12 Best Things to Do in Benton Harbor, MI (2022)

Benton Harbor is situated in south east Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan, across the St Joseph River from its twin city by the same name. It was formerly swampland but a canal was laid that drained the swamp and created a harbor suitable for a shipping yard. This fueled manufacturing in the town and factories sprang up. The climate is moderated by the waters of Lake Michigan, causing conditions favorable to growing fruit. There are several vineyards and conservation areas around Benton Harbor. We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.

1.Sarett Nature Center

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© Sarett Nature Center

In 1963, Mr and Mrs Vawter purchased 130 acres of land and donated it to the Michigan Audobon Society for the purposes of establishing a nature sanctuary. It was named after Professor Sarett, a lifelong friend of Mr Vawter and well known local naturalist and poet. A River trail was developed incorporating ponds and walks. A lookout tower, treetop walkways and the Nature Play Area add variety to the visit. Half- and full-day ecology classes are offered to schools, homeschoolers and scouts. There are weekend and evening classes and natural history tours for the general public. The center is closed on Mondays.

2300 Benton Center Rd., Benton Harbor, MI 49022, Phone: 269-927-4832

2.12 Corners Vineyard, Benton Harbor, MI

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© 12 Corners Vineyard

Lake Michigan has a moderating influence on the climate in West Michigan, making it ideal for growing fruit and more recently, grapes. 12 Corners was started by a group of friends on 115 acres. They grew a variety of hybrids and cultivars on varying slopes and types of soil. This has brought out a range of individualized tastes in the grapes and wines made from them. Tasting is offered 7 days a week and there are weekly live music events. A wine club gives members a number of benefits. The venue is for hire and a full wedding service is available.

1201 N Benton Center Rd, Benton Harbor, MI 49022, Phone: 269-927-1512

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3.Jean Klock Park

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© aphotostory/stock.adobe.com

The park is named after the daughter of Mr and Mrs Klock, who died in childhood. They purchased a half mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline and donated it to the city of Benton Harbour to be used as a park 'for the children', in perpetuity. More land was purchased for the park in 1952. In the park are several ecologically sensitive dunes, wetlands and marshes. The city has come under pressure from several private developers to sell off bits of the park. The Friends of Jean Klock Park have fought valiantly but were not able to stop the development of 3 holes of a golf course on the land.

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4.North Pier Brewing Company, Benton Harbor, MI

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© North Pier Brewing Company

Husband and wife, Jay and Jordan Fettig make beer in Benton Harbor and sell it at their taproom and outdoor beer garden close to Lake Michigan. They specialize in European, especially Belgian lagers and ales. The brewery is open 7 days a week and has endeavored to create a 'third place', somewhere other than home and work that people can meet and relax. They have 12 rotating beers on tap and have recently started canning. The bar restaurant serves tacos, sandwiches, salads and baskets of snacks.

670 N. Shore Dr., Benton Harbor, MI 49022, Phone: 269-757-7163

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5.Water Street Glassworks, Benton Harbor, MI

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© Water Street Glassworks

The Glassworks is a community arts program set in the Benton Harbor Art District. It opened in 2004 after extensive renovations were made to the once derelict and abandoned historic Hinkley Building. There is a school, a studio and a gallery on the premises, dedicated to glass and metal fire arts. Students enter a two-year program, working with jewelry, mosaics, enamel and beads. There are regular exhibits of the work of students, staff and instructors. Tours and demonstrations can be arranged. The venue is available for group 'bring your own food' parties. The annual extinguishing of the fire occurs on 31 May each year.

140 Water Street, Benton Harbor MI, Phone: 269-925-5555

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6.Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve

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© paulcowell/stock.adobe.com

Under the waters of Michigan’s western shore lies the Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve, a gorgeous, submerged wonderland that is just as rich in maritime history as it is in beauty. It was officially dedicated as Michigan’s tenth preserve in 1999 and is known for the many shipwrecks that can be explored within its waters. Some of the ethereal shipwreck dives at this preserve include the 106-foot Rockaway, the commercial vessel known as the Verano, the 135-foot Havana, and the H.C. Akeley, a 230-foot steamer that sunk while transporting goods from Chicago to Buffalo. In addition to the ships, the preserve also allows avid divers to explore the grottos and trenches of the Clay Banks, and the unusual rock bottom of the Grand Mere Rock Outcropping.

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(Video) MIDWEST MUST DO VLOG: St. Joseph, Michigan

7.Vineyard 2121

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© Vineyard 2121

Husband and wife, Jeffrey and Deborah Pallas combined their talents of landscaping and public relations to create a tourist destination at their vineyard. The tasting room was opened in 2015. It offers wine tasting, wine flights and light meals such as soups, salads and sandwiches. The large outdoor patio overlooks the vineyard. The grounds have been landscaped to create photogenic opportunities for weddings and other private and corporate functions. Much work has gone into the development of the estates roads, ponds and buildings. The farm, winery and wines have all received awards. Vineyard 2121 is open from March to October.

4110 Red Arrow Highway, Benton Harbor, MI 49022, Phone: 269-849-0109

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8.Henry's Hamburgers, Benton Harbor, MI

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© Henry's Hamburgers

In the 1960s, Henry's Hamburgers was a bigger franchise than McDonalds. In 1959, the outlet in Benton Harbor was opened. It outlasted the franchisor and has changed hands and venues a few times but still maintains the food and service that made it successful. Patrons can choose carry-out or to use the drive through. A top seller is the Brown Bag special - a double cheesburger, fries and a Pepsi, which accounts for 50% of sales. Quirky specials such as the 99c Munchie of the Month and Nuggets 'two for the price of one' keep customers interested. The community board on their web sites invites customers to recall their memories of the franchise.

(Video) Michigan's Best Day on the lakeshore in St. Joseph

1832 M 139, Benton Harbor, MI 49022, Phone: 269-926-6757

9.Mary’s City of David Museum

Come and visit the third oldest Christian community in America when you visit the Mary’s City of David. The property, which spans 140 impressive acres and 81 buildings, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in America in 2009, and later opened a museum at the urgent of several historical organizations in the area. Out of the 81 structures in this Israelite community, there are 11 that are open for visitors including the museum which is found in Mary’s Auditorium. Come and see many interesting artifacts and photos from the community’s history, pick up literature at the gift shop, or simply get to know the incredible and deep religious roots that this community has. The museum is open Monday to Friday, and is open to walk-ins.

1158 East Britain Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI 49023-0187; 269-925-1601

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10.The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College

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© aerogondo/stock.adobe.com

The Mendel Center is all about three things: performances, events, and making life-long memories. This events center boasts two incredible performance stages and several spacious events and meeting spaces that can accommodate anywhere between 10 to 1,600 guests. Beyond being a popular events space, however, The Mendel Center is known for staging and playing host to spectacular performances such as concerts from every genre, science talks, stunning performances by troupes like the Russian National Ballet, and more. The Center has also played host to various National Geographic Live talks, circus performances, and popular theatrical showcases like Stomp. No matter the kind of performance you enjoy, there is sure to be something for you at The Mendel Center.

1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI 49022, Phone: 269-927-8700

11.Piggott’s Farm Market and Bakery

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© Piggott’s Farm Market and Bakery


Say hello to Southwest Michigan's freshest in-season produce at Piggott’s Farm Market and Bakery. Piggott’s Farm was opened in 1949 as a family-run farm and remains to be one today. The mission of the farm is simple, to be responsible stewards of the land, along with its resources, and to produce nutritious and delicious produce for the people of Southwest Michigan and its surrounding areas. Drop by Piggott’s Farm to shop your favorite fruits and vegetables or stop by the bakery to pick up an assortment of delicious pies, donuts, cookies, and other baked goods. The market and bakery are open from 9 am to 6 pm, seven days a week from May through October.

3824 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI 49022, Phone: 269-876-9269

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12.ARS Gallery

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© ARS Gallery

Situated in the heart of Benton Harbor’s blossoming Arts District, the ARS Gallery was opened in 2010 and is dedicated to the education of visitors of all ages in the fields of cultural and visual arts. The gallery is owned and curated by Anna Russo Sieber, who ensures that each exhibit brings an opportunity to enjoy and build an appreciation for contemporary art. The ARS Gallery shows exhibits from both up-and-coming and established artists and hosts a variety of educational programs for art enthusiasts who would like to develop a deeper understanding of various art mediums. Part of the gallery’s commitment to art is to provide scholarships to students that show a love and promise for the arts. Come by the gallery to see their running exhibits, which in the past have included the works of Dave Wilkinson, John Sauve, and Greta Hurst.

147 Fifth Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022, Phone: 269-277-5090

13.Eden Springs Park

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© Eden Springs Park

Previously called The House of David, Edens Spring Park is a popular recreational space and camping ground that has a long and interesting past. Opened in 1908 and operated by The House of David until 1973, the park is known for its gorgeous campsite, its entertaining train rides, and historical tours that are available to visitors year-round. Visitors can take walking and digital tours of the park to learn all about the park and its origins. Meanwhile, various train rides are available on the weekends with the gas-powered train offering rides on Saturday and steam engine train operating on Sundays. A miniature train can also be seen at the park from 12 – 5 every weekend.

793 M 139 Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022, Phone: 269-927-3302


12 Best Things to Do in Benton Harbor, MI


  • Sarett Nature Center, Photo: Sarett Nature Center
  • 12 Corners Vineyard, Benton Harbor, MI, Photo: 12 Corners Vineyard
  • Jean Klock Park, Photo: aphotostory/stock.adobe.com
  • North Pier Brewing Company, Benton Harbor, MI, Photo: North Pier Brewing Company
  • Water Street Glassworks, Benton Harbor, MI, Photo: Water Street Glassworks
  • Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve, Photo: paulcowell/stock.adobe.com
  • Vineyard 2121, Photo: Vineyard 2121
  • Henry's Hamburgers, Benton Harbor, MI, Photo: Henry's Hamburgers
  • Mary’s City of David Museum, Photo: vitaly tiagunov/stock.adobe.com
  • The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College, Photo: aerogondo/stock.adobe.com
  • Piggott’s Farm Market and Bakery, Photo: Piggott’s Farm Market and Bakery
  • ARS Gallery, Photo: ARS Gallery
  • Eden Springs Park, Photo: Eden Springs Park
  • Cover Photo: Kenneth Keifer/stock.adobe.com

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FAQs

What is Benton Harbor MI known for? ›

Benton Harbor is most prominently known to being located across the St. Joseph River by their Twin City to St. Joseph. Due to the location, the city created a harbor and became suitable for a shipping yard.

Is Benton Harbor worth visiting? ›

Benton Harbor is a city in Michigan, United States. It has many popular attractions, including Jean Klock Park, making it well worth a visit. Benton Harbor is a city in Michigan, United States. It has many popular attractions, including Jean Klock Park, making it well worth a visit.

What is there to do in Benton Harbor in the winter? ›

What is St Joseph Michigan known for? ›

Joseph is one of the best-known and most-loved beaches in the area. Nearby Warren Dunes State Park gives visitors access to beautiful acres of dunes and lakefront camping.

What is the racial makeup of Benton Harbor Michigan? ›

Benton Harbor Demographics

Black or African American: 85.12% White: 12.84% Two or more races: 1.46% Other race: 0.58%

How did Benton Harbor get its name? ›

In 1866, the settlement's name was changed to Benton Harbor in honor of Thomas Hart Benton, a Missouri Senator who helped Michigan achieve statehood.

What is there to do between Traverse City and Grand Rapids? ›

The top stops along the way from Grand Rapids to Traverse City (with short detours) are Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, and Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn. Other popular stops include E Front St, 2 Lads Winery, and Grass River Natural Area.

Is Benton Harbor nice? ›

The people are very friendly and compassionate with strangers. There is not much recreation or entertainment but the loving atmosphere of brotherly love is why I have this place 5 stars . Benton Harbor can be a nice little city if the residents would take more pride in it.

What is the Michigan Pike? ›

The West Michigan Pike is a historic trail leading beachgoers from all over the nation to unique and scenic towns along the lakeshore. Developed in 1911 as a pioneering tourist road, the West Michigan Pike was designed for vacationers seeking both relaxation and adventure.

What is there to do in St Joseph Michigan in the winter? ›

Joseph, you can't miss the two St. Joseph Lighthouses.
...
Fun-for-everyone outdoor activities
  1. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking: Blaze your way on park and nature preserve trails in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties. ...
  2. Fat tire snow biking: Bring your fat tire bikes to Love Creek County Park or Dr.

What lake is Benton Harbor on? ›

Benton Harbor, city, Berrien county, southwestern Michigan, U.S. It lies on Lake Michigan near the mouth of the St. Joseph River, opposite its twin city of St. Joseph, 50 miles (80 km) west-southwest of Kalamazoo.

What is New Buffalo Michigan known for? ›

More than a beach town — nightlife and entertainment

New Buffalo is also the location for Southwestern Michigan's first gambling casino, the Four Winds Casino Resortand Silver Creek Event Center – the place for concerts featuring headliner entertainment plus conferences and special events.

Is St Joseph MI a nice place to live? ›

St. Joseph is in Berrien County and is one of the best places to live in Michigan. Living in St. Joseph offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes.

What is Saugatuck MI known for? ›

Known as Michigan's Art Coast, Saugatuck was awarded Best Beach Town 2020 by Midwest Living Magazine. Art lovers can find many galleries and studios here to explore. The area is also known for its pristine Lake Michigan beaches, award-winning wineries and breweries, and LGBTQ community.

Is South Haven Michigan worth visiting? ›

South Haven is a favorite beach vacation destination for travelers, who flock to the freshwater coast for the wide, sandy Lake Michigan beaches and charming downtown shopping and dining area. It's also a favorite romantic getaway for couples, lured by the many cozy B-and-B's and nearby wineries.

What is the average household income in Benton Harbor Michigan? ›

$21,947

How large is Benton Harbor MI? ›

Who is the mayor of Benton Harbor Michigan? ›

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad says he's running for Congress.

Is the water in St Joseph MI safe? ›

For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2021 - March 2021), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

Who made Benton Harbor? ›

The history of Benton Harbor began with the purchase of 160 acres of land by Eleazar Morton in a portion of Benton Town- ship. In 1836, he moved his family into a log cabin on high ground west of Ox Creek. Morton and his son, Henry, planted orchards and prospered from the sale of fruit.

Is Berrien Springs Michigan a good place to live? ›

Berrien Springs is in Berrien County and is one of the best places to live in Michigan. Living in Berrien Springs offers residents a sparse suburban feel and most residents own their homes. Many families, young professionals, and retirees live in Berrien Springs and residents tend to lean conservative.

How long is the drive from Grand Rapids Michigan to Mackinac Island? ›

There are 207.17 miles from Grand Rapids to Mackinac Island in northeast direction and 262 miles (421.65 kilometers) by car and ferry, following the I-75 N route. Grand Rapids and Mackinac Island are 4 hours 50 mins far apart, if you drive non-stop for 4 hours 2 mins and take a ferry for 48 minutes .

How long does it take to get from Traverse City to Mackinac Island? ›

It takes approximately 3h 39m to get from Traverse City to Mackinac Island, including transfers.

What is there to see between Mackinac Island and Detroit? ›

The top stops along the way from Detroit to Mackinaw City (with short detours) are Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Detroit Zoo, and Greenfield Village. Other popular stops include Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, Frankenmuth River Place Shops, and Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad.

Is Benton Harbor Michigan a nice place to live? ›

Benton Harbor

"With over 2,200 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2017, it ranks as the most dangerous city in the state and one of the most dangerous in the country. For reference, there were 383 violent crimes for every 100,000 people nationwide the same year.

What is the zip code for Benton Harbor Michigan? ›

Benton Harbor

Are pike good to eat? ›

Pike — commonly called northern pike — is a popular game fish. It has great-tasting meat that you can cook in many different ways. Another reason to have pike fish is for its various nutritional benefits. As one of the healthiest coolwater fishes, it makes a great choice for those who like to follow a healthy diet.

Why do people fish for pike? ›

Northern Pike fishing is popular in Europe and Russia, and continues to grow in popularity in North America. This popularity is due in large part to their trophy size potential, strong fight, and great taste.

What is the size limit for pike in Michigan? ›

It shall be unlawful to use or possess live bait, dead bait, organic or processed food at any time on the shore or water. No size limit on Northern Pike and up to five (5) Northern Pike may be retained in the daily possession limit with only one (1) greater than 24 inches.

What is the history of Benton Harbor Michigan? ›

Brunson Harbor became Benton Harbor in 1865. The new settlement grew rapidly and was incorporated as a village in 1866. The canal had made Benton Harbor a lake port and by the 1870's, ships were loading more than 300,000 packages of fruit per year. Sawmills and basket factories lined the canal.

What is New Buffalo Michigan known for? ›

More than a beach town — nightlife and entertainment

New Buffalo is also the location for Southwestern Michigan's first gambling casino, the Four Winds Casino Resortand Silver Creek Event Center – the place for concerts featuring headliner entertainment plus conferences and special events.

What lake is Benton Harbor Michigan on? ›

Benton Harbor, city, Berrien county, southwestern Michigan, U.S. It lies on Lake Michigan near the mouth of the St. Joseph River, opposite its twin city of St. Joseph, 50 miles (80 km) west-southwest of Kalamazoo.

How big is Benton Harbor Michigan? ›

Is Berrien Springs Michigan a good place to live? ›

Berrien Springs is in Berrien County and is one of the best places to live in Michigan. Living in Berrien Springs offers residents a sparse suburban feel and most residents own their homes. Many families, young professionals, and retirees live in Berrien Springs and residents tend to lean conservative.

What county is St Joseph Michigan? ›

Saint Joseph, city, seat (1894) of Berrien county, southwestern Michigan, U.S. Located about 85 miles (140 km) southwest of Grand Rapids, it is a port on Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the St. Joseph River, opposite Benton Harbor.

Can you drink at New Buffalo beach? ›

No alcohol allowed! Pricing: (1) $20 per hour for a single kayak or paddleboard with paddle and life vest or $25 per hour for a double (tandem) kayak with paddles and life vests.

What is Saugatuck MI known for? ›

Known as Michigan's Art Coast, Saugatuck was awarded Best Beach Town 2020 by Midwest Living Magazine. Art lovers can find many galleries and studios here to explore. The area is also known for its pristine Lake Michigan beaches, award-winning wineries and breweries, and LGBTQ community.

Is New Buffalo beach free? ›

Parking fees begin April 1st and end October 31st. Sunsets and sunrises are still free. Pay to Park is enforced between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM. Pay with a credit card at one of the two kiosks located at the entrance or near the beach warning flags.

Where is Silver Beach Lake Michigan? ›

Silver Beach County Park is located in St. Joseph, Michigan at the mouth of the St. Joseph River. Silver Beach County Park features a clean, wide beach on Lake Michigan and public access to the South Pier.

What county is Bay Harbor Michigan in? ›

Bay Harbor, MI belongs to Emmet county. Check the list of Emmet county ZIP Code.

What is the zip code for Benton Harbor Michigan? ›

Benton Harbor

What is the average household income in Benton Harbor Michigan? ›

$21,947

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