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There are particular places or activities where many people feel compelled to take a family photo or selfie. When traveling, I have even noticed instances where the sightseeing locations, visitor attractions etc., have intentionally marked these locations with a sign or built a platform to indicate where they think the best photo spot is.

On vacation, we often seek out the most iconic, recognizable, and instagrammable shots to post on social media.. Photos that you know that your friends and family will not even have to read the accompanying text to know where you are. Sometimes this is a particular structure, natural landmark, unique food or activity. Whatever the subject, the goal is often to distill the essence of the overall experience in a single photo.

What is it that makes a particular photo representative of an entire experience? There are a variety of answers. Sometimes it can be as simple as taking a photo year after year at the same spot. Or recreating a photo that was seen in an advertisement, travel magazine, television show, movie or music video. Or mimicking the photos that we see others taking. Whatever the reason, particular locations and/or activities become the must take iconic image.

Thinking about this has led me to contemplate what those places and activities are in Southwest Michigan. Here are some of the ones that come to mind:

  • The lighthouses in St. Joseph are an obvious choice and the locations where I see people taking photos most often are:
    • At Tiscornia park either along the path through the beach grass that leads from the parking lot to the beach. This area is one of the favorite spots for wedding, engagement, senior and family photos in the area.
    • Also at Tiscornia on the pier near the blue railings.
    • Silver Beach on the south pier on the beacon platform with the lighthouse in the background
    • Photos of the lighthouse from the vantage point of a boat or stand up paddle board are also quite popular.
  • Standing on a Lake Michigan beach at sunset.
  • Picking fruit in an orchard or blueberry patch.
  • Standing in a vineyard with a glass of wine in hand.
  • Holding/eating a corn dog with The Korn Dog in the background at the Berrien County Youth Fair
  • Dining outside at Plank's Tavern on the Water at the Inn at Harbor Shore with sailboats and/or St. Joseph in the background.
  • On the wooden walkway in New Buffalo with the lake and piers in the background and, if you are lucky, Chicago.
  • A family photo of everyone riding one of Scooter Joe’s surrey bikes
  • Sitting on the sculpture Lotus the Hippo at the Krasl Art Center
  • Riding on one of the miniature trains at Eden Springs Park & Campground
  • On the patio at Lake House Restaurant at sunset.
  • At Round Barn Winery in front of their famous amish round barn
  • Enjoying cherry or apple waffle boats at Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm
  • Dining outside at Mason Jar Cafe with sculptures and the Arts District in the background
  • At Hole 7 at Harbor Shores Golf Club
  • The view overlooking the vineyards from Karma Vista Winery
  • On the Friends Good Will sail boat
  • At Lake Bluff Park either sitting on or standing next to the canon
  • At Whirlpool Compass Fountain with the Silver Beach Carousel in the background
  • At the top of a dune at Warren Dunes State Park
  • At Weko Beach with the mural that is on the cement water-intake structure
  • Patio dining at a local brewery
  • Eating ice cream at Kilwins

I am sure I have missed many… what do you think the most iconic spots for taking selfies and family photos are southwest Michigan? Share your photos with us using #swmichigan.

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