Benton Harbor Arts District
There is always something new to see, experience, learn and taste in the Benton Harbor Arts District. Located in the heart of Benton Harbor, Michigan the Arts District has been at the forefront of the revival of the city center. The arts have been an integral part of the growing appeal of Benton Harbor, and new businesses and restaurants keep adding to the burgeoning excitement.
Dablon Vineyards & Winery: Snowshoes, Igloos & Fireside Fun
Have the winter doldrums? Then we have just the place to lift your spirits.
Five Fun Winter Date Ideas
- Erika Anthony
Looking for something new and fun to do together to get out of the house? We know dinner and a movie gets a little old after a while, and sometimes we forget about all of the fun things Southwest Michigan has to offer during winter. Check out these five ways to switch things up this season when you need winter date night ideas.
Go on a romantic Babymoon in Southwest Michigan
- Katie White
Most everyone is familiar with honeymoons — that post-wedding, romantic getaway for the bride and groom. But a Babymoon? Similar to a honeymoon, it is a special time for expectant parents to focus on each other before their bundle of joy arrives.
Thinking of taking one? Other Babymooner women say the second trimester is the best time to go. Those mid-three months are after your energy returns and before you're anchored by extra weight or keeping one eye on your due date.
One of the best year-round destinations for an unforgettable Babymoon is Southwest Michigan. This couples' paradise has lodging within walking distance of Lake Michigan beaches, vibrant lake resort towns, lip-smacking eats and shops brimming with gifts for you and the baby.
While there are many choices of where to base from in and around the City of St. Joseph. Southwest Michigan hoteliers and innkeepers treat guests right and several sites are walkable to nearby attractions, shopping, art galleries and an eclectic collection of restaurants. If you're watching your pre-baby budget, consider weekday stays in the summer or weekends in the spring, fall or winter. You can check what's available and make reservations directly with the "Book a Room" feature on this site.
Most doctors encourage expectant mothers to walk 30 minutes or more a day. This corner of Michigan is a gorgeous place to burn calories. Jean Klock Park is along Lake Michigan in Benton Harbor (less than 10 minutes north of downtown St. Joseph hotels). It's one of the least crowded Southwest Michigan beaches.
Here you can climb up the observation tower and marvel at the vastness of this Great Lake. Or take a romantic walk south along the shore's edge until you reach Tiscornia Park and continue out to the picturesque St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouse (tours are available in the warmer months). If you plan your visit near sunset, stay to watch. Those crimson and gold skies are beautiful in all four seasons.
From Jean Klock Park, you can also access the 12-mile Harbor Shores Nature & Fitness Trails. The six loops are open year-round to the public and include scenic views of Lake Michigan, the Paw Paw and St. Joseph Rivers and wildlife viewing. There are benches to rest along the way, plus restaurants on the resort property or in the Benton Harbor Arts District that are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner — with several locally sourced ingredients, organic, vegan and vegetarian options on their menus.
If you like to play golf, the public 18-hole Harbor Shores Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course is next to Jean Klock Park. It biennially hosts the KitchenAid® Senior PGA Championship. Other area courses offer a range of challenges and you usually can get your choice of tee times. Learn more.
Looking to save dollars? Disk golf is another way to do your fitness steps and have fun. You can rattle the chains at Dr. T.K. Lawless County Park, Madeline Bertrand County Park and, if you camp, at South Haven’s Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort.
It will take more schedule juggling to have twosome time after the baby comes, so carve out time together outdoors now. You can launch your kayak, canoe or SUP in several locations throughout Southwest Michigan for a romantic paddle between sunrise and sunset. Rentals are also available from Third Coast Paddling on the Paw Paw and Galien Rivers and at Silver Beach County Park. Doe-Wah-Jack Canoe Rental provides canoe and kayak rentals for trips on the Dowagiac River.
If you don’t bring your bikes, stop by Scooter Joe’s Wheel & Water Rentals in downtown St. Joseph. It’s open in the warm season and offers street-legal golf carts to bike surreys, bicycles, kayaks, Lily Pads, pontoon boats and beach wagons for towing your beach gear.
Want to keep it ultra-simple? Take a scenic, relaxing walk. Southwest Michigan has miles upon miles of trails for hiking and, in winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Downtown St. Joseph’s sidewalks take you through pleasant Victorian-era neighborhoods — many homeowners decorate for the holidays.
For more information, download these two guides: Paddle Sports Water Trail Guide and Hiking, Biking and Cross-Country Skiing Trail Guide.
Southwest Michigan hosts many festivals, music performances and events throughout the year. Silver Beach County Park, below St. Joseph’s bluff, offers seasonal swimming and fishing, as well as natural ice and sand art during the winter. Below the bluff, you also can visit the magnificent Silver Beach Carousel featuring 48 hand-carved, hand-painted figures and two chariots (one wheelchair accessible) that you can ride for low-cost tokens. (You’re never too old to ride it.) The Brass Ring Gift Shop is a good place to look for gifts for the baby, you or the grandparents.
Across the street, Whirlpool Centennial Park and Compass Fountain operate May through September. Eight cannons shoot water 35 feet up and 75 feet out for a playful time together. Wear clothes that can get wet and bring a beach towel. There’s no charge to enjoy it. You can find the schedule here.
Next, walk up the bluff using the nearby stairs or ramp or rack up more steps by heading north from the fountain to Lions Park Beach. There you can wind your way up the bluff on the John and Dede Howard Family Recreational Trail. Once at the top, stroll through the shaded Lake Bluff Park, reading the signs near the monuments and statues.
Do you still need to talk about baby names or read your pile of “having a baby” magazines or books? Snag one of the park’s two-seater bench swings and rock and rock. The view of Lake Michigan is breathtaking. The time together, priceless.
The annual Creative Connections game is a fun way to earn artsy prizes while taking in the arts and culture of Southwest Michigan. Use your time together to take an art class to make something for your baby, visit a gallery to pick out a painting for the nursery, listen to a concert, watch a play or step back in time at a museum. You’ll go home inspired and refreshed.
If you're Babymooning in late spring through autumn, there are bushels of orchards, farms and markets to visit in the area. Stover's Farm Market & U-Pic offers an idyllic country experience with u-pick seasonal fruits, pumpkins and a picnic area where you can enjoy goods from their farm market. Be sure to take home some cider! If you aren't able to pick fruits and vegetables, there is just-picked produce available in their Big Red Barn, too. Read our Harvest Guide.
Another fun place to visit is Arclight Brewing Company in Watervliet. Open seven days a week, you can bring food or order in delivery while you're there. Dad can enjoy their signature craft beers while mom sips their handcrafted carbonated sodas. They use real orange juice to make the orange soda and grate their own ginger to make their ginger ale. Cane sugar gives each soda variety its sweetness.
Part of the nesting instinct is gathering up baby things. This area offers blocks of downtown shops, lakeshore boutiques and galleries, plus indoor and strip malls with brand-name stores. Browse for shower gift ideas, pick up a childhood favorite book from a local bookseller, Snapchat pictures of "must-have" outfits, toys and nursery décor to almost-Grandma or, better yet, just buy them. You'll find things for "mom and dad" in the shops, too. Where to shop.
It's not a proper getaway if the two of you can't brag about the delicious food you experienced in Southwest Michigan's restaurants. Many of the chefs use local, organic produce, poultry and meats to concoct tantalizing recipes. Several locations offer beautiful views of Lake Michigan from their indoor or outdoor seating.
When you crave ice cream, even if it's sans dill pickles, there are many places to get a scoop or two, often in a just-made, still-warm waffle cone. Several of the area's ice cream shops stay open all year — that's because in Southwest Michigan locals crave ice cream, pregnant or not, all the time!
Pack your bag and Babymoon soon
Wherever you go on your Babymoon in Southwest Michigan, you will discover a perfect getaway. So, pack your bag (it'll be good practice for the near future) and enjoy your just-the-two-of-you time. It'll be a great prelude to when you return to Southwest Michigan with your bigger family to enjoy all the kid-friendly activities we offer, too!
St. Joseph ice skating at the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena
Ice skating is a classic winter activity for the whole family to enjoy. It is great exercise that works nearly every muscle group in the body and once you learn the basics, it can be a fun, invigorating hobby. In St. Joseph, the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena is your destination for a fun winter skate while catching up with family and friends. At 2414 Willa Drive, this state-of-the-art facility and its friendly staff make this the perfect arena for those learning to skate, families and experienced skaters looking for a relaxing time on the ice.