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Spend the Day in Saugatuck, Michigan


I can’t believe summer is winding down already, and we only have four weeks left of our Stay-cation ’11!

We were invited to participate in the Austin-Lehman Active Family Challenge, and we incorporated it into our stay-cation day last week.

We spent the day outdoors in Saugatuck, Michigan. Many of our adventures this summer involved getting outside and being active. What better way to enjoy the summer with two energetic boys?

We started the day with a ride across the Kalamazoo river on an old fashioned hand-operated chain ferry.

A what you ask? Well, the ferry is attached to a chain that’s anchored to the bottom of the river. The ferry operator cranks a winch that pulls the ferry across the river on the chain. Saugatuck claims to have the only chain ferry still in use in the United States. It was pretty cool to take a ride on this piece of history.

The boys on the boat.

We got off the ferry and took a walk along the river at a park on the other side.

The boys and I by the river.

We took the ferry back across the river, and drove over to Oval Beach to swim in Lake Michigan and play in the sand.

Oval Beach

I know I say this a lot, and I’m going to keep saying it because it’s true. Some of the best beaches in the country are right here in West Michigan.

David loves to swim.

Wades loves to play in the sand.

Right behind Oval Beach, between the river and the lake, are sand dunes. There is one dune that towers over all the rest called Mt. Baldhead. You can climb Mt. Baldhead to it’s 600 ft. peak. We decided not to because we had two year old Wade with us. There was no way he’d make it to the top without one of us carrying him. Have you ever climbed up a sand dune? It’s hard enough when you’re not carrying an extra 30 plus pounds. We’ll revisit Mt. Baldhead when Wade is a bit older.

We did play on some of the smaller dunes.

The boys took advantage of the playground equipment at the beach as well.

After that we hit the water one more time to cool off, then we went back into town and walked around downtown Saugatuck.

The boys at a sculpture park downtown.

We came across another playground while we downtown, and the boys stopped to play again.

David’s ideal vacation would be visiting every playground in the country.

We always try to discover a new restaurant on these stay-cation days, and we found a great one this time.

That’s right. The Hickory Pit. Southern-style BBQ in West Michigan. We love BBQ, and good BBQ is hard to find up here. This was delicious!

I love these Stay-cation days. It’s such a great way to spend time together as a family, learn something new about the area we live in and get some exercise.

If you’re looking for more than just a day away check out Austin-Lehman Adventures, one of the top five tour and safari operators in the world. They offer all-inclusive active family adventures in places all over the world including the Americas, Europe, Africa, South Pacific and the Middle East. Options for active vacations with ALA include hiking, river rafting, participating in cultural experiences and even Europe bike tours.

Since 1974 Austin-Lehman has been providing small group, family and solo travel with experienced guides and quality dining and accommodations. ALA focuses on providing unique experiences that go beyond that of typical tourists. They want their adventurers to really get to know their destination.

We’re Stay-cationing in West Michigan all summer long. It’s a great place to visit when it’s not snowing. Come back and see where we go next week!

Disclosure: This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. I was compensated for participating in the Austin-Lehman Active Family Challenge.

2 Responses to Spend the Day in Saugatuck, Michigan

  1. I’m in West Michigan, too 🙂 We do have some of the best beaches in the nation and I feel so lucky to live near them.

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