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New Buffalo Travel Guide:

Visit New Buffalo, Michigan

Longing for the relaxation of a quiet Lake Michigan beach?

Eager to explore a quaint Michigan beachtown with a laid-back, small-town vibe?

If so, put beautiful New Buffalo, MI in Berrien County on your travel list today.

We’ve been visiting New Buffalo and the Harbor Country our entire life and want to tell you: there is something special about this hidden little beachtown, tucked away snug of the shores of Lake Michigan.

From the moment you exit the expressway (it’s just off I-94, if that’s how you choose to come), you can’t help but take a deep breath and feel the magic, like a soft lake breeze that sweeps over your entire being.

It’s true.

We’re sharing some of the best of New Buffalo, including our favorite spots to stay, play, eat and beach.

Psss…we’ll let you in on a secret: our mother-in-law, a Chicago-to-Michigan transplant, spent her summers on the New Buffalo beaches, and swears they are the best in the world!

Read on to discover the best things to do in New Buffalo, MI.

About New Buffalo, MI

The beach town of New Buffalo, located in Michigan’s Harbor Country, is a top Lake Michigan vacation destination, and for good reason: miles of beaches to explore, friendly people and so many things to do.

Loaded with many fun outdoor things to do and an equal number of spas, stores and restaurants to be explored, charming New Buffalo is the perfect spot for your Michigan getaway.

It’s a unique Michigan beach town, but you’ll pick up on its one-of-a-kind vibe right away, and want to explore everything about this coll little spot.

For generations, beach-goers from around the world have long-sought the area’s wide-open beaches and resort-town atmosphere.

Best news? It’s conveniently located within an easy hour-and-a-half’s driving distance to Chicago.

Although it’s set on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, and surrounded by the lush, rolling hills of nearby farms and vineyards, it’s still close enough to downtown Chicago to obtain a bit of urbane sophistication.

Explore New Buffalo

New Buffalo’s cool, casual style is evident in the area’s vibrant arts and culture scene, as well as the variety of restaurants and shops featuring everything from farm-to-table cuisine to gourmet markets, distilleries, and spas.

Four Winds Casino, featuring five restaurants and a luxury hotel, is also in New Buffalo, a draw for vacationers year-round.

Yet, it’s truly the natural setting that brings the area to life: winding rivers to paddle; sprawling natural areas to hike and bike and, of course, the soft, silky sand of Lake Michigan beaches.

New Buffalo is a Michigan beachtown you won’t want to miss.

Yet, it’s truly the natural setting that brings the area to life: winding rivers to paddle; sprawling natural areas to hike and bike and, of course, the soft, silky sand of Lake Michigan beaches. New Buffalo is a Michigan beachtown you won’t want to miss. Read on to discover everything that New Buffalo has to offer visitors.

New Buffalo, MI is known for…

Close proximity to Chicago: just 70 miles from the city’s downtown, it’s a popular vacation spot for Chicagoans.

Located off of Exit 1 on the much-traveled “Chicago-to-Michigan” route, it’s often called “The Gateway to Michigan.”

The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, one of Michigan’s five AVA’s (American Vitacultural Area).

These federally-designated areas wine regions produce a wide variety of award-winning wines.

The Galien River, which intersects with Lake Michigan in a beautiful meeting of two well-known waterways.

The popular Galien River County Park features elevated walkways, perfect for exploring the area in its natural state.

An unforgettable beach town vibe created by fun and eclectic downtown shops; ready beach accessibility and friendly locals.

More than 16 miles of stunning beaches featuring stunning sunsets and sandy dunes, perfect for travelling with friends and family.

Warren Woods State Park, a rare climax forest featuring a silvery smooth beech maple standing up to 125’ high, is a popular spots for hiking under the tall trees.

New Buffalo, MI Weather

New Buffalo, MI weather is typical Michigan: cold and snowy in the winter and delightfully warm in the summer.

Expect temperatures to range from 70 F to 80 F during the day from June-September. During the summer months, mornings and evenings may be cooler; typically lower 70 – 60 F.

Welcome to Harbor Country

New Buffalo is the heart of this collection of eight Lake Michigan communities known as “Harbor Country,” just over the Indiana border and a short drive from downtown Chicago.

This Michigan City by the beach is a popular spot for weekend getaways, these charmingly upscale lakeside towns offer vacation fun in the form of music, art, food, beer and wine festivals, holiday parades, kayaking and even surfing on Lake Michigan.

Harbor Country communities include Union Pier, Michiana, Lakeside, Grand Beach, Harbert, Sawyer, Three Oaks and New Buffalo.

New Buffalo Beaches

The slate blue water and soft, warm sand of this Lake Michigan public beach make it perhaps the biggest attraction of New Buffalo.

From the shore, you can watch the sailboats’ little white triangles slowly make their way across the horizon and the foamy wake of the jet skis as they whiz by.

Summer isn’t the only beach season here, though. Autumn provides a more quiet, peaceful time at the beach with lots of room to enjoy the shoreline and some gentle, warm fall temperatures.

In winter, it’s fun to watch Lake Michigan freeze over into a vast winter wonderland, complete with frozen waves.

new buffalo

Sunsets in New Buffalo, MI

New Buffalo is located on the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone, and this means that this fun little beach town enjoys one extra hour of sunlight.

It’s the “cherry-on-top” for visitors: you have more time to frolic on the beach before you watch the colorful splash that the sun makes as it descends into Lake Michigan.

New Buffalo: FUN Michigan Beachtown

Shops in New Buffalo

New Buffalo’s charm extends beyond is downtown shopping area: this lakeshore community is surrounded by a vibrant arts and antiques scene, as well as boutiques bringing the latest in home goods and fashion.

The town’s wide main street, however, is lined with fun stores and cafes; ice cream and fudge shops and everything else needed to make a perfect resort town.

Take a walk, explore the neighborhood and wander along Whittaker Street and find these unique shops and fun spots:

Frolic This downtown boutique is such a fun spot to explore; watch for unique fashions and accessories as well as home goods and gifts.

One Cottage Way Check out this newer spot that features unique gifts and home goods in farmhouse style; this cute spot started with hand-painted signs and grew to a fun home goods stop on New Buffalo’s main drag.

Sweetwater Boating Supplies This fun stop in downtown New Buffalo is sure to have the gear you’ll need for a thrilling day of water sports.

Third Coast Surf Shop Shop the latest in surf and ski wear, and rent a kayak or paddleboard before you leave. Rentals come complete with life jackets and paddles….just add water.

New Buffalo Restaurants

Bentwood Tavern

From “Sushi Thursday” to “Tacos and Tequila”, this restaurant’s menu is vast and absolutely delicious – perfect for a tasty breakfast or a wood-fired pizza dinner.

Waterfront dining at its finest.

Brewster’s Italian Cafe

Handcrafted regional Italian in a cozy and comfortable setting; be sure and visit when you can sit outside on their beautiful patio area.

Milda’s Corner Market

This quaint little staple of New Buffalo boasts products from over 40 countries, like imported jams, chocolates and candies, Lithuanian ice cream, and Koldunai dumplings.

Oink’s Dutch Treat

“Beat the Heat” with a delicious scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt inside a thoroughly decorated, pig-themed ice cream shop.

The Stray Dog Bar and Grill

Step into this family-friendly atmosphere and dine on the finest burgers, tacos, and pizza that New Buffalo has to offer.

New Buffalo Bill’s Wood Fired BBQ

Bill Reynolds, the owner of this restaurant, claims mastery over the wood-fired BBQ, and his ribs, brisket, and pretty much anything you can barbecue, prove him right.

Terrace Room

Enjoy romantic fireside dining on the waterfront of Lake Michigan, while you’re served a variety of locally-sourced Italian dishes, including handmade pasta.

Beachside Scoops

A full-service ice cream shop on Whittaker near West Water Street, close to both the public beach and Oselka Marina

Copper Rock Steakhouse

Located in the nearby Four Winds casino, owned and operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, this is a lovely spot for a romantic dinner.

Journeyman Distillery

This organic spirits distillery, near New Buffalo in nearby Three Oaks, is located in a historic former corset factory.

Journeyman is one of the few certified organic & kosher distilleries in the country, and “production is truly grain to glass.”

Luisa’s Cafe

One of our best surprises was discovering this authentic Swedish bakery and cafe in Harbert serving fresh-made coffee cakes; breads and sweet rolls; biscotti and kolachki; cookies and donuts and more.

Would you believe they even have gluten-free options?

David’s Delicatessen and Coffee

A favorite spot for locals, this cheery spots serves up breakfast and lunch along with coffee, espresso and fresh-baked pastries.

They work with local farmers to bring fresh ingredients to their inspired food, so the menu changes regularly.

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail

As the largest of Michigan’s grape-growing regions, the southwest corner of the state is home to some of the best wineries in Michigan.

Located in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA ( American Viticultural Area), this wine region produces some of the most diverse wines in the state, thanks to the “lake effect” weather along the Lake Michigan coastal area.

Collectively, these southwest Michigan wineries make up the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, a cluster of wineries surrounded by endless Michigan vineyards, farms, and orchards.

This area extends from New Buffalo and north along the Lake Michigan shoreline to South Haven and inland to the Kalamazoo area.

Marked by the gently rolling hills of Michigan’s “Fruit Ridge,” this scenic area is dotted with sprawling farmland and quiet inland lakes.

Follow the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail north along the Red Arrow Highway through New Buffalo Township towards St. Joseph and discover more wineries.

The expansive variety of wines produced by the vineyards and wineries in this scenic corner of Michigan are diverse: you’ll find rich, full-bodied reds; light, sparkling whites and a variety of rich flavors that only Michigan grapes can create.

If you’re looking to do some wine tasting Michigan-style, consider wine tasting tours along this magnificent and bountiful wine trail.

Things To Do in New Buffalo, MI

Explore Galien River County Park

A vacation to New Buffalo Michigan wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Galien River.

Galien River County Park is the best place to find jaw-dropping views of the river and the 86-acre park that it weaves through.

It’s easy to traverse through the beautiful, grassy wetlands because of the elevated walkway provided for visitors. This way, you can see this unique picture of nature up close and from above, when you reach the 60-foot tower overlooking the river.

If you’d rather be in the water than on top of it, get a kayak or paddle board from Third Coast Paddling, because there’s nothing quite like paddle boarding in New Buffalo on a beautiful sunny day.

PRO-TIP: If you’re really into paddle boarding or just starting to explore the world of SUP, check out our new Guide to Paddle boarding in Southwest Michigan for more spots to check out HERE.

Warren Woods State Park

Over 300 acres of natural area- abundant with wildflowers and and mature hardwood trees – await hikers in this quiet gem of a park just outside New Buffalo.

Not far from the Lake Michigan dunes, its a stunning place to visit any time of the year.

Warren Dunes State Park

First of all, it’s dog-friendly, so bring your pup along to enjoy the wide Lake Michigan shoreline.

This popular spot is a gem of the Michigan State Park system and features sand dunes that tower above the beach at more than 260 feet.

You don’t have to trek all the way to the top of the dunes for stunning views: the expansive shoreline provides beautiful Lake Michigan vistas and lots for room for splashing in the clear, blue water.

Ship and Shore Festival

With for this fun festival where food, music, beer, art, and Lake Michigan unite for three days of local festivities.

New Buffalo Harvest and Wine Festival

Open to all, this don’t-miss festival features food trucks, kids activities, and, of course, a plethora of wine, cider, and beer to taste.

Beer Church

This fun and funky brewery and pizzeria – set inside a Civil War era church is a must on any visit to the area.

It’s not just the delicious adult beverages, the amazingly comfortable setting or the charming beer garden that will have you wanting to come back as soon as you left: the Neapolitan-style pizza is simply delicious. You.Must.Try.It.

Trust us, it’s really THAT good.

Red Arrow Highway

Follows this historic highway that runs along the Lake Michigan shoreline and then heads to Kalamazoo. It was the main artery of New Buffalo travel before I-94 was built. A leisurely drive along this route is a perfect day trip from New Buffalo.

New Buffalo Railroad Museum

New Buffalo was once the hub of the Pere Marquette and Chessie railroad systems, and this fun museum celebrates New Buffalo’s railroad heritage and admission is FREE.

Stop by to tour a Chessie Box Car and Troop Pullman Sleeper Car and take a step back in time.

BEST Outdoor Activities in New Buffalo

Yes, there’s lots to do on land (hiking trails, biking trails, horseback riding at Stateline stables and more), but you’ll also find a lot of things to in New Buffalo on the water.

From boat tours and fishing charters to stand up paddleboarding and canoeing in New Buffalo, this is truly New Buffalo explored, and there are endless opportunities for outdoor fun.

Check out some more of our favorites spots:

  • New Buffalo Sailing Excursions
  • Harbor Country Adventures
  • Salmon Hunter Charters

Where to Stay in New Buffalo, MI

Lodging options in New Buffalo are abundant and are available at a wide-range of price points. Options range from elegant beach-front private homes to comfortable cottage and condominiums in town or in nearby areas.

In addition, there are many Bed and Breakfasts that operate year-round, as well as hotels and motels offering rooms.

If you’re looking for a New Buffalo hotel, the Four Winds Casino also offer luxury accommodations, as does the Harbor Grand on Water Street.

Local state parks and private campgrounds offer both camping sites and cabins for rent. Try these New Buffalo spots:

  • Gordon Beach Inn
  • The Harbor Grand Hotel
  • Lake Country Inn
  • Marina Grand Resort

About the Author
Kyrsten Newlon is a content writing and editing intern for Growing up in Kalamazoo, she wrote and read everything she could. Now, she is a student at Grace College with Journalism and Communications majors and an English minor. She has been published by Grace College, the Winona Lake Newsletter, Input Fort Wayne, and various online blogs. Kyrsten loves raising puppies to be service dogs, spending time in coffee shops, and adventuring through Michigan.