While some may flock to sunny southern locales for Spring Break, loyal locals know that spring is a great time to hang out in Southwest Michigan. Wait times are lower, crowds are fewer, and you’re likely to encounter at least a few hours of nice weather!
Here are some of our favorite Spring Break ideas, whether you’re a Southwest Michigan resident planning a spring staycation, or an out-of-towner who wants to experience Berrien County “like a local”:
This retro bowling alley and craft cidery is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours with the family. A rotating menu of on-tap ciders infused with unexpected flavors like rye, bourbon, florals, citrus and herbs, will please grown-up palates, while snacks, soft drinks, and the occasional food truck keep the kids happy. Or grab a pizza and bring it in to have dinner while you bowl!
Pro sipping tip: Think you “don’t like cider”? Tell the bartender what kind of drinks you typically gravitate toward and let them suggest a cider or two to taste. I’m guessing you’ll be surprised – and become Peats’ newest loyal fan.
There’s truly something for every member of the family in this multi-vendor indoor farmer’s market downtown St. Joseph. Sip a latte, Americano, mocha, or hot chocolate from Infusco Coffee or head to the Tea Annex for a brew of black, green, white, or herbal tea; sample artisan cheeses at The Cheese Lady, and grab a bite from Nola Roux or Dad’s Farm Cafe. Top off the experience with a glass of Southwest Michigan-made beer, cider, draft cocktail or wine at Community Tap. Before you go, shop for unique gifts at Wild Ginger, pick up some fresh produce or snacks to power the rest of your day at Dad’s Farm, and grab a bottle or two of vino to take home from The St. Joe Wine Shoppe. There’s a lot to see and shop for here, so give yourself plenty of time!
Enjoy the Outdoors
Beaches and nature trails may not seem like an obvious choice in March, but walking on a wind-whipped beach or hiking a forest path where the plants are just beginning to wake up after a long winter’s rest is one of my favorite ways to spend a spring afternoon. Bridgman’s Weko Beach is adjacent to Warren Dunes State Park and each offer a unique experience for hikers and nature-lovers. The bigger Warren Dunes boasts towering dunes to climb up (and scramble down) and some challenging dune hikes. The much smaller Weko Park offers a pedestrian-friendly boardwalk along the beach and up and over the dunes, and is a beautiful walk this time of year. If you’re looking for an easy stroll and diverse nature, Love Creek County Park in Berrien Springs offers a variety of ecosystems and a more off-the-beaten-path feeling, while Fernwood Botanical Gardens in Buchanan boasts an arboretum, nature center, sculptures, a railroad garden, and stroller-friendly paths kids will love to explore.
Take A Tasting Tour
Southwest Michigan is a treasure trove of experiences for adventurous adult palates, no matter the weather. The list of breweries and wineries is extensive and each offers its own unique experience, from classic French-style wines at Dablon to “daringly different” blends at Red Top winery (both in Baroda.) Haymarket Brewery and Tapistry Brewing, each in Bridgman, offer full food menus – Haymarket specializes in pizza, while Tapistry offers an upscale brewpub menu. Want to taste wine, beer, and spirits from a variety of Michigan makers? Local Pour in Sawyer has a satisfying variety of options for you.
Stay In Style
Even if you’re local, a “staycation” feel is always enhanced by an overnighter away from home. Berrien County offers plenty of hotel options, from the Boulevard Inn and Holiday Inn Express, both overlooking Lake Michigan in St. Joseph, to the Inn at Harbor Shores with its harbor views and updated amenities.
Looking for accommodations that are a bit more unexpected? Check out our list of unique ways to stay all over Southwest Michigan. And no matter where you stay, enjoy your Southwest Michigan Spring Break adventure!