The Lake Michigan shoreline is as close to the ocean as it gets within a few hours travel of Chicago and Detroit. The stretch of wilderness and sand dunes around South Haven, Michigan, is a great way to spend a long summer weekend.
Where to Stay
People with food sensitivities know that the only truly safe food is the food you cook yourself. Look for accommodations that allow for food prep.
Van Buren State Park has tent and camper sites with a mile of sandy beach and the best waves in the area. The park fills up quickly on summer weekends.
Private rentals are available at any size, location, and price range. Rent a room or cottage for the weekend and get access to a full kitchen.
For a little more luxury (and a saltwater swimming pool) try the Sun ‘n Sand Resort just north of South Haven on the Blue Star Highway. Many of their units have refrigerators and microwaves, and some have full kitchenettes.
Grab dinner at Willy O’s Pizza , where the gluten-free pizza has won international awards.
If you arrive in time, head down to South Beach to watch the sun set into Lake Michigan behind the iconic lighthouse and pier.
Get up early and head to the South Haven Farm Market for the region’s best fresh fruits in season. Ask local cheesemakers about their processing to ensure gluten-free. Stock up for the weekend.
Go swimming at North Beach, or for better waves, Van Buren State Park.
Visit the tasting shop s for 12 Corners Vineyard and Warner Vineyards , or spend Saturday on a tour of the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail.
Stop for dinner at Maria’s for gluten free pasta and pizza, followed by flourless chocolate cake.
After dinner, find out who’s performing at the Historic Foundry Hall. If it’s too quiet for you, stop by Captain Lou’s on the riverfront for live bands and cocktails.
Rent a bike at Rock ‘n Road Cycle and explore countryside on the Van Buren Trail or the Kal-Haven Trail.
Drive up the Blue Star Highway to Sunset Junque Shop and its maze of shaded sheds and barns filled with unexpected surprises .
Cool off with another dip in Lake Michigan, and then head for Clementine’s for dinner (call ahead to confirm the current staff is gluten-aware). Squeeze in one last sunset before packing for the trip home.