Ultimate Travel Guide to St. Joseph, Michigan (2024)

St. Joseph, Michigan is a hidden gem on Lake Michigan. With its sandy beaches, charming downtown, and abundance of activities, St. Joseph is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. Whether you’re looking for a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, St. Joseph has something for everyone.

Ultimate Travel Guide to St. Joseph, Michigan (1)

Table Of Contents

  1. About St. Joseph, Michigan
  2. Visit St. Joseph
  3. St. Joes: Michigan Vacation Destination
  4. St. Joseph, MI is known for…
  5. St. Joseph Weather
  6. St. Joseph, MI Sunsets
  7. Best Beaches in St. Joseph, MI
  8. ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in St. Joseph, MI
  9. Dog-Friendly Beaches in St. Joseph MI
  10. Where to Eat in St. Joe's
  11. Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail
  12. Where to Stay in St. Joseph MI
  13. Things to Do in St. Joseph, MI

About St. Joseph, Michigan

Welcome to St. Joseph, Michigan, nestled in the picturesque corner of southwest Michigan, along the glistening shores of Lake Michigan.

Experience the charm of St. Joe’s, renowned as the “Riviera of the Midwest,” where wide and stunning beaches beckon visitors from across the county to bask in the sun throughout the summer season.

Whether you’re planning a family vacation, a romantic escape, or a delightful day trip, St. Joseph boasts some of the most breathtaking beaches along the Lake Michigan coastline. Explore a vibrant beach town bustling with year-round excitement, offering an abundance of shopping, dining, and endless fun.

From pristine beaches to excellent shopping and dining options, St. Joseph, Michigan, is a hidden gem that promises an unforgettable experience for everyone. It’s time to start planning your getaway to this Michigan beach town now.

In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan your perfect trip to St. Joseph. We’ll recommend the best places to stay, eat, and explore, so you can make the most of your time in this beautiful town.

Ultimate Travel Guide to St. Joseph, Michigan (2)

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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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

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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 Amusem*nt 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.

Conclusion

St. Joseph, Michigan is a truly special place. With its stunning scenery, charming atmosphere, and abundance of activities, it’s no wonder that St. Joseph is a popular destination for visitors from all over the world.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an action-packed getaway, St. Joseph has something to offer everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

St. Joseph MI: Best Things to Do in St. Joe Michigan

Silver Beach County Park in St. Joseph, MI: Top West Michigan Beach

St. Joseph Beach Finder: Best Beaches in St. Joe Michigan (MAP)

BEST Hotels in St. Joseph MI

St. Joseph, Michigan is a hidden gem on Lake Michigan, known for its sandy beaches, charming downtown, and abundance of activities. It is often referred to as the "Riviera of the Midwest" and offers a picturesque setting along the glistening shores of Lake Michigan [[1]].

Visit St. Joseph

St. Joseph is considered one of Michigan's best beach towns, with wide, sandy beaches just minutes away from a bustling downtown shopping district [[1]]. The town is located at the mouth of the St. Joseph River and features a deep-water harbor [[1]]. It has been named one of the top 10 beach towns and offers a stunning setting with shady bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan [[1]].

St. Joseph Weather

The weather in St. Joseph, MI is typical of Michigan, with cold and snowy winters and delightfully warm summers [[1]]. During the summer months, temperatures range from 70°F to 80°F during the day, with cooler mornings and evenings [[1]].

Best Beaches in St. Joseph, MI

St. Joseph is known for its beautiful beaches, offering a wide variety of options for visitors [[1]]. Some of the best beaches in St. Joseph include:

  • Silver Beach: Located in downtown St. Joseph, Silver Beach is one of the most popular public beaches in Michigan [[1]].
  • Tiscornia Beach: This beach offers access to St. Joseph's North Pier and features a picnic pavilion [[1]].
  • Grand Mere State Park Beach: This beach is part of a sprawling Michigan State Park on Lake Michigan and features sand dunes and hiking trails [[1]].
  • Jean Klock Park Beach: This beach offers an ADA-accessible boardwalk, swimming, and other amenities [[1]].
  • Lions Park Beach: This beach features an ADA-accessible cement pathway, swimming areas, and picnic facilities [[1]].
  • Rocky Gap County Park Beach: This beach offers swimming, restrooms, picnic tables, and other amenities [[1]].
  • Warren Dunes State Park Beach: Located in a state park, this beach offers swimming, dunes, and other recreational activities [[1]].

ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in St. Joseph, MI

St. Joseph does an excellent job of providing ADA and wheelchair accessibility to its beaches [[1]]. The following beaches offer accessibility through 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

Dog-Friendly Beaches in St. Joseph, MI

St. Joseph also has dog-friendly beaches where dogs on a leash are allowed [[1]]. These include:

  • Grand Mere State Park
  • Warren Dunes State Park

Where to Eat in St. Joseph, MI

St. Joseph offers a wide variety of dining options, ranging from upscale gourmet and brew pubs to outdoor cafes and sandwich shops [[1]]. The area is known for its farm-to-table dining choices, thanks to its proximity to local farms [[1]]. Additionally, St. Joseph is located along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, which features many wineries worth checking out [[1]].

Where to Stay in St. Joseph, MI

St. Joseph offers a range of accommodations, including private Lake Michigan beach vacation rentals [[1]]. These options range from large, sumptuous lakefront homes to smaller, family-friendly beach cabins [[1]].

Things to Do in St. Joseph, MI

In addition to enjoying the beaches, there are several other activities to do in St. Joseph:

  • Ride the Silver Beach Carousel: This restored 1910 carousel is located in Silver Beach County Park and features 48 hand-carved animals and two chariots [[1]].
  • Visit Tiscornia Park and North Pier Light: Tiscornia Park offers a sandy beach and a pathway to the North Pier Light [[1]].
  • Explore the Curious Kids Museum and Discovery Zone: Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, this hands-on museum features over 100 exhibits for kids of all ages [[1]].
  • Enjoy the John and Dede Howard Ice Arena: This family-friendly ice rink in downtown St. Joseph is a great spot for winter fun [[1]].
  • Visit the Krasl Art Center and the Box Factory for the Arts: These art galleries in downtown St. Joseph showcase high-quality exhibits and offer educational opportunities [[1]].

In conclusion, St. Joseph, Michigan is a truly special place with stunning scenery, a charming atmosphere, and an abundance of activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an action-packed getaway, St. Joseph has something to offer everyone [[1]].

Ultimate Travel Guide to St. Joseph, Michigan (2024)

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