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Here’s How To Do South Haven Along Michigan’s Sunset Coast

One of my favorite beach towns along Michigan’s Sunset Coast is South Haven. I love this town so much that we got married there, atop a bluff, with the sounds of Lake Michigan’s waves for accompaniment. But there’s more to do in South Haven than get married (whew!). It’s a quintessential Michigan beach town, with plenty of shopping, good eats, great coffee shops, the National Blueberry Festival, the Michigan Maritime Museum, and two wide, expansive, and clean sandy beaches.

South Haven revolves around the water, being right on Lake Michigan, and flanking both sides of the Black River. On the north side, you have the Michigan Maritime Museum and its tall ship, Friends Good Will, which goes out at sunset every night, as well as for other lake cruises. On the south side, there’s a boardwalk that goes from downtown to the beach, as well as shopping and restaurants.

Tall ship south haven at sunset. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast

 

Here’s how to do South Haven…

First: ice cream (of course!). Just west of the highway is Sherman’s Dairy Bar, which celebrated its 100th anniversary this summer. It will be difficult to choose a flavor, because there are so many great ones. Such hardship…now you’re fortified!

rooftop cows, shermans dairy, south haven. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast

Then head up the road to downtown, park, and explore – there are restaurants and shops galore. You can stock up on beach toys, Lake Michigan-themed clothes and gifts, fudge, wine, blueberry items at the blueberry store, and more.

beach shack snacks. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast

Once you’ve eaten and shopped to your heart’s content, head to either beach for some swimming and a gorgeous sunset. On both north and south beach, there are small snack shacks with restrooms to change in. They will close around 9-9:30pm in the summer, before sunset has finished. If you want to change back out of your swimsuit before you leave, be sure to do so while they are still open. If you still have energy after sunset, check out showtimes at the historic movie theater downtown.

Heading into downtown, on the way to the beach. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast
Heading into downtown South Haven

Hit the Beach(es)

North Beach:

This beach is longer than South Beach, and has a locals’ only vibe. There is a setup for volleyball, but most people swim, picnic, and hang out here. The water is slightly warmer than on South Beach. If you like to walk, this is the beach to do so. It’s very long, and the coastline curves pleasingly. Further north, there are two city beaches, about a block apart, and 4-5 blocks north of North Beach.

South Beach:

Most people go to South Beach, for several reasons. There’s the boardwalk from downtown, of course. You can fish from the pier, and swim in the lee of the pier – the sandbar is quite near to the shore. Your kids will love the play structure, and there are a few picnic tables and a roofed pavilion near the bathrooms. But perhaps the highlight of South Beach is the ability to walk the pier. The lighthouse at the end is a gathering point for people, boat, and wave watching. When the sun sets and the pier lights come on, make your way back to shore, along with the many boats coming in from a day on the big lake. If you’re an early morning person, there is yoga on the beach here.

south beach. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast
Pier & lighthouse at South Beach

 

Places to eat downtown include:

 

Clementine's, South Haven
Clementine’s
Idler Riverboat at Old Harbor Village. From Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast
Idler Riverboat at Old Harbor Village

Coffeeshops:

 

For more information about South Haven:

http://www.michiganmaritimemuseum.org/

http://www.southhaven.org/

https://www.instagram.com/visitsouthhaven/

 

Pin for later:

Here's How To Do South Haven Along Michigan's Sunset Coast

 

Jessie Voigts has a PhD in International Education, has lived and worked in Japan and London, and traveled around the world. She’s published six books about travel and intercultural learning, with more on the way. Jessie is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, and is passionate sharing the world through her site, Wandering Educators. She founded and directs the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program, teaching teens all around the world. She is based in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Wandering Educators

 

 

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The Restaurants We Crave When We Return Home To Minneapolis-St. Paul

food photo Jeni Eats

Jeni of JeniEats is sharing some of her favorites restaurants in the Minneapolis- St. Paul, Minnesota area. Thanks Jeni for sharing your passion with all of us!

Love it or hate it, your hometown will always be your hometown.

Jake and I love ours. We grew-up in Minneapolis-St. Paul and have since moved around the Midwest several times, in fact, for his job. The Twin Cities will always be our home base. On the surface, Jake and I don’t have a lot in common. He’s a die-hard Vikings fan and I consider Top Chef to be my Superbowl; He prefers talk radio and I like music. What we’ve always had in common is our passion for food.

Now that we live in St. Louis, we don’t visit the Twin Cities as often as we used to. Many restaurants have come and gone since we moved six years ago. When we’re craving a taste of home, we tend to return to our old favorites. Here’s where you might find us on our next trip back:

Broders’ Cucina Italiana
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When I was a new college grad, I used to work at Broders’ Cucina Italiana. Employees were encouraged to try everything and everything tasted good. We even got a meal credit during each shift and sometimes took home leftover pizza at the end of the night. Still, I never got sick of the food and crave it to this day. When we were dating, I took Jake to Broders’ to share some of my favorite dishes. He got hooked and we love treating our family to meals here.

You can buy pizza by the slice here, but we suggest ordering a whole pie. You’ll want leftovers. Our typical order includes the Eggplant Special Pizza topped with red bell peppers, sweet caramelized onions, goat cheese, herbs, and roasted eggplant, plus some punchy black olive spread (Olivata Nera), and a big green salad. My favorite is the Greek salad loaded with fresh vegetables, feta, and chickpeas and served with a homemade lemon vinaigrette, but the Emilia Salad which includes prociutto, pine nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette is also a favorite.

Before you pay at the counter, choose a dessert. You’ll find Italian cookies and scratch-made pastries like seasonal cheesecake slices, flourless chocolate cake, and fruit tarts. Dine-in, call ahead for carry-out or, if you’re not to far away, request delivery.

Bangkok Thai Deli

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Back when we first visited Bangkok Thai Deli, it was located in the back of a small Asian grocery store. Now, you’ll find the restaurant in its own building along the same stretch of University Avenue near the St. Paul Capitol.

Dine in or take-out, it’s your choice. Some foods are best enjoyed on the spot. For example, you’ll want to dig into whole deep-fried tilapia doused in a sweet and spicy tri-flavor sauce while the skin’s still crisp. Our typical order usually includes something new and our favorite chicken pad thai, grilled beef salad, and red or green curry. Another favorite dish is the Chinese eggplant with shrimp and ground pork.

Taqueria Los Ocampos
There are several locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul but we usually go the one in Seeger Square on Arcade because it’s near my in-laws’. Our standard order includes a variety of tacos including al pastor, tongue, cecina beef and spicy ground beef. In Mexican street-style tacos style, they’re served in double tortillas and garnished with cilantro, lime, shaved radish, and onion. Los Ocampos makes these delicious, spicy salsas that are almost creamy. Jake prefers the red and I prefer the green. If you like heat, you’ll want to ask for extra.

Also notable and delicious are homemade corn tortilla dishes like gorditas, huaraches, and sopes. If you order a quesadilla, you’ll see how they press the dough onto the griddle before adding your choice of fillings. Taqueria Los Ocampos is open late, making it the perfect place to go when you need a late night snack. It’s one of the best, affordable feasts and some of our favorite tacos we’ve enjoyed anywhere.

There’s a restaurant in the Twin Cities for every mood and food preference. For the best way to find your new favorite, don’t hesitate to ask a local. Twin Cities residents love to share their favorite spots. 

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