Boat, Hike, and Celebrate at Black River in Van Buren County, Michigan
If you are looking for a riverfront property to buy or rent in Southwestern Michigan, look no further than the Black River in Van Buren County. Your riverfront property in this scenic location will be near the charming town of South Haven, with the larger cities of Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids nearby.
Recreational Black River
Black River joins the south end of Lake Michigan at the town of South Haven, in Van Buren County. If you look at Michigan as a mitten, Van Buren County would be on the west side of the wrist, about an hour north of the Indiana state border. As you trace the stream upriver, it splits into three parts: North Branch Black River, Middle Branch Black River, and South Branch Black River.
The main part of the river is only about 4 miles long before it branches. While the water flows steadily, it isn’t fast. This makes it a perfect place for recreational kayaking and canoeing. Constant twists and turns keep your journey interesting, and an abundance of trees and foliage on the banks provide soothing scenery, as well as shade. There is an effort to preserve a clear path on the river through logjams, but you may still need to navigate around obstacles like deadfalls. Paddle events are hosted on the river, so you can rent a kayak from a company such as South Haven Aqua Toys and join in. Or if boating is your pleasure, try renting a pontoon boat from Black River Boat Rentals and cruise the river in style.
If you are on the hunt for fish, trout will be your likeliest catch at Black River—brown trout, to be exact. Black River is listed as a brown trout “Better Fishing Waters” location by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, meaning that your chances for pulling up a trout here are better than at other places in the county or state. With the proper permits, you can snag a few trout and be cooking up your catch at your Black River riverfront property in no time!
When you have finished your exploration of the river, there is plenty to do on land near your Black River riverfront property. The Kal-Haven Trail, which is popular with summertime cyclists and hikers and wintertime snowmobilers, runs from South Haven to downtown Kalamazoo. The trail, which follows a former railway line, runs through woodlands, farmland, and small towns and is surfaced with crushed limestone
Van Buren Trail State Park begins a few miles south of South Haven and runs for 14 miles. This trail is also an old railroad bed, but it is unimproved, making it more suitable for horseback riding and snowmobiling. The park encompasses farmland, woodlands, forested sand dunes, and a swimming beach.
South Haven Community
Because South Haven is built around the mouth of Black River, it is a harbor town with a rich history of commerce and shipping. Today its sandy beaches along Lake Michigan and its recreational harbor make the town a tourist destination. The South Pier Lighthouse, built in 1903, is still operational and is a visitor favorite.
Community events are a big deal in South Haven. Every August, the city hosts the National Blueberry Festival, complete with a Blueberry Pie and Ice Cream Social, sidewalk sales, live music, sporting events, and a multitude of activities for kids. February sees the annual Ice Breaker Festival, which is all about winter wonders, featuring fun cold-weather events like an ice carving competition, curling lessons, a chili cook-off, a snowsuit fashion contest, and horse-drawn wagon rides through the snow. Attending one of these hometown celebrations is sure to make your time in a Black River riverfront property truly special.
Come to Southwestern Michigan and discover the adventures that your Black River riverfront property has in store!