Top 5 Autumn Activities in Saugatuck/Douglas
There’s lots to do in Saugatuck/Douglas all year round, but fall is an especially special time to visit. From traditional autumn activities like apple picking and color tours to more creative ones like gallery walks and libation tours – spending time in Saugatuck/Douglas in the fall is an experience you’re sure to enjoy.
1. Fall Color Tour – Saugatuck Style
Taking a drive to see the fall colors is a popular Michigander tradition, but in Saugatuck/Douglas, we do color tours a little differently than the rest of the state. One of the most popular ways to see the colors around here is on the water. The Star of Saugatuck offers rides along the Kalamazoo River and into Lake Michigan, giving guests a view of the Saugatuck/Douglas colors that you can’t see from land.
For the active color-seekers, Saugatuck/Douglas offers many opportunities to experience the magic of a Michigan fall. Hiking through the 13 miles of Saugatuck Dunes State Park that lead into acres of rolling dunes is an amazing way to see the colors and get some exercise. For a more romantic color tour, try walking our world-renown Oval Beach for a view of the colors along the lakeshore. Finally, what’s more refreshing than a fall bike ride through the colors? Ride along the 11-mile bike route that stretches from Saugatuck to Holland along the side of 62nd Street, 138th Avenue, 64th Street and Blue Star Highway.
2. Apple Picking/Cider Drinking
If you’re from the Midwest, you know that a visit to the local apple orchard is a must. Here in the Saugatuck/Douglas area, we live among a 30 mile stretch that is considered Michigan’s “Fruit Belt,” where apples and pumpkins are plentiful in the fall.
At Crane Orchards, getting the chance to pick your own fruit (u-pick) is only one of the fun fall outdoor activities to take part in. Their 20-acre corn maze is fun for the entire family, as well as a tour of the Crane farm, orchards and woods on a tractor driven hayride, or a cow train for the kids to enjoy. The Saugatuck Center for the Arts also hosts a farmer’s market every Friday, which sells local produce and goods through the end of September, a great place to get local apples or cider!
3. Experience the Arts
The arts are woven into the fabric of the Saugatuck/Douglas community and can be found at every turn throughout the entire year, but the autumn season is always accompanied by annual community arts events that shouldn’t be overlooked!
If you like live music, the Saugatuck/Douglas area is a year-round haven for local musicians, but during the fall months, venues like Salt of the Earth, Fenn Valley Vineyards, Crane’s Pie Pantry & Restaurant, Borrowed Time, and Saugatuck Center for the Arts hosts local, regional and nationally known musicians.
For live performance, theater, video and community arts events, the Saugatuck Center for the Arts is a venue that is known for bringing in Broadway level productions and nationally known live music. This year, you’ll find shows like ART Á LOAN September 13, where artwork from Saugatuck Public School students can be leased to area businesses, The Judy Show on October 5, Royal Wood on October 13, the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who was named “Songwriter of the Year” by iTunes, and a viewing of “Instant Dreams,” a documentary by Willem Baptist on October 19.
If you’re a fan of visual art, galleries across Douglas and Saugatuck will be open for viewing, but a few special events make it worth the trip! On October 6 & 7, The Saugatuck/Douglas Fall Gallery Stroll is a yearly local favorite featuring dozens of galleries, special receptions, live music, drinks, demonstrations and more throughout Saugatuck and Douglas. If you want to see the colors in conjunction with artwork, join the Blue Coast Artists Tour, on October 6 & 7 to visit eight studios that are situated between South Haven, Saugatuck and Fennville.
4. Take a Beverage Tour
The Saugatuck/Douglas/Fennville area is rich with a great collection of wineries, breweries and cideries, all within our community borders. Let the drinks lead the way!
Start your libation tour in Fennville with a glass of crisp, European-style apple cider at Virtue Ciders, and then hop across the road to Fenn Valley Vineyards for some classic Michigan wine. While in Fennville, be sure to stop by Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant & Winery for a snack and more wine.
When heading back to Douglas, Saugatuck Brewing Company is your next stop for some craft beer before heading to Saugatuck to stop at some in-town tasting rooms like Tabor Hill Wine Port, Fenn Valley Tasting Room, Coppercraft Distillery Tasting Room, Crane’s Tasting Room, Ridge Cider Co. Tasting Room, and The Mitten Brewing Company.
5. Festivals/Parades/Special Events
Part of what makes Saugatuck/Douglas the charming, quaint small town that it is, is its unique local events. Below is a list of some of our favorite fall events happening in our region:
o Vine Wine’d Trail Run @ Fenn Valley Vineyards (Oct. 6, 10-noon)
o Saugatuck Ghoulfest @ Wick’s Park in Downtown Saugatuck (Oct. 6 @ 11 a.m.)
o Annual Chili Cook-off @ Wick’s Park in Downtown Saugatuck (Oct. 7, 1-5 p.m.)
o Glow in the Park @ Downtown Saugatuck (Oct. 26, 6-9:30 p.m.)
o Saugatuck’s Annual Halloween Family & Pet Parade @ Wick’s Park in Downtown Saugatuck (Oct. 27, 3:30 p.m.)
o Douglas Halloween Parade for Adults @ Downtown Douglas (Oct. 27, 9:30 p.m.)