The pandemic virus may have changed HOW you celebrate the U.S.A.’s Independence Day this year, but it won’t stop you and your family from having a blast in Southwest Michigan. In fact, we hope you will discover how simple and easy it is to have fun this year.
Let’s start with three light-up-the-sky ideas.
- Fireworks | July 3 | Dowagiac Municipal Airport & Russom Park off Middle Crossing | Dowagiac | 9:30-11 pm | Free
Dowagiac’s Young Professionals are launching their spectacular pyrotechnics show at dusk. Create your own little island with blankets or chairs six feet apart from other celebrating families and sport your masks when walking around the grounds. Then look up and oooo and ahhh!
- Fireworks Over the Harbor | July 4 | The Inn at Harbor Shores | 800 Whitwam Dr. | St. Joseph | 10 pm | HOTEL GUESTS ONLY - watch from private guest room balcony | Reservations: 269-408-9108
Reserve a guest room and watch this colorful show over the water from your private balcony. While you are staying here, enjoy a round or two on the resort’s championship, Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
- New This Year! | July 3 & 4 | International Dark Sky Stargazing | Dr. T. K. Lawless Park | 15122 Monkey Run St. | Jones | 8 am ‘til 2 am the next day | $2 Cass County Residents/$3, Non-Residents
How exciting! The International Dark Sky Association has recently designated this Cass County Park as one of only two Dark Sky destinations in Michigan. Come stargaze where’s there is plenty of space to spread out. Park in the main parking lot and volunteers will guide you to the viewing area. Restrooms are available. However, before you come, check Facebook to see if cloud-cover or rainy conditions cancel viewing.
The best way to bring on that good-to-be-free feeling is to relax with your family and friends, drinking delicious craft libations and listening to music that rouses your spirits. Cheers!
Throughout the weekend, Southwest Michigan Cycleboat is partnering with a local brewery tour company for their Lake & Land Tour. You and your family or friends will power this Harbor Hopper on a two-hour tour of St. Joseph’s inner harbor. Then, it’s back on land for three chauffeured stops to local wineries and breweries (for approximately five hours of good times). Make reservations today.
From noon July 3 to dusk July 5, wear your mask and ramp up your Fourth fun at St. Joseph’s new Pleasant Street Plaza. Silver Harbor Brewing Company will provide street dining, live music and games.
- Live Music with E-Man | Dablon Winery & Vineyard | 111 W. Shawnee Rd | Baroda | 3:45-6:45 pm
- Live Music Dockside with Sean McDaniel | Plank’s Tavern | 800 Whitwam Dr. | St. Joseph | 6-9 pm
- 4th of July Bash | Ghost Isle Brewery | 17684 US Hwy 12 | New Buffalo | Noon | Special beer release and lots of space to enjoy it overlooking Galien River wetlands
- Reds, Whites, and Brews | Live Music: Pablos Great Revenge and Weekend Social | Round Barn Estate | 10983 Hills Rd | Baroda | 1-6:30 pm | $5 cover | First 100 guests get a souvenir growler
- Distillery Brunch| Staymaker Restaurant | 109 Generations Dr | Three Oaks | 10 am-2 pm | $15-$20 | Donuts, tacos, pizza, hot dogs and build-your-own Bloody Mary Bar
- Live Music with Matt Gabriel | Dablon Winery & Vineyard | 111 W. Shawnee Rd | Baroda | 2:30-5:30 pm
- Live Music Dockside with Larry Johnson | Plank’s Tavern | 800 Whitwam Dr. | St. Joseph | 4-7 pm
Keeping it simple has become this year’s vacation theme for most of us. Finding life’s simple joys is easy to do here. These ideas will fill your days:
Discover our singing-sand beaches
There’s something truly magical about the sand along our beaches. Listen as you walk our Lake Michigan shoreline. It’s like holding a seashell to your ear, only better. Because with each step you can hear the sands sing beneath your footprints.
Our beaches are some of the most beautiful freshwater playgrounds in the world and expect them to be crowded this weekend. You will find more space during non-peak times between 8 and 11 am or from 6 pm to 10 pm. On the way to the beach, pick up takeout at a local restaurant, grocery store or farm market and enjoy a breakfast or dinner picnic. Check out these beach-time ideas.
Explore our hiking, biking and paddling trails
A great way to have outdoor fun with room to spare is on our land or water trails. With rare exceptions our nature trails are dog-friendly (just leash your pooch) and the Kal-Haven Trail State Park and Fred Russ Forest Park welcome horses, too. New this year are the beautiful Mt. Tabor Trails that meander 3.6 miles through fields, woods and vineyard between Round Barn Estate and Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant. Day and season passes are available at either winery.
Bring your bikes to our lake resort and inland communities and explore along our rivers, beaches and in our scenic Victorian-era neighborhoods and downtowns. Scooter Joe’s in St. Joseph rents bikes for various ages as well as surreys for family rides around town. Several parks offer mountain biking trails that offer various challenge levels and Berrien County’s Love Creek Park offers rentals (but bring your own helmet).
You will also find several picturesque places to kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard on Lake Michigan or on our rivers and smaller lakes. Rentals are available from Doe-Wah-Jack’s Canoe Rental, Scooter Joe’s and Third Coast Surf Shop.
Most of our parks offer wide-open spaces for playing tag or a family ballgame, tossing water balloons or circling chairs and sharing family stories or sing-along. No device recharging necessary.