Spring is always a long awaited celebration in Michigan as the days are longer, the sun starts to shine more, flowers begin to bloom, and people are emerging from a long, winter hibernation. Spring is also a wonderful time to visit Southwest Michigan to enjoy some of the most popular restaurants, hikes, and wineries or breweries before the summer crowds arrive. Keep reading to discover my top picks for exploring the Stevensville/Bridgman area during an overnight escape.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Southwest Michigan Tourist Council. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Where to stay
For our overnight getaway we stayed at tru by Hilton which is a brand new hotel experience from Hilton that’s fun, vibrant and affordable. The hotel has a colorful and modern vibe with stylish decor all throughout - including a giant mural in the lobby dedicated to the best of St. Joseph. You also can't beat the location of this hotel as it's right off highway 94 providing easy access to many of Southwest Michigan's eclectic towns within a 20 minute drive. The hotel offers a complimentary hot breakfast each morning as well as free parking. They also have pet-friendly rooms if you're planning to travel with your furry friend for the weekend.
Where to Eat
For dinner, look no further than Tosi's. This is one of the most popular restaurants in Southwest Michigan and for good reason. Dining here truly feels like you are stepping into the Italian countryside with their casual, yet intimate atmosphere located just steps away from Lake Michigan. If the weather is nice, try to snag a table in the lawn or on the patio near the fountain. They don't accept reservations but you can call ahead and put your name on the priority seating list. You honestly can't go wrong ordering anything on the menu but I highly recommend trying their scratch made pastas influenced by the unique flavors of northern Italian cooking or a hand-tossed pizza baked to perfection in the Italian wood-burning brick oven.
For brunch the next morning, head to The Local in Baroda. This is a relatively new restaurant and was started by two female friends who wanted to open a "unique and inviting place where the community can socialize, dine, and enjoy quality food and drinks." The have definitely achieved what they set out to create. The Local is such a cute spot serving up mouth-watering (and healthy) breakfast and lunch dishes with rotating specials. I tried the Power Scramble with potatoes, tomato, spinach, chicken sausage, feta, and scrambled eggs and my mom loved the banana walnut pancakes. They also make a point to serve local at The Local by partnering with other Southwest Michigan businesses including Infusco Coffee, Rathe Farms Jam, and Bit of Swiss Bread.
Where to Drink
No trip to Southwest Michigan is complete without hitting a few stops along the Makers Trail. For lunch we headed to Tapistry Brewing located in downtown Bridgman just 6 miles from Warren Dunes (see below). Their taproom features a large selection of hand crafted beers and seltzers. I tried the Halo Mango seltzer and loved it! Their food menu specializes in smokehouse sandwiches and other artisan selections like the beer cheese dip. Enjoy your food and drinks on their café style front patio, three season beer garden, or in the cozy tap room. Don't forget to get a stamp on your Makers Trail passport while you're there!
If you're a wine lover, walk across the street to Lazy Ballerina Winery. This is Southwest Michigan's only woman-owned winery and one of my absolute favorite stops on the Makers Trail. They also have a tasting room in downtown St. Joseph if you find yourself exploring in that area. Both their wines and tasting room have a fun ballet-themed twist complete with tutus on the chairs and ballerinas on the flight boards. Participate in a guided tasting or grab a flight with four samples ranging from the double gold winning Nita's Niagra with its earthy, sweet aromas and flavors to the Royale Rosé which is an elegant dry rosé made with hand-picked Marquette grapes. You can also upgrade your flight to include a chocolate pairing.
Where to Play
The best part of spring is warmer weather and getting outside! If you're looking for a unique place to explore in Southwest Michigan, head to Warren Dunes State Park. This is an extremely popular destination in the summer for it's beautiful beaches along Lake Michigan and towering sand dunes. It can get pretty crowded at times which is why I love visiting here in the spring when I can have the trails almost entirely to myself. There are several different hiking areas and trails but I was looking to try something new this trip so I decided to conquer the Mt. Randall Loop which is a 2.1 mile moderately challenging hike through the forest and over sand dunes with a 700+ ft elevation gain. To access the trailhead you'll turn right directly after the main entrance booth (entrance fee or State Park Pass required after Memorial Day). I would recommend hiking sandals or boots that will work well on sandy trails. If you are hiking counter clockwise you'll come to a spur in the trail not far from the trailhead that leads up the tallest dune which is challenging to climb but totally worth the views at the top. Dogs are also welcome here on leash.
For more ideas to help you plan your escape to Southwest Michigan, including customized itineraries based on your interests, click here.
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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