Locally known as St. Joe, this city of approximately 8400 people sits at the mouth of its namesake river where it empties into southwestern Lake Michigan.
Although the city of St. Joseph was not incorporated until 1834, the mouth of the river was an important place for Miami and Potawatomi Native Americans who used the surrounding area as a camp while traveling between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes.
In 1780, European settler William Burnett started a trading post at the mouth of the river, with goods passing between Chicago and Detroit leading to continued growth in the area until the formal incorporation of the city.
Today, St. Joseph, Michigan sits on the edge of the largest non-citrus fruit growing area in the country and features some of the finest orchards and vineyards in the United States.
Also known as the Riviera of the Midwest, St. Joseph is a popular destination for vacationers looking to experience the Lakeshore Lifestyle and is an easy drive from Chicago, Detroit, and points south.
St. Joseph is well-know for the picturesque dunes and sugary sands found in public beaches and parks like Silver Beach, or Warren Dunes State Park, where visitors can hit lay in the sun or picnic during the day, camp overnight, or relax by a cozy campfire after one of West Michigan’s spectacular sunsets.
Hikers and bikers will find plenty to do in and around St. Joseph with plenty of trails winding through Hickory Creek Preserve, Eden Springs Park and Campground, and many more of the area’s beautiful, natural environments.
For an unforgettable outdoor experience, the nearby Sarrett Nature Center provides visitors with 8 miles of trails spread across 1000 acres in the Paw Paw River valley. With a focus on environmental education, visitors can take part in educational programs, interact with some of the area wildlife, or just experience the natural beauty of southwestern Michigan.
When it’s a little too cool for outdoor interests, St. Joseph has plenty of other fun and interesting attractions for visitors of any age. Downtown, plenty of shopping and dining opportunities await visitors, which include art galleries, boutiques, and of course, fudge.
However, the Silver Beach Carousel is a must-see. Built on the site of the original 1910 Carousel which was sold to a Roswell, New Mexico collector in 1979, the new carousel delights riders year-round with 6 replicas of the original lifelike horses, chariots pulled by sea serpents, and more than 20 other unique and colorful figures.
There’s no need to go hungry in St. Joseph with fine dining, burgers, and seafood available with a perfect view of the waterfront. Stop in for a bite at Plank’s Tavern, 221 Main, or Clementine’s and you will not be disappointed.
Whether planning a perfect weekend getaway or moving to the area for a fresh start, St. Joseph offers visitors and residents alike with a wide variety of shopping, dining, and cultural opportunities while still holding on to its Michigan beachfront feel.