The two-lane Red Arrow Highway connects shore towns in the southwestern corner of the state. Twenty-nine tree-lined miles of it link two faves, New Buffalo and Benton Harbor.
Make your home base in New Buffalo in the 54-room Harbor Grand Hotel (from $189).
Start your day tooling 10 miles over the rolling hills and past the orchards along the Red Arrow Highway to Sawyer.
Catch views from atop the 260-foot-tall dunes at Warren Dunes State Park . Get a State Parks Recreation Passport ($11 resident, $31 nonresident for year-round access or $9 for a day pass) to experience some of the area’s best beaches.
About 16 miles inland, at Berrien Springs’ Lemon Creek Winery and Fruit Farm, kids love the U-pick berries, peaches and apples; grown-ups sample a selection of wines.
It's 21 miles back to New Buffalo, where diner fare tastes great at Rosie's and the sunset enhances the tranquil beach in front of the Harbor Grand. Frozen desserts come in 50 flavors at Oink's Dutch Treat.
Cheesy souvenir stores and upscale clothing boutiques line the streets of downtown St. Joseph; a former factory houses the Box Factory for the Arts, a collection of galleries and studios and a stage.
Silver Beach County Park is next to a spray park—fountains designed for splashing; kids love it and the indoor carousel.
Silver Beach Pizza serves tasty pies in an old train depot.
An elevated boardwalk takes you into the trees and a boardwalk takes you to the wetlands at Sarett Nature Center in Benton Harbor, 3 miles up the road
A Big Mama Sampler—three meats and three sides—at Charlie's Piggin’ N’ Grinnin’ barbecue joint leaves crews full and happy.
More information: (269) 925-6301; swmichigan.org
One big party
Blossomtime Festival celebrates area agriculture with a 5K run and the state’s largest and oldest multicommunity festival. In St. Joseph and neighboring Benton Harbor from April 26–May 2, 2015. (269) 982-8016; blossomtimefestival.org
Five great places to visit in South Haven
Twenty-five miles north of St. Joseph, South Haven makes a great day trip—or your next overnight destination on a journey up the Lake Michigan shore.
1 DeGrandchamp Farms July and August mean countless blueberries at this longtime family farm known for its market filled with all things blueberry. (888) 483-7431; degrandchamps.com
2 Friends Good Will When Lake Michigan is calm, this sailboat takes guests on a 90-minute trip from the Michigan Maritime Museum. (269) 637-8078; michiganmaritimemuseum.org
3 Old Harbor Village Cobblestone walks lead you past an eclectic mix of shops in this area modeled after a New England village. (269) 637-5752; southhaven.org
4 Golden Brown Bakery Local cherries and blueberries make the pastries shine at this cafe-bakery on the main drag. (269) 637-3418; goldenbrownbakery.com
5 Carriage House at the Harbor Guests enjoy thick duvets, whirlpool tubs, plush robes and private baths in this Victorian B&B. From $175. (269) 639-2161; carriagehouseharbor.com
Kal-Haven Trail State Park The romance of small communities, orchards and even a covered bridge draw cyclists down the 33-mile Kal-Haven Trail. The former railbed is now a crushed-limestone path from Kalamazoo to South Haven; it’s perfect for walkers, too. (269) 674-8011; michigandnr.com