Make St Joseph Michigan Your Next Family Adventure
Looking for that quintessential Lake Michigan beach getaway for your family?
St. Joseph is more than just Silver Beach; this lakeshore town is worth the visit all year round with food, shopping, hiking and its own little piece of Michigan wine country.
Read on for things to do in this popular beach town in Southwest Michigan:
In this Article
11 Best Things to Do in St Joseph MI
While known for its beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline, this town offers more than sandcastles and water play. Find the ten best things to do in St Joe:
1 – Play the Day Away at Silver Beach
The vastness of the beach at St Joseph Michigan cannot be overstated. With seemingly unending sand and sun, it’s easy to see why so many people love Silver Beach.
Take a sandy seat near the pier you’ll love seeing the action of fisherman, and fun shells that wash up. Or settle further down the beach by the playground and swings.
It doesn’t matter which spot you choose to spend the day at Silver Beach. The lookout points are beautiful and the sidewalk trail will lead you through the mini-dune and dune grass.
|Silver Beach Center|
101 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085
P.S. Don’t forget to walk the pier!
|St. Joseph Pier Lighthouse|
St. Joseph North Pier, Saint Joseph, MI 49085
2 – Splash and Cool Off at Whirlpool Compass Fountain
This is one of those places you just have to experience for yourself. The fountain is on a spray cycle. Every so often, the water cycle starts again – first with small water action from the water cannons lining the perimeter, culminating in a majestic display of water art.
The pictures are awesome, yes, but actually being under this mega fountain is something hard to explain! It’s awesome, thrilling and fun for every age.
The Whirlpool Compass Fountain typically runs through the end of September but does undergo regular maintenance. Keep updated on its status on Facebook.
|Whirlpool Compass Fountain|
200 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085
3 – Take a Ride on the Silver Beach Carousel
It’s hard to pass up a spin on one of the 40+ hand-carved horses from the early 1900s.
The carousel offers variety of seating options with a variety of animals, both moving and stationary.
|Silver Beach Carousel|
333 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085
4 – Explore Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone
The Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone is located in the Silver Beach amusement park area of Silver Beach. It features traveling exhibits, a climbing tower lighthouse and a water table.
Visitor tip: Online reservations may be required for your visit and museum hours vary. Check their website before visiting.
|Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone |
333 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085
5 – Grab some Grub (Food & Coffee Favorites)
When you visit a place with a local and that local is a foodie, you’re in for a treat.
St. Joe is not lacking in delicious food, with offerings for all ages and tastebuds:
|Bound For Freedom|
404 State St, St Joseph, MI 49085
Gift shop/boutique spot with coffee and other beverages
|Cafe Tossi |
516 Pleasant St, St Joseph, MI 49085
Crepes and mouth-watering pastries
|Clifford’s Coffee Canal|
619 W Main St, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Rooftop view of the canal leading into Lake Michigan
174 W Main St, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
|Silver Harbor Brewing Company|
721 Pleasant St, St Joseph, MI 49085
|South Bend Chocolate Company|
300 State St, St Joseph, MI 49085
Chocolate, treats and coffee
5781 St Joseph Ave, Stevensville, MI 49127
Outdoor lawn games and family-style seating
6 – Eat at Silver Beach Pizza
This restaurant is so iconic it gets its own shoutout.
The famous Silver Beach Pizza is located in an old Amtrak depot at the beach. Their delicious food is so well known that wait times can be long during peak times; download the “NOWAIT” app to get on their waiting list.
|Silver Beach Pizza|
410 Vine St, St Joseph, MI 49085
7 – Shop the Unique Shops
The St. Joseph area is known for its shopping, including multiple thrift shop options. Stores are located throughout the downtown strip but also tucked away in the city.
Antique fans should visit during the Antiques on the Bluff events in the summer.
|Bound for Freedom|
404 State St, St Joseph, MI 49085
Artist-owned shop featuring unique items from all over the world
|ESS Resale Store|
205 W Main St, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
1523 Niles Ave, St Joseph, MI 49085
38 W Wall St, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Book store and gem-finding thrift shop
8 – Watch the Sunset
Is there anything like a Lake Michigan sunset? There are multiple places to watch the sunset along Lakeshore Drive in St. Joseph and along the Benton Harbor strips.
One of our favorite spots is at Lookout Park across the street from the Holiday Inn.
9 – Get Active with Hiking, Biking & Walking Trails
This area is not lacking in some of the most gorgeous Hiking, Biking & Walking Trails for Michigan families.
|Grand Mere State Park|
7337 Thornton Dr, Stevensville, MI 49127
|Sarett Nature Center|
2300 N Benton Center Rd, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
|Love Creek Nature Center|
9292 Huckleberry Rd #9736, Berrien Center, MI 49102
|Warren Dunes State Park|
12032 Red Arrow Hwy, Sawyer, MI 49125
|Jean Klock Park|
Jean Klock Blvd, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
10 – Enjoy Southwest Michigan’s Wine Country
The wine flows when you visit the St. Joseph area!
You’ll find local orchards, and wineries tucked throughout the area; many will let you pack a picnic to eat on their grounds.
Learn more about Southwest Michigan’s Wine Country.
11 – Visit the KRASL Art Center
Open since 1979, this museum is packed with art exhibits, classes, camps and workshops.
Visitor Tip: KRASL is open 7 days/week from April – December, and admission is FREE!
|KRASL Art Center|
707 Lake Boulevard, St Joseph, MI 49085
Where to Stay in St Joseph
this section includes affiliate links
St. Joe offers a variety of accommodations to meet all travelers needs. From VRBOs to traditional hotels to glamping, you can find all price points and amenities.
Find a St Joe Vacation Rental
When you book a St Joseph Michigan vacation rental, your family will have room to spread out. You will also be able to cook your own meals, and, if you’re lucky, find a few special amenities that hotel lodging doesn’t offer.
Find a St Joe Michigan Hotel
Hotels can come with their own perks for your vacation: many have pools on-site, breakfasts included with your room rate and rooms overlooking Lake Michigan.
Camping or Glamping at the KOA
Go Camping or Glamping at the Coloma / St. Joseph KOA Campground.
Deluxe cabins include a full-size bed, as well as a bunk bed in the bedroom. There was also a futon in the living room – it can sleep six, ideal for families needing extra space.
It has everything needed for a comfortable stay, including your own bathroom with shower, AC, utensils, and kitchen table.
Helpful appliances included a mini-fridge, coffee maker (with coffee), stovetop, mini television and hairdryer.
Along with rustic campsites, this KOA location also offers luxury camping tents!
KOA Campground Amenities
- Giant jumping pillow
- Beautiful pool and hot tub
- Playground, pond, horseshoes, gaga ball and nature trails
- Bucket train for kids
- An indoor clubhouse for less than perfect weather days, general store, basketball court, volleyball court, free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, & a dog park
- Banana bikes available for rent
- Special events are held on certain weekends throughout the summer and fall, including ice cream socials on the weekends
Map: Get Familiar with St Joe’s Layout
The streets of downtown St. Joseph are situated on a bluff overlooking the beach.
This is no ordinary beach here: as you walk down the bluff from Lakeshore Boulevard (or head down the ramp – accessible,) you’ll find yourself on one of the best beaches on Lake Michigan.
The stairs lead you directly in front of Silver Beach Pizza, the Curious Kids Museum, the Silver Beach Carousel, and the much-anticipated crowd-pleaser, Whirlpool Fountain.
Continue west a few feet and you’ll officially be on the sand. Silver Beach spans the entirety of the downtown length, providing lots of room for choosing your perfect spot for the day.
If you’d rather start on the sand instead of walking over from downtown, park your car at the bottom of the bluff in the Silver Beach parking lot for easy access to beachside fun.
Fall in love with St Joseph Michigan
So, are you ready for your St Joseph trip, or is St Joe already one of your go-to spots each year? If so, we’d love to hear from you.
Leave a comment letting us know what you love about the Berrien County area and what should be added to this list of greatness in one of the most beloved beach towns in Michigan.