New Buffalo

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!

Rolling the Dice: The Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo

If you’re anywhere in the vicinity of New Buffalo, Michigan and looking for a bit of fabulous entertainment, head over to the luxurious Four Winds Casino Resort.

Located less than 2 miles from downtown New Buffalo and just off of 1-94, the Four Winds Casino is packed full of fun and entertainment.

First of all, when you stride in through the front doors, you’ll immediately recognize you’re in a classy casino with an upscale resort vibe. And since there’s lots to do and see, it’s highly recommended you take a grand tour of Four Winds – that is, walk around and scope out all they have available. Believe me, you’ll inevitably conclude they’ve fulfilled their mission of “providing something for everyone!“

Slot Machines of Every Kind

When it comes to gaming, they’ve gotcha’ covered, in spades. (Pun intended.) Whether you like to play nickels or $100 machines or anything in between, Four Winds Casino New Buffalo offers a full complement of the latest and greatest progressive slot machines, including some of the area’s biggest jackpots. 

Popular Table Games

If you’re looking for a little more exhilaration and social connection with others, take a seat at one of the many table games they offer. Try your hand at classics like Blackjack, Craps, Baccarat and more. Are you new (or a little rusty) to gaming? Don’t fret! The entire staff of Four Winds dealers are friendly and will be glad to assist you on any game. 

Fine dining desserts at Four Winds Casino New Buffalo

Fine Dining

Now, when you get tired of gaming, stroll on over to Copper Creek, their award-winning restaurant, for some excellent cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for seafood (did anyone say Colossal King Crab legs?), one of the classic cuts from their Premier Steak Collection (how about a Himalayan Tenderloin appetizer or a Kagoshima A5 Wagyu Filet?) or you fancy trying their House Specialty Mediterranean char-grilled pork chop, it’s certain you’ll be going away as satisfied as a King or a Queen! (And yes, they have superbly tasty meal offerings for vegetarians, as well!)

Exceptional Wine Selection

By the way, you may want to consider savoring a glass of wine with your expertly prepared meal. Because the fact is, the Copper Rock wine list is so extensive—over 275 wines by the glass or the bottle—they have received The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 13 years in a row! Plus, be sure to save some room for one of their mouth-watering gourmet desserts! 

Copper Creek also features an excellent bar, where you can sip a pre-dinner specialty martini or an after-dinner cognac.

Three Different Glasses of Wine on A Wood Board
A Person Playing the Guitar on Stage at Four Winds Casino New Buffalo

Live Entertainment

And if you’ve wisely taken time to check out their events calendar in advance, you can then make your way over to the Silver Creek Events Center (also part of the Four Winds Casino New Buffalo), where you’re sure to find some high-quality entertainment in an intimate, acoustically superior venue. They regularly present live concerts from nationally recognized and world-renowned music artists, as well as stand-up comedy from some of the best acts in show business. (Upcoming performers include Melissa Etheridge, The Beach Boys, and Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band).

THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS: Whether you’re vacationing or visiting in the New Buffalo area, there’s more to enjoy than just the magnificent sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. Just a short drive from most of Lake Michigan’s favorite towns lies a fantastic opportunity to lavish yourself in the beauty, richness and energetic atmosphere of Four Winds New Buffalo Casino. 

Oh, and one last perk: all parking—including valet—is free of charge

So come out to Four Winds for some summertime fun… and don’t forget to bring your lucky charms!

Casino Sign - Four Winds Casino New Buffalo, Michigan

Four Winds Casino Resort

11111 Wilson Road, New Buffalo, MI 49117
Tel: 866-494-6371
Four Winds Casinos | Indiana & Michigan Casinos

Luxury Accommodations Close to the Four Winds Casino

Our Hidden Treasures: Lake Michigan Beaches!

“A normal lake is knowable. A Great Lake can hold all the mysteries of an ocean, and then some.”
– Dan Egan –

Union Pier Sand dunes and sunset Lake Michigan
happy mother with kids looking at sunset on lake
New Buffalo Lighthouse and Beach at Sunset

Want to know one of the best-kept secrets in Southwest Michigan?

Look no further! The plentiful pristine beaches along Lake Michigan’s freshwater coastline are some of the most beautiful in the country. And it’s not just my opinion… because according to Conde Nast Traveler magazine, Oval Beach in Saugatuck is one of the 25 best in the world, while MTV rates it one of the top 5 in the entire U.S.!)

Yep, in the Southwest Michigan region, there are miles and miles and miles of wide, sandy, stunning beaches—virtually all with a Cape Cod feel— offering you, your family and friends virtually endless opportunities for summertime vacation joy. With clear, aqua blue water, windswept sand dunes and many having well-maintained beaches, services and parking (not to mention the numerous artsy, family friendly beach towns all along the shoreline), you’ve got everything you need for a relaxing, fun-filled day at the beach!

Here’s a small sample of the many great beaches you can find in Southwest Michigan. Go online for more details and directions to those listed here or to research more options in other areas of the region. I also included a list of dog-friendly area beaches that can be found at the end of this article.

Beaches in and around New Buffalo

New Buffalo City Beach

Collage of New Buffalo Beach, Lighthouse, and scenery along Lake Michigan.

Swimming*, kayaking, walkway, concessions, grills, restrooms and a children’s playground are all available. *Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Cherry Beach

Wooden stairs lead you to this 200-yards stretch of beach, with swimming, an observation platform and a nice picnic area. Note: Parking is free, but limited.

Grand Mere State Park

View of Grand Mere State Park Beach from the Water.

This gorgeous beach requires a bit of a hike to get to, but there’s more than a mile’s worth of majestic Lake Michigan beauty to enjoy here. Picnic tables, a covered shelter and vault toilets are provided.

Townline Beach

This quiet beach can be accessed by parking along the road and taking the steps down to it. Great for swimming and it, too, is often frequented.

Warren Dunes State Park

Collage of Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan

This is an excellent swimming or kayaking beach with plenty of magnificent dunes, a boardwalk, concessions and SUP/Stand-up paddleboard rentals.

Weko Beach

Another wonderful swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding beach with a picnic area, grills, a nicely maintained campground, restrooms and a children’s playground.

Beaches in and around Saugatuck, Douglas & St. Joseph

Oval Beach

Recognized as one of Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 25 Beaches in the World, National Geographic Traveler’s Top Freshwater Beaches in the USA, and MTV’s Top 5 Beaches in the U.S., this exquisite crescent-shaped Lake Michigan beach is a popular must-see. Besides a fantastic beach, it has towering sand dunes, concessions stands, a number of picnic areas and plenty of restrooms.

Douglas Beach

Looking for something a little quieter? This cozy neighborhood “park” includes a picnic area, restroom and a peaceful beach lined with trees by the waterline. Consider staying for the enjoyable sunsets.

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Collage of Saugatuck Dunes State Park and Beaches along Lake Michigan

In addition to a glorious beach, here you can find an extraordinary “super- dunes” experience awaiting you. That is, if you’re up for a hike through the sandy woods to fantastic overlooks atop the 200-foot tall dunes. In the summer, you can walk (in winter, you can snowshoe or cross-country ski) for miles on the wooded trails or along the majestic shoreline. Note regarding Parking: State park permit or day use fee is required.

Laketown Beach

If you want to really leave the hustle and bustle behind you, this quiet beach on the north side of town may be your “slice of heaven.” However, you’re going to be up for burning a few calories, given there’s a long wooden stairway to get to the beach. But then it’s virtually all yours! Please note: No services, but parking is free.

West Side County Park

Perfect for family gatherings or just fun for the kids, this beach has pavilions, picnic areas, playgrounds, boardwalks along the beach and restrooms. Note: Parking is limited, but free

Silver Lake County Park

Silver Lake County Beach and Lighthouse in St Joseph, MI

Located in St. Joseph, Michigan at the mouth of the St. Joseph River, this beach features clean, wide sandy expanses and views of the pier, and a public swimming area in the summer months. Great for kayaking and paddleboarding, too!

Dog on Leash at Lake Michigan Beach

Dog-Friendly Area Beaches

Michigan has many dog-friendly beaches—New Buffalo has three dog- friendly beaches and Saugatuck has one—but it’s important to remember none of these are off-leash beach areas; that is, dogs must remain on leashes. It’s also important to remember pet-owner etiquette: remember to clean up after your dog to keep the beaches clean, healthy and fun for everyone.

Leashed Dogs Allowed On Following Beaches

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