South Haven, Michigan



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Places: South Haven, Michigan

South Haven was the first stop on our 2007 cruise. After crossing Lake Michigan from Chicago, we stayed at the South Municipal Marina for several nights in early August.

Whether traveling by boat or by car, when in South Haven during the summer months we like to eat at the outdoor restaurants that overlook the river. This time we stopped at Captain Lou's. It's located beside the bridge, so there's a lot of activity (boats, pedestrians, cars) to watch while eating.

South Haven also has a nice farmer's market. The area is under cover, so it's accessible even when the weather isn't perfect. We stocked up on fresh vegetables while there. We also bought some sunflowers, which spruced up Meridian nicely.

South Haven was also the last stop on the return leg of our 2007 cruise in late September, prior to crossing Lake Michigan back to Chicago. The town had changed substantially during the seven weeks we were away.

By late September there was a distinctly Autumn feel to the area. Not only were the sunsets spectacular, but the leaves were already starting to show color. And they were definitely falling from the trees as we biked along the Kal-Haven trail again. We enjoyed the Autumn stay just as much as our warm weather August visit. And, after having visited South Haven by car for at least the last fifteen years, we finally ate at Clementine's.

When in South Haven, the south marina (#2) places you much closer to the downtown area than the north marina (#1). While this makes it more convenient, it isn't quite as protected from the lake as the other marinas. When the wind is right, you can feel the effect of waves that roll in from Lake Michigan. They aren't really waves by the time they reach the marina though; they are more like really small swells that cause the water to slowly rise and fall. But they can definitely affect your boat at the slip.

During our September stay, Lake Michigan got pretty rough as a stiff breeze was blowing from the northwest. Waves started rolling up the Black River from the lake. By the time they reached the marina, the waves weren't very noticeable by looking at the water. But they moved Meridian around in her slip considerably. We joke that this was the only place on the trip where we almost got seasick.

Double click on the arrow to view the video of Meridian dancing in her slip on what appears to be a calm sunny day.

Blog entries from 2007:

Crossing Lake Michigan
South Haven, Michigan
Another Day in South Haven
Stopover in Muskegon
South Haven to Chicago

NOAA Online Charts:


General Info about South Haven:

Wikipedia entry
Chamber of Commerce


Thumbs up:

We stayed at the
Municipal Marina and had a good experience with All Season's Marine. They didn't have the right kind of trans fluid in stock, so they ordered it and had it delivered in 40 minutes.

We rode our bikes around South Haven and along the Kal-Haven trail. That's a good rail trail connecting South Haven with Kalamazoo. The Farmer's Market is easily accessible from the marina. We have eaten at Captain Lou's, which is casual outdoor dining by the river, and at Clementine's which is a local institution with excellent food. We had ice cream at the
South Bend Chocolate Cafe and baked goods at Golden Brown Bakery.