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Take me there Tuesday: St Joseph Michigan

Nestled into the lower SW corner of Michigan, is a small town with a big family community feel. St. Joseph, MI is one of my absolute favorite places to visit all year round! If your a fan of lighthouses, little gift shops, bakery and dessert shops that will put you the best sugar coma you have ever had, beaches, excellent food and beautiful views then you have come to the right place! Let me take you on a photographic journey and show you why I love this place so much!

The views in St Joseph are known for their amazing setup of dual lighthouses, as well as their sunsets! It has been voted one of the top spots to watch the sun go down in Michigan, while relaxing on the beach, or waling along the pier. Tiscornia Park is the name of the place to check out if you're interested. It's a nice peaceful drive just over the draw bridge and off the first exit as you pass a marina with tons of boats, of all sizes. As you make your way past that, you will see the park, along with the beach and lots of sand dunes! If you love feeling the sand between your toes then this is the place to go! You can walk down the beach north and south of the pier for quite a ways, taking in all the views. The main pier with the lighthouses on it is always so much fun to walk down!

The Lighthouses

The St Joseph North Pier Inner Lighthouse is an excellent place to visit during the warmer season and take a tour. Memorial Day to Labor Day you can experience this masterful lighthouse interior and learn all about the history of what it was used for in the past and how it is still operational today. Friday - Sunday 12:00-5:00PM you can enter the lower main level of the exhibit for free and take in the sights. Once being used as a coal housing to light the main light, you can see historical pictures and explanations of how different areas were used. The members who volunteer here are excellent at answering any questions you have. If you're courageous enough to make the climb, you can pay $10 to be taken on a tour to the top of the light! This was one of my favorite things to do when we were in St Joseph last July for our Sunset Tour class. The stairs are quite tight to get up and very steep, just imagine having to do that every day during your normal working shift! The views however are well worth it, being able to see the second level where the light keeper would walk across the upper part of the catwalk to get into the lighthouse was so wonderful. This helped with safety during times of rough seas allowing them to not get washed off the pier.

Past the mid section of the lighthouse, you get to go up an even steeper section of the lighthouse into the lantern room and gallery viewing area (balcony). If you want to get an idea of what St. Joseph looks like from above, this is the place to do it. From here, you can see for miles in every direction, viewing the sand dunes, lining the beaches, the downtown area and the waterway that leads tons of boats into Lake Michigan. If you have a drone and are able to take off from the pier, the views are even more amazing. As you can see in one of the shots below, you can line up the top of the lighthouse with the sun as it sets behind it and almost have it look like the sun is the light itself.

Whether you are standing back on the beach, or on the pier itself, you just cannot beat the sunsets. If your looking to setup your shots, be sure to download one of the apps that will give you the weather conditions, sun location and even moon phases if your looking for something like that in your shots. The Photographers Ephemeris app is one of those, it costs $10 but it is very valuable in terms of giving you the info you need, to get the shot you want.

Whirlpool Centennial Park

If you are looking for something else to do that is family friendly on a hot day, you should definitely check out Whirlpool Centennial Park in the middle of St Joseph. You definitely can't miss it, with its massive fountain in the middle and right at the bottom of the hill from the downtown area. This whole area is an awesome place to walk around, sit by the water fountain that sprays out from the ground and allows the little kiddos (and adults) to cool off and also grab some very tasty pizza! You can't tell from the ground level, at least not as easy but the fountain is actually a giant compass. As seen below from my drone shot, there is plenty of space to hang out and cool off!

Indoor Carousel

Sometimes if can be too hot to be outside, especially for the kids, so if your looking to take a little break and get into the AC, head into the Silver Beach indoor carousel that is right next to the fountain. This popular spot is always a ht with kids and adults. Take a ride on your favorite animal as you go around and around, while looking at colorful displays all around the exterior. There is neon signs, and moving models to look at, as well as a great gift shop where you can get your favorite St Joseph shirts and toys If your getting married or plan on having a party, you can also check this place out for them to be your host. Who knows, you might even see Santa enjoying the atmosphere!

Lastly, the downtown area, a you walk up the many steps, has tons of things to offer! At the top, there is a peaceful park area with benches to sit in the perfect amount of shade while looking down over the fountain, beach and lighthouse pier. If you are looking for some food to fill your stomach, there is definitely no shortage of that! From pizza parlors, to Italian cuisine, and even rooftop bars with juicy burgers, you can subdue your hunger any way you want. After that, stop into one of the many ice cream or chocolate storefronts. This decision is not easy by any means, but you can't go wrong whichever way you go! While your walking around and looking at all of the cool arts and crafts shots and galleries, be sure to stop on the last street over to the north before you head down near the water, North of the stairs and witness one of the coolest murals ever! A squirrel with a camera! How can it get any better than that?

Thank you for joining me on this photographic tour of the city of St Joseph, Mi. We hope to see you on one of our photography outings soon, in one of our favorite locations.


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