Our second stop in Michigan was South Haven, a charming historic resort community on Lake Michigan at the southwestern edge of the state. We were about an hour south of Grand Rapids, about 30 minutes west of Kalamazoo, and about an hour north of South Bend, Indiana. The RV Park where we stayed was tiny, but in a perfect location. We were at the edge of Kal-Haven State Park, which is a 33 mile linear hiking and biking trail between South Haven and Kalamazoo. We were also within a short walking distance of the downtown area.
I think this was one of my favorite stops from our entire trip. There was so much to do and see, without ever getting in the car. The weather was nearly perfect every day with crisp temperatures and clear skies. The campground was safe and quiet. We were surrounded by beaches and boats. There were plenty of places for long dog walks. What more could you ask for?
We drove to South Bend one afternoon and explored the Notre Dame campus (which was beautiful). We also visited Warren Dunes State Park to the south of us. But mostly, we just enjoyed the quaint community of South Haven. We were here for two weeks, and I’m sad to say my Uncle Wayne lost his 15-year battle with cancer while at this location. I flew from Grand Rapids to Portland, Oregon for 5-days to attend the funeral and visit with family while Mike remained with the dogs and the Monaco.
Kal-Haven State Park Trail is a 33 mile trail between South Haven and Kalamazoo. With a trail like that outside of our back door, you can correctly assume the dogs got good exercise on this stop.
The local boating community heads out to Lake Michigan to enjoy a wonderful sunset.
This is a full view of our entire park. It was tiny, but in a terrific location.
Mike tried to fish in the Black River. This is the only thing he caught.
I honestly did not expect to be taking long walks on the beach when we booked our reservation in South Haven.
When we weren’t walking along the Kal-Haven Trail, our daily treks were to the Lake Michigan shore.
My cousin, Kevin, suggested we visit Warren Dunes State Park. Giant sand dunes at the lake shore is another thing I did not expect to see during our time in Michigan.
Those who know me well understand that I will never miss an opportunity to light a candle in a church setting. When we walked up to the Grotto on the Notre Dame campus, I asked Mike to hand over his entire wallet. (For the benefit of non-Catholics… a small donation is usually recommended for each candle that is lit).
A full view of the Grotto.
Inside the Basilica at Notre Dame. One of the most beautiful churches I have been in… anywhere, ever.
Outside the Basilica. The sign by the door states that mass is scheduled 30 minutes after the end of each home game. I thought that was sort of humorous.
The famous golden dome.
I wish I would have had the chance to attend Mass inside this spectacular structure.
An altar to Mother Mary inside the same church.
This is the tunnel that the athletes run through before every Notre Dame home game. (I enjoyed my time in the Basilica, and Mike really liked seeing the stadium).
The Michigan Theater is a working theater in downtown South Haven. I went to see a movie there one Saturday while Mike was on a college football overload. Can you believe I only paid $7 for popcorn, a coke, AND a ticket to a first-run movie!
It is always a good day when we get to have a fire during happy hour.
We found a little dive bar on the water for drinks and lunch one warm and sunny Friday afternoon. The draw bridge was very active with boats passing through every few minutes.
Downtown South Haven was so cute. The area was full of busy restaurants, shops, salons, and other businesses.
The lighthouse where the Black River empties into Lake Michigan.
I mentioned our campground was literally at the edge of the Kal-Haven Trail. This was the first view we got to see each day when we took the dogs on their morning walk. This is also the spot where Mike went fishing.