Plan Your Next Reunion in Southwest Michigan | Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council

Plan Your Next Reunion in Southwest Michigan

A group of professionals enjoying lunch a the restaurant anemel

Plan Your Next Reunion in Southwest Michigan

Looking for a place to get your family, friends, or graduating class together? To reconnect with your sorority sisters, frat brothers, or military service friends? Southwest Michigan is one of the best places in the Midwest to hold a reunion. Getting here is simple and guests will be attracted to Lake Michigan and the region’s beautiful countryside, charming towns, and lots of fun things to do. 

Here’s how to start planning. 

Choose the Right Location

When planning a reunion in Southwest Michigan, start by choosing the best space for your gathering. Look for the right venue for the size of your group and the things you hope to do while you are here. These are some suggestions:

Meeting room at Harbor Shores Golf Club

Hotel Meeting Room

Hosting your reunion at a hotel offers convenience, comfort, and a range of amenities all under one roof. They provide overnight accommodations, event spaces, catering, and free parking. Another benefit is that there is usually staff available to help with keeping things running smoothly. This frees you up to participate in the fun as well. 


restaurant provides a comfortable setting for catching up with each other. Our restauranteurs take pride in their friendly service and delicious food and drinks, many made from fresh, local ingredients. If any of your guests have special dietary needs, let the restaurant manager know when selecting your food choices. They will do their best to accommodate them.

Winery, Brewery, Distillery, or Cidery

One way Southwest Michigan stands out as a reunion destination is the 40+ craft wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries on its Makers Trail. You can entertain guests with tastings, tours, scenic walks through the vineyards, chats around fire pits, games, and live music. Several sites offer spacious outdoor decks or indoor private rooms. 

Tiscornia Park

This St. Joseph beach park will enthrall your guests from morning until sunset. Built into the dunes, it sits on 16 acres along Lake Michigan at the mouth of the St. Joseph River. One of its standout features is its access to the historic North Pier lighthouses. You can walk out to them year-round when weather conditions are safe, but there are self-guided and guided tours in the summer months. 

Other activities include fishing from the pier, swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The beach provides space for games, sandcastle-building contests, and kite flying. It’s a prime spot to watch sailboats, giant freighters, parasailing, and sunsets. Plan to reserve the 40-seat pavilion for your picnic and activities. 

A meeting space at fernwood

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

Fernwood Botanical Garden is one of Southwest Michigan’s most scenic venues. Tall trees, cultivated gardens, tranquil ponds, carpets of wildflowers and overlooks along the St. Joseph River create a tapestry of nature. This is a favorite bird-watching area and there are 10 geocaches if your guests enjoy doing either. 

You can reserve the indoor meeting space for a catered-in meal or for playing games. With your private rental, you get free admission for all of your reunion guests. 

When making plans, talk with the Fernwood staff about how to enrich your experience. They can offer educational programs, workshops or craft classes, guided tours or private yoga or meditation sessions. 

History Center at Courthouse Square

For a historic backdrop, hold your reunion at the History Center at Courthouse Square in Berrien Springs. Meet in the 1839 courthouse or on the 1.6-acre grounds where it’s easy to share memories and make new ones here. 

The 1870s Sheriff’s Residence houses temporary exhibits showcasing the intriguing history of the area. You can also pre-arrange guided tours of the Square’s historical buildings. 

Dr. T.K. Lawless County Park

This popular Cass County park in Vandalia has so much to offer for your reunion guests. Start by reserving one of their two picnic shelters that come with a fireplace, tables, modern restrooms, electricity, and fresh well water. Then fill your time together with horseshoes, mountain biking, disc golfing, hiking seven miles of scenic trails, and playing baseball or softball, soccer, and volleyball. 

The hallmark of this park is stargazing on select nights. It is one of three International Dark Sky Parks in Michigan. With no light pollution from cities or neighborhoods, you will see a spellbinding vista of stars, planets, moons, and nebulae. 

Michigan Maritime Museum

You do not have to be a history buff to have one of the most memorable reunions at this South Haven museum. Recently renovated, five separate buildings offer a variety of permanent and changing exhibits on Michigan’s maritime heritage. Rentable indoor and outdoor event spaces can accommodate a range of group sizes.

One of the highlights of this venue is you can wow your guests with a boat ride. Cruise the Black River on the Lindy Lou or ride on the USCG motor lifeboat (it had a role in a Disney movie), the luxury Merry Time Chris Craft Cadet mahogany powerboat, or the Berinda racing yacht. 

But the ultimate thrill is raising the sails on a replica of the 1810 Friends Good Will sloop, then cutting through Lake Michigan’s waves. Choose from historical sails, pirate chase sails, and sunset sails. They are all unforgettable. 

Must-Visit Attractions

As much fun as it is to eat and reconnect at a reunion, guests like having a choice of things to do while they are here. Southwest Michigan has a wide selection of attractions to create your single or multi-day itinerary. Here are a few: 

Slackers Family Fun Center & Laser Tag

This family-friendly fun spot offers endless fun with its arcade games, laser tag, mini-golf, and more.

Silver Beach Carousel

When you enter the Silver Beach Carousel House you will step into an enchanting world. Ride one of the 48 beautifully hand-carved animals and two chariots (one is wheelchair-accessible). This carousel instantly lifts your spirits with its happy band organ music, old-fashioned games, mini-train display, fresh popcorn and cotton candy, and the historic Silver Beach Amusement Park Museum’s interactive exhibits and memorabilia. 

While this is a public facility, you can make private rentals for your reunion, birthday parties, or special occasions. Ride as often as you want during your reserved time!

A woman on Tall Ship MJ by the lighthouse in St Joseph

Tall Ship MJ

Take up to six guests at a time for an amazing inland sea adventure. Modeled after the Tanook whalers that sailed from Nova Scotia 100 years ago, this wooden schooner sets sail from St. Joseph Harbor daily in the warmer months. You won’t see any whales on Lake Michigan, but you will thrill at riding the wind on open water.

The captain encourages you to bring aboard a cooler and picnic fare. Your sail will be infused with maritime history, its stories, and songs.

Warren Dunes State Park

When your guests from out-of-state or the area pull into this park, they are going to be awestruck. The towering Warren Dunes in Sawyer offers thrilling climbs, hang gliding, sand boarding, and breathtaking vistas of Lake Michigan. 

But there is so much more to do. There are three miles of soft, sandy beachfront and clear fresh water to swim, kayak, or paddleboard in. The beach is accessible to wheelchairs, strollers, and walkers. Or borrow one of the two beach wheelchairs or the track chair from the park office. There is a designated beach for leashed dogs, six miles of trails, a concession stand, and picnic areas, too.

Eden Springs Park

For a nostalgic experience, ride the vintage miniature train at Benton Harbor’s Eden Springs Park. They run on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer. Make this a day trip or rent the park for your reunion. 

Blue Dress Barn setup for an evening event.
Photo By: @nicolebatesphotography

Planning Tips

Organizing a reunion can be a big undertaking, but the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council can make it easier for you. These tips will help you navigate the planning process.

Set a Date 

Southwest Michigan is a year-round destination for reunions. Summer is our peak season, so it is more challenging to get blocks of rooms at hotels. Early fall is a great alternative, the weather is still warm, there are more venues and hotel rooms available, and the beaches, restaurants, and attractions are less crowded. Set a date that works for the majority of your guests.

Make Your Guest List

Put together a list of invitees and their contact information. If your date is more than six months away, send a save-the-date notice using email, a posting on social media, or by mail. When it’s closer to the reunion, send dates, times, where to stay, and transportation options. Also include a list of planned activities, schedules, and how and when to RSVP.

Simplify Your Work with Our Group Planner

If you are inviting 10 or more guests, go to our online group planner and give us the basic details for your event. Our staff will reach out to area hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and service providers, and then give you choices that will enhance your plans and fit your budget. Or do your research and book your stay.  

Make Planning Your Activities Easy, Too

You can pick and choose your activities and attractions from the list above and our Things to Do pages. Or glean ideas for building your schedule from over a dozen self-guided itineraries our group team-building itinerary or our free-time activities itinerary. If there are specific activities you’d like to do, contact us and we will help you find them in the area. 

If the Weather Changes Your Plans

When you hold an outdoor reunion or activities, there is always the chance that rain, wind, chilly temps — and even snow — can alter your plans. Check out these indoor ideas that you can do in spring, summer, or fall when it’s too wet or cold to be outside. 

We Look Forward to Welcoming You 

Once your guests receive their invitation and see all the fun that awaits in Southwest Michigan, they will plan to be here. Your reunion will be a resounding success — going down in history as one of the most talked about, best times ever. Give us a call — we are ready to help make it happen!

Start Planning Now

Share with Us

Please send us photos and videos of your Southwest Michigan getaway. Use our hashtag #swmichigan or upload your photos to our Crowdriff Collector below. This is an opportunity for your photos to appear on our social media, website or marketing materials. Thanks for sharing your memories!

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