South Haven Things to Do

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    Michigan Theatre
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  • Things to Do
    by LoriPori

Best Rated Things to Do in South Haven

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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
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Photography

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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
    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Museum Visits

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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
    Related to:
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    • Sailing and Boating

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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
    Related to:
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    • Women's Travel
    • Seniors

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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
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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    Take a Ride on a Recreated Sloop

    by riorich55 Written Aug 11, 2009

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    On our first night in town as we wandered along with dock looking at all the pleasure craft that were docked for the night out of the corner of my eye I spotted an old tall ship which I found out later was the restored sloop ship Friends Good Will. Although I was a little late getting a picture of the sloop as it left the harbor, we happened to spot the sloop a little later on sailing out on Lake Michigan during its sunset cruise.

    On Sunday, when we were back in town for a few hours we did catch it leaving the dock and got a picture and some video footage as it left. We also found out from information at the Maritime Museum that during the summer season it sails out 3 times daily at 1:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. for a 90 minute jaunt on the lake for a cost of $30 per person. The sunset cruise leaves the dock at 8:00 p.m. and sails for 2 hours at a cost of $40 per person. During the Blueberry Festival weekend in August you can also board the ship and be involved in a mock Battle @ Sea with other vessels which make it in for the weekend.

    Some interesting information about the Friends Good Will is that the original version was from the early 1800's and was captured by the British early in the War of 1812. However, in the first American triumph over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie it was recaptured by John Paul Jones. This current version was built in Albany, New York and 2004 and has since resided in South Haven.

    Friends Good Will on the High Seas Friends Good Will Crusing out of the Harbor Friends Good Will Sunset Cruise Way Out Yonder on the Lake
    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Family Travel

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    Summer concerts in the park

    by Bunsch Updated Jul 7, 2009

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    Each summer, the city hosts free outdoor concerts at Riverfront Park on Water Street, overlooking the Black River. All concerts begin at 7:00 PM and last until approximately 8:30 PM on Thursdays. Parking is located nearby and concert-goers should bring lawn chairs or blankets.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Music

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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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    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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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Go Blueberry Pickin'

    by riorich55 Written Aug 11, 2009

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    The western half of Michigan close to Lake Michigan is a great fruit and vegetable growing area for the midwest. The rain and moisture from the lake are a natural watering can for the entire region. Many years ago my grandparents used to take trips up to this area to pick blueberries, raspberries, cherries and other types of fruit and vegetables which my great grandmother and grandmother would can for year round enjoyment.

    It had been a long time since Sue and I had been to any of the Pick Your Own places, so we decided to spend a little time on our journey back to Chicago to pick up a couple of pounds of these sweet little delights. When you first get there you check in to receive a bag or box to carry around to collect the blueberries, are told which areas you can pick in, and then have at it. We spent probably about 45 mintues picking and after about 3 pounds picked and probably about another 1/4 pound eaten called it an afternoon.

    The rates during the summer of 2009 were $1.50 per pound. Blueberry picking season runs from about right after the 4th of July to the end of August. Times are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.

    Sue Enjoying The Pickins' Sweet Delicious Blueberries Look For This Sign
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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!
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Women's Travel

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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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    • Beaches

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    Visit downtown

    by Dabs Updated Oct 28, 2007

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    The downtown shopping district is 2-3 blocks long, there are stores selling antiques, books, jewelry and clothing, even a store devoted solely to blueberries. There are also a few restaurants on this street, we didn't check any of them out since we had already had lunch and it was too early for dinner. Clementine's at 500 Phoenix Street had a long line outside, should we go back we might give it a try.

    Since we were there in the beginning of October, quite a few of the businesses had scarecrow decorations out for a contest.

    Scarecrow Scarecrow Scarecrow Scarecrow

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    Watch a Sunset Over Lake Michigan

    by riorich55 Written Aug 11, 2009

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    When you are out on the lake in Chicago and watch a sunset you are looking west over the city skyscrapers and towards the western suburbs where my wife and I reside. However if you curve around Northern Indiana and go about 100 miles you will find yourself on the Eastern Shore of Lake Michigan and since the lake is much longer north/south then east/west there are many locations along the shoreline to catch a Lake Michigan sunset.

    Since Michigan is in the Eastern Time Zone and Chicago is in the Central Time Zone is stays lighter much longer. These 2 pictures were taken around 9:05 p.m. and since we hadn't eaten since 1:00 p.m. we didn't stay for the full sunset effect. So the pictures we both took show sunset about 10 minutes before the sun dipped into the cool Lake Michigan waters.

    Sun Setting on Lake Michigan Another Sunset View
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Spend a Day at the Beach

    by riorich55 Written Aug 11, 2009

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    On either side of the pier are areas for swimming, sunning, kayaking or a little bit of all 3. Although the summer of 2009 has been the coolest summer in the last 75 years, those that were in the water didn't seem bothered by the cool 70 degree summer weather.

    The Beach, Pier and Lighthouse Families Enjoying the Waters Heading Down to the Beach Some Like Shade, Some Like Sun
    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Family Travel

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South Haven Things to Do

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