Where to start The most accessible section of this shore extends from the Indiana line 175 miles north to Ludington.
Worth noting A yearlong state-park vehicle permit ($30.50 online or at any park entrance) is the cheapest way to experience some of the best beaches, protected in more than 30 state parks. (517) 373-9900; michigan.gov/dnr
From New Buffalo to St. Joseph, enjoy sandy beaches and easy access to inland fruit farms and wineries.
What to do
Hickory Creek Winery Lush flowerbeds greet visitors at this quality-over-quantity spot offering dry wines. Sample up to five for $5, then stroll through the vineyards. See reviews and ratings. (269) 422-1100; hickorycreekwinery.com
Lemon Creek Winery and Fruit Farm In Berrien Springs, visitors purchase a $5 keepsake glass and sample any five of 26 wines, including Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. Also enjoy you-pick apples, berries and peaches. (269) 471-1321; lemoncreekwinery.com
Warren Dunes State Park Dunes rise as much as 260 feet above the lake in Sawyer to provide great views and frame busy beaches (arrive early on weekends to claim a spot). The park is a popular hang gliding site. See reviews and ratings. (269) 426-4013; michigan.gov/dnr
Where to eat
Bentwood Tavern Dine on a pretty lakeside patio at this New Buffalo favorite. The menu features steaks and seafood (and burgers), plus seasonally inspired desserts. (269) 469-1699; bentwoodtavern.com
Milda’s Corner Market This Lithuanian deli and market has a cultlike following. The deli serves soups, sandwiches and kugelis—a casserole of potatoes and bacon. Imported goods stock the market. (269) 469-9880; milda.us
Oink's Dutch Treat Kitschy pig and ice cream decor fills the building, and 50-plus flavors (like Cotton Candy Confetti and Marion County Blackberry) fill the coolers. See reviews and ratings. (269) 469-3535
Redamak’s It’s the place to go in New Buffalo for burgers. Fresh beef ground on-site and, yes, Velveeta cheese turn simple into wonderful. Expect a wait. See reviews and ratings. (269) 469-4522; redamaks.com
Rosie’s A homey New Buffalo diner serves classic breakfast dishes, including eggs, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy. (269) 469-4382
Soe Cafe This chic Sawyer restaurant serves simply prepared, from-scratch dishes. (269) 426-4878; soe-cafe.com
Where to stay
Gordon Beach Inn The historic Union Pier inn has 20 rooms with private baths, an art gallery, beach and the popular seafood spot Timothy’s Restaurant. From $110. (269) 469-0800; gordonbeachinn.com
Harbor Grand Hotel The 55-guest-room New Buffalo boutique hotel encourages indulgence. We love the 24-hour Ben and Jerry’s ice cream delivery, free beach towels and beachside lounge chairs, and breakfast-in-bed service. From $179. See reviews and ratings. (888) 605-6800; harborgrand.com
For information: Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce (269) 469-5409; harborcountry.org
Click ahead for the St. Joseph and Holland areas.