Paddling, Lighthouses, Dunes and the Makers Trail: Summer in Southwest Michigan

Today we are talking about our summer adventure in Southwest Michigan from St. Joseph down to Warren Dunes State Park, including stops for food and beverages along the way.

We started off in St. Joseph by grabbing coffee, as we do, from Infusco Coffee at The Market right downtown. The Market also has a variety of other cool businesses inside but at this time it was all about the coffee. 

After fueling up on coffee, we headed out for a paddle on Lake Michigan and around the St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouses. We enjoy getting out on Lake Michigan whenever possible especially when we can incorporate a lighthouse! A cool part about this one in particular is that there is actually an inner light and an outer light so its kind of like getting two for one. The larger "house" structure is the inner light. 

We wanted to walk the pier to get a closer look at the lighthouses and decided to have a friendly 15 minute photo contest. That is where we each spend 15 minutes capturing photos and each submitting our one favorite and then having people vote on the winner. This is a fun thing that we like to do and is an easy way to have fun with a group of friends! 


@mi_playground 15 minute photo contest #stjosephmichigan #lakemichigan #miplayground ♬ original sound - mi_playground


Next up was our first stop on the Makers Trail, which was the patio at Silver Harbor Brewing Company. The Makers Trail consists of over 40 breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries throughout the area. The Makers Trail Flight Crew Passport for 2023/2024 starts in September and you can track everywhere you go on the Makers Trail app. There are prizes for getting to different levels based on the amount of passport stamps you can collect. You can learn more about it here!

We were told we had to get the shrimp and grits by someone who has been there and we always like recommendations so we got that along with crab cakes and some tasty beverages. 


@mi_playground Silver Harvor Brewing Company in St. Joseph Michigan #michiganfoodie #miplayground #stjoseph ♬ original sound - mi_playground


Next up we moved on to the Paw Paw River and St. Joseph River. Something cool that St. Joseph offers are a few river options that come together to lead out to Lake Michigan and this area is part of the Paw Paw River Water Trail. It is a fun paddle that includes bridges, a golf course, nature and an urban paddling experience all in one. 

We ended our time in St. Joseph with food and drinks at another stop on the Makers Trail, Kingfisher Cocktails and Tacos. This place had great vibes and a fun menu. 

To begin the second part of our summer adventure in Southwest Michigan we made our way down to Warren Dunes State Park, which is considered by many to be the gateway to the Michigan State Parks system from the West. This is a great park that has just under 2,000 acres with amazing dunes to climb, dune trails, an awesome beach and great food trucks right on the beach! 

We started off by doing some dune climbs and hiking on the dunes. The views from the top are spectacular and we were told that on a clear day it is possible to see Chicago across Lake Michigan. One nice thing about hiking the dunes on a hot summer day is the ability to go right down and take a swim in Lake Michigan. 


@mi_playground Climbing dunes at Warren Dunes State Park. #sanddunes #dunes #michigan #warrendunes ♬ original sound - mi_playground


There are a variety of food options right on the beach and we decided to go with burritos from Tacos Hernandez and they were delicious! The setting on the beach was awesome but we would have been a fan of this food no matter what the setting was like!


@mi_playground Check out the taco truck right on the beach at Warren Dunes State Park! #taco #burrito #foodtruck #warrendunes ♬ original sound - mi_playground


Just 8 miles up the road is Grand Mere State Park. Grand Mere also offers great dune climbs, trails and view over Lake Michigan. Grand Mere has a more rugged feel when comparing it with Warren Dunes and was a great experience in a different way. It takes some hiking to get to the beach but the payoff is worth it!

Throughout out our time in this area, we stopped at two more locations on the Makers Trail in Stevensville. First up was Watermark Brewing Company. This brewery has a great outdoor area that feels like you are hanging out in a perfectly designed front yard with fire pits, seating, and a covered patio section where live music was being played when we stopped by. They also have a food truck schedule on their website so you can see food options for when you plan on stopping by. Besides beer, they also have slushies, which were a great option on a nice summer day!

Our final stop on the Makers Trail was Peat's Cider Social. A unique part about Peat's is that it actually has a bowling alley as well as a large outdoor area. We decided to spend our time out on the patio because that had pretty much been the theme of everything we had done in the area.


@mi_playground We made a few stops on the Makers Trail in Southwest Michigan #miplayground #southwestmichigan ♬ original sound - mi_playground


Overall we had an amazing time exploring the area and cant wait for what's next! You can check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our series below!

1 comment

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