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Holland MI Travel Guide

holland mi
Holland MI’s Big Red Lighthouse

Visit Holland MI: Little Dutch Wonderland | Ultimate Travel Guide

A visit to Holland Mi is a little like a mini-European getaway.

It’s what happens every time we visit charming Holland: one moment we’re standing in this coastal Lake Michigan town and then…WOOSH…it’s like we’ve traveled all the way to Europe and we’re in The Netherlands.

It’s one reason why Holland, MI regularly makes it to the top of out list of one of the best places to visit in Michigan.

windmill island in holland michigan travel guide
Sunset at Windmill Island in Holland, MI

About Holland Michigan

Large enough to stretch across parts of two counties (Allegan County and Ottawa County), Holland is a special spot in Michigan, made unique by its rich Dutch heritage.

It’s unlike any other town in Michigan: it’s embraced its ethnic roots in an authentic way that celebrates tradition without seeming contrived.

Set on the shores of both Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa, you’ll find wide, white, sandy beaches, both for swimming and playing in the sand at Holland State Park (one of Michigan’s most-visited state parks).

You’ll also find the iconic Big Red Lighthouse, standing tall and bright along the coast where the Black River lets out from Lake Macatawa into the Great Lakes.

Holland is a town decorated lavishly with flowers, and if you visit in the spring, six million tulips in bloom!

Holland is home to national Tulip Time Festival when the town is in bloom with more than a million tulips flowering along sidewalks and streets, and in fields and farms.

You can read more about the Holland Tulip Time Festival HERE.

holland travel guide

Discover Holland MI: Perfect College Town

Holland is also a charming college town: Hope College is located in the downtown area and Grand Valley State University just 30 minutes away.

The well-kept grounds of Hope College fit in perfectly with the well-manicured parks that dot the town landscape and a fun day can be spent wandering both the campus and the scenic streets of the town.

Another college, Western Theological Seminary is also located downtown.

Holland is also full of adventurous travelers, relaxing retirees, and independent business owners welcoming tourists to the area.

Between the Dutch culture and the strong community feel, Holland ranks as a favorite among Michigan travelers.

So put on your wooden shoes, grab your beach towel, and explore Holland’s wonders!

holland Mi travel

Fun Things to Do in Holland, MI (Michigan Getaways)

Just a few minutes in Holland is enough to bring a smile: this pleasant west Michigan spot has been entertaining tourists for a long time, and they do it well.

From shops, restaurants and breweries of brick-paved 8th Street and the downtown parks to the sandy shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa, Holland is a must-visit on your Michigan bucket list.

Plan a Holland, MI Getaway

With its convenient proximity to both Grand Rapids and Grand Haven, Holland MI, is a popular destination for vacations, day trips or weekend getaways.

If you’re ready for a trip to the Holland area, you’ll want to allow time to enjoy both the charming downtown, tourist attractions celebrating the area’s Dutch heritage and of course, the amazing Lake Michigan beaches.

When we’re visiting Holland, we like to spend our time soaking in the summer sun and enjoying the variety of cultures that the town has to offer.

The Holland community has a rich Dutch heritage that is evident in the many tourists attractions including Veldheer Tulip Garden, Nelis Dutch Village, the De Klomp Wooden Shoe & Delftware Factory and more. We’ve developed a guide to the TOP 25 Things to DO in Holland, MI if you want to learn more about these fun spots.

Read on to discover the best of Holland as we share some tips on the best things to do on your vacation getaway.

Holland, MI is Known For…

  • The quaint Dutch windmill and the majestic tulips that surround it, perfect for photoshoots and family strolls. The Tulip Time Festival takes place in the spring and celebrates Holland’s Dutch heritage.
  • Holland State Park, 142 acres of rolling sand dunes, breathtaking beaches, and scenic hiking trails open to the public.
  • The stores and shops: the Holland downtown area is rich with variety and innovation, but still has a sweet, small-town vibe. Eighth Street in downtown Holland is the center of town; a charming brock-paved street filled with cafes, breweries, boutiques and fun shops. You can easily spend a day here shopping and dining.
  • Mount Pisgah Dune Boardwalk, with its incredible panoramic views and sandy walkways for all ages.
  • The Holland Princess cruise boat, where visitors can take a two-hour cruise complete with dinner and music
  • The Holland Harbor Lighthouse, known as the Big Red Harbor Light for its deep red hue that stands out against the white, foaming waves lapping against the pier. This is an iconic and beloved light known all through Holland and beyond.
  • The traditional Dutch architecture found throughout the town, celebrating Dutch immigration and their rich history, dating back to the 1800’s.
  • As one of Michigan’s top beach towns, Holland Michigan is a hub for outdoor activity ranging from hiking to biking to swimming and boating in beautiful Lake Michigan.

Holland, MI Weather

The weather in Holland ranges from warm and sunny in the summer months to icy cold in the winter. The temperature gets up to 80 F in July and usually doesn’t drop below 20 F in January and February.

Beaches in Holland, MI

Holland and the surrounding areas have some of the most beautiful and ADA-accessible beaches on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Explore these Holland beaches and click the buttons below to check out beaches in Grand Haven in West Ottawa County and South Haven in Allegan County.

Both areas are with a half-hour drive from Holland.

Holland Area Beaches

Holland State Park
2215 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49424
(616) 399-9390

Swimming, Wide Beach, ADA and Wheelchair-Accessible Path to Beach, Basketball, Pavilion, Concessions, Restrooms, Camping, Picnic Tables, Pier, Lighthouse, Paddleboard and Kayak Rentals, Dunes

Laketown Beach
6710 142nd Ave, Holland, MI 49423
(616) 335-3050

Swimming, Beach, Steps to Beach, Dunes

Tunnel Park Beach
66 N, Lakeshore Ave, Holland, MI 49424
(616) 738-4810

Swimming, Picnic Tables, Volleyball Courts, Concessions, Restrooms

Grand Haven Area Beaches
South Haven Beaches
ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in Holland

Holland State Park

One of the things we love best about Holland State Park – one of the most popular Michigan State Parks – are the multiple ADA and wheelchair-accessible features incorporated into this park.

You’ll find wide paved pathway along both the shoreline and leading to the paved pier that juts out into Lake Michigan. Accessibility features we also include in the design of the picnic tables lining the shore and the new children’s play structure.

Dog-friendly Beaches in Holland

Although most of Holland State Park is pet-friendly, there are no dogs allowed on the beach, except for a designated area located in the Lake Macatawa day-use area directly across from the Lake Mac Campground.

When to Visit Holland, MI

The time is always right to visit Holland: each season holds building excitement for Holland residents as they prepare for the next big traditional event, and seasonal travel opportunities continue throughout the year.

Summer draws many beach-seeking wanderers to Holland State Park and its stunning coastal shores. From 4th of July fireworks to water skiing and boating to street musicians showing off their skills downtown, the sun is almost always out for your favorite summer activities.

Summer is one of the best times to experience Holland sunsets and enjoy everything the beaches and parks have to offer.

The colorful season of fall brings even more festivities to the city of Holland. If you’re planning a visit in autumn, make sure to check out the annual downtown Fall Fest, the Van Raalte Farm Civil War Muster and Heritage Days, and the Tulipanes Latino Art and Film Festival in September.

Holland connects to its roots through these events, and your visit will be full of opportunity for creative pumpkin art and vast corn mazes.

Use our Guide to the Top 25 Things to Do in Holland MI for more information on these fun spots.

winter holland michigan

Winter in Holland, MI

As Michigan turns into a winter wonderland of falling snow and ice-frosted trees, both indoor and outdoor adventures await you in Holland.

For the snow lovers, there’s sledding and ice skating, and the dunes are open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. If you’re looking to get away from the ice,

Holland’s downtown streets are snow-free! With an innovative snowmelt system, much of Holland’s streets are heated, melting an inch of snow every hour.

holland michigan travel guide

Tulip Time in Holland MI

When the sun emerges from its rest behind the snow clouds and spring makes an entrance, Holland begins to bloom.

The highlight of Holland awakes and lights up the city with bursts of fresh color. Rows upon rows of beautiful tulips circle Windmill Island Gardens and inspire Tulip Time, the biggest festival held all year.

Besides the tulips, you can visit the farmer’s market, celebrate with the Memorial Day Parade, and experience Dutch hospitality wherever you wander.

Discover the Holland Tulip festivaL
Explore Downtown Holland MI
Downtown Holland is the perfect place for a lazy afternoon.

Stroll 8th Street and enjoy the local restaurants and boutiques, browse the shelves of bookstores and clothing shops, and get to know the friendly business owners and playful statues scattered throughout Holland’s streets and sidewalks.

These statues are symbolic of the heart and people of Holland and are made out of materials like bronze and recycled scrap metal.

If you need somewhere to start your shopping spree, check out these stores:

Harbor Wear of Holland – A clothing store that believes that life is best lived by the lake in comfortable clothes with unique brands.

Holland Area Arts Council – An organization that supports local artists, opens art exhibits to the public, and educates the local youth.

Making Waves USA – Stocked with bags, backpacks, and all the swim gear you’ll need for your watery adventures in Holland.

R.I.T. Music – Known as Michigan’s finest music store, this shop is packed with every kind of musical instrument we can think of!

Readers World Bookstore – A corner bookstore with a large variety of genres and a friendly staff.

The Bridge – This quaint little gift shop is a fair trade marketplace and sells everything from clothing to home decor to seasonal gifts.

More Things to do in Holland, Michigan

Bowerman Blueberries Farm Market – A visit to this blueberry farm is a must on any trip tp the Holland area. The Bowerman blueberries farm market shop offers not only blueberries but a huge selection of blueberry treats.
PRO TIP: Their Blueberry Vinaigrette salad dressing is delicious.

Kollen Park & Heinz Waterfront Walkway on the Lake Macatawa Waterfront – This tranquil waterfront park features a band shelter, playground, boat launch ramps and picnic areas.

Holland Farmers Market – Plan your trip around a visit to the Holland Farmers Market help Mid-May through December near the Holland Civic Center. Near the holidays, the market transforms into the delightful Kerstmarkt, an outdoor Dutch holiday market.

Centennial Park – This jewel of a park in just blocks from 8th Street serves as a tribute to L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz series of books. Baum wrote the book while staying on the shores of Lake Macatawa, and it’s fun to stroll through the park and take in the beautiful floral exhibits.

Outdoor Discovery Center – A nature preserve in Allegan County, the nature center’s trails and programs provide an up-close and personal look at the diverse flora and fauna of the area.

Tunnel Park – Running along the coast of Lake Michigan, Tunnel Park covers 22 acres of preserved land. Walk through the tunnel built into a sand dune and emerge on the other side to be struck by the beauty of the lake’s rippling waves and the sun’s tapestry of color across the sky. From fun climbs up to the top of the dunes to a playground for the kids, this is the perfect spot for a vacation of any length.

Holland Museum – For an indoor adventure into the past, visit Holland Museum and take an educational stroll through the unique galleries. Current exhibits include the history of Holland, Dutch artifacts, political memorabilia, and even a Spark!Lab Smithsonian, a hands-on invention space for kids and families.If you become a member at the museum, you will have free admission into their local partner museums, including the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum in February and the Air Zoo in June.

Here at Holland’s museum, you’ll learn about how Holland fits into Michigan and the United States as a whole. If you’re looking for a fun, scholastic diversion in Holland, you’ve found the right place! To learn more before you go, take a virtual tour!

Cappon House and Settlers House – This period museum in a restored 1874 house, was the home of Holland’s first mayor, and features period furnishings & historic exhibits.

New Holland Brewing Co – You’ll spot the New Holland Brew Pub as soon as you enter the downtown; it’s the restaurant and pub with a line out the door and down the street. Don’t miss a meal or drink from this popular spot where you can watch the craft beer as it is being brewed.

Where to Stay in Holland, MI

Want to extend your day trip into a weekend vacation? We recommend these hotels in Holland and resources to find a comfortable overnight experience:

Haworth Inn – The Haworth and Conference center is located right in downtown Holland and within easy walking distance of many shops and restaurants .

Holiday Inn Express Hotel – We like this spot off the main highway; it’s clean , comfortable and and easy drive to any of the area’s beaches and tourist attractions.

Other options for lodging include:

  • Rent a Cabin in Holland
  • Find a Cottage Rental
  • Holland Airbnb’s

About the Author
Kyrsten Newlon is a content writing and editing intern for Growing up in Kalamazoo, she wrote and read everything she could. Now, she is a student at Grace College with Journalism and Communications majors and an English minor. She has been published by Grace College, the Winona Lake Newsletter, Input Fort Wayne, and various online blogs. Kyrsten loves raising puppies to be service dogs, spending time in coffee shops, and adventuring through Michigan.