Spring into Action

OUR GREAT OUTDOORS IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS

April showers and May flowers are just the beginning of the spring season in Southwest Michigan. Our region boasts miles of trails for hiking and biking, numerous bustling farmers markets and a whole lot more. When the snow melts and the sun comes out, you’ll be itching for an adventure, which is why we’ve gathered the best of the best for you here.

  • Explore 820 acres of nature as you bike through T.K. Lawless Park in Cass County. The 10-mile bike trail provides a soothing ride with scenery including fields, trees and a swamp.
  • Yankee Spring State Recreation Area offers mountain biking trails up to 12 miles. Gaze over the water of nine different lakes that welcome fishing and beach visits.
  • Boasting 55 miles of interconnected trail, the Portage Bikeway provides routes through the Celery Flats, Bishops Bog Preserve and Portage’s retail area.
  • Enjoy a woodsy bike ride and take in the wetlands that attract mallards and blue and green herons at the Herbert Road Nature Preserve.
  • Taking visitors on a recreational ride around the expanded 2.7-mile trail, Texas Drive Park provides a beautiful path to walk, jog, run, skip, hop or bike!
  • As the weather warms up there’s nothing quite as refreshing as spending a day on the Kal-Haven Trail followed by a cool-off in Lake Michigan.
  • Comprised of 140 acres of marsh, meadow, pine plantation and second-growth forest Kalamazoo College’s Lillian Anderson Arboretum welcomes all!
  • With a focus on environmental education, the Sarett Nature Center will give you a sense of community as you embark on your next hike through its eight-mile trail.
  • Numerous trails throughout the 741 acres of Al Sabo Preserve in Portage span marsh, forest, streams and rolling hills.
  • One of the most popular parks in Cass County, Michigan Fred Russ Forest Park sits within the 580-acre Fred Russ research forest and provides hikers with an opportunity to enjoy the area’s history.
  • Relax with a hike through sand dunes of the Lake Michigan shoreline at Grand Mere State Park. Beautiful views incorporate undeveloped areas of three inland lakes.
  • Roam the trails of Madeline Bertrand County Park, located along the St. Joseph River. Hikers can enjoy the calm atmosphere of pine and oak forests.
  • Sand dunes attract regional tourists to Van Buren State Park‘s wooded trails and beachy park.
  • A railroad corridor turned paved trail navigates through dense woodlands at the Vicksburg Trailway. The trail also passes through the Vicksburg Recreation Area and connects to the Village of Vicksburg neighborhoods.
  • Refresh with the greenery of Ott Biological Preserve considered to be Calhoun County’s “hidden gem.”
  • Trails meander past agricultural and historical interest points at Scotts Mill County Park, first settled in 1836.
  • Buy local produce to make your own meal or drop in for breakfast or lunch cooked on-site at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market from May to November.
  • The fruits of South Haven’s labor are evident at the Farmers Market of South Haven celebrating the importance of agriculture to the local heritage.
  • Smiles and cinnamon bread welcome you to the Marshall Area Farmers Market. Stroll the grassy knolls to select local produce, flowers and baked goods.
  • With a history dating back to the late 1800s, Festival Market Square in Battle Creek houses vendors in a covered walkway for all-weather accessibility on Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Vendors share tips for cooking or planting as you browse jams, fine pastries and cut flowers at what has become a Saturday tradition at the St. Joe Farmers Market.
  • Showcasing products from Michigan and immediately adjacent counties in Indiana and Ohio, the Paw Paw Farmers’ Market regularly features homemade baked goods, unique crafts, and delicious, local produce and is open for business on Sundays.
  • At the Texas Township Farmers’ Market—“Fresh on Q!”—the community gathers to celebrate fresh, local foods and the rich agricultural diversity of southwest Michigan.
  • The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Boat Launch Locator can help you scout out the perfect place to make some waves. There are over 1,300 public boating access sites to dive into in Southwest Michigan.
  • The Michigan DNR has a complete guide to help you find the ultimate fishing location. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly waters, fishing near campgrounds or want to search by region, you’re going to reel in the perfect spot.
  • Have questions about boating, fishing, aquatic plants, fish, algae or anything else under the sea? The Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership at Michigan State University is swimming with resources, but their FAQ page floats to the top of the list of helpful resources.
  • Grab your beach towel and umbrella and lounge at a local park to watch the boats float by. Woods Lake Park in Kalamazoo, Ramona Park in Portage and Willard Beach Park in Battle Creek are some fantastic options if you’re looking for an inland beach.
  • If you can’t get out and about, take in the beauty of our state with Pure Michigan’s collection of 10 Inspiring Pictures of Lake Michigan or even see Michigan through a 360° lens. There is no shortage of ways to enjoy natural beauty!
  • An all-occasion restaurant in downtown Kalamazoo’s Rivers Edge Neighborhood, 600 Kitchen and Bar presents a diverse and seasonal menu with eclectic breakfast and brunch options.
  • If there’s any place in Kalamazoo that’s a must-eat breakfast spot it’s Crow’s Nest. You’ll be back again and again to explore the multitude of flavorful and fantastic menu options perched above the Vine Neighborhood business district.
  • Sticking to traditions, Uncle Ernie’s Pancake House has been around since 1959. With pancake specialties like banana split, Snickers or Reese’s, you can always expect something delicious.
  • Before the rooster crows, you can find the best of breakfast that will have you hopping out of bed like an early bird to get to the Rooster’s Call.
  • With a name that means honey in Hawaiian, you know that Café Meli has the sweets. Offering “Swanky” pancakes, crispy waffles and “Wicked” crepes, this no ordinary breakfast stop.
  • Studio Grill in downtown Kalamazoo is a place where people, food and art come together to enjoy all things local. Its mouth-watering breakfast menu can be kicked up a notch by adding Studio Grill’s famous serrano sauce to any dish.
  • Brunch is always in season at Breakfast at Tiffiny’s in Kalamazoo or Portage! Packed with flavor and variety, their menu includes favorites like Shakshuka, Blackened Shrimp and Smoked Gouda Grits, a Breakfast Quesadilla and even breakfast stews.
  • Award-winning Erbelli’s serves unique masterpieces such as the Disco Q Pizza featuring spicy, wood-grilled smoked chicken. The flavor combinations are endless and delicious!
  • Making the decision between pizza or a grinder has never been harder than at Kazoopy’s. That’s why we recommend choosing both. You’ll thank us later.
  • Jac’s Cekola’s will steal a pizza your heart with a blend of new ideas and old traditions—they’ve got more than just great pizza.
  • We’re not in the Windy City, but Chicago Style Pizza will take you there with a slice of their authentic deep-dish pizza or stuffed pizza.
  • The symphony of flavors doesn’t get much better than at Maestro’s Pizza which has been orchestrating fine Italian cuisine since 2011.
  • With locations around the region, Jaspare’s knows a thing or two about gourmet pizza.
  • Comensoli’s promises to make your dinner fantasies come true, and their thin-crust pizza from scratch will make that easy as pie.
  • Mouth-watering, award-winning traditional old-world Sicilian-style pizza is what you’ll find at Franco’s Italian Pizzeria in Portage. How about those adjectives?
  • Roma’s Pizza not only has some delicious pizza, but we heard you’re going to want to add a side of fettuccine alfredo with Roma’s homemade alfredo sauce to your order.
  • Even if you don’t eat pizza Hobbitually, Bilbo’s Pizza will become your new favorite Lord of the Rings-themed pizza. That’s what we’re Tolkien about.
  • Since 1959, Bimbo’s Pizza has been serving up thin and crispy style pizza that has always been a staple to Downtown Kalamazoo.
  • Sourcing local, fresh ingredients from Michigan farmers, Martini’s makes your family and friends the special ingredients.
  • Dig into locally created deliciousness from Layla’s Cool Pops, owned and operated by a Kalamazoo teenpreneur, which offers a variety of sweet treats, including what started it all—Layla’s cupcakes. Her specialty cupcakes are the perfect mini way to celebrate big.
  • Huey D’s Goodies has a lineup of cheesecake flavors that includes unique flavors like fruity pebbles, peach cobbler, banana pudding, apple crisp and chocolate peanut butter. You have to see the magic for yourself here.
  • Martell’s at Parkview Hills has a chocolate torte with berry glaze that is rich, smooth and full of all the chocolatey goodness you’re searching for.
  • If you believe the saying: “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much,” then Boonzaaijer Bakery is your place to go! As a local destination for cakes and pastries in Kalamazoo since 1961, its cakes have withstood the test of time.
  • For all who have a gluten-free diet or just like good food, Gluten Free Sensations in Three Rivers is the one-stop shop for all your needs. Their cinnamon rolls have been enjoyed by happy customers in all 50 U.S. states, and you’re not going to want to miss the gooey goodness for your holiday meals.
  • Bert’s Bakery is Kalamazoo’s expert when it comes to cakes of any kind. Its “all-occasion” cakes are the perfect way to celebrate anything and everything, including the first signs of Spring!
  • Sarkozy Bakery is a staple to the Kalamazoo community, judged as one of the best bakeries in Michigan! Breads, pastries and cookies are their specialties, and the delicious smell when you walk through the door will tell it all.
  • Crafting together natural ingredients and from-scratch baking, The Victorian Bakery creates a wide variety of quality and unique baked goods, including a Chocolate Passion Fruit Truffle Cake that is a must-try. From cakes to cookies and bread and more, Victorian Bakery has it all!
  • Specialty Cheesecake and Dessert Company puts the cherry on top. Their delicious cheesecake flavors include brownie bottom, caramel apple, cinnamon roll, cookies N cream, peanut butter, turtle and so many more. And you can buy cheesecakes whole, by the slice, in mini cheesecake form or even in jars!