When we think of Michigan cities on the rebound, we think of Flint and Detroit. Those cities hit rock bottom and are making some strides to get back some respect.

But those are big cities, so truthfully, you can find the best parts of the city and weed out the parts that aren't as tolerable - if you know where to look.

But knowing where to look in Michigan is half the game. See, there are plenty of incredible small towns around the state that are excellent for a day trip or to simply call home. It's difficult to go wrong, but some places unjustifiably get a bit overshadowed.

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One such city is Saugatuck. With so many popular and thriving coastal towns in Michigan that opted to grow with their tourism, Saugatuck opted to remain a small, old-fashioned town.

Last year when I went to Lake Michigan for the first time, I went to Silver Beach in St. Joseph. I enjoyed my time, but in researching for this article, it appears I could have made a better choice by heading just a bit further north to Saugatuck.

See, it was my impression that Saugatuck was just a small residential place that didn't call for many visitors, but as Cheapism declared, this little town is way more popular than you'd expect.

The town’s galleries, studios, and art fairs attract art lovers from all over. Visitors can also enjoy activities like dune rides, boat cruises, and exploring the town's charming downtown area... Its artistic renaissance and focus on local crafts have played a key role in its renewed appeal.

Cheapism named Saugatuck among America's top 11 old-fashioned towns that are popular again, and it doesn't look like anyone can argue against it. USA Today even named Saugatuck as the number two best coastal town in the country, ahead of destinations like Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Key West, Florida.

So, whether it is to enjoy the art and culture of the town or Lake Michigan and the sand dunes, a trip to old-fashioned Saugatuck may be on the summer itinerary in Michigan this year.

One of USA Today's '10 Best Coastal Towns': Saugatuck, Michigan

USA Today snubbed Michigan in its 2023 list of America's "10 Best Coastal Towns", but the publication made it right in 2024 with Saugatuck listed at #2. Have you been? Take a look at what you're missing.

Gallery Credit: JR

Vintage Saugatuck: 1860s-1950s