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Planning a vacation is exciting; budgeting for it… not so much. But your trip to Southwest Michigan doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of fun things to do in and around St. Joseph that won’t cost you a single cent and you will enjoy every minute. Here are the top 10 things you can do for free in Southwest Michigan this summer:

  1. Splash in Whirlpool Compass Fountain. Measuring 200 ft in diameter, Michigan’s largest splash pad is located just below the bluff and only steps from downtown and Silver Beach. Water cannons spray 35 feet in the air and run every 15 minutes.
  2. Relax at Rocky Gap County Park. Rocky Gap is one of the hidden gems of Southwest Michigan beaches. It’s a small beach but perfect for beachcombing, family picnics and sunset views.
  3. Every Saturday at dusk, July-August you can watch a family-friendly movie under the stars. This year the location will vary each week so be sure to check this year’s lineup.
  4. Watch the sunset at Lookout Park. Lookout Park has one of the best views of Lake Michigan. Find a bench or a swing and watch the sun go down.
  5. Explore the arts. Krasl Art Center and the Box Factory for the Arts offer visitors the chance to see their art exhibitions at no cost. Get inspired by our Southwest Michigan artists!
  6. Chalk the Block. Every August, artists turn the downtown streets of St. Joseph into a chalk masterpiece. Watch them bring their work to life and vote on your favorite August 2-4. Learn more here.
  7. Take a horse-drawn trolley through historic downtown St. Joseph. View the schedule here.
  8. Go for a hike at Galien River County Park. Walk the 300’ canopy walk that leads out to a 60’ high platform that overlooks the marshland and the Galien River. Or take the boardwalk that leads to the fishing platform down by the water. It’s right off Red Arrow Highway but you’ll feel like you’re escaping into nature.
  9. Enjoy free concerts. Every Wednesday at noon June 26-August 21 St. Joseph Today hosts the Brown Bag Concert Series at the John E. N. Howard Bandshell. There are also free Friday Night Concerts at 7:30 p.m. every Friday and St. Joseph Municipal Band concerts on Sundays and Thursdays. View their schedule here.
  10. Go inside the St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouse. Walk the pier (accessible from Tiscornia Beach Park) and see the inside of St. Joseph’s most iconic landmark. It’s free to view the first floor of the newly restored lighthouse. A $5 fee will be charged to climb to the lantern house. View the open hours here.

 

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