Top 23 Best Things To Do in Buchanan, Michigan (Unique List)

Buchanan, Michigan / Source: Reader’s Digest

Nestled along the beautiful St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan, Buchanan offers visitors a quaint small town getaway surrounded by natural beauty. Located about 30 minutes north of South Bend, Indiana, it is home to just over 4,000 residents who celebrate their community’s historic, artsy vibe.

While small, Buchanan packs a lot of leisurely fun into its riverfront location. The community celebrates its heritage while welcoming visitors to share in its small town appeal.

Located in southwest Michigan, it provides the perfect rural escape. Here are some of the best things to do in and around Buchanan.

1. Explore Downtown Buchanan

Downtown Buchanan / Source: NWI Times

Historic downtown Buchanan along Front Street features great antique and vintage shops, cafes, and restaurants. Stop by The Book Nook bookstore,hit up Hometown Pharmacy for old-fashion sodas, and dine at establishments like The Bears Den Bar & Grill.

2. Ride the St. Joseph River

Ride the St. Joseph River / Source: discovering anew

Canoe, kayak, tube or paddleboard down the scenic St. Joseph River through Buchanan on a 7 mile run. Rentals and shuttles available from St. Joe River RV Park or Just Add Water. See herons, turtles, and other wildlife along the way.

3. Fish the St. Joseph River

Fish the St. Joseph River / Source: South Bend

The St. Joe River near Buchanan is regarded as one of the best spots for smallmouth bass and northern pike fishing in southwest Michigan. Hire a local guide or cast from shore at McCoy’s Creek or the East Main Street access site.

3. Browse Roti Roti Art Center of Buchanan

Buchanan Art Center / Source: The Buchanan Chronicle

Address: 117 W Front St, Buchanan, MI 49107

See rotating exhibits of paintings, sculptures, photography and more by local and regional artists. The gallery downstairs also has rooms demonstrating early 20th century life in the home this building once was. Small gift shop too.

4. Play Disc Golf at McCoy’s Creek Park

McCoy’s Creek Park / Source: Beaver Creek Resort

Buchanan’s scenic McCoy’s Creek Park offers wooded hiking trails, fishing spots, and an 18-hole disc golf course spanning the park. Great spot for beginners and families wanting to try disc golf in a nice setting.

5. Hike Madeline Bertrand County Park Trails

Madeline Bertrand County Park / Source: AllTrails

Over 10 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails wind through prairies, forests and wetland areas at this 268-acre county park. Spot deer, beavers, birds and wildflowers native to southwest Michigan ecosystems.

6. Ride ATVs at Andersons’ ATV Park

Michigan ATV / Source: MSU

This family-owned park has miles of wooded trails and obstacle courses for ATV and off-road dirt bike riding. Rentals and safety gear available. Also offers fishing ponds stocked with rainbow trout and catfish.

7. Play Golf at Four Lakes Country Club

Four Lakes Country Club / Source: GolfPass

This semi-private 18-hole course south of Buchanan features a classic layout with bentgrass greens, tree-lined fairways, and water hazards on nine holes. Reserve tee times for guests online. A nice option for golfers in the area.

8. Float Down McCoy’s Creek

McCoy’s Creek / Source: Wikipedia

For a relaxing float surrounded by nature, put in along McCoy’s Creek at McCoy’s Creek Park. The gentle current winds through the woods for two miles before reaching the St. Joseph River. Use tubes, rafts, kayaks or canoes.

9. Shop the Buchanan Farmers Market

Farmers’ Market / Source: City of Buchanan

Browse local produce, plants, baked goods, artisan goods and more at this vibrant open-air market held Saturdays and Tuesdays June through October. Grab breakfast or lunch from food vendors too. Located in the boarding school campus parking lot downtown.

10. See Rare Birds at Bertrand Crossing Preserve

Rare bird in Michigan / Source: mlive

The Nature Conservancy preserve north of town encompasses forest, prairie and marsh habitats. Prime spot to see uncommon bird species like sandhill cranes, yellow-headed blackbirds, and scarlet tanagers.

11. Try Axe Throwing at ProAxe Buchanan

Axe Throwing / Source: FlannelJax’s

Test your aim throwing axes at wooden targets in this unique indoor activity for ages 10 and up. They provide coaching if you’re new to the axe throwing trend. Book lanes online or walk in.

12. Rent WaveRunners at Diamond Lake

WaveRunner / Source: Wikipedia

Zip across this scenic 750-acre inland lake on a WaveRunner rental from Diamond Lake Water Sports. They offer guided tours or hourly rentals for experienced riders to enjoy the lake’s beaches and scenery.

13. Hike Paw Paw River County Park Trails

Paw Paw River / Source: MCSA Group

Located along the Paw Paw River near Coloma, this park has over 6 miles of hiking trails passing marshes, meadows, and woodlands. Spot birds and wildlife along the lush waterway. Canoe launch available.

14. See a Show at The Acorn Theater

Acorn Theater / Source: Tripadvisor

This intimate 108-seat performing arts theater located downtown Buchanan hosts music, comedy, films and more in a renovated Victorian retail space with historic charm. Diverse lineup of family-friendly shows.

15. Tour the Old Michigan Central Railroad Depot

Michigan Central Station / Source: Quinn Evans

This historic train depot was built in 1891 and now houses the Buchanan Area History Museum. Railroad memorabilia and artifacts detail Buchanan’s place in the growth of American rail travel. Open weekends in summer.

16. See a Concert at Weko Beach

Concert at Weko Beach / Source: HappeningNext

This beachfront park and entertainment venue along the St. Joseph hosts concerts throughout the summer with acts ranging from classic rock bands to the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra.

17. Float the Dowagiac River

Dowagiac River / Source: Wikipedia

Rent a canoe, kayak or inner tube to float a 5-mile stretch of the peaceful Dowagiac River through the riverside city of Niles. See herons, turtles and other wildlife. Launch from Kinzie Road north to Indian Lake.

18. Drive-in Movies at the US 12 Drive-In Theatre

Drive-in Movies in Michigan / Source: Detroit Free Press

Catch classic drive-in movie double features at this retro drive-in theater in Niles. New digital projection and FM audio make it feel vintage with modern quality. Affordable fun the whole family can enjoy. Cash only concessions.

19. Explore Love Creek County Park

Love Creek County Park / Source: Robert Long III

Address: 9292 Huckleberry Rd #9736, Berrien Center

Over 19 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking wind through the hills and forests of this 1,238-acre county park near Berrien Springs. Trail maps available at the trailhead parking areas.

20. See the Krasl Art Center

Krasl Art Center / Source: 1928 Planning Co.

This modern art center hosts impressive rotating exhibits by international, national and local artists in multiple galleries. Also features art classes, lectures, family art days and a sculpture garden.

21. Shop the Buchanan Antique District

Buchanan Antique Stores / Source: Tripadvisor

Downtown Buchanan has several blocks filled with antique stores selling vintage furniture, decor, jewelry, glassware, toys, books and more. Find deals and chat with friendly store owners. A browser’s paradise!

22. Pontoon on Diamond Lake

Jerry L. Rupp Preserve / Source: CANYONVILLE ACADEMY

See beautiful shoreline views and scenery while cruising Diamond Lake in a rental pontoon boat. 2 or 3 hour rentals with onboard coolers and Bluetooth sound systems available from Diamond Lake Water Sports.

23. See Rare Birds at Jerry L. Rupp Preserve

Rare bird in Michigan / Source: mlive

This Nature Conservancy wetland preserve near Dowagiac attracts 15 rare bird species for birdwatchers to spot, including sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, and many others throughout the year. Call ahead to get access to this protected area.

As you can see, the charming Buchanan area offers appealing outdoor recreation, historic attractions, fun shops and dining in a relaxed small town setting. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy the natural beauty of southwest Michigan at an unhurried pace.

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