Saugatuck: Senior Weekend Escape


Saugatuck, Michigan made some major news when it was selected by USA Today as a great place for a summer weekend escape.  It’s small, 1,000 folks, but there must be something that draws attention for senior visitors.

Originally a lumber town and port, Saugatuck, along with the adjacent city of Douglas, became a noted art colony and tourist destination in the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, Saugatuck was home to the famous Big Pavilion, a large dance hall that attracted bands and visitors from across the Midwest.

Downtown Douglas (640x480)

Today, senior tourists find the art galleries, harbor, marinas, scenery, unusual stores, the view from atop Mount Baldhead, and Oval Beach on Lake Michigan, a great spot to visit. And that name…William C. Butler was an original founder of Kalamazoo village, as Saugatuk was at first known.

He bought land and had a village plat laid out in 1833. The first postmaster suggested the name of Saugatuck for the post office, and this name was taken when Saugatuck was incorporated as a village in 1868. The name derives from an Indian term meaning “river’s mouth”.

Seniors Discover Artistic Town


The primary source of revenue comes from tourism. About 1,000 individuals call Saugatuck their year-round home, while the population of the town grows to nearly 3,000 in the summer months.

Saugatuck is a prime summer weekend getaway destination for folks from Chicago, Grand Rapids and Detroit areas. I discovered that there are just over 300 vacation rentals available for senior visitors to choose from plus five hotels.

Seniors will find over a dozen quality art galleries in town, and that’s a bunch with such a small population. I’d suggest that you look into taking the Saugatuck Chain Ferry, a hand-cranked vessel, that departs from Wick’s Park and takes visitors from the city side of the river to the other shore for a walk to the beach, an historical museum or a climb up the stairs at Mt. Baldhead.


Settler’s House is a fun place for a visit. The one-time cottage of Irish Canadian immigrant Thomas Morrissey and family, the house is decorated with contemporary pieces from the mid- to late-19th century. The house shows that settlers lived lives with many hardships.

Spend some time in Saugatuck. You’ll be glad you did. The many neat photos I saw of Saugatuck makes me want to put it on my travel bucket list and soon. jeb

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