Why South Haven, MI is a perfect Family Summer Vacation Spot

The crashing of the waves, wind gently blowing your hair, sand tickling your toes, ah, a day at the beach! We used to pile the kiddos and all our crap into the SUV and travel 13 hours crammed together, stopping every hour on the hour for “potty breaks” (because when you have a newly potty trained kiddo who says they have to “go” you go!) all to enjoy a few days on a beach ridden with jellyfish and shark infested water.  That is until my parents started our annual Family Retreat. The destination, Lake Michigan, and boy were we pleasantly surprised by this beautiful body of water that’s salt, jellyfish & shark free and it just so happens to be a fraction of the drive. That was the year we finally said, peace out to the Atlantic Ocean, and found our new favorite body of water, Lake Michigan, which has rightfully earned its title Great Lake!


The Lake Michigan Coastline has no shortage of beaches. In the past we’ve enjoyed staying at different rental properties in Grand Haven and Douglas, Michigan. This year, for our 7th Annual Family Retreat we stayed in South Haven, MI. And the rental house we stayed at was perfect! It accommodated all of us…my parents, brother and sister-in-law, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and my brood. And the location, omg, it was superb! It was literally a couple blocks down from the beach, and the church, shops, and restaurants were all within walking distance…including the ice cream parlor 😉 But I’m getting ahead of myself, here’s the reasons why South Haven, Michigan is a perfect Family Summer Vacation Spot.


Why South Haven, Michigan is a perfect Family Summer Vacation Spot

1.Awesome Beach Rentals

There’s literally a house, cabin, condo, etc. that can accommodate whatever your needs are…a romantic getaway for two, couples weekend, family vacation, multi-family vacay, family retreat, you name it and there’s a dwelling near a beach that probably also has some sweet amenities. Check out, South Haven on Lake Michigan for a list of beach rentals.

Here’s a quick tour of our Beach Rental….a couple of the bedrooms are included out of respect for those staying in them at the time.






Mama doesn’t have to take any dirty clothes home and I was able to do laundry mid-week which meant we didn’t have to pack as much clothing!






2. Endless activities for families

There’s the obvious one, swimming! The lake is amazing, one day there’s huge waves to jump and the next it’s so calm, quiet, and peaceful, perfect for paddle boarding or kayaking.

Outpost Sports -rent bikes and paddles

SoHa Surf Shop-rent kayaks & paddleboards

Saugatuck Dune Rides 



There’s also fishing, canoeing, tubing….dune rides, horseback riding, you name it and chances are South Haven or a place in close proximity offers it!




3. Location, location, location!!!

Did I mention we were close to EVERYTHING?! It felt nice not having to get in the car each time we wanted to eat at a restaurant, go shopping, grab coffee, get ice cream, eat pizza on the beach 🙂 etc.







4. Perfect Sunsets

Like clockwork, when 9PM rolled around everyone came out of their rentals and strolled down to the beach to behold one of the most beautiful sunsets ever, literally, every sunset we saw seemed for vibrant, more beautiful, and magnificent than the last.








5. Splash Pad

As if the sand, waves, & water weren’t enough, there’s also a fun splash pad for the kiddos!







Make Meals FUN

When vacationing with other families take turns making meals, or better yet, take turns going on an adventure each evening! Have each family choose a country’s cuisine to share and assign them their day ahead of time so they can plan the decorations, food, and music ahead of time. This year we traveled to Japan, Italy, the Polynesian Islands, America, & Mexico! We even had an apron ceremony at the end of each meal.












Have Rainy Day Activities/Activities to keep Kiddos Busy Throughout the Week 

Rain in the forecast? Just need to keep the kiddos busy while you repack the beach bag, do laundry, and/or want enjoy that second cup of coffee on the porch? Bring a bin full of arts and crafts, get it out at the beginning of the week and assign different “kits” and crafts to each kiddo letting them know they have until the end of the week to complete their projects for the Art Show. Then of course you need to take a half hour and have an Art Show that last day. Include refreshments and toast the magnificent artist and the epic week y’all had!!




SO what are you waiting for, book your next getaway as a couple, family vacay, retreat now! Is your school district starting school online…have laptop, have mask, will travel! Have you and your family vacationed in South Haven? I’d love to hear about your experience. Or perhaps you have a question about the post, South Haven, or taking a Family retreat? Please comment below, loves

2 thoughts on “Why South Haven, MI is a perfect Family Summer Vacation Spot

  • On behalf of the South Haven/Van Buren County Convention & Visitors Bureau, we would like to thank you for the wonderful blog that promotes our city. It is a pleasure reading about how families spend their time during their trips to South Haven, and we are happy to see you and your family enjoyed the many different activities that our area has to offer! Please let us know if you plan to make it to our area again – we would be happy to welcome you with a gift of thanks! (P.S. we shared your article on our Facebook “Visit South Haven” 😊)

    • It was my pleasure. We legit had THE BEST time in South Haven! Awwww, thank you…we had SO MUCH FUN we hope to be back in the next 3 weeks for one last vacay before school….I’ll keep you posted.

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