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Explore the Shore in St. Joe, Michigan.

Submitted by Beth Rudnick

Warming temperatures and returning sunlight beckon us back to the lakeside and to our beautiful Indiana dunes. But a fairly quick jaunt to the north offers us yet another stunning lake view courtesy of our neighbor, St Joe, Michigan. In addition to brick-lined streets and coffee houses, St. Joe boasts miles of gorgeous coastline that allow us another chance to get outside and dig the dunes.

St. Joe’s lighthouse is well known and accessible, and the busy beachfront sports pizza places and ice cream pop-ups. But if you crave an off-the-beaten-path prospect, just slightly north of St. Joe (where Main Street becomes M63 North) is a charming and often overlooked little county park called Rocky Gap. Even in brisk April, the short walk to the shore is inviting, rewarded with lake views unhampered by industry or development. On warmer days, Rocky Gap’s beachfront provides a quiet place to toss down a towel and take a dip. There are two small sites that make up Rocky Gap County Park – one with beach access and another stationed on a hill that offers panoramic views. Both, no more than 100ish feet apart and easily walkable, have covered picnic areas and seating areas and, being off a residential street, are quiet and not highly trafficked. Parking is limited but free year-round.  

Silver Harbor Brewing is a great spot to hit before or after your beach visit.

Another great place to grab a dip – in this case, one including cheese and pretzels – is Silver Harbor Brewery. Located at 721 Pleasant Street on the north end of St. Joe off Main Street, the brewery is a lively, bustling food-and-drink venue offering a full menu of goodies (including vegan) to grab on the way to or from your visit to serene Rocky Gap.  

Maximize your trip to St. Joe by hitting a first Sunday of each month, beginning May 5, for Antiques Along the Bluff that often hosts 50+ eclectic vendors; or include the sidewalk sales down historic State Street that begin May 17. And take one last Lake Michigan glance at Lookout Point Park, along Red Arrow/Business 94, before ending your St. Joe staycation and returning to our own enchanting dunescapes.

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