Parks And Recreation

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Black River, the area offers an abundance of recreational activities year round. Whether your greatest moments are spent beach combing, boating, sailing, golfing, hiking, biking, fishing, in-line skating, skateboarding, kayaking, canoeing, wine tasting, visiting u-pick farms, horseback riding, camping at private or state-operated campgrounds, playing at the local park or attending festivals, the area continues to offer the best activities for families, seniors, rural residents and city dwellers. Also, due to it’s location on the Great Lakes, the city is a major attraction to visitors and second-home owners, especially during the summer months.

Great Lakes Water Levels Information

In 2016, the City of South Haven’s Public Works Department undertook the effort of creating best management practices for maintenance of the dune habitat west of Monroe Boulevard between Van Buren and Chestnut Streets. Please click on the link below for a copy of the Monroe Bluff Beach Management Plan:

Monroe Bluff Beach Management Plan

The Harborwalk is a two-mile walking tour around the harbor serving people of all abilities. Historical signs tell of the rich history along the harbor. The Kal-Haven Trail, stretching from Kalamazoo to South Haven, is used by hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, cross-county skiers, and snowmobilers. Several campgrounds have been developed along the trail due to its popularity. Nearby is the Van Buren State Park offering camping, hiking trails, and a beautiful beach. Adjoining the State Park is North Point, a County-owned 17-acre park, which also offers hiking, bird-watching, and Lake Michigan frontage. The Van Buren Trail runs from Hartford to South Haven on old railroad tracks. The Bangor/South Haven Heritage Water Trail flows from Bangor to South Haven. Winter brings ice skating activities to the downtown South Haven Ice Rink.

Summer is the most popular season bringing with it a flurry of activities. Beach fun, fishing, golfing, boating, windsurfing, and shopping are highlights of the season. South Haven is a shallow draft/recreational harbor and is blessed with a variety of natural resources, historic background, and an abundance of publicly- owned property. South Haven provides a variety of recreational resources not only to its local residents, but to the residents of the immediate surrounding area and acts as a regional base for recreation for people throughout the state and the Midwest. In addition to over two miles of frontage on Lake Michigan, South Haven has the Black River running through the city limits which, during the summer months, acts as a port with over 1,100 boat slips. 

Tree Report
 2017 Tree Report

5-Year Recreation Plan

The City of South Haven’s 5-Year Recreation Plan is written in conjunction with the South Haven Public Schools, South Haven Area Recreation Authority (SHARA), and the South Haven Charter Township. A 5-Year Recreation Plan is a requirement of the State of Michigan in order for a jurisdiction to be eligible for grant funding. The intent of the plan is that any potential grant-funded goals and/or projects should be included in the plan in order to improve chances that a project will be selected by state grant agencies.
2018 Recreation Plan

Pedestrian, Bicycle, & Paddle Plan
2009 Plan

Related City Ordinance
Sec. 58-89. Closing hours of beaches:
(a) The North Beach and South Beach in the city and their bordering parking lots shall be closed from 11:00 p.m. to daylight to public gatherings, including beach parties, reunions, festivals and all other events. All other municipal beaches and parking lots shall be closed from 10:00 p.m. to daylight.

Sec. 58-85. Animals:
(a) No person shall permit any animal to run at large within the public parks, nor allow any dog therein except when led by a leash. No animal shall be led or ridden onto any portion of a sand beach of a public park. Sand beach shall mean that portion of lake, river or other water frontage not surfaced for street or sidewalk use.