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St. Joseph, MI Ultimate Travel Guide

st joseph mi

Discover St. Joseph, MI…

Did you know that Michigan has it’s own Riviera? It’s St. Joseph MI, located in a tiny corner of southwest Michigan on the sparkling shores of Lake Michigan.

The spot is St. Joe’s – known as the “Riviera of the Midwest” – where the beaches are so wide and gorgeous that visitors from around the county flock here for fun in the sun all summer long.

Perfect for a family vacation, romantic getaway or day trip, St. Joseph has some of the prettiest beaches along the Lake Michigan coastline, and a bustling beach town offering great shopping, dining and fun all year long.

It’s time to start planning your getaway to this Michigan beach town now.

st joseph mi

Visit St. Joseph

St. Joseph (Saint Joseph) is one of Michigan’s very best beach towns: think wide, sandy beaches within minutes from the center of a bustling downtown shopping district filled with quaint brick-lined streets.

Located at the mouth of the St. Joseph River, the deep-water harbor is a centerpiece of this resort town.

Routinely named as one of the top 10 beach towns, St. Joseph has all the ingredients for a perfect beach get-away.

A stunning setting with shady bluffs overlooking beautiful blue Lake Michigan? Check.

Lovingly-restored grand Victorian homes lining picturesque streets? Check.

A large marina full of impressive watercraft? Check.

Unique upscale shops and restaurants long a bustling Main Street? Check.

silver beach

Silver Beach and Tiscornia Beach

There’s also the much-loved Silver Beach, right in St. Joseph’s downtown, one of the most popular public beaches in Michigan.

This huge Broad Street beach on the Lake Michigan shoreline has been a favorite destination for tourists from all over the United States for over 100 years. Tiscornia Beach, which offers access to St. Joseph’s North Pier, also has a picnic pavilion on its sandy beach.

Visit this spot once and you’ll discover why Parents Magazine and others have named this spot a “Best Family Beach” time and time again.

st joseph mi

St. Joes: Michigan Vacation Destination

We love St. Joe’s simply because there’s so much to do and something for everyone.

Whiles it’s true that St. Joseph has an upscale beach town vibe (public art placed thoughtfully throughout the downtown; stylish boutiques; wineries and upscale restaurants) it’s also pleasant, inviting and quite charming (farmers markets; bookstores and toy shops and ice cream shops).

Families will love the full-service Silver Beach with its large children’s playground, splash pad (aka the Whirlpool Compass Fountain) and concessions.

You’ll also find kids museums, a shady Lake Bluff park, and a long pier with inner and outer lights that is perfect for a stroll- making this a winning spot for all vacation budgets.

Read on to discover more about this perfect Michigan beachtown.

St. joseph silver beach

About St. Joe’s MI

St. Joseph and its twin city, Benton Harbor, MI are more than just your average Michigan beach town.

There’s Lake Michigan college, a community college in Benton Harbor; and other educational institutions including museums and art galleries that make this a winning vacation destination.

St. Joseph, MI is known for…

  • A stunning sandy beach that is the perfect place to fall in love; it’s not rare to witness a lovely beach wedding against the backdrop of a sensational Lake Michigan sunset
  • Silver Beach Center, home to the Silver Beach Carousel that features 44 hand-carved lifelike horses – a favorite of visitors since 1910
  • Grand Mere State Park, a sprawling Michigan State Park on Lake Michigan featuring sand dunes with endless hiking trails lined with white pine, a cranberry bog and wide open Lake Michigan beaches
  • Lake Bluff Park overlooking Lake Michigan’s scenic harbor shores, featuring a bandshell and a war memorial
  • The Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff, a juried art fair and favorite summer event
  • St. Joseph, MI is vacation-land paradise for boaters: This picturesque deep water port on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the St. Joseph River is a must for water-lovers.
  • The harbor is located right downtown, within easy walking distance of the wide, sandy beaches and the charming downtown.
St. joseph silver beach

St. Joseph Weather

St. Joseph, 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.

st joseph mi

St. Joseph, MI Sunsets

The wide, silver sand beach and the long pier extending way out into Lake Michigan provide a stunning setting for nature’s dazzling evening show: the sunset.

Settle into a spot along the beach in the early evening and watch as the sun drops into the lake.

Best Beaches in St. Joseph, MI

St. Joseph is the Great Lakes coastline at its best: sand, fun and water and lots of it.

The wide, soft, sand sand beaches are some of the best in Michigan, with a wide variety from which to choose.

Whether it’s a quiet and secluded or a busily active beach you seek, St. Joseph has a beach for you.

Grand Mere State Park

Beach, ADA-Accessible Nature Trail, Swimming, Dog-Friendly, Hiking, Dunes, Picnic Shelter

Jean Klock Park Beach

Beach, ADA-Accessible Boardwalk, Swimming, Paved Parking, Volleyball Courts, Observation Tower, Pavilion, Bathhouse, Concession Area, Playground, Picnic Shelter

Lions Park Beach

Beach, ADA- Accessible Cement Pathway, Swimming, Shelters, Restrooms, Grills, Picnic Tables, Playground Equipment

Rocky Gap County Park

Beach, ADA-Accessible Hard Surface Beach Access Ramp, Swimming, Restrooms, Picnic Tables, Shelters, Benches, Parking

Silver Beach

Beach, Swimming, ADA-Accessible: Beach Wheelchairs, Barrier Free Walkways; Concession Stand, Restrooms, Outdoor Showers, Picnic Tables, Grills, Playgrounds, Kayak/SUP Rentals, Pavilions, Parking Lot, Volleyball Courts, Access to South Pier

Tiscornia Park Beach

Swimming, ADA-Accessible Sidewalk to Beach; Parking Fee, Restrooms, Food, Picnic area, Access to North Pier Lighthouses, Pavilion, Changing Rooms

Warren Dunes State Park

Beach, Swimming, ADA-Accessible: Two Beach Wheelchairs Available for Use; Dog-Friendly, Dunes, Picnicking, Sailboarding, Hiking, Hang-gliding, Rustic Campsites, Cabins

ADA accessible beaches in traverse city

ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in St. Joseph, MI

St. Joseph, MI does an excellent job of providing ADA and wheelchair accessibility to Lake Michigan beaches for users of mobility devices.

All of the following seven beaches offer some form of accessibility through either beach mats, paved sidewalks, wooden ramps or beach wheelchairs.

  • Grand Mere State Park
  • Jean Klock Park Beach
  • Lions Park Beach
  • Rocky Gap County Park
  • Silver Beach
  • Tiscornia Park Beach
  • Warren Dunes State Park

Beach Wheelchairs in St. Joseph

Silver Beach
Located on a wide swath of Lake Michigan beach, this popular spot in downtown St. Joseph offers barrier-free walkway and free beach wheelchairs.

In addition, the Silver Beach Carousel’s Serpent Chariot is wheelchair-accessible, too.

Warren Dunes State Park
Warren Dunes State Park has two beach wheelchairs available for use free-of-charge.

dog friendly beaches in michigan

Dog-Friendly Beaches in St. Joseph MI

Grand Mere State Park
Dogs on a leash are allowed within the beach and swimming area.

Warren Dunes State Park
Dogs are allowed in the campground, trails, boardwalks, and north of the northernmost swim buoy at the beach which provides two and a half miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.

Where to Eat in St. Joe’s

St. Joe’s offers a wide variety of expansive array of dining options ranging from upscale gourmet and brew pubs to outdoor cafes and sandwich shops; there are many long-time favorite eateries that have been serving happy diners for generations.

Close proximity to the many farms populating the fertile lands around St. Joseph has allowed for many unique and fresh farm-to-table dining choices in the area.

Located along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, there are also many wineries worth checking out.

Check out these favorites:

  • Buck Burgers
  • Silver Beach Pizza
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.

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.

St. Joseph is a big part of Michigan’s wine scene, and a great spot to start your winery tour. Start at the White Pine Winery Tasting Room in downtown, just a block from Lake Street.

Where to Stay in St. Joseph MI

Lake Michigan Beach Vacation Rentals

Lake Michigan beach home rentals are abundant throughout St. Joseph MI and the surrounding area. Options for private Lake Michigan beach vacation rentals range from large, sumptuous lakefront homes to smaller, family-friendly beach cabins on or near Lake Michigan.

Click here for more information about accommodations in St. Joseph, MI

st joseph Michigan carousel

Things to Do in St. Joseph, MI

Ride the Silver Beach Carousel
St. Joseph MI is a great place for families: Along the lake, at the mouth of the St. Joseph River, sandy Silver Beach County Park features a restored 1910 carousel and pavilion.

The classic Silver Beach Carousel has 48 unique hand-carved animals and two chariots dates back to 1910 and still brings smiles to visitors all season long.

Better yet, the Carousel’s Serpent’s Chariot is handicap-accessible. The carousel was once the highlight of the now-defunct Silver Beach Amusement Park, which kept visitors entertained for almost 80 years.

Tiscornia Park and North Pier Light
Tiscornia Park – a scenic, quiet lakeshore park with a sandy beach and picnic pavilion provides a pathway to the North Pier Light.

Curious Kids Museum and Discovery Zone
Know any curious kids?

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, next to Silver Beach, this hand-on museums features over 100 exhibits just right for kids of all ages. Bonus? It’s just steps away from the Lake Michigan shoreline.

John and Dede Howard Ice Arena
This family-friendly ice rink in downtown St. Joe’s is a great spot to visit for winter fun.

The partially enclosed, refrigerated NHL-sized outdoor Arena is open to the weather outside; however, it has a roof above it to help protect it from some of the weather’s elements.

Krasl Art Center
Located in downtown St. Joseph MI, this non-profit art museum and learning center brings high-quality exhibits to southwest Michigan as well as events and educational opportunities.

Box Factory for the Arts

This art gallery, located in a historic building in downtown St Joe’s is operated by the The Berrien Artist Guild, Inc. This former paper factory was converted into a multi-use arts center which now includes artist studios, galleries, a performance stage, classrooms, Art Shop, meeting space and more.

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