A Whole Different Kind of Fun – Southwest Michigan for the Winter

Embrace the enchantment of winter in Southwest Michigan along with Northwest & Central Indiana! As the chill of the season sets in, the region from New Buffalo, MI, to South Bend, IN, transforms into a winter wonderland, where the crisp air beckons you to a unique and exhilarating day of fun. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as our towns get decorated in festive cheer, becoming a patch work of vibrant festivals and captivating events. Through this blog, we warmly invite you to explore the diverse and rich array of winter festivities that span from November to February. Whether you find yourself in the picturesque Charlevoix, the artsy Saugatuck, or any of our quaint, charming towns, a tapestry of winter magic awaits. While the thought of winter might sound chilly, we assure you, it’s one of the most mesmerizing and rewarding times to visit our beautiful region!

Lake Michigan and Indiana Lighthouse in Snow

For your winter 2023 getaway to Southwest Michigan or Indiana, here’s a curated list of events, festivals, and fairs to explore:

Autumn Artisan Market

Autumn Artisan Market Flyer

Set for November 18 and 19, 2023, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM the Autumn Artisan Market at Journeyman Distillery is an annual event that showcases artists and makers of all kinds. Hosted at the historic Featherbone Factory in Three Oaks, Michigan, this market invites visitors to explore and support local creative talents. Attendees can enjoy a variety of offerings, including locally sourced gourmet and personal care items, handcrafted decor, and jewelry. Additionally, food and beverages are available for purchase, making it an ideal event for a full day of exploration and enjoyment. The Journeyman shop will also feature cocktail kits, hats, shirts, flags, flasks, and other unique items.

LIGHTS at Fernwood

The LIGHTS at Fernwood is set to take place this year from November 24, 2023, to January 6, 2024. This professionally designed light show that promises to magically illuminate evenings at Fernwood Botanical Garden. Featuring two extraordinary light tunnels, three warm fire pits, a fun winter craft station, nature-inspired light sculptures, festive music, and sounds, offering a truly enchanting experience for visitors of all ages. More information here.

Christmas In The Village

Stevensville Christmas Flyer

Scheduled this year for December 2, 2023, from 3:00 to 6:00 PM, and offers a plethora of festive activities suitable for the entire family. This year’s event includes a free photo opportunity with Santa, face painting, and a chance for children to write letters to Santa. Additional attractions include a S’More’s Station hosted by the Lakeshore Rotary, cookie decorating, sleigh rides, a popcorn cart, various crafts, donut decorating, games, and a goodie bag scavenger hunt, among other enjoyable activities.

Saugatuck Christmas Parade

Ginger Bread Cookie Inflatable Floating Thru City Streets

The Saugatuck Christmas Parade, a much-anticipated annual event, will take place this year on December 2, 2023. The parade lineup begins at 10:15 AM in front of Wicks Park, with the parade officially starting at 11:00 AM. Organized by Operation Hope For Allegan Youth, this festive annual event always brings the holiday spirit to Downtown Saugatuck. The parade route kicks off in front of Wicks Park, proceeds down Water Street, turns left onto Mason Street, and then left again onto Butler Street, concluding at the corner of Butler and Mary Streets​.

Holiday Artisan Fair

Toys at Holiday Fair

The 2023 Holiday Artisan Fair, hosted by St. Joe Today, is set to take place on Sunday, December 3, 2023, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Located at 216 Court St. in St. Joseph, MI, this indoor market is an ideal destination for holiday shopping. Visitors can explore a diverse range of artisanal products from various vendors, whose details are yet to be announced. The event offers free admission, making it a perfect opportunity for community members and visitors to engage in the festive spirit and find unique gifts for the holiday season

A New Year’s Eve Celebration With Shemekia Copeland

Mess After New Year Party

The “Shemekia Copeland with Nathan Graham: A New Year’s Eve Celebration” event at The Acorn is scheduled for Sunday, December 31, at 9:00 PM ET (8:00 PM CT). This special holiday jazz celebration features the award-winning blues, soul, and Americana singer Shemekia Copeland, renowned for her powerful and soulful performances. The event will also feature Nathan Graham, known for his soulful music, who will open the show with his full band, setting the stage for a memorable New Year’s Eve filled with exceptional music and celebration.

St. Joe Winter Beer Fest

A Flight Of Different Beers

The 2024 This years St. Joe Winter Beer Fest is scheduled for Saturday, January 27, 2024, from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM in downtown St. Joseph, MI. This annual outdoor event invites both craft beer novices and enthusiasts to sample a wide range of beers from local and regional Michigan breweries. It’s a perfect occasion for those looking to experience the rich and diverse craft beer culture of Michigan while enjoying the winter atmosphere of St. Joseph​

St. Joseph Ice Fest

Train Ice Sculpture

an exciting winter event set for February 2-4, 2024. Located at 301 State St., this festival brings a weekend of frosty fun to downtown St. Joe. Highlights include professional Ice Carving Competitions, a Scavenger Hunt, and a variety of Ice Interactives. The event begins with a Professional Individual Carving Competition on Friday evening, followed by a Fire & Ice Tower. Saturday features a Professional Team Competition and interactive ice activities like Tic-Tac-Toe, Frozen Fish Toss, Ice Bowling, Ice Skee Ball, and Ice Putt Putt Golf. The event concludes on Sunday with a chance to view the completed ice sculptures. Admission to this magical winter celebration is free.

Winter Local Events Home Base

As we conclude our journey through the festive and exciting winter events across Southwest Michigan and Northwest & Central Indiana, remember that these experiences are made even more special with a comfortable stay. Juniper Holiday and Homes offers the perfect accommodations to complement your winter adventures. Whether you’re seeking a cozy retreat after a day of holiday festivities or a convenient base to explore the myriad of events, our properties provide warmth, comfort, and convenience. Book your stay with Juniper Holiday and Homes and immerse yourself in the winter wonders of these vibrant communities, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Aerial View Of A Charlevoix Vacation Rental

Paws and Play: Plan A Pet-Friendly Vacation in Southwest Michigan

The picturesque shores along Lake Michigan—particularly in Southwest Michigan—offer a serene escape for both vacationers and their furry companions. But it’s not just beautiful and fun here, Southwest Michigan is super pet-friendly~

How do we know that’s true?

Because at Juniper Holiday + Home, we understand pets are part of the family and we design our pet-friendly vacation rental services around the idea! We also, just love animals, and so our team is connected to the local area services and activities available for pets. We’re excited to share our ultimate pet-friendly guide for our Lake Michigan destinations. Come experience a Lake Michigan pet-friendly vacation!

When you’re planning a pet-friendly vacation, finding the right place to stay is crucial. At Juniper Holiday + Home, we offer a selection of charming, comfy, elegantly designed vacation rentals that welcome pets with open arms and wagging tails. From cozy cottages to spacious lakefront homes, our properties provide the ideal backdrop for your vacation getaway. Our pet-friendly accommodations include:

  • Dog-friendly beaches nearby for endless adventures
  • Fenced-in yards for off-leash fun
  • Pet-friendly amenities, such as food and water bowls, dog beds, and treats galore
  • Access to nearby trails and parks for exciting walks
  • Friendly neighborhoods who adore pets almost as much as we do
  • Have pet-planning questions? Contact Us for the skinny on nearly everything pet related.

2. Exploring Nature with Your Furry Friend

Southwest Michigan is a treasure trove of natural beauty, and your pet will love exploring the great outdoors. Here are some pet-friendly activities you can enjoy together:

  • Beach Adventures — The sandy beaches of Lake Michigan are perfect for a game of fetch or a leisurely stroll with your pup. Some local beaches even have designated dog-friendly areas where your furry friend can play in the waves.
  • Hiking Trails — Explore the area’s lush forests and scenic trails. For example, Warren Dunes State Park offers pet-friendly hiking trails that wind through diverse landscapes, from sand dunes to woodlands. (And there are many other similar places in the region for you & your dog to roam together!)
  • Pet-Friendly Wineries – Yep, believe it or not, some wineries in Southwest Michigan are super pet-friendly! You can sip on local wines, while your pet lounges in the sunshine. (Be sure to check ahead for pet policies and outdoor seating.)
A Long Coated Australian Shepherd Outdoors

3. Pet-Friendly Dining

After a day of exploring, it’s time to refuel, right? It turns out Southwest Michigan has a growing number of pet-friendly dining options where you and your dog can dine together on outdoor patios.

Cavapoo Dog Sitting on a Dining Chair

Here are links to 20 more pet-friendly restaurants & bars in the region to check out!!

4. Pet Safety and Etiquette

Cute Pug Pet Dog

While enjoying your vacation with your pet, it’s important to be a responsible pet owner. Here are some tips for ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone:

  • Keep your pet on a leash in areas where it’s required.
  • Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
  • Be respectful of other guests and their pets.
  • Familiarize yourself with local pet regulations and restrictions.

A little online research can go a long way to ensure a smooth and safe time out with your pup.

5. Relax and Unwind

After a day of adventure, return to your cozy Juniper Holiday + Home vacation rental for some well deserved R&R. Our pet-friendly properties are designed to make you and your pet feel totally at home while out on vacation. Whether you choose to snuggle up by the fireplace or enjoy a glass of wine on the porch, your pet will be right there with you, making memories together.

Yorkshire Terrier Relaxing at the Dog Grooming Spa

Bringing your pet to Southwest Michigan for a vacation, with pet-friendly accommodations, stunning natural beauty, and a warm welcome from the local community, your pet will enjoy the trip as much as you do!

Book your pet-friendly getaway with us today and embark on an unforgettable adventure in Southwest Michigan. We can’t wait to welcome you and your beloved pet to our slice of paradise by the lake!

Happy travels, y’all!

Fabulous Family Fun at Fall Festivals in SW Michigan!

The autumn season in Southwest Michigan is not just marked by cooler weather and enjoying the magnificence of leaves turning colors. It’s also a time when many towns and communities celebrate with annual Fall Festivals!

And while each has its own flavor, there’s always plenty of delicious experiences and fun to be had at whichever one you choose, while you’re vacationing this fall in New Buffalo or the surrounding area: from great food and music to hayrides, pumpkin decorating and wine tasting, from kids’ activities and interactive booths to farmers markets and displays of local and nationally recognized arts and crafts… and so much more!

We’ve gathered info on some of the popular fall festivals within driving distance of many of our Juniper properties, and hope you’ll check them out while you’re vacationing in Southwest Michigan!

Family Walking in Grass at a Saugatuck, Michigan Event

New Buffalo Harvest and Wine Festival

When: 10/07/23 Saturday

New Buffalo, MI
Harvest & Wine Festival

New Buffalo’s Harvest & Wine Fest is a fan-favorite for the fall festival season in Southwest Michigan. Festival goers flock to Whittaker Street to enjoy live music, local wine & craft beer tastings, PLUS fun activities for kids, and loads of local vendors and businesses. In fact, this year, Juniper Holiday + Home will be participating in the festivities with a sponsor booth. Stop by and see us.

New Buffalo Harvest & Wine Festival Logo

St. Joe’s Farmers Market in St. Joseph,

When: Every Saturday 9/02/23 – 10/14/23

520 Lake Blvd., St. Joseph, MI (Lake Bluff Park)
St. Joe Farmers Market

Featuring a wide, eclectic array of fresh products & crafts, this popular Farmer’s Market is held in picturesque Lake Bluff Park in delightful St. Joseph, MI. Vendors will offer a variety of products including baked goods, locally grown produce, perennials and cut flowers, meats and cheeses, coffee and more!

Display at the Farmer's Market near Stevensville, MI

2023 Fall Fest in St. Joseph, MI

When: 9/16/23 (Sat.)

520 Lake Blvd., St. Joseph, MI (Lake Bluff Park)
2023 Fall Fest

People of all ages will certainly have fun at this annual community celebration of autumn! Come enjoy the animals from the Critter Barn,
Balloon Twisters, The Great Pumpkin Festival, a Farmers Market, a Big Balloon Walk, Interactive Booths featuring local organizations… and more!

Girl Sitting on Smiling Man's Shoulder at a festival

Artisan Weekend at the Square in Berrien Springs, MI

When: 9/23/23 – 9/24/23 (Sat. – Sun.)

313 N. Cass Street, Berrien Springs, MI
Artisan Weekend at the Square

This all-weekend Fall Festival event is hosted by the Berrien County Historical Organization, a group who are passionate about bringing to the public tangible examples of the historic traditions and artistry from “back in the day,” which have influenced life today! A great time and excellent entertainment will be provided. Come ready to have fun… and very likely learn a bunch!


Berrien Springs in Southwest Michigan is right in the heart of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine trail. Discover some the excellent Southwest Michigan wineries while you’re in the area enjoying the Artisan Weekend at the Square!

Niles (Four Flags Area) Apple Festival in Niles, MI

When: 9/29/23 – 10/2/23 (Thurs. – Sun.)

Downtown Niles
1740 Lake Street, Niles, MI

Four Flags Apple Festival

If you’re looking for a perfect mix of modern and traditional autumn celebrations, head over to the Niles Apple Festival (AKA the Four Flags Area Apple Festival), where you’ll find all sorts of carnival rides, food vendors, and other free entertainment, plus an “old-timey” apple contest with local farmers showcasing their apple harvests to let the public (yes, you!) decide which is best!

Fennville Goose Festival in Fennville, MI

When: 10/12/23 – 10/15/23 (Thurs. – Sun.)

Fennville, MI
Fennville Goose Festival

Since 1985, Fennville has been holding this autumnal celebration, providing a wide variety of events and tons of family fun for the entire
region! Among the highlights are a Wildlife Parade, Gooseberry 5k and Gosling Run, a Carnival, a Car Show, a Cornhole Tournament, a
Pickleball Tournament, a Kids Corner, Live Music, Tastes of Local Restaurants, an Amazing Food Truck & more!

Close up guitar shot outdoor performance at the acorn theater in Three Oaks MI

Under the Harvest Moon in Dowagiac, MI

When: 10/14/23 (Sat.)

Downtown Dowagiac, MI
Under the Harvest Moon Festival

Anyone looking for fun and frivolity in mid-October will find it aplenty at this popular festival in Dowagiac! Great music & food, vendors of handmade & artisan products, local fall produce, kids’ activities, antiques & collectibles, Vintage Tractor Show… and all the Feels of Fall!

woman standing in an apple orchard with an arm full of apples after picking them

Fall Festivals and Juniper Holiday & Home

The Moose House Michigan Vacation Rental

So besides enjoying the splendor of a Juniper vacation rental this swiftly approaching autumn season, there’s plenty to check out these great fall festivals in Southwest Michigan!

5 Reasons to Book a Lake Michigan Vacation Rental This Summer

Looking ahead to the swiftly approaching days of summer–and what fun-filler times, planned adventures or simple R&R might be beckoning you—here are five excellent reasons to consider booking your summer vacation at any of a number of Juniper’s Lake Michigan beach house rentals.

1) Miles and miles of magnificent beaches

View of Lake Michigan Beach and shoreline

For decades, countless vacationers have known about (and flocked to!) the pristine beaches gracing Lake Michigan, one of North America’s five Great Lakes, with 1600 miles of incredible shoreline. And while “a picture is worth a thousand words” (see the accompanying photos), you should know the Southwest Michigan beaches—particularly where a number of our Juniper vacation rentals are located—are held in especially high regard for their white sand beaches, miles of blue water and, quite often wind-sculpted sand dunes. In fact, Conde Naste Traveler magazine named Oval Beach in Saugatuck one of the top 25 beaches in the world… and in the top 2 freshwater beaches!

2) An amazing range of other outdoor activities (i.e., besides the beach!)

Golf Clubs and Golf Balls

Let’s see, where do we start? How about the region’s largest recreational harbor, with boating, jet-ski and fishing charter rentals available, even yacht cruises? Then there’s woodland, lake and riverside parks with hiking and biking trails galore, plus great opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and plenty of birdwatching. And did you know Michigan has the most public golf courses than any other state in the U.S.? Taking in a round of golf at a superb local course is easy-peasy while you vacation along Lake Michigan’s shores. Then again, there’s always that other optional summertime “activity”: Simply stretching out and relaxing in the peaceful outdoors.

3) Plenty of local & nationally-recognized festivals & cultural events to choose from

Couple Listening To Music In Park

While enjoying your stay at a Lake Michigan beach rental, there are also all sorts of fun and enriching events you can revel in. From renowned summertime art festivals and acclaimed musical artist performances to local weekend farmers markets and Friday Night Concert series, good times abound with wonderful ways to get out and experience the rich culture available in Southwest Michigan. For example, the Lake Bluff Artisan Fair in St. Joseph is a widely popular eclectic array of award-winning artists and craftspeople offering art, décor, jewelry, handcrafted furniture and various crafts, with fair dates in June, July, August and September. And in Saugatuck, you’ll quickly find out why it’s heralded as one of the Midwest’s top art-lover’s destinations and haven for artists. Throughout the summer, art gallery openings and exhibitions there flourish. Oh, you want great live music? Top national and international recording artists regularly play at the historic Acorn Theater in Three Oaks. So get out & have some fun!

4) Wine and craft beer tours through award-winning vineyards and breweries

Grapes on the Vine at a Vineyard

Southwest Michigan includes a wine region (the Lake Michigan Shore AVA/American Viticultural Area) that produces some of the most diverse and flavorful wines you’ve ever tasted, thanks to the “lake effect” weather along the Lake Michigan coastal area. Together, these award-winning wineries make up the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, a cluster of superb Michigan vineyards, farms and orchards. marked by the gently rolling hills of Michigan’s “Fruit Ridge.” For wine enthusiasts staying at Lake Michigan beach house rentals, there are several wine tours available in the area. Also, for craft beer lovers, the Waypost Brewery in Fennville is a hugely popular local brewery that not only makes a wide variety of craft beers from produce drawn from its 58-acre farm, but they’ve also won a gold medal at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival!

5) The widely acknowledged “chill vibe” of the Midwest

Two Men In Sunglasses Chilling Near Lake

So many of Juniper’s guests who live on either the East Coast or West Coast of the United States remark to us how kind, friendly and accommodating Midwesterners are. Even Insider has written about it: “The Midwest has a rep for friendly people, a relaxed pace of life and a stress-free lifestyle… Indeed, the Midwest is different than the rest of the country. People are genuinely nice and willing to help others.”1

And though there’s less traffic jams, more wide-open space and room to breathe, it’s the slower tempo and more openhearted nature of Midwesterners that add to the chill vibe of vacationing along Lake Michigan.

1Young, Olivia. “Here are 6 Things All Midwesterners Know to Be True” Insider. 10/12/18

Your Guide to Lake Michigan Vacation Rentals

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