We took a summer trip to the quaint town of St. Joseph, Michigan, a place that has a gorgeous beach and beautiful sand and is pretty perfect for families. The town is a gem! It’s ideal for people of all ages and there are lots of things to do and see. Did I mention it’s really affordable? Take a look at these five things I LOVE about St. Joseph, Michigan.
We live in the suburbs on the north side of Indianapolis. From here, St. Joseph is about a two hour and forty-five minute drive. I said a few small prayers for an uneventful drive before we left and thankfully, we only stopped once each way to eat some food and change the baby’s diaper. This kind of travel I can handle!
This one is pretty obvious, but the beach is amazing! My kids spent hours and hours playing in the sand and wading in the water. We even had a couple red flag days, so we were advised to stay out of the water, and no one really minded. If you want a beach and you live in Indiana, I don’t see a major need to head to the Atlantic and would tell people will small children or who are on a budget to try out Michigan. I feel like if you didn’t know you were in Michigan, you’d think you were at an ocean — water as far as the eye can see, seagulls flying overhead, and lovely sand.
One other really cool thing about St. Joseph is that there is a really nice playground on the beach, and there are clean bathrooms and showers on site too!
A little piece of history about St. Joseph is that there used to be an amusement park right on the beach – Silver Beach amusement park. The hand-carved carousel horses from a century ago were restored and the carousel is now on the beach so kids can ride it. The carousel is housed in a round building that is largely comprised of windows and the charge to ride is $3. Surrounding the carousel are other fun, child-friendly things to do such as corn hole, pictures to color, hula hoops, and fun house mirrors. There are also carnival-themed snacks like popcorn and cotton candy for sale. If you head to St. Joseph, make sure to check out the carousel while you are there!
Silver Beach Pizza
This place is a MUST VISIT when you are in St. Joe! Next to the carousel, there’s an old train depot that was converted into a really amazing, family-friendly pizza place called Silver Beach Pizza. It serves the usual foods you get at a pizza place like yummy salads and breadsticks. It also serves schooners and hard liquor – there is an adults-only upper deck if you visit without children or the in-laws take the kids for the evening. The food was amazing – they make the dough and sauce from scratch daily. The evenings did come with some longer wait times, so plan accordingly or order carry out and eat at a picnic table. One thing I loved about Silver Beach Pizza was that we ate there on my birthday, and they gave me an Apple Pie shot with their own infused vodka! You had me at “free shot” Silver Beach Pizza!
The downtown area
The bluff is located right above Silver Beach Pizza and the carousel. We stayed in a very average hotel located in the downtown area because I wanted to be able to walk to the Lake. If you stay away from the beach and drive, you pay $12 a day for parking unless you live in the county, but can come and go as many times as you please each day.
The bluff offers both amazing views of the beach and fun opportunities for sight-seeing downtown. The downtown area is full of brick roads, local eateries and brightly painted, oversized fish. We knew we wanted to get some ice cream from a local place that was recommended to me called Kilwin’s. I could smell the homemade cones from a block down the road! The place did not disappoint. The ice cream and cones were to die for and the fudge there was great too!
The downtown also has loads of shops, from boutiques to souvenir shops with the typical touristy stuff like t-shirts, toys and shot glasses.
St. Joseph is a perfect place to visit for a day trip or even for a week long excursion. Hotels vary in price and proximity to the beach, but it’s simple to make the stay affordable and memorable. We even met people who were staying at a camp grounds that had a pool. There’s something magical about about Silver Beach — it’s the perfect place for a family and memory making, that’s no doubt.
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