Blueberries, the Kal-Haven Trail and Lake Michigan
July and August, also known as blueberry season, are the best times to spend time in Michigan. The Kal-Haven Trail runs 34 miles between South Haven and Kalamazoo and is one of the most popular bike trails in the country.
We have stayed at two different campgrounds in the South Haven area. Each have their advantages.
1. South Haven/Covert KOA
The KOA is not on the bike trail, but has tons of blueberry bushes so is well worth staying there in July/August when you can pick your weight in blueberries. It isn't far from the bike path and has many amenities like a pool, full hook-ups and many activities for the kids.
2. KalHaven Outpost
The KalHaven Outpost is a newer campground and has cabins and campsites and is right on the trail. It's great to have easy access to the Kal-Haven Trail for walking, running or biking. It's also an easy bike ride into South Haven.
Kal-Haven Bike Trail
Thirty-four miles of crushed limestone trail linking the towns of South Haven and Kalamazoo. The trail runs through several small towns and across woods and fields of southwestern Michigan. It is possible to ride road bikes on the trail if conditions are just so, however, it is more suited to gravel, hybrid or mountain bikes. It is possible to ride on bike paths and lanes once in Kalamazoo to Bell's Brewery, an excellent place to re-fuel for the ride back. We generally start somewhere a bit east of SouthHaven to make it a reasonable distance. Gobles to Bell's is 38-miles round trip.
Van Buren State Trail
We also rode from the Kal-Haven Outpost campground to and through South Haven to the Van Buren State Park Trail. The segment of the Van Buren that we rode is paved, shady in parts, scenic and takes you to Van Buren State Park. Our ride was 24 miles round trip. The path continues on to Hartford but is unpaved and looked a little rough.
Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park
From South Haven we drove to Grand Rapids (about an hour north) and rode on the White Pine Trail. The trail is paved and well maintained. It is 93 miles long running from Grand Rapids to Cadillac. We barely scratched the surface of this trail, but enjoyed the short segment that we rode. On our 40 mile roundtrip ride north from Grand Rapids, we passed through Cedar Springs and Rockford. On the way back to Grand Rapids we stopped at the Rockford Springs Brewery for a beer and a snack. Very pleasant restaurant and little town.
South Haven is a very cute little lake town with fun stores, restaurants, beaches and Lake Michigan overlooks. If you are in the area check out:
Barden's Market - fresh vegetables and baked goods
The Depot - excellent wine and beer selection
3 Blondes Brewery - good food and good beer. I had the bbq chicken tacos, house salad and the Boom Boom Betty Beer.
The Congregation - excellent restaurant with a wide variety of food. I had a bbq bowl with bbq, beans and rice and a Greek salad. Highly recommend.
Blue Stairs Beach - excellent place to catch some sun and play in the water or to just sit on the benches above the beach and watch the sunset.
Bell's Brewery (in Kalamazoo)
The first Bell's beer was brewed in 1985. I don't know if it is one of the oldest craft breweries in the country, but its one of the earliest ones I remember hearing about. It is an excellent destination on a hot summer day and we make it a point to plan a bike riding visit whenever we are in the area. Quality beer and food.