo Across the Water at Kal-Haven St. Park Black River covered Bridge Flat Part of Kal-Haven Trail Bridge Along the Kal-Haven Trail
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    • National/State Park

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    Walk Along The Pier

    by riorich55 Written Aug 11, 2009

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    Sue and I didn't want to get our feet all sandy or even dip our toes in Lake Michigan so we took a walk along the pier to the end by the lighthouse. Along with way we saw fishermen, the boats on the lake and a variety of other people like ourselves just enjoying the day being out in the sunshine on a beautiful midwest summer day.

    Walking or Sailing You Choose Walking and Riding by the Pier Lighthouse at the End of the Pier Girds Looking Down the Pier Way Down at the Other End
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