This small Midwest town should be your next weekend getaway

There’s more to the Midwest than cold winters and deep-dish pizza. Take Michigan for example. Among its beautiful beaches, and rolling sand dunes, you’ll find a hidden gem—Saugatuck.

Tucked away on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, you’ll find this little “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” city boasting a population of around 800 people. But don’t let its small size fool you. You’ll discover plenty to do on Saugatuck‘s lively streets lined with restaurants, bars, gay-owned shops, and unique boutiques.

Check out some of our favorite gay Saugatuck hotspots:

1. The Dunes Resort


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Whether you’re hanging out or coming out, Saugatuck makes it easy to just be you. The number one must-see place for LGBTQ+ visitors in our book? Dunes Resort

Owners Danny Esterline, Greg Trybinski, and Mike Jones started as visitors to what was then the Douglas Dunes, a gay resort back in the 80s. Fast forward to the late 90s and these three friends (after a few margaritas) decided to make the Dune’s their new business adventure and bought the place. They continue to make it a welcoming safe haven for absolutely everyone. The Dunes Resort is known for its laid-back, accepting atmosphere where anyone can get away and relax. 

Still, don’t let the chill vibes fool you. As the largest LGBTQ+ resort in the Midwest, The Dunes is the place to party. Its summertime events calendar is packed with popular events, like pool parties, cabaret shows, dancing, and of course…plenty of queer flirting. 

2. Uncommon Coffee Roasters

Late-night partying requires early morning coffee. Grab your partner and head to Uncommon Coffee Roasters, located in charming downtown Saugatuck, where you’ll be greeted with the friendly rainbow flag.

From the moment you step in, you feel the love, and even better…you smell amazing aromas from their specialty, small-batch coffee, roasting. Under new ownership, Bruno and Mauricio intend to carry on the traditions of welcoming diversity (the legacy of “love and coffee” as they put it) while giving back to the LGBTQ+ community. 

3. Butler Street


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With coffee in hand, take a stroll down Butler Street, the heartbeat of Saugatuck. You’ll find unique shops, boutiques, and art galleries full of treasures to take home. Best of all, nearly all of the shops on Butler street are gay-owned. Now there’s a reason to get out and support local businesses.

4. Oval Beach

Many moons ago, Oval Beach welcomed nudists. Sorry to say, they no longer do. However, if you can manage to keep your Speedo on, they’ll welcome you and all of your queer friends. 

Seriously, the beautiful thing about Oval Beach is the incredible diversity and zero judgment. You’ll find the beach mom with kids in tow, sitting next to a group of gay couples sipping cocktails. No need to hide your PDA at Oval Beach (as long as you keep it PG-13).

5. Guardian Brewing Company


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After a day at the beach, cool off with a cold one from LGBTQ-owned Guardian Brewing Company. They have an extensive menu of craft beers (22 and counting), plenty of other wines and cocktails, and an enticing food menu to go along with it all. Food selections vary with the seasons, which means locally sourced menu options.

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6. Coastal Tours

Coastal Tours is gay-owned and a hell of a good time. Hop on the fun bus and let them drive your group along the Michigan shoreline to visit the state’s top wineries and breweries. Sip all day and never get behind the wheel…perfect. 

UP NEXT: Where to get your beauty rest in Saugatuck…

Get your beauty rest

You’ve had your fun, now get some sleep…or other stuff. Either way, you’ll need a room. 

1. Dunes Resort 


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We mentioned the Dunes Resort, above, but it’s worth repeating. It’s not just a place to socialize and party. The Dunes has beautiful rooms and it’s a great spot to crash after a long day.  

2. Hidden Garden Cottages

This historic B&B is at the center of it all. There are over 20 places to eat within walking distance from Hidden Garden Cottages. Located on Butler Street, you’re sure to have a private, romantic stay steps away from everything downtown Saugatuck has to offer as well as Lake Kalamazoo.

3. The Kirby Hotel

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LGBTQ-owned and operated, the Kirby Hotel is located in a gorgeous, historical home in Douglas. The hotel offers a B&B experience with breakfast in the morning as well as an on-site fine dining restaurant. You won’t want to leave!

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