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Your guide to New Buffalo
Welcome to New Buffalo
Overlooking Lake Michigan, almost directly opposite Chicago, New Buffalo is a popular destination for people looking for fun, relaxation, and time on the water. A short drive or train trip brings visitors in from the Windy City, and a quirk of time zones at the state border gives you an extra hour every day to enjoy the impressive sunsets. The natural harbor at the junction of Lake Michigan and the Galien River invites boaters of all types to come ashore in New Buffalo, creating a playground for sailors. Meanwhile, sun-seekers set up camp on the beach, and families wander the boardwalk lined with mom-and-pop shops, with plenty of handmade fudge and ice cream to go around.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in New Buffalo?
Summer is New Buffalo's peak season, when the temperature rises, luring you down to the beach to soak in the rays and cool off in the waters of Lake Michigan. Beach season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and though you may be treated by a few warm days outside of that, many of the local services, like kayak rentals, close after the end-of-summer holiday. A series of festivals and events punctuate the warmer months: The August Ship and Shore Festival, the biggest of these, features three days of live music in town. In the fall, the New Buffalo Harvest and Wine Festival draws visitors looking to explore the region's agricultural bounty while it shows off its seasonal colors. By winter, the Michigan cold and snow sets in, and many business limit hours, so visitors come only for cozy solitude rather than local amenities.
What are the top things to do in New Buffalo?
New Buffalo Beach
New Buffalo's main beach is located right in town, allowing easy access to this well-appointed stretch of sand. The beach is outfitted with a playground, event pavilion, public boat launches, and kayak and paddleboard rentals, most of which are connected by boardwalk. The lakeshore also curves along the dunes and doubles as a nature trail, eventually leading to stairs that climb to a dramatic overlook.
Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail
There’s a reason they call southwest Michigan the Napa Valley of the Midwest. Get an up-close-and-personal introduction to Lake Michigan’s small but growing wine region. More than a dozen wineries are located within a 20-minute drive from New Buffalo, inviting day-tasters on a journey of discovery from cellar samplings to a sunset toast overlooking the vineyards.
Whether you’re renting your own boat or hopping onto a charter, sailing out of the New Buffalo Harbor is an essential part of seeing the town. Cruise around the lake, stop for a swim, and stick around to watch the sunset from the water.