Summer in our corner of paradise always goes by so much faster than we want it to. Like a sunset over Lake Michigan or a cone of hard-packed ice cream, we enjoy every last second of it but are always anticipating the next one the moment it is done. Feeling nostalgic? So are we!
Luckily, there’s still half the summer left with plenty of time to build a sand-mermaid body around your sibling on Silver Beach, try new watersports and enjoy your old reliable recreation routines. And great news! Some popular Southwest Michigan destinations for your kiddos are officially opening up again — meaning there is plenty of fun in store for everyone.
Here’s our Midsummer Bucket List. Count how many you’ve already done, then start checking off the rest!
- Beach scene: There are seven days each week and all of them are beach days, as far as we’re concerned. Pick a sunny day, and head to one of more than 10 beaches in the area. Take a dip in the lake, play beach volleyball, build a sandcastle masterpiece, run down dunes and soak up the sun, Just make sure to wear sunscreen!
- Creative Connections: Have you picked up a Creative Connections brochure yet? Our game makes it easy to experience the arts and culture scene of Southwest Michigan while earning fun, artsy prizes! You can play all year long by visiting creative destinations to learn about local history, watch a play, see a concert, admire paintings, take a class and much more. Request a brochure online or grab one at any creative destination. It’s fun for the whole family!
- Curious Kids’ Museum: Curious Kids’ Museum is officially open along the bluff! Come play and learn alongside your kids as their eyes light up with over 100 interactive exhibits and activities. The museum located at 415 Lake Blvd., St. Joseph, is open Tuesday through Friday of each week with three time slots available each day. You must reserve and purchase tickets online before going. Masks are strongly recommended for anyone ages 3 and up. The Discovery Zone below the bluff at 333 Broad St., St. Joseph, will also open for reserved time slots soon!
- Golf: There’s still time to hit the links this year. Whether you’re looking to hit a few balls at the driving range or plan a weekend trip with 36 holes, we have several great options in Southwest Michigan — including the course at Harbor Shores which was designed by the Golden Bear himself, retired professional golfer Jack Nicklaus.
- Hidden Pointe Fun Park: If 18 holes and carrying your clubs around isn’t for you, this might be. Hidden Pointe offers a mini-golf course that still has 18 holes, but they are much closer together. Putt below the lighthouse at the center of it all with friends and family. At night, there’s even a disco ball! You can also try your luck at the batting cages with three different speeds of pitches for both softball and baseball. Other activities include go-karts, arcade games, jump shot basketball and ice cream.
- Kayak/ Paddleboard: Rentals: Explore our bodies of water in a new way with a paddleboard or kayak. Third Coast Surf Shop and Scooter Joe’s Wheel & Water Rentals offer rentals by the hour so you can explore Lake Michigan, the St. Joseph River, the Galien River and the Paw Paw River. Some hotels may offer their own rentals, too. Just ask!
- Load up on the sugar: Walking our busy downtown streets, you can’t avoid those aromas that make you sniff in a whiff of whatever treats are being made! It’s evident by the line that extends outside Kilwins most evenings. Our advice? Indulge! Get fudge, popcorn, ice cream, frozen yogurt, cupcakes, baked goods, handmade candies and sorbet every chance you get. Parents, you’ll be a hero and you’ll satisfy your own sweet tooth!
- Silver Beach Carousel: The happiest place in Southwest Michigan is officially open again! Currently, online reservations are available for four, hour-long time slots each Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m.-12 p.m., 12:30-1:30 p.m., 2-3 p.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m. Pay $8 per person and ride as many times as you can! The Silver Beach Carousel is a huge part of Silver Beach’s amusement park history, plus, who can keep a smile off their face with that triumphant band organ? We sure can’t.
- Train rides at Eden Springs Park: Another way to explore local history is to hop aboard when the train whistle blows! Eden Springs Park, formerly known as the House of David, offers $3 train rides through what used to be an amusement park. Some buildings are restored, while others are remnants of what once was, filled with stories of the past. There are several pictures and artifacts for guests to see, too. Train rides happen every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 12-5 p.m. The gas-powered engine runs on Saturdays while the steam engine runs on Sundays. While you’re there, watch an 1800s-style baseball game on the diamond a few steps from the train station. Go Echoes!
What bucket list items will you check off first? Enjoy the remains of summer, we can’t believe how fast it’s going because we are having so much fun here in Southwest Michigan! Make sure to post all the fun photos while you’re at it and tag them with @swmichigan.