Accessible Art Coast
Saugatuck/Douglas prides ourselves in being a welcoming area to all, and that includes our visitors with disabilities. If you’re wondering about the places in The Art Coast that are wheelchair-friendly, we’ve gathered some helpful information here to help you get around and enjoy the area with ease.
Vacations are intended to be relaxing, but planning a trip to a new place can be stressful when you need to navigate it via a wheelchair. Here are some of our recommended accessible locations and activities to help you make the most of your visit to The Art Coast.
Convenient and comfortable hotels such as the Best Western Plaza Hotel in Saugatuck and the AmericInn Lodge & Suites in Douglas offer ADA-accessible rooms along with other amenities such as a swimming pool. If you’re looking to stay in the heart of downtown Saugatuck close to all the action, we recommend the contemporary Milano Suite at the Bella Vita Spa + Suites. For a coastal vibe with a waterfront view, book a stay in the Hudson at Old Pike Cottages. This private, completely accessible two-bedroom cottage is within walking/rolling distance to Saugatuck shops, galleries, restaurants, and parks. For a relaxing haven away from it all, plan a stay at Cottage #6 at the DollyBrook Resort, situated on 40 acres of beautiful land. Along with the ADA-accessible cottage that comfortably sleeps 8, this charming property features a pool with a lift and an easy-to-navigate ramp that provides access to the fire pits and picnic tables.
To experience the unique charm of a Bed & Breakfast, the J. Paules Fenn Inn in Fennville is a peaceful and quiet country retreat featuring lovely gardens and fountains where you can simply relax. For die-hard foodies or those looking for the ultimate romantic setting, the Wickwood Inn is a charming B&B in downtown Saugatuck. Owned by best-selling Silver Palate cookbook author Julee Rosso, guests will delight in the inn’s complimentary farm-to-table breakfasts, afternoon sweets, and evening Sips & Small Plates.
One of the many things that make Saugatuck/Douglas such a spectacular place to visit is the abundance of natural beauty surrounding our charming coastal towns. Renowned for its beautiful sweep of shoreline and backdrop of rolling dunes, Oval Beach is a must-see for every visitor. Recognized as one of Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 25 Beaches in the World, National Geographic Traveler’s Top Freshwater Beaches in the USA, and MTV’s Top 5 Beaches in the USA, this beach features easy parking, ADA-accessible bathrooms, and one beach wheelchair for use. A boardwalk extends toward the water, allowing visitors in wheelchairs smooth access along the beach.
Explore the Kalamazoo River, Lake Kalamazoo, and the shoreline of Lake Michigan on a 90-minute narrated cruise aboard the Star of Saugatuck, an authentic sternwheeler paddleboat. This vessel can accommodate wheelchairs up to 27” in total width. Board via a gangplank, and the staff will place a ramp over the few short steps to get your wheelchair to the lower level. For visitors who are able to transfer from a wheelchair, attractions such as Retro Boats and the Saugatuck Dune Rides can provide assistance with getting you onboard their vehicles and store your chair until you return.
Art and culture lovers can experience an exciting array of live performances, art exhibitions, and seasonal markets at the highly accessible Saugatuck Center for the Arts. In the mood to purchase some art? Take a gallery roll through Roan & Black, Armstrong DeGraaf International Fine Art, and J. Petter Galleries to see examples of fine art from local and national artists. If getting hands-on is more your speed, Express Yourself Art Barn has accessible areas in the main site and back porch where you can fuse glass, make mosaics, paint ceramics or wood, string beads, and more.
Sample award-winning wines from estate-grown and locally harvested grapes grown at the four wineries that call this area home. Our wineries, which include Michigan Wine Co., Crane’s Winery, Fenn Valley Vineyards and Winery, and Modales Wines, all feature tasting rooms that are accessible. If craft beer is what you’re craving, go on a craft beverage tour, making sure to stop at Saugatuck Brewing Company, Guardian Brewing Company, Waypost Brewing Co., and the Mitten Brewing Company. These four independently-owned craft breweries are all accessible and serve phenomenal beers for you to enjoy.
Brush up on your culinary skills and attend a demonstration cooking class at Isabel’s Market + Eatery. This accessible European-style specialty market is a warm, vibrant venue you’ll want to thoroughly explore. Cooking classes include hearty samples of each dish for participants to enjoy along with a glass of a perfectly paired wine, beer, or cocktail. Or, if you’re looking for some retail therapy, simply shop ‘til you drop at the variety of stores in downtown Douglas and Saugatuck, which are ADA compliant, including Upscale Mercantile, Lulu Cadieux, and Coastal Society.
Food lovers, rejoice, as there are many, many accessible restaurants in The Art Coast. For breakfast/brunch, try Respite Cappuccino Court or Vicki’s Diner in Douglas, Pumpernickels and Pennyroyal Café and Provisions in Saugatuck, and Root Café in Fennville. Some of our favorites lunch spots include the Farmhouse Deli in Douglas, Baldy’s Smoked Meats and Scooters Café and Pizzeria in Saugatuck, and El Jaripeo in Fennville. For dinner, check out Everyday People Café and Borrowed Time in Douglas, Salt of the Earth in Fennville, and Butter and Whiskey, The Trap, Taverna Rossa, The Southerner, and The Mermaid in Saugatuck. For a full listing of local accessible restaurants, see our list here.
Parking for the Saugatuck/Douglas area primarily consists of street parking. If you’d prefer to avoid the hassle, try out the Interurban, a wheelchair-accessible demand-response bus system that charges only $.50 for persons with disabilities. The Interurban offers curb to curb service, meaning they will pick you up and drop you off anywhere within their service area. To reserve a ride throughout our region when staying in town, call 269.857.1418.