A West Michigan Christmas: Your New Favorite Holiday Festivities In The Area​

A West Michigan Christmas: Your New Favorite Holiday Festivities In The Area

Celebrate this holiday season with enchanting festivities.  Embark on a relaxing trip to West Michigan to bond with family and friends during the holiday season. Indulge in the sounds of jingle bells, the smells of roasted chestnuts, the local shops, and see all the Christmas lights all across the lakeshore for a magical holiday vacation. Discover your next holiday memories and traditions in the heart of West Michigan’s lakeshore. Below you’ll find the best festive activities across the quaint Michigan beach towns of West Michigan.

Date: 11/25/23

Location: 8 Center St 

Gather around the charming Michigan beachtown of Douglas to watch the annual tree lighting ceremony. The Light Night starts at 6:00 pm with holiday festivities to follow. Delight in Christmas carols, hot chocolate and cookies and more with your family and friends!

Crane's Drive Thru Holiday Light Show

Date: 11/29/23 – 12/31/23

Location: Crane’s Orchard 

See schedule for varying times and dates


Crane’s holiday light show is a nostalgic event for friends and family to delight in the holiday magic! The orchard is decorated in a mile long trail of lights and wonder for you to enjoy in the comfort and warmth of your car. It is $20 for vehicles with 8 passengers and under. With vehicles with 9 or more it will be $25. 

Fennville's Holiday Celebration

When: 12/2/23

Where: Downtown Fennville

The city of Fennville is hosting a holiday celebration with events starting at 9:00 am. There is fun for everyone with live reindeer, visits with Santa, a holiday market, crafts, caroling, tree-lighting and a parade and much more! Check out their webpage for more info. 

Holiday In The Park

When: 11/24/23

Where: Dyckman Park 

Enjoy the holidays in the park in South Haven. A full Christmas event from 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm  featuring visits with Santa, ornament rafting, a pet parade, tree lighting, food trucks, ice-skating, s’mores and more! It’s perfect for all ages, families and friends. For more information please click here


When: 11/18/23 – 12/16/23 

Where: 8th Street Market Place 

See schedule for varying times and dates

The city of Holland is hosting it’s very own european-inspired Christmas Market! “Kerstmarkt” in the Dutch language means “Christmas market”. Nestled among the busy commerce district of Downtown Holland, the Christmas Market is a lively event full of artisan goods, fresh food, Dutch delicacies, and much more. 


Magic At The Mill

When: 12/1/23-12/16/23 (Fridays and Saturdays)

Where: Windmill Island Gardens 

The picturesque and iconic Windmill Gardens come to life with magic throughout  December from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. The hundreds-year-old windmill is surrounded by LED tulips accompanied by a spectacular light show during Magic at the Mill. The park and shops will be open, goodies will be available for purchase, and there will even be an opportunity for children to greet Sinterklaas!

Saugatuck Christmas Parade

When: 12/2/23

Where: Wicks Park

Gather your family and friends together and celebrate with the community at the Saugatuck Christmas Parade filled with festive cheer. Get caught up in the joyous atmosphere of this annual event that captures the essence of the Michigan beachtown holiday spirit.

Parade of Lights

When: November 28 

Where: 8th Street, downtown Holland 

Time: 6:30pm 

Admire the decorated streets of downtown Holland as you sit to watch a parade of trucks, floats, marching bands, and more escort Santa across the town. Enjoy the atmosphere with your family and children, sharing in community’s joyous traditions. For more information visit the city’s event page

Mistletoe Market

When: November 18 – December 15, Thursday to Sunday

Where: South Haven Center For The Arts

Time: See schedule for varying times and dates 

This holiday art market is perfect for finding unique Christmas gifts for your loved ones this season. It’s perfect for all ages, and families and couples alike. There will be family art activities and holiday card making booths as well!

Explore the Christmas Markets of West Michigan

Explore the Christmas Markets of
West Michigan

Experience the magic of the holidays along the picturesque lakeshore of West Michigan. Immerse yourself in a wonderland of festive cheer as the local community comes alive with exciting holiday events. From enchanting light displays to charming Christmas markets, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. With lights, music, food and gift shopping, start your own holiday tradition at a Christmas market near you. Whether you’re a visitor or local, the markets are a unique experience in the area. Below are some of the local Christmas Markets in West Michigan. 

Crane's Handmade Holiday Market

Crane’s is hosting their own holiday market Sunday, November 26 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. With cookie decorating , artisan shopping and restaurant specials this is perfect for the family to stay for lunch and have some holiday fun! At the Handmade Holiday Market there will be something for everyone on your list. From jewelry, fine woodworking, artisan jams, paintings, handmade soaps, ceramics and much more.

Douglas Winter Artists' Market ​

Get all your holiday shopping done at Douglas’ Winter Artist Market! This starts from Saturday, November 25 through Feburary 25th. The market will be open Thursday to Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. You will find all types of locally made artisan creations at Ox-Bow House. Head to their website for more information,. 

Holland Kerstmarkt​

Starting on Saturday, November 18 through December 16th is Holland’s annual Kerstmarkt. This event transforms the Downtown Holland’s outdoor space into a European Christmas market. The wooden booths reflect the stalls of old-world European markets selling holly bushes, pine wreaths, jewelry, pottery, wooden toys, boxes and spoons. The market also offers a flavorful and festive atmosphere with traditional food stands and artisan booths.

Mistletoe Market

Starting on Saturday, November 18 through December 15th is South Haven’s annual Mistletoe MarketFind unique and one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and works of art in the Mistletoe Market at South Haven Center for the Arts! Both the downstairs and upstairs of the center is transformed into a holiday art and gift market. 

Saugatuck Outdoor Holiday Market

On Saturday, December 2 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, enjoy a perfect day of artisan craft cocktails, Michigan made gifts, and festive tunes under the lights at the Saugatuck Center For The Arts.  Don’t miss out on a very Saugatuck Christmas Market! The outdoor plaza and pavilion will feature high end crafts, home decor, wearables, jewelry, paper goods, artisan baked goods and much more.

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Extended Stays at Upscale Lakeshore​

Extended Stays at Upscale Lakeshore

Picture a quiet escape on the lakeshore, where for a couple weeks you can settle down and live the life of a local. At Upscale Lakeshore, we’re offering two of our homes in Holland for extended stays with special monthly rates. These homes will be fully furnished with all utilities included. Explore the joy of an extended stay by letting the stress of a check-out date melt away. 


Chapel Point 

Chapel Point, nestled on Holland’s North Shore, is your haven for extended stays, accommodating up to 10 guests. Chapel Point offers an exclusive escape in a small and private community. Trade the rush of daily life for a peaceful sanctuary where time slows down, and you can truly relax. The open-concept kitchen creates ease for cooking stocked with everything you’ll need.


Colonial Cottage

At Colonial Cottage, the enchanting Waukazoo Woods of North Holland welcome you, offering a comfortable space for up to 12 guests.  Within a 10-minute drive to the lakeshore of Lake Michigan and Downtown Holland’s bustling activity, this location strikes the perfect balance between tranquility and convenience. The home’s ambiance is set by a welcoming fireplace, a rejuvenating sauna and a 3 season porch connected to a spacious backyard with a hot tub. 

A Home For The Holidays​

A Home For The Holidays

Home is wherever the holidays take you! The holiday season is a time to create memories to cherish for a lifetime with your loved ones. Nestled in the heart of West Michigan is a winter wonderland awaiting your stay. Enjoy the comforts of a fully equipped kitchen, cozy living spaces, and a warm and inviting atmosphere. Whether you’re snuggled up by the fireplace or gathering around the dinner table, our vacation rentals offer the perfect setting for your festive celebrations. Whether you are planning a large family gathering or small get together for friends, our properties have been thoughtfully curated to offer you the best vacation experiences. Book your stay now and embrace the joy of togetherness. Create your own holiday magic this season and discover your family’s new favorite gathering place with Upscale Lakeshore. 

Discover the Nature of West Michigan: Best Hiking Trails in Saugatuck ​

Discover the Nature of West Michigan: Best Hiking Trails in Saugatuck

From easy to  moderate trails, the rolling dunes of the Saugatuck State Park and the surrounding areas create an atmosphere to bond with nature and your friends and family. Bask in the calming landscapes of Saugatuck and breathtaking views of the lake from sunrise to sunset. 

Mount Baldhead

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Length: 1 mile loop


This 1 mile loop trail is perfect for a fun for hike. There are also steps that bring you up to the summit where you can see breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. There are 15 flights, with seats for resting at the end of every other flight. After catching your breath, you can simply hike back down the steps or you can choose one of the three trails down to Oval Beach.

Livingston Loop

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Length: 0.9 mile loop


This loop is full of wooded area and takes you along part of the lake. It’s a mix of easy and moderate trail and a wonderful way to see the lake and natural areas of Saugatuck. Enter the trail, take the immediate right, and follow the red signs. You can walk to the shore on this trail and follow to the beach.

North Trail

Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult

Length: 2 mile loop


A beautiful and short hike to the lake. You’ll walk through a wooded area by passing a small pond and then there are two loop options. The inner loop consists of mostly packed sand in beautiful, wooded areas with tall pine trees. The outer loop offers wide open vistas, rolling dunes, and soft sand. 

South Trail

Difficulty: More Difficult

Length: 5.2 mile loop


This trail is an adventurous one to explore the state park with a beach access point and view of the lake. Enjoy a rigorous hike involving a good deal of hiking up and down small hills with lots of soft sand. South Trail is a less crowded option due to length and degree of difficulty.

Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area​

Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult

Length: 3 mile loop



This nature filled trail begins at Oval Beach. The area encompasses 173 acres of dunes, forest, and wetlands. It’s bordered by Lake Michigan, the Kalamazoo River, and a woodland area. There are beautiful views looking east to the Crow’s Nest, south to the lagoon, and west to the lake. 

Halloween Festivities Along the Lakeshore of West Michigan

Halloween Festivities Along the Lakeshore of West Michigan

Halloween is the perfect time to visit the lakeshore with an array of frightening, ghostly events to celebrate the mystery of Halloween. Spooktacular fun is waiting for you as  the lakeshore of West Michigan has something for everyone seeking the thrill of the season. Whether you’re a fearless thrill-seeker or looking for family-friendly festivities, there is something for everyone.

Boo's Cruise

Date: 10/28/23

Location: Star of Saugatuck


This Halloween cruise sets the stage for a terrifyingly good evening. The Star of Saugatuck will take guests out for a ride with drink specials, a costume contest, and tricks and treats. The 90 minute cruise is 21+ and prices start at $60 per person. 

Downtown Trick or Treat

Date: 10/28/23

Location: Downtown Holland


The city of Holland is hosting a Trick or Treating event downtown from 10:00 am to 12:00pm. The whole family will have a blast dressing up and walking around the 50 participating businesses collecting candy and Halloween memories. 

Douglas Adult Halloween Parade

Date: 10/28/23

Location: Downtown Douglas


The 25th annual Halloween Parade starts at 9:00 pm in Downtown Douglas. The parade draws thousands to the area ready to see some entertainment. There will be a DJ, costume competitions, and much more.  Wear your Halloween best and come for some spooky fun!

Glow Night in The Maze

Date: 10/28/23

Location: Bumbleberry Acres


Bumbleberry Acres is hosting a non-scary Glow Night in the corn maze. This is a way to delight in the traditional Halloween fun without the haunt from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. There will be trunk or treating, glow accessories, apple cider, fried donuts, bonfires, and much more.

Ox-Bow Goes To Heck​

Date: 10/21/23

Location: Ox-Bow Campus


Bring your family to a day of Halloween fun from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at Ox-Bow Goes to Heck. The day is all about family fun with trick or treating, haunted houses, face painting, games and activities and more. 

Spice Up The Cold Season With Our Favorite Chai Latte Recipe​​

Spice Up The Cold Season With Our Favorite Chai Latte Recipe​

Delight in the coziness of the colder months with your new favorite homemade chai latte recipe!  A warm embrace in a cup.  Savor the aromatic blend of spices and creamy goodness as you indulge in the ultimate cozy treat while curling up on the couch to watch your favorite show and or read your favorite book. Indulge in the perfect balance of sweet, creamy, and aromatic flavors and make every moment feel like a cozy autumn day.



  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick 
  • 3/4 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cracked black pepper (cracked) 
  • 1 cup of milk (or milk substitute)
  • black loose leaf tea
  • nutmeg (optional)
  • star anise (optional)
  • sugar (your preference)



  • In a saucepan combine water with milk, and or a milk substitute
  • Add in all the spices and black tea
  • Turn the heat on high and let the pot come to a boil
  • Once the chai starts boiling, start aerating the mixture with a large spoon or ladle. Do this by dipping the spoon or ladle into the chai and bringing the liquid up over the pot
  • Pull the chai for a few times, and then turn down the heat to let it simmer until you reach the desired color and consistency you want 
  • Take the chai off the stove and add sugar, measuring with your heart


Special Notes

  • When boiling the chai be sure to keep a watchful eye and don’t leave the stove as it is prone to overboil

Discover the Best Bike Trails of West Michigan​

Discover the Best Bike Trails of West Michigan

Natural beauty and outdoor adventure collide in West Michigan. When it comes to biking trails, there’s no place like along the lakeshore of West Michigan. Home to miles of trails and pathways, bikers of all experience levels can head out for a leisurely ride, an exhilarating adventure, or a scenic tour any time of year. Some of our vacation rentals here at Upscale Lakeshore are equipped with bikes, and you will also find numerous bike rental companies throughout Michigan beachtowns. Discover below some of our favorite scenic and captivating trails across the lakeshore community.  

Beach To Bayou Trail

Located in Saugatuck/Douglas this short and sweet 2 mile trail starts at Wade’s Bayou Memorial Park. Before heading out for your adventure, Wades Bayou is known for being the perfect fishing spot and is also a beautiful location to watch the sunrise. The paved trail brings you from Kalamazoo Lake through Downtown Douglas. This is perfect for those looking for a relaxing and casual stroll through the community. 

Kal-Haven Trail

Beginning in South Haven, the Kal-Haven trail is beloved by locals and tourists alike. This 34 mile linear trail connects Kalamazoo with South Haven featuring multi-use trails for all levels. The trail is mapped out from a former railroad with beautiful scenery of woodlands and water views along the path. The trail is biking, hiking, and running friendly and a great way to get out and explore the beautiful West Michigan landscapes. 

Lakeshore Trail

Lakeshore Trail is a paved 20 mile trail connecting Holland State Park to Grand Haven State Park that locals often take advantage of to get a good workout in. The trail offers numerous stops along the way to get off your bike and enjoy Lake Michigan views. The Ottawa County parks and beaches along the route are the perfect way to stop and take a rest  while refueling with a snack. 

Shore Acres Bike Trail ​

Situated between Saugatuck Dunes State Park and The Felt Mansion, the Shore Acres Trail offers  a three-mile mountain bike loop trail which is a great getaway for those who want more of an adventure. There is opportunities for more experienced bikers to try some technical paths with elevation in the area with plenty of sharp turns. 

Riley Trails

Riley Trails is a wooded nature area that is 300 acres with views of rolling terrain, beech-maple forest, pine plantations and even a small lake. Many locals use the trails for biking, hiking and even cross-country skiing. Riley Trails is easily accessible from the surrounding community with bike paths and lanes on many of the roads in Holland. Dogs are welcomed as long as they are on leashes. 

Our Favorite Treats over Open Flames

Our Favorite Treats over Open Flames

As the leaves change colors and the air turns cooler, there’s nothing quite like cooking over an open fire outdoors. Create magical memories around the crackling fire with lively conversation and delectable treats to remember for years to come. These recipes cooked over an open fire will warm your soul, satisfy your taste buds and make these nights all the more memorable.


This is a bonfire classic. You can never go wrong with melt-in-your-mouth marshmallows and chocolatey goodness. Consider adding some excitement to this year’s s’mores with cinnamon graham crackers or or Reese’s instead of the typical Hershey’s chocolate. Experimenting is the best way to discover your new favorite treats and create memories through the process, whether it’s from the less favorable combinations that are bound to bring laughter or your next favorite s’mores tradition. 

Banana Boats

Banana boats are another can’t miss campfire classic. While usually made similar to a S’mores with marshmallows and chocolate, you can upgrade a banana boat with just about any combination of  something melty, something sweet and something crunchy. Beyond that, let your imagination run wild! A basic banana boat snack is made by splitting a whole banana down the middle, peel and score the fruit then stuff it with yummy goodies. Then fold back the banana, wrap in aluminum foil, and roast in the embers of the campfire. 

Roasted Apples

With the lingering excitement of picking crisp apples at the orchard all day, gather around the fire and roast those apples until the beautiful caramelized flavor of the natural sugars comes out over the flame. You can cook the apples with a skewer like a marshmallow, put them on a grill grate, or even bake them in tinfoil, each method adding a different texture and flavor to the apples. Elevate the experience further with a drizzle of butter, a dash of cinnamon, and ir sugar if you want that hint of extra sweetness. 

Campfire Brownies

Let the essence of the orange peel delicately flavor the campfire brownies. Embrace the autumnal adventure and bake brownies outside with the bonfire method. This recipe uses carved out orange peels to encase the brownie mix while you wrap it in tinfoil and bake it inside the hot coals of an open flame. Once the brownies have finished their fiery transformation, you can peel back the orange to reveal your new favorite fall treat. 

Peach Crisps

Similar to apples, peaches lend themselves well to campfire desserts. To make these deliciously easy peaches, you simply cut the fruit in half and cook with butter and brown sugar. Place the peaches cut side down over the fire and cook until the peaches are warm and beginning to soften, about 8 minutes, flipping halfway. The peaches will be tender and caramelized once cooked. We love topping each serving with tablespoon of toasted pecans and a scoop of vanilla yogurt and or ice cream if desired. 

Monkey Bread Foil Packets

Foil packs are an easy over the fire treat and this recipe combines classic flavors to create a sweet treat. Cut up your cinnamon rolls, toss them in sugar and cinnamon then cook them over the fire and there you have it cinnamon monkey bread foil packets. Top them with icing and you have delicious breakfast paired well with a good cup of coffee. For this recipe, we recommend grilling over indirect heat to prevent the flame from getting too hot, and potentially burning the grill packs. 

The Best Recipe For A Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup​

The Best Recipe For A Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup​

Enjoy fall flavor in every spoonful and  indulge in the richness of a homemade pumpkin spice syrup for your ultimate fall recipes! As the leaves change and the air turns crisp, it’s time to indulge your taste buds with the essence of autumn. This homemade pumpkin spice syrup will transform your favorite recipes. From lattes to desserts, every spoonful of this syrup guarantees a burst of pumpkin goodness. Check out the recipe below for an easy and tasty recipe to make a homemade pumpkin spice syrup. 



  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup of water 
  • 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree 
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk 
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or extract 



  • Add all ingredients aside from the pumpkin pie spice or extract into a sauce pan 
  • Whisk until fully mixed and then set to medium high heat 
  • Once the ingredients are simmering in the pan, add the one tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice or  extract
  • Let the syrup thicken and then remove from heat and refrigerate in a heat-proof container 
Special Notes
  • The syrup is good for up to 2 weeks when stored away in refrigerator 
  •  Once the sauce starts to heat up, make sure to keep an eye on it as it boils over quickly.