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!

Discovering Winter Wonderland Fun in SW Michigan!

We all know winter can be a time of curling up at home and hibernating until the spring brings its warming thaw. But why wait ‘til spring to get outside and enjoy the wintry landscape, “cool” recreational activities, and community events going on now or upcoming? 

Since being by Lake Michigan helps to moderate the temperatures around an average of 30 degrees, you can bundle up and be comfy-cozy during your stay in a lake house vacation rental, and enjoy the great outdoors in Southwest Michigan! Winter sports, nature hikes, cultural activities and more await you! Here are a few great ways to start the Winter Joy Train rolling! 

In the SW Michigan region, there’s absolutely no shortage of winter sports and activities to jump into! Snow tubing, fat tire biking, and trail hiking are all great ways to get outside and have fun during the winter months. These types of activities make SW Michigan so fun to stay in, whether in a lake house property or a cabin vacation home! (Imagine sliding down one of the dunes while you take in the Lake Michigan shoreline!) 

Warren Dunes State Park

Warren Dunes State Park boasts three miles of shoreline and six miles of hiking trails to check out. It’s also a superb place for some snow tubing and sledding, with excellent downhill rides.

Warren Dunes State Park
12032 Red Arrow Highway
Sawyer, MI 49125
Phone: 269-426-4013

Love Creek County Park

Fat Tire bikes are an excellent way to get around in the snow, as well. So if you’d like to check out how exhilarating a winter bike ride can be, head to Love Creek County Park, which has miles of trails and on-site bike rentals. You can also hit the trails with some snowshoes or cross-country skis.

Love Creek County Park
9292 Huckleberry Road
Berrien Center, MI 49102
Phone: 269-471-2617

If outdoor activities aren’t your jam, there are plenty of exciting indoor activities that await you in Southwest Michigan.

The Acorn Theater

How about attending one of many live music performances in the Acorn Theatre, a historic buggy whip and corset factory? And might it be even more appealing if those performing are legendary recording artists and superstar bands you actually know, like Jefferson Starship, The Cowboy Junkies or Jim Messina? In addition, the Acorn Theatre community has been building a reputation as the place to see rising local and regional talent. Lesser-known performers and more recently, highly popular open mic nights, plus playwriting and singer/songwriter competitions, have blown audiences away. Check out their website for upcoming performances that include Dan Navarro (Feb. 17th 8pm ET), Brooklyn Charmers – The Music of Steely Dan (Feb 18th 8pm ET) and Sarah Lee Guthrie (March 2nd 7pm ET).

The Acorn Theater
107 Generations Drive
Three Oaks, MI 49128
Phone: 269-756-3879

Winter Delights Festival

In late February (Sat. Feb. 25th), head to Benton Harbor for the indoor Winter Delights Festival, a showcase of local brews, wines, food and art, all leading up to a fantastic mainstage musical act! Plus, there are guided wine tastings and a chocolate-making demonstration! This community event has all you need for a fabulous winter evening of fun… inside!

Winter Delights Festival
The Mendel Center
1100 Yore Avenue
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Phone: 269-927-8700


And… Who doesn’t love a great Mardi Gras?

March 09, 2023
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Admission: $35 GA / $60 Reserved

Get Tickets

The Acorn Theater
107 Generations Drive
Three Oaks, MI 49128
Phone: 269-756-3879

Mardi Gras Pub Crawl with Great Lakes Brass

The Saugatuck Second Line, a walking brass band, parades on Fat Tuesday through downtown Saugatuck. It celebrates the New Orleans cultural traditions through our Midwestern lens. You’re invited to join in the experience, walking or dancing in the “second line” of the parade. Dress for the occasion! The Southerner will have at 6pm a pop-up buffet and at 8pm live music!

When? Tuesday, Feb 21, 2023 — 5:00pm

Get Tickets

Kick-off parade at Wally’s Bar & Grill
128 Hoffman Street, Saugatuck, MI 49453

Alright, people! Bundle up and enjoy some extra-cool fun this winter season, and if you’re looking for a vacation home rental agency around Lake Michigan, be sure to connect with us!

Spruce Up Your Holiday Shopping in SW Michigan!

Santa’s got a smart suggestion for you this holiday season:

“Shop small” along the SW Michigan shoreline!

In an increasingly disconnected world, shopping at independently owned stores can be a real breath of fresh air and this time of year it’s extra special. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your family and friends, or for a hostess gift, there’s no shortage of unique and delightful shops and boutiques to choose from, each one brimming with creative offerings!

Window Shopping

Trinkets and treasures galore abound—including gifts for your favorite hostess—at Window Shopping in Sawyer, Michigan. Their selection of candles, apothecary, artisan foods, jewelry and floral arrangements means you’re sure to find the perfect, personalized gift for your friends, family or a holiday hostess.
Window Shopping
5857 Sawyer Rd.
Sawyer, Michigan
(773) 531-1768

P&E Bottle Shop

If you have a wine or cocktail lover in your life, Three Oaks is home to P&E Bottle Shop and Journeyman Distillery. This popular destination is housed in a 19th century factory where corsets and buggy whips were once made. While you’re shopping for the perfect bottle, it’s worth staying for a tour and a signature cocktail at the bar. At P&E, you can bring home a bottle of wine and cheese or some craft beer that’s sure to please with some help from the owner, Ellie Mullins.
2 Maple Street
Three Oaks, Michigan
(269) 820-4006

Alapash Mercantile

And if you’d like to get some greenery in your life, Alapash Mercantile should also be on your list. For anyone with a green thumb or an interest in browsing a curated selection of plants and planters, as well as homegoods and apothecary, stop into this 19th century greenhouse with its dazzling array of indoor plants, including attractive succulents and tropicals.
111 North Elm Street
Three Oaks, Michigan
(773) 991-4063

Need some beachtown vibes to brighten up this chilly time of year? New Buffalo has four notable shops that can provide just that! Shore, Eastern Standard Time, Lakeside Goods and Frolic should all be on your list of holiday shopping spots!


Shore is a new retail shop featuring a wide selection of chic and stylish men’s and women’s apparel, fashion accessories and jewelry. They partner with artisans from all around the world to bring you truly unique and sophisticated pieces, helping you radiate your very best look. Come out and browse their cool collections with gift-giving in mind!
10 W. Merchant Street
New Buffalo, Michigan

Eastern Standard Time

Another new retail treasure located in downtown New Buffalo is Eastern Standard Time, “a graphics-driven apparel and lifestyle brand with a passion for design and commitment to create a captivating space.” Their unique collection of apparel, jewelry, accessories and more is sure to please your eye and spark your gift-giving imagination!
110 North Whitaker Street
New Buffalo, Michigan

Lakeside Goods

And right next door is another great place to shop! Lakeside Goods is an excellent source for holiday gifts, especially when it comes to finding something suitable for the person on your list who has wide-ranging interests. This charming, near-the-beach shop had home décor, art, books, apothecary, kids’ stuff and a collection of seasonal beach accessories, all gathered from artisan partners spanning the globe!
100 North Whittaker Street
New Buffalo, Michigan
(269) 586-3613


Frolic, a sunny, fanciful new shop, just might be what the doctor ordered, if embracing a little more fun in your life is what you need! Casual, easy-to-wear, fashionable clothes, shoes and accessories, plus home décor and more, all in a laid-back beach boutique that never takes itself too seriously! A great place for finding great gifts!
20 North Whittaker Street
New Buffalo, Michigan
(219) 210-0496

Happy Holiday Shopping!

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