Stevensville, Michigan: Is It a Good Place to Live?

About Stevensville, MI

Stevensville is a small town in the southwest of Michigan which sits right on the waters of Lake Michigan. The incorporated town is small, quaint, and quiet. Rural land spreads out to the east, in an area that has been known for its fruit trees since the 1800s. The northern area of Stevensville becomes more urban as it passes the Interstate 94 exit and touches the edge of the city of St. Joseph.

Note the US Post Office in Stevensville serves all of zip code 49127, which covers 16 square miles. This includes:

  • The incorporated Village of Stevensville, covering just 1 square mile, with 1,000 residents
  • The unincorporated communities of Stevensville, covering 15 square miles, with 10,000 residents

The below article will be covering all of zip code 49127 (both the incorporated and unincorporated communities).

A blue, white and orange sign that says welcome to Michigan. Great Lakes, Great Times.

History of Stevensville, MI

In the 1680s, King Louis XIV of France granted 17 acres of land near the St. Joseph River to the Jesuits, who arrived in the area to preach the gospel of Christ to the Native Americans. In 1691, the French built Fort St Joseph about 20 miles southeast of Stevensville, near present-day Niles, MI. 

The area was known for its strong Native American fur trade and was of prime economic importance to the Europeans. During the next 100 years, a variety of wars were fought and this area traded hands from French to British to Spain and finally, after the Revolutionary War in 1795, ended up inside the borders of the new United States. In 1805, the Territory of Michigan was established, and the State of Michigan was formally recognized in 1837.

The southern Michigan area was largely an agricultural frontier until around 1860. The economy would start to change with the building of the Erie Canal in 1825 and the Soo Locks in 1855, connecting all of the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. These new trade routes brought an influx of pioneers from the New England area who settled in the southern Michigan area.

One of the pioneers to arrive in Michigan was Thomas Lawrence Stevens, who arrived from Tyngsboro, Massachusetts in 1836. Stevens originally settled in Paw Paw, where he owned a general store and a milling business. In 1868, he began working for the First National Bank in Niles, MI, and he would eventually become the bank’s president. 

Shortly after obtaining the banking position, in 1869, Stevens bought 160 acres in an area just south of the city of St. Joseph. This is the land that would soon become the village of Stevensville. 

Note: Fort St. Joseph had long been abandoned and forgotten at this point in history. In modern times, references to St. Joseph now refer to the city of St. Joseph, which was established 20 miles northwest of the Fort, where the St. Joseph River enters Lake Michigan.

Around 1870, Stevens gave some of his land to the Chicago and West Michigan Lake Shore Railroad Company, which was planning to expand its route from New Buffalo up north to the city of St. Joseph. As part of the deal, the railroad company agreed to run its route through Steven’s land, place a new station on his land, and call that station area “Stevensville”. The new railway station in Stevensville became critical for the transportation of the local fruit crop, and the area began to develop. 

On April 3, 1872, the village plat (survey map) was legally recorded in the Berrien County Courthouse. By 1878, the village was prospering with a hotel, gristmill, stores, two churches, and a few dozen homes. In March 1893, the town was proclaimed a chartered village by the Michigan Senate and was officially incorporated in 1894, with a population of 250.

The town has suffered two devastating fires but has been able to recover from both. The first fire was in 1909 and burned half the village. The second fire was in 1914 and destroyed several important community buildings. 

When was Stevensville, Michigan Founded?

The land was purchased by the town’s founder in 1869. On April 3, 1872, the village plat (survey map) was legally recorded in the Berrien County Courthouse. In March 1893, the town was proclaimed a chartered village by the Michigan Senate and was officially incorporated in 1894.

Where is Stevensville, MI?

Stevensville is located in the southwest corner of Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan. If you were to take a 60-mile boat ride due West across Lake Michigan, you would land in Chicago. A drive to Chicago would be about 90-miles along Interstates 94 and 90. If you drive a car 60-miles due East, you end up in Kalamazoo. A 30-mile drive southeast lands you in South Bend, Indiana. 

Is Stevensville, Michigan Safe?

Yes, Stevensville is considered safer than 68% of small towns in America and is 67% below the average crime rate of Michigan. The biggest crimes in town are theft and vandalism of property. 

Crime rates increase as you travel away from town along I94, towards the more urban areas to the north and south. For example, the city of St Joseph is just a 10-minute drive from Stevensville and crime rates there are slightly above the US average.

Crime rates decrease as you travel into the farmlands to the east.

With a zip code size of just 16 square miles, Stevensville’s 10K residents maintain a quiet, close-knit community. 

Is Stevensville, Michigan a Good Place to Live?

The Cost of Living in Stevensville is in line with the rest of Michigan, which is about 11% cheaper than the US average, with a median home value of $130K. Median income, unemployment, and tax rates are comparable to the rest of Michigan and slightly better than US averages. The average resident of Stevensville enjoys one of the shortest average commutes in America at just 18 minutes each way. 

The schools of Stevensville are good, producing graduation rates and test scores higher than the average US school. 

Stevensville is considered safe, with a crime rate 67% below the rest of Michigan.

The words most frequently used to describe Stevensville are “small” and “quiet”. Stevensville has several quality restaurants, which find the location right off I94 to be appealing. 

However, the word “boring” is also used to describe Stevensville on occasion. There are not many interesting locations inside the incorporated village (but at only 1 square mile in size, there is not much room for such attractions). Tripadvisor does not list much in the village’s “Things to Do” section. There are not many bar options, though most of the restaurants in the area do serve alcohol. There is no movie theatre, no mall, and no museums.

If you travel into the unincorporated parts of Stevensville, you will find two corporate grocery stores. However, there are no Walmarts or other Big Box stores unless you travel a bit north into St. Joseph. 

The biggest attraction in Stevensville is Lake Michigan, which is just a half-mile from town. Specifically, Grand Mere State Park boasts nearly 1,000 acres of woods and sand dunes, two inland lakes, and over 1 mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. 

So is Stevensville, Michigan a Good Place to Live? Yes, if you like small and quiet, and you are willing to travel by car to reach entertainment options. 

Is Stevensville, Michigan a Good Place to Retire?

Yes, Stevensville is a good place to retire, assuming you seek “small” and “quiet” in your retirement. 

The Cost of Living in Stevensville is in line with the rest of Michigan, which is about 11% cheaper than the US average, with a median home value of $130K. 

Stevensville is considered safe, with a crime rate 67% below the rest of Michigan.

There are not many doctor and nursing home options inside the Stevensville zip code, however, there is a nice hospital and many medical facilities a few miles north, in St. Joseph. 

Public transportation options are limited. There is a rural bus route operated by the county. Owning a car is recommended. 

What is the weather like in Stevensville, MI?

The weather in Stevensville is relatively cool, ranging from an average of 33 degrees in winter to 78 degrees in summer. Annual snowfall is around 77 inches, which is about double the US average. Rainfall totals of 38 inches are consistent with the US average.

MonthAvg High
January30
February33
March43
Apri53
May66
June75
July80
August79
September71
October59
November47
December36

What county is Stevensville, MI in?

Stevensville has been located in Berrien County since 1872.

What township is Stevensville, MI in?

Stevensville is part of the larger Lincoln Charter Township.

How Are the Schools in Stevensville, MI?

Stevensville and neighboring Baroda are served by the Lakeshore School District. Based on test scores, its public schools are ranked slightly higher than the Michigan average and 25% higher than the US average.

Residents can also elect to send their children to one of Stevensville’s two private schools: Christ Lutheran School and St. Paul’s Lutheran School.

What hotels are available in Stevensville, MI?

Sitting right off I94, Stevensville has several area hotels catering to travelers looking to spend a night on the outskirts of St. Joseph.

There are no hotels within the small area of the incorporated town. However, there are several options in the north area of unincorporated Stevensville, just off the I94 exit. These include:

Baymont by Wyndham St. Joseph/Stevensville

Candlewood Suites St. Joseph/Benton Harbor

Comfort Suites Stevensville – St. Joseph

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott St. Joseph Stevensville

Hampton Inn St. Joseph I-94

Ray’s Motel

Super 8 by Wyndham Stevensville

Tru by Hilton Saint Joseph

You may also be interested in Michigan short term rentals.

What public beaches are located in Stevensville, MI?

The biggest attraction in Stevensville is Lake Michigan, which is just a half-mile from town. Specifically, Grand Mere State Park boasts nearly 1,000 acres of woods and sand dunes, two inland lakes, and over 1 mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. 

Visitors will find this state park to offer few modern amenities and no staff. Reaching the shoreline requires parking in a dirt parking lot and then walking steep, neglected trails that weave through sand dunes. There is one vault toilet, a hand pump for water, and a few picnic tables. Signs are faded, trails are neglected, and vegetation is overgrown. It is a beautiful, natural location, just not a great place to grab the kids and head for a beach day.

The park has a shoreline, but not really a “beach”. Years of erosion by the Lake Michigan waters have washed away much of the sand, leaving a slim, rocky shore. But swimming is possible in Lake Michigan and in the inland lakes, and the sunsets are gorgeous. 

For a family-friendly trip, visit the nearby North Lake park. This park touches the northern edge of the Grand Mere State Park but is owned and operated by the local town. It has one inland lake of its own. This is a well-maintained location with modern amenities such as a playground, bathrooms, and picnic areas. Fishing is allowed on the lake, but not swimming. There is no access to Lake Michigan (the shoreline area near this park is owned by private residences). 

Top 25 Restaurants in Stevensville, MI

There are a few eating options within the incorporated town limits of Stevensville. However, most of the restaurants are in the unincorporated area near the I94 exit (logically, right near all of the hotels).

Tripadvisor RankingInside TownOutside Town
1. Tosi’s Restaurantx
2. Bit of Swissx
3. Grande Mere Inn Restaurantx
4. Coach’s Bar & Grillx
5. Galley Grillx
6. Cracker Barrelx
7. Full Circle Caféx
8. Culver’sx
9. Santaniello’s Ristorantex
10. Mr. Gyrosx
11. Sandra Kaysx
12. Bert’s Breakfast Kornerx
13. Red Coach Donutsx
14. Martin’s Supermarketx
15. Woodies Tavernx
16. Burger Kingx
17. Hong Kong Kitchenx
18. Caribou Coffeex
19. Dairy Queenx
20. Taco John’sx
21. Welcome Innx
22. DiPisa’s Pizzax
23. The Flour Shopx
24. Long John Silver’sx
25. Peat’s Cider Socialx

If you are willing to travel a few miles north, you’ll find a huge selection of restaurants in the city of St. Joseph.

What to Do in Stevensville, Michigan?

The biggest attraction in Stevensville is Lake Michigan, which is just a half-mile from town. Specifically, Grand Mere State Park boasts nearly 1,000 acres of woods and sand dunes, two inland lakes, and over 1 mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. This state park lacks modern amenities and is not well maintained, but it does offer a beautiful natural environment to explore, access to the waters of Lake Michigan, an awesome sunset, and no crowds.

The nearby North Lake park is well-maintained and offers modern amenities such as a playground, bathrooms, and picnic areas. There is also fishing in an inland lake, but no swimming. This is a great location for a family day trip and let the kids burn off some energy. 

When inside the town limits, be sure to check out the Watermark Brewing Company for a taste of home-brewed beer. There are a half-dozen decent restaurants inside town and nearly two dozen restaurants in the north area near the I94 exit.

It is not much else of interest inside the Stevensville zip code. However, you will find a large number of stores and entertainment options if you travel by car a few miles north into the city of St. Joseph.

Stevensville, Michigan Beach Erosion

Due to record snow and rainfalls over the last few years, the waters of Lake Michigan have risen three vertical feet. In addition to submerging land, the turbulence caused by occasional storms is destroying the shoreline across much of Lake Michigan; tearing away beaches and sand dunes, and leaving exposed, unprotected cliff-faces which then become even further eroded during future storms. 

The Stevensville shoreline area has been unable to escape mother nature’s destruction. Every foot of shoreline from Grand Mere State Park up to the city of St Joseph has endured damage. In February 2020, a storm took out the last remaining beach in the Stevensville area.

Visitors may still visit the shoreline of Grand Mere State Park, but they will find steep embankments with no sand.

Related: Pros and Cons of Living in Indiana

Stevensville, Michigan Baseball Tournaments: Kohn Sports Complex.

Stevensville, MI is home to the Kohn Sports Complex. This multi-million dollar sports complex features 10 grass fields, two turf stadiums, an indoor baseball hitting facility, and world-class amenities. The complex, both indoor and outdoor, is maintained to pristine standards. 

Construction is almost complete on the huge Kohn Fieldhouse facility which will feature three basketball courts, four volleyball courts, a world-class weight room, a four-lane track, a biometric room, and a golf simulator.

All of the above were donated by business owners Bob and Betty Kohn.

With such an impressive sports complex, it is little wonder that the area hosts some of the best baseball tournaments in the Midwest. Tournament participants include local, travel, and All-Star teams.

Related: Pros and Cons of Living in Grand Rapids, Michigan