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Three Oaks, MI Ultimate Travel Guide: A Hidden Gem Waiting to Be Explored

art gallery in three oaks mi
Atr Gallery in Three Oak MI

by the My Michigan Beach Team

Discover Three Oaks MI

You need to visit one of my favorite hidden gems in Michigan: Three Oaks, MI in Berrien County.

I’m not the only one in love with this charming spot: for generations, travelers have been making this quiet little town a must-stop on any visit to southwest Michigan’s Harbor Country.

Tucked away in the scenic countryside just a few miles from Lake Michigan, the charming village of Three Oaks offers a perfect getaway if you’re seeking a unique and tranquil experience. From its rich history to picturesque landscapes, Three Oaks has something for everyone, including some amazing theaters, one of the top distilleries around, and a prime location on the popular Lake MichiganShore wine trail.

You might recognize Three Oaks, MI from the movie “Prancer.” This favorite Christmas motive about one of Santa’s injured reindeer and the girl who nurses him back to health is set in Three Oaks and several images of the town appear in the film.

In fact, you might have already heard about Three Oaks and it’s amazing annual Flag Day celebration (it’s the largest in the entire country!). Or maybe you’ve heard about the famous “Apple Cider Century” bicycle ride. This annual event attracts more than 6,000 visitors for a one-day 15, 25, 50, 75, or 100-mile bicycle tour of the orchards, forests, and wine country in and around Three Oaks, Michigan.

Whether it’s the art galleries and antique stores, eclectic shops and boutiques, great food or proximity to the Lake Michigan shoreline, you’re going to want to add Three Oaks to your Michigan travel bucket list.

We’re sharing the top attractions, eateries, family-friendly things to do and places to stay in this comprehensive travel guide to Three Oaks. We’re also providing detailed travel directions from Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis. So, please read on and start planning an unforgettable journey to Three Oaks!

main street in three oaks mi
Giant Connect Four in downtown Three Oaks
How Did Three Oaks MI Get Its Name?

According to Three Oaks Township,
Originally part of New Buffalo Township, Three Oaks Township was officially organized as a separate township in 1856. The name, “Three Oaks,” was chosen because of the three large oak trees in the Township, which stood so closely together, that, when in full leaf, gave the appearance of being one tree.

Exploring Three Oaks Michigan: Things to Do

Catch a Show At the Acorn Theater
107 Generations Dr, Three Oaks, MI 49128

Located in a renovated featherbone factory (turkey feathers were used as stays for women’s corsets in the late 1800s and early 1900s), you can to immerse yourself in the town’s vibrant arts scene by catching a show at the Acorn Theater.

This historic venue hosts live music, theater performances, and film screenings throughout the year. From top musical acts to local performers and more, it’s a real treat to sink in your seat at this historic building and enjoy the show. Get your tickets, early, though: shows sell out quickly in this summer arts mecca!

Visit the Journeyman Distillery
109 Generations Dr, Three Oaks, MI 49128

You’ll find Journeyman in the same former feather factory as the Acorn Theater– making it perfect spot for a dinner and drink (or two).

You may even want to plan your trip around your visit to Journeyman, where you can indulge in artisan whiskeys and the flavors of locally crafted spirits. This is a truly cool spot worth checking out, even if you’re a teetotaler.

Take a guided tour to learn about the distillation process watch as popular craft spirits are made right before your eyes! Of course, when you’re done, you can enjoy tastings of their premium whiskies, gins, and vodkas.

Driers butcher shop in three oaks mi
Drier’s Butcher Shop in Three Oaks

Shop for Meat at Driers Butcher Shop
14 S Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128

This meat market has been in operation since the lates, 1800’s and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Specializing in smoked meats from their very own smokehouse, Drier’s has played host to some high-profile visitors including poet Carl Sandburg, fashion designed Bill Blass and even movie critic Robert Ebert. This is a must-visit in Three Oaks, MI.

Explore Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve
13988 Range Line Rd, Niles, MI 49120

Discover the natural beauty of southwest Michigan at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve as you explore 105 acres and around 10 ecosystems at this stunning nature preserve in Berrien County Michigan. This is the perfect spot for birders: Fernwood is home to more than 170 species of birds. In the late spring and summer months you can catch a glimpse of ruby-throated hummingbirds, Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and indigo buntings.

There is a lot to do here: stroll through serene gardens, admire the diverse plant life, and engage in educational programs and workshops and just take in the beauty of the natural world at this must-visit spot.

Vickers Theatre
6 N Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128

Is there anything more special than watching a film – old or new- inside an old-fashioned theater? The Vickers is more than 110 years old! You’ll feel like you are stepping into the past at the Vickers Theatre, a restored vintage cinema that showcases independent and foreign films.

Enjoy a unique movie experience with its intimate atmosphere and art deco charm.

antiques in three oaks michigan
Antique store in Three Oaks Michigan

Treasure Hunt: Search for Special Antiques

Hand down, this is one of my favorite spots for antiquing in Michigan. I love blue pottery and porcelain and Culver mid-century glassware too. I found plenty of it here, and best of all, it was reasonably priced. I also found some great vintage books – including a first edition here and there. Here are a few of my favorite stops:

  • Second Wind Vintage and More
    13 S Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128
  • Vintage Goods MI
    1West, W Ash St, Three Oaks, MI 49128
  • Trilogy Antiques & Designs
    19 S Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128
  • Poppy Hill Vintage
    22 N Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128
  • Catalpa Antiques
    20 N Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128

Peruse the Three Oaks Art Galleries

Who knew you’d find such beautiful works of arts in small-town America? Three Oaks in home to some top-notch fine arts galleries, and you’ll want to plan some extra time to explore these spots, including:

  • a Drawing Room
    9 N Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128
  • Judy Ferrara Gallery
    16 S Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128
  • Studio B Gallery
    114 N Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128
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Captain Mike’s Fun Park
10975 Red Arrow Hwy, Bridgman, MI 49106

Treat your family to a day of excitement and thrills at Captain Mike’s Fun Park in nearby Bridgeman. You’ll find go-karts, bumper boats, mini-golf, batting cages, and an arcade. Enjoy friendly competition and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Explore the Dewey Cannon Trading Company & Three Oaks Bicycle Museum
3 Dewey Cannon Ave Three Oaks MI 49128

Located in a historic train depot, you’ll find a cool bicycle museum that traces the history of bicycling. You can also rent bikes and accessories, as well as T-shirts,socks and other unique gifts at the gift shop.

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Best Beaches Near Three Oaks: Play on the Shores of Lake Michigan

Warren Dunes State Park
12032 Red Arrow Hwy, Sawyer, MI 49125

Just a short drive away (about 15 minutes), Warren Dunes State Park is a nature lover’s paradise. It’s also oen of the best beaches in Michigan! Explore towering sand dunes, hike picturesque trails, relax on the sandy beaches, or have a picnic with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.

Climb to the summit of Mount Randal or explore the hiking trails that wind through the lush forests. Pack a picnic and spend a memorable day on the sandy shores, swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles.

There is a beach wheelchair available for additional accessibility to the beach, contact the ranger station at Warren Dunes to make arrangements for use at (269) 426-4013.

New Buffalo Public Beach
200 Marquette Dr, New Buffalo, MI 49117

Just a short drive away, New Buffalo Public Beach is a family-friendly beach known for its clean shores and calm waters. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and beach volleyball, or rent kayaks and paddleboards for a fun-filled water adventure.

Weko Beach
5239 Lake St, Bridgman, MI 49106

Nestled in Bridgman, Weko Beach is a picturesque Harbor Country destination that offers a range of family-friendly activities. Swim in the refreshing waters, play beach volleyball, explore the nature trails, or have a picnic under the shaded pavilions.

Silver Beach County Park
101 Broad St, St Joseph, MI 49085

Located in St. Joseph, Silver Beach County Park is a popular beach destination for families. With its clean sands, playgrounds, splash pad, and concession stands, it provides a fun-filled day of sun-soaked enjoyment. Your kids will love taking a ride on the iconic Silver Beach carousel and playing in the massive splash pad!

Jean Klock Beach
Jean Klock Blvd, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Situated in Benton Harbor, Jean Klock Beach is a hidden gem that offers a quieter and more secluded atmosphere. Unwind on its pristine sands, go for a leisurely walk along the shoreline, or have a family beachside picnic.

Froelichs in three oaks Michigan
Froelich’s Bakery in Three Oaks Michigan

Restaurants in Three Oaks: Best Places to Grab a Bite to Eat in Three Oaks MI

Froehlich’s Pantry and Kitchen
19 N Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128

Choose from lunch or dinner at this full-service bar and restaurant located in an airy, unique space. You’ll experience fine dining with a rustic touch: this cozy restaurant offers a delectable farm-to-table menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and an extensive wine list.

Journeyman Distillery’s Staymaker Restaurant
109 Generations Dr, Three Oaks, MI 49128

Indulge in a farm-to-table culinary experience at Staymaker Restaurant. Set within Journeyman Distillery, this restaurant serves delicious dishes paired with their exceptional spirits.

Featherbone Restaurant & Lounge
6741 US-12, Three Oaks, MI 49128

This unique spot is set in the old featherbone factory and has great ambiance. It’s casual dining with a large menu offering everything from fajitas and burgers to chicken strips and wings. They also make a tasty chicken bacon ranch pizza that is amazing!

Nelson’s Saloon
18 N Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128

Dive into the local scene at Nelson’s Saloon, a historic bar known for its casual atmosphere and mouthwatering burgers. Grab a seat, enjoy a cold drink, and savor their juicy signature burgers.

Viola Cafe in Three Oaks Michigan
Viola Cafe in Three Oaks Michigan

Sweet on Elm
15 N Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128

Chocolates, candy and hand-dipped ice cream from some of the best dairies around (Hudsonville, Sherman’s, Country Diary, Michigan Fresh and Brown Dog) make this new shop on Elm Street a must-stop on any visit.

Oaks Eatery
8 S Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128

Have you ever tried sweet potato waffles? I have at Oaks Eatery and I’m better for it. This is a great brunch spot offering a mix of tried-and-true favorites and some with a new twist. Try the Horchata, its’ delicious.

Viola Cafe
102 N Elm St, Three Oaks, MI 49128

You’ll absolutely love this charming breakfast or lunch spot serving one of the best chicken Caesar wraps around, as well as tasy egg dishes and sandwiches, too. Be sure to grab a fresh-baked muffin to take with you!

Getting There: Travel Directions to Three Oaks MI from Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis

From Chicago:
Take I-90 E/I-94 E toward Michigan.
Continue on I-94 E and take Exit 4 toward Three Oaks.
Follow signs to Three Oaks.
From Detroit:
Take I-94 W toward Chicago.
Take Exit 4 toward Three Oaks.
Follow signs to Three Oaks.
From Indianapolis:
Take I-65 N toward Chicago.
Merge onto I-94 W.
Take Exit 4 toward Three Oaks.
Follow signs to Three Oaks.

shop in three oaks michigan
Cute boutiques abound in Three Oaks Michigan

Traveling to Three Oaks MI

The Village of Three Oaks, Michigan, offers a unique blend of cultural experiences, natural beauty, and delectable cuisine. Whether you’re seeking a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, this hidden gem will captivate you with its charm.

From exploring theaters and distilleries to savoring mouthwatering dishes and finding relaxation in cozy accommodations, Three Oaks has it all. So pack your bags, follow our travel guide, and embark on an unforgettable adventure to Three Oaks, Michigan. Happy travels!

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