A day tripper's guide to Harbor Country
Even if you can't swing a whole weekend in Michigan's Harbor Country, you might be able to sneak in a day trip that feels like a full-fledged vacation.
- I recently visited on a weekday and found wide-open beaches and no waits at places usually mobbed by pesky Illinois people on weekends.
- Here's my recommended itinerary.
🌅 Top of the morning: Head out early to beat the traffic and catch a gorgeous sunrise over the lake on our side.
- Hit Fluid Coffee Shop in Michigan City for avocado or ricotta toast with a strong cortado, or one of their intriguing "botanicals" like the Life Potion with ceremonial matcha, blueberries and milk.
Stop at nearby Lange's Old Fashioned Meat Market for picnic supplies like snack sticks and the one-of-a-kind soft jerky and honey log (like cold meatloaf).
☀️ Mid-morning: Make Warren Dunes State Park your home base. There's an $11 day pass that lets you in and out from 8am-10pm.
- Swim the 3 miles of shoreline, hike 6 miles of trails or hoof it up the steep dune before the midday sun starts to roast your noggin.
🍺 Noon: Sample a flight of four beers or ciders ($10.50) at Greenbush Brewing in Sawyer along with a quinoa beet salad and some of the best smoked brisket I've ever eaten.
- Pick up a big box of Michigan blueberries or stone fruits from Sawyer Garden Center around the corner.
🌳 Mid-afternoon: Use your Dunes parking pass to cool off in Warren Woods State Park with a hike through towering old-growth beech and maple forests.
- Or mix it up if you like with some browsing in trendy Three Oaks.
🍇 Early evening: Sample three Michigan wines and three chef-chosen bites ($25) on the lovely patio at Shady Creek Winery in Michigan City. We loved the Brussels sprouts and avocado rolls.
- Other ideas: pizza at Patellie's in Three Oaks, or the large Beer Church or Sonny D's Bar and Grill in New Buffalo.
✨ Sunset: Finish the day back at Warren Dunes with a gorgeous Michigan-side sunset over the lake.
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