From Stunning Shorelines to Tulip Time, 11 Awesome Things to Do in Holland

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De Zwaan, Windmill Island, Holland, Michigan
De Zwaan, Windmill Island, Holland, Michigan | Photo Credit: Adobe Stock - csterken
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Situated along the shores of Lake Michigan, Holland is a charming city that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and exciting activities. From its stunning beaches and lush parks to its iconic windmills and Dutch-inspired attractions, Holland has something to offer for every type of traveler. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a fun-filled getaway, this vibrant city is sure to captivate your heart. Explore these 11 awesome things to do in Holland, showcasing the best of its stunning shorelines, tulip-filled gardens, and rich cultural experiences that give a taste of Europe right in Michigan.

Table of Contents

1. Holland Harbor Light

Holland Harbor Light, Holland, Michigan
Holland Harbor Light, Holland, Michigan | Photo Credit: Pixabay – Rev_Mike

Address: 2215 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49423

The Holland Harbor Light, commonly nicknamed “Big Red,” has been watching over the shores of Lake Michigan since it was first lit in 1907. Located near the inlet to Lake Macatawa, this lighthouse is not the first to stand at this location. The original lighthouse was built in 1872 but was later replaced by the current structure. Standing tall and proud, “Big Red” has become an iconic symbol of Holland, Michigan, guiding countless ships safely to harbor for over a century. Its vibrant red exterior and powerful Fresnel lens continue to captivate visitors and serve as a testament to the region’s rich maritime heritage.

2. Holland State Park

Holland State Park, Holland, Michigan
Holland State Park, Holland, Michigan | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Rklawton

Address: 2398 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49424

One of the most visited state parks in Michigan, Holland State Park boasts beautiful shorelines on both Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. The park sprawls across 142 acres and features two campgrounds, as well as cabins available for rent. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, such as fishing, boating (with a convenient boat launch), swimming, and much more. One of visitors favorite things to do in to climb to the top of Mt. Pisgah for scenic views. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach or an adventurous outdoor experience, Holland State Park has something to offer for everyone.

3. Historical Ottawa Pump House Museum

Address: 2282 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49424

The Hotel Ottawa, once a magnificent landmark in Holland, Michigan, was supported by the Edison Electric Power Plant, which built a pump house in 1901 to generate electricity for the hotel and its grounds. Tragically, the hotel was destroyed in a devastating fire in 1923, shortly after the pump house had been converted to provide water to nearby waterfront cottages. The pump house continued to serve the community until the 1980s, when public water was distributed through Ottawa Beach, rendering the pump house obsolete. Today, the building has been repurposed as a museum, preserving and showcasing the rich local history for visitors to explore and appreciate.

4. Sanctuary Woods Park

Address: 4750 66th St, Holland, MI 49423

Winding through 40 acres of stunning woodlands and peaceful views of Lake Macatawa, this park offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in nature. One of Sanctuary Woods Park’s most beloved features is the historic Interurban railway bridge, which stands as a symbol of the area’s rich transportation heritage. The bridge, once part of the Interurban railway system, now serves as a unique and charming focal point for park visitors, inviting them to explore the park’s trails and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

5. Van Raalte Farm Park

Address: 1076 E 16th St, Holland, MI 49423

Benjamin Van Raalte House, Van Raalte Farm Park, Holland, Michigan
Benjamin Van Raalte House, Van Raalte Farm Park, Holland, Michigan | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Andrew Jameson

Van Raalte Farm Park, a beloved green space in the heart of Holland, Michigan, is home to the historic Van Raalte House, built in 1867 by Benjamin Van Raalte, the son of Holland’s founder. The park offers visitors a chance to explore the meticulously preserved home and its outbuildings, providing a glimpse into the city’s rich history. Nature enthusiasts will delight in the park’s hiking trails, which wind through the scenic landscape, offering a peaceful escape from the bustle of everyday life. During the winter months, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland, with a popular sledding hill and cross-country skiing trails, ensuring year-round enjoyment for visitors of all ages.

6. Windmill Island Gardens

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan
Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan | Photo Credit: Flickr – Nick Amoscato

Address: 1 Lincoln Ave, Holland, MI 49423

Spanning an impressive 36 acres, Windmill Island Gardens is home to the iconic and historic windmill, ‘De Zwaan’. This remarkable structure holds the distinction of being the last working windmill in the Netherlands before it was brought to Michigan. Visitors have the unique opportunity to climb all five floors of the windmill, taking in stunning views of the surrounding gardens. The park is particularly breathtaking in spring when over 150,000 tulips burst into bloom, creating a vibrant sea of color. Guests can also explore the historic replica Dutch village, which transports them back in time, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Netherlands.

7. Holland Museum

Isaac Cappon House, Holland, Michigan
Isaac Cappon House, Holland, Michigan | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Andrew Jameson

Address: 31 W 10th St, Holland, MI 49423

Featuring a collection of local history, The Holland Museum offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the area’s past. The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from the early Dutch settlers to the city’s modern-day developments. In addition to its main building, the Holland Museum also features two historic homes: the Isaac Cappon House and the Thomas and Anna Morrissey House. These beautifully preserved residences allow guests to step back in time and experience life as it was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, providing a unique and immersive way to connect with Holland’s rich cultural heritage.

8. Nelis’ Dutch Village

Address: 12350 James St, Holland, MI 49424

Nelis’ Dutch Village is a sprawling 10-acre theme park that transports visitors to a charming Dutch getaway. The park offers a wide array of activities and attractions, ensuring fun for the entire family. Guests can participate in Dutch Dance Lessons, learning traditional moves and immersing themselves in the lively culture. For a unique and thrilling experience, the Giant Wooden Shoe slide is a must-try. Those seeking a more peaceful visit can explore the serene Hardewyk Chapel or witness an Old Dutch Farmhouse Cheese Making demonstration, gaining insight into traditional Dutch craftsmanship. No trip to Nelis’ Dutch Village is complete without indulging in a freshly-made Dutch stroopwafel cookie or taking a nostalgic spin on the 1940 Ferris Wheel, which offers stunning views of the surrounding park.

9. Bowerman Blueberries Farm Market

Address: 15793 James St, Holland, MI 49424

Since 1954, Bowerman Blueberries Farm Market has been a beloved Holland institution. Starting when William and Winifred Bowerman first planted 23 acres of blueberries, the farm has expanded and evolved, becoming a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike. Today, the farm offers a delightful u-pick experience, allowing guests to handpick their own fresh, juicy blueberries straight from the bushes. After a day of picking, visitors can indulge in the market’s famous blueberry donuts, a must-try treat that perfectly showcases the farm’s delicious produce. The market also offers a range of other blueberry-inspired delights, including creamy ice cream, homemade jam, and mouthwatering pie, ensuring that every visitor can savor the taste of Bowerman’s blueberries long after their visit.

10. Veldheer Tulip Garden

Tulips in Holland, Michigan
Tulips in Holland, Michigan | Photo Credit: Flickr – Erik Cooper

Address: 12755 Quincy St, Holland, MI 49424

Veldheer Tulip Garden is a stunning floral paradise that showcases the beauty and diversity of Dutch bulb flowers. The garden is home to an astonishing 5.5 million tulips, 50,000 daffodils, 20,000 crocus, and 10,000 hyacinths, creating a breathtaking display of vibrant colors and fragrances. Visitors can stroll through the expansive gardens, marveling at the meticulously maintained flowerbeds and immersing themselves in the serene beauty of the surroundings. The garden also offers a unique shopping experience at the De Klomp Wooden Shoe & Delftware Factory, the only production facility of its kind in North America. Here, guests can witness the craftsmanship behind the famous Dutch pottery, Delftware, and even purchase authentic pieces to take home as souvenirs. Additionally, the factory produces and sells traditional Dutch wooden shoes, providing visitors with a tangible connection to Holland’s rich cultural heritage. For those inspired by the garden’s magnificent floral displays, Veldheer Tulip Garden also sells a variety of bulbs seasonally, allowing enthusiasts to create their own little piece of the Netherlands in their home gardens.

11. Tulip Time Festival

Tulip Time Festival, Holland, Michigan
Tulip Time Festival, Holland, Michigan | Photo Credit: Flickr – Erik Cooper

The Tulip Time Festival in Holland is a spectacular annual event that celebrates the city’s Dutch heritage and the breathtaking beauty of tulips. Held from the first Saturday in May through the second Sunday, the festival showcases over 5 million tulips in full bloom, creating a stunning display of color and natural splendor. Established in 1929, Tulip Time has grown to become the longest-running tulip festival in the United States, attracting visitors from around the world. Throughout its history, the festival has welcomed famous visitors and performers, including President Gerald R. Ford, Johnny Cash, Ronnie Millsap, Frankie Avalon, and the Oak Ridge Boys, adding to the event’s prestige and cultural significance. Visitors are encouraged to embrace the Dutch spirit by donning traditional wooden shoes and immersing themselves in the festival’s numerous activities, such as parades, live music, Dutch dancing, and art fairs.

Conclusion

Holland, Michigan, is a destination that truly has it all—breathtaking natural scenery, a rich cultural heritage, and an abundance of exciting activities and attractions. From the iconic “Big Red” lighthouse and the sprawling beaches of Holland State Park to the tulip-filled gardens of Windmill Island and the Dutch-inspired charm of Nelis’ Dutch Village, this city offers a diverse array of experiences that will leave you enchanted. Whether you’re exploring the historic streets of downtown Holland, indulging in delectable Dutch treats, or immersing yourself in the colorful beauty of the Tulip Time Festival, you’ll create unforgettable memories in this captivating city. So pack your bags, grab your wooden shoes, and get ready to embark on a journey filled with the best that Holland, Michigan, has to offer. With its stunning shorelines, vibrant tulips, and warm community spirit, Holland is a destination that will leave you longing to return time and time again.

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