Who often feels like they need a relaxing vacation …as soon as they get back from vacation?
My hand is raised.
After my 10 day stint in Europe, I was greeted by all the traffic and street crowds my lovely city of Chicago had to offer. I was so happy to be home safe and sound, but all I wanted was my bed, quiet time, Chipotle and not much else.
‘It would be great if I could escape the busy city for just a little while’, I thought only one day after being home. Yes, I had just escaped Chicago for over a week, but only to go to more cities with just as many tourists, traffic (albeit bike traffic) and noise.
That’s why I was so happy when I realized that my mini getaway to the cute little beach town of Saugatuck, Michigan was just around the corner! I was only back home in Chicago for 10 days before hitting the road to Michigan with my boyfriend. I could not have been more excited for this mini trip.
We didn’t really make any plans other than to explore the town, hit the beach and just relax. It’s just what we both needed.
We booked a tiny AirBnB apartment that had great reviews in the town of Douglas, the next town over from Saugatuck. Douglas itself was an adorable town boasting an art gallery on every block, coffee shops and restaurants. This sleepy town shut down early, and the real party was over in Saugatuck. The bars were plentiful over there, and the beers were flowing.
Before I dive into Saugatuck, I want to talk about the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.
Disclaimer: It’s no Napa, but it’s just as fun and MUCH more cheaper. Some of the wineries are not too far out of the way, so we decided to stop at Tabor Hill Winery for some award-winning wines and great vineyard views. You get 5 wine samples for $12 – not bad! The staff is very knowledgeable on the wines, so we had a nice conversation with them. We liked our experience so much, we took home a Pinot Nior. Look how be-a-u-tiful it is!
Okay, back on track to Saugatuck. We got to town after stopping at the winery around 8pm, and we were really wanting to catch the sunset over Oval Beach. We quickly unpacked the car and hopped back in for the five minute drive to the beach. The parking lot attendant was nice enough to let us in without paying, since they technically closed at 9pm.
We took our bottle of wine parked it on a wooden bench and… watched the clouds take over the sky for a not so good view of the sun going down. Nonetheless, it was still super pretty and I was so relieved to have made it to this little town.
Another one of my favorite views of the trip was thanks to Mt. Baldhead Peak. You can choose to walk up almost 300 stairs to get an amazing view of the Kalamazoo River in Saugatuck on one side, and Oval Beach on the other. I know it sounds like a lot – but it’s worth it! Especially on a bright and sunny day.
I’m glad I got my workout in that day because the reward is great. Once you get to the top and are done admiring the views, you can either run down the sand dunes to the beach, hike a few trails at the top of this ‘mountain,’ or go back down the stairs the way you came (womp, womp). We decided to take a short hike to another view point to catch a different glimpse of the beach. Again, I’m so happy we did this!
I’ll have more on the foods and fun on Saugatuck in future posts, but I wanted to share with you all what a 2.5 hour drive from Chicago can get you in Michigan – amazing views, a quiet beach, relaxation and WINE.
Have you visited any beach towns along Lake Michigan? Let’s hear about it!