Local Culture in St. Joseph County

Amish Communities

Content updated February 2016

Michigan currently occupies sixth place when it comes to the size of their Amish population. The state is home to nearly 12,000 Amish in 3 dozen communities (see Young Center 2011 Amish statistics).

Over one-tenth of the Michigan Amish population is found in St. Joseph County, in a settlement located near the town of Centreville. This group consisted of 11 Amish church districts as of 2011. This makes the St. Joseph County community over twice as big as the next largest Michigan community.

St. Joseph County is located only 25 minutes away from the popular Amish community of Shipshewana, Indiana. Shipshewana (or "Shipsie") is a vacation destination for tens of thousands of people every year, its popularity attributed to the quaint businesses, its active flea market, shows and events, and of course its delicious home-cooked cuisine. Also located close by is Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury Indiana. The Essenhaus is nationally famous for its restaurant and bakery. Come for a family style meal and enjoy the beautiful, rustic surroundings.

Kayaking & Boating

Content updated February 2016

Within our 521 square mile county, it's easy to see why our water is our most amazing and valued resource since 20 of those miles are composed of water! With dozens of lakes, rivers and creeks, you never need to go very far to find a spot for the activity you're looking for.

Whether your ideal day is relaxing as you paddle down one of our scenic rivers, or if you like the party atmosphere of a sandbar party where you can hook up with other boaters, you'll find it here in St. Joseph County.

Plan your trip today to come see everything we have to offer.

School Sports

Content updated February 2016

Our communities have a lot of pride in our school sport teams. Each school offers a wide variety of competitive sports. While basketball and football are usually the most popular, there have been many other sports that have gone on to compete at the State and National levels.

Practically every night during the school year, a sport is being played at one of our schools. We encourage our communities to support our school athletics by purchasing tickets and cheering our teams on. Many of our students end up qualifying for athletic scholarships to major universities, so supporting athletics can have a huge impact on a student's life.


Content updated February 2016

St. Joseph County is home to hundreds of bike owners and riders. Our local bike culture is focused on the love of the ride, whether it's a travel trip north for the Blessing of the Bikes in Baldwin, or a local ride to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness put on by the Harley Davidson store in Sturgis (not to be confused with Sturgis South Dakata!).

Each year, bikers travel from all over to participate in the annual Sturgis Toy Run, which is a motorcylce rally and weekend long event every September. Toys that are donated are distributed to underpriviledged children with the help of the local Salvation Army.

Winter Sports

Content updated February 2016

The forecast is in--a chance of snow. It’s a chance to conquer new hills and explore new trails. A chance to bundle up, get outside and laugh with the ones we love. Welcome to the winter wonderland of Pure Michigan.

Whether tubing and sledding, ice fishing, dog sledding or hunting, Michigan winters offer outdoor enthusiasts, families and adventure seekers a chance to get their adrenalin pumping among glistening landscapes that only happen once a year.

Michigan is home to 6,500 miles of snowmobile trails, 3,000 miles of cross country skiing trails, beautiful terrain for snowshoeing and much more. We are the birthplace of organized skiing and snowboarding and Michigan ranks second in the nation for number of skiing areas found across the state.

We have some amazing winter sport locations within an hour's drive of St. Joseph County. Looking to stay local? We have plenty of ice skating, sledding, and snowshoeing to keep you busy right here in our county!


Content updated February 2016

The farms in Southern Michigan produce a variety of crops that end up in homes across America. In addition, we grow produce specifically to be sold locally through CSAs, farmers markets and fruit farms in St. Joseph County.

Nothing beats stopping to pick up a bunch of fresh sweet corn or a quart of perfect ripe strawberries on a warm summer day! Many CSAs offer 100% organic, pesticide free produce and animal products.

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