Our vacation to New Buffalo, Michigan

Our family has traveled to Lake Michigan since my boys were babies, and last summer, we decided to try a new beach town – New Buffalo. We absolutely loved the town and what it had to offer!


First, I’ll start with my one negative opinion of New Buffalo – the actual beach! The “sand” is really more like dirt and not clean, white sand. Besides that, my boys had a lot of fun. There is a playground and a boardwalk along the dunes, which makes for some great photo ops. There is a snack bar, as well as kayak and paddleboard rentals. Beach parking is $10 per day, but we walked from our hotel.

Nearby the beach is Lions Pavilion Park, which has a playground or picnic tables for a picnic. We found a geocache in the pavilion!

For more info on the beach and local parks, check out this link.

My husband found us a great hotel – the Harbor Grand, which is in walking distance of the beach. It is one of the most unique places we have ever stayed. Probably the most exciting part for my boys was having “breakfast in bed.” This hotel did not have a breakfast area. Instead, you ordered your breakfast the night before, and it was delivered to your door the next morning at the time specified. My oldest son was in charge of answering the door and retrieving our food basket every morning.

Here are some of the amenities at the Harbor Grand:

  • Indoor pool
  • Fitness room
  • Massage therapy
  • An Italian restaurant called The Terrace Room
  • 24-hour Ben & Jerry’s ice cream service to your door (what?!)
  • Free DVD library
  • Free bike rental
  • Complimentary beach towels and sand chairs
  • WiFi

Now onto the important things (FOOD!):

The Stray Dog – Probably the most popular spot in town, The Stray Dog was a very nice “dog-themed” restaurant. I ordered the French Dip sandwich, and my husband got the Fish Tacos. I don’t remember what the kids got, but I know they were happy. :) We all loved our food, and the kids got souvenir cups. There is a gift shop to peruse while you wait since it was very crowded. There are pictures of dogs on the walls, and you will find more dog pics on their website.

Redamak’s – This roadside diner has been around for many years, and their slogan is “The Hamburger that made New Buffalo Famous!” People travel from miles around to try their legendary burger. They are closed during the winter and only accept cash. We had a good meal, but I was freezing from the the air conditioning! :)

Oink’s Ice Cream and Yogurt – A New Buffalo tradition of 25 years, this is the coolest ice cream place I have ever seen! With a pig theme, the inside is chock full of pig and ice cream paraphernalia (over 3,000 pieces!). They serve 58 flavors of ice cream. “Oink” is the owner’s nickname. Although we did not try it, they serve the “Hungry Hog,” which is a 10-scoop sundae served in a popcorn bucket with all the fixings. Wow! They also have a candy and gift shop in the back part of the building. Walking around the property, you’ll find unique memorabilia, including a DeLorean car (think Back to the Future).

Villa Nova Pizzeria – Our hotel concierge recommended this place to us as “the best pizza in town” (something my hubbie always asks about). The building is a little run down and older, but the pizza was excellent! Super nice waitress too.

My boys are not big shoppers, but they loved the “I Love Toy Trains Store” which is right across from Oink’s. They have some cool trains and also other toys for sale.

Amber Tincher and Amy Leckrone

Co-founders of Camp Mommawatchi

Purchase at-home camp curriculum at www.campmommawatchi.com


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