Our comprehensive guide will not only tell you more about Holland Michigan and how it came to be, but it also will identify the best Holland Michigan things to do for any occasion. Your adventure in Tulip City starts here.
Best Things to Do in Holland Michigan in 2022
Situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan, Holland is a vacation destination for many Michiganders throughout the warmer months of the year and makes a great quiet getaway in the colder months, too.
Whether it’s the draw of the sandy beaches, the annual Tulip festival, Dutch history and architecture, or simply the quaintness of downtown Holland, there are so many great things to do in Holland Michigan – perfect for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or even just a short day trip to the lakeshore with friends.
Seasonal Things to Do in Holland Michigan
Springtime Holland Michigan Things to Do
Holland blooms and blossoms in the springtime — quite literally. Every year, the community plants thousands of Tulip bulbs — flown directly in from The Netherlands — and each spring, residents and visitors are showered with miles of brightly colored tulips.
Holland Michigan Tulip Time Festival
To celebrate this colorful array of flowers, the community hosts its Tulip Time Festival. Tulip Time is an annual tradition in Holland that has been taking place since the 1930s. The festival itself is a week-long celebration filled with endless events and activities, including shopping at an authentic Dutch market, a Dutch dancing performance, and yoga in a tulip garden.
Hiking in Holland Michigan
In addition to enjoying the sea of tulips in the spring, visitors in Holland also can enjoy hiking along the local trails, where they will discover other plants and flowers springing forth into life.
Some of our favorite Holland hiking trails include:
- Stu Visser Trails on Ottawa Beach Road
- Van Raalte Farm Park Hiking Trails
- Sanctuary Woods Preserve
- Riley Trails Park
- Kuker-van Til Nature Preserve
- Hawthorn Pond Natural Area
Golfing in Holland Michigan
Golfing is another popular springtime activity that people enjoy in Holland. Some popular Holland Michigan golf courses that are open to the public include:
- The Links at Rolling Meadows Golf Club
- Winding Creek Golf Course
- West Ottawa Golf Club
- Macatawa Golf Club
The Best Summer Things to Do in Holland Michigan
Spring in Holland is short, sweet, and full of opportunity, but summer quickly follows and that is one of the seasons that people love the most in this lakeshore town.
Not only is Holland situated off the coast of Lake Michigan, but it also is home to Lake Macatawa — an inland lake that is perfect for fishing, swimming, and boating. Both of these popular Holland Michigan lakes boast beautiful beaches and opportunities for water sports.
Whether you are renting a vacation home or you are taking a day trip to the dunes, you will find that these are some of the best things to do in Holland Michigan in the summer…
Spend a day at Holland State Park
Relax on the beach or hike along the dunes. Holland State Park is one of the most popular parks in the entire state of Michigan, and for good reason. There are recreational activities for people of all ages and skill levels.
Visit Nelis’ Dutch Village
This theme park celebrates the Dutch culture that the Holland Michigan community holds so dear. The youngest visitors to this theme park can enjoy the rides, explore the tulip farm exhibit, pet a few animals and participate in unique events, such as wooden shoe racing.
Watch the Sunset on Lake Michigan
The summer days in Holland are long, and there is nothing quite as peaceful as sitting on the beach and watching the sun slowly set toward the waves. Whether it’s a clear day or a cloud-filled sky, you are sure to see some stunning colors as you reflect on the beauty of another day.
Summer in Holland Michigan is unforgettable, and you and your family are sure to make memories as you explore the downtown area, enjoy the beaches, and hike along the local trails.
Explore Holland Michigan Parks
There are many beautiful parks in Holland Michigan, which offer plenty of opportunities for fun and relaxation. Here are just a few of our favorites:
- Tunnel Park
- Kollen Park & Heinz Waterfront Walkway
- Centennial Park
- DeGraaf Nature Center & Fillmore Discovery Park at the Outdoor Discovery Center
Visit Bowerman Blueberries Farm Market
The Bowerman family has been growing blueberries in Holland Michigan since 1954. The current blueberry farm boasts 90 acres of blueberries.
In addition to offering u-pick blueberries, the Bowerman Blueberries Farm Market sells fresh-picked strawberries, delicious cherries, peaches, plums, sugar peas, green and yellow beans, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, sweet corn, potatoes, and other seasonal produce and specialty foods, such as cheese, local honey, and jams and salsas produced from their berries.
Fall Foliage and Autumn Adventures in Holland Michigan
It’s hard not to be a little sad as summer comes to an end in Holland, but the promise of fall is sure to soothe your soul. As the temperatures drop, the colors on the leaves begin to arrive, and you will have a front-row seat to one of the most beautiful transitions that takes place in nature.
If you want to go leaf-peeping in Holland, here are a few places where you will see some of the best fall colors in Holland Michigan:
- The top of Mount Pisgah. This is one of the largest sand dunes in the area, and when you reach the top, you will enjoy a 360-degree view of the colorful forests that surround you. Not only will you see the spectacular colors of the leaves, but you also will see some incredible reflections on the waters below as you traverse the Mount Pisgah dune boardwalk.
- In the heart of Sanctuary Woods. This forest in Holland is home to thousands of trees, each of which turns into a bright and vibrant hue in the middle of October. This is the place to go to get those photos of dense forests that are illuminated with color.
- In downtown Holland. While this may not offer you the all-natural feel of some of the other spots, the colorful trees that line the streets will surely add a touch of charm to your fall afternoon in Holland.
Fall is the ideal season to soak up the rest of the sunshine for the year and to finish up any outdoor experiences that you wanted to enjoy before the winter sets in around the city.
Unique Holland Michigan Winter Things to Do
On the west side of the state, winter is notoriously long, cold, and filled with snow. Fortunately, for people in Holland, that means that there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreational activities that can only take place in the heart of winter.
The snow that blankets the landscape in Holland for much of the winter months adds a touch of whimsical beauty that cannot be experienced throughout the rest of the year. You will have a new appreciation for this community, which endures a difficult winter every year knowing that the bright hues of spring are on the horizon.
Some of the best outdoor things to do in Holland Michigan in the winter include:
Snowshoeing or Cross-country Skiing
Many of the trails that are frequented by hikers in the summer are used by people who love to snowshoe or ski in the winter months. Some of the best wintertime trails can be discovered at Pigeon Creek Park.
Sledding at the Local Sledding Hills
Throughout Holland, there are many hills of different sizes for people to go sledding, which means that sledders of all ages can find a hill that is right for them.
Shopping on 8th Street & Downtown Holland
Most people try to avoid walking areas, such as the downtown, during the winter months, but in Holland Michigan, you can explore the downtown throughout the entire year.
Holland has a unique snow-melt system installed beneath its sidewalks, ensuring that ice and snow do not build up. This makes it safe for all residents to get out, stay active and support the local businesses that are located downtown.
Annual Festivals and Events in Holland Michigan
Holland is the type of community that likes to celebrate — not only with one another but also with all of the visitors who travel to the city from abroad. These are a few of the most popular annual events and festivals in Holland Michigan:
St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Downtown Holland
Holland may be a community that promotes its Dutch heritage, but everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Each year, the community gathers for a festive green parade through the city’s downtown.
Tulip Time is far and away the most iconic event in Holland Michigan. It takes place each year in late April or early May when the tulips are in full bloom. The Tulip Time festival includes plenty of unique events, including a Dutch dancing competition, and a Dutch costume contest.
Macatawa Water Festival
The Macatawa Water Festival usually is held in July of each year on Windmill Island. This festival celebrates the Macatawa Watershed and the important role it has played in the development of Holland. Attendees can learn more about how to care for the watershed as well as enjoy the beautiful summer views on the island.
International Festival of Holland
The International Festival of Holland takes place in August each year. This event celebrates cultures from around the world, allowing people of all backgrounds to come together and learn more about their differences — and similarities.
Tulipanes Latino Art & Film Festival
In September, visitors and locals can attend the Tulipanes Latino Art & Film Festival, which promotes the contributions of the Latin community through art, music, and food. There are many Latino films shown at theaters around Holland, all of which are free to attend and enjoy.
In October, the community gathers together for the Fall Fest. With festivities happening at Window on the Waterfront, Holland Farmers Market, Windmill Island Gardens, and Downtown Holland, this family-friendly annual event in Holland Michigan offers fall fun for locals and visitors alike!
Not only does this event include a pumpkin carving competition and plenty of fall fun, but there also are opportunities for participants to plant tulip bulbs that will bloom the following spring for Tulip Time.
Avoid the Raindrops & Cold Temperatures With These Indoor Activities in Holland Michigan
While the sparkling lakes and towering dunes make the natural beauty of Holland so inviting, there may be a rainy day when you simply have to stay inside. Fortunately, you won’t be bored because there are many indoor things to do in Holland Michigan.
De Klomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory
For a cultural experience that you cannot find anywhere else in Michigan, head straight to the De Klomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory. Most people go to this attraction in hopes of seeing one of the wooden shoemakers hard at work, but there also are other unique opportunities at this indoor attraction.
You can shop for a piece of authentic Dutch Delftware that will complement your current decor, or you can visit with a Delftware artist to learn more about this traditional crafting technique.
Holland Community Aquatic Center
If you are looking for a way to stay active on a rainy day in Holland, then one of the best places to go is the Holland Community Aquatic Center. This massive facility is open to both local residents as well as visitors, but you may have to purchase a day pass to enter.
Once you are inside, you can get some exercise in the lap pool or bring your children to the zero-entry pool, where there’s a huge playground for them to explore.
Paint a Pot Holland Art Studio
Another awesome indoor activity to consider on a rainy day in Holland is pottery painting. Paint a Pot is a do-it-yourself art studio in downtown Holland where you can choose a piece, paint it on location and return once it has been fired.
You also have the option of picking up a to-go kit and finishing your project from the comfort of your campground or vacation rental.
Experience Holland Art, Culture, and History
Whether you want to stroll through the DePree Art Center & Gallery or the Kruizenga Art Museum on the campus of Hope College, visit the Holland Museum, browse the collection at Lake Effect Gallery, or explore the Cappon House or Settlers House, there are many opportunities to enjoy art, culture, and history in Holland!
Enjoy These Family-Friendly Attractions with Your Kids in Holland Michigan
Holland Michigan is truly a family destination, and there are plenty of fun attractions that you can enjoy along with your kiddos. These are some of the best family-friendly attractions in Holland Michigan:
The Lost City
The Lost City is an indoor amusement park in Holland Michigan that offers several fun activities for kids of all ages, including laser tag, mini-golf, and an arcade.
Outdoor Discovery Center
The Outdoor Discovery Center is a nature preserve in Holland that allows children to get up close and personal with the world around them. Here, children can safely explore trails and learn about the animals and plants that call this region home.
Holland State Park Beach
For a day full of classic summer fun, head to the beach at Holland State Park. You and your children will find that it’s easy to spend hours building sandcastles, playing in the waves, and sliding down the dunes together.
For a day of Lake Michigan beach-hopping near Holland, be sure to include Saugatuck Dunes State Park and Laketown Beach in your plans!
Captain Sundae and Pirates Landing Mini Golf
With three locations in the local area, Captain Sundae and Pirates Landing Mini Golf is a favorite destination among local families and vacationers alike. You can visit this spot with your kids to enjoy a round of mini-golf, and when you are finished with your game, you can end the day with a delicious ice cream sundae.
Regardless of your kids’ ages or interests, you are sure to be able to build an itinerary for you and your kids that will allow you all to make memories that you will cherish for a lifetime.
Holland Michigan on a Budget: Free and Cheap Things to Do
Your Holland experiences don’t have to break the bank. There are many ways to make the most of your time in the community while sticking to your budget.
These are some of the best free and cheap things to do in Holland Michigan:
Visit the Windmill at Van Bragt Park
This small windmill is a replica of one that was built for a prominent local resident who lived on a nearby estate. It is situated in the heart of a quaint park, and there is no cost to enter the park and walk along the winding trail that leads to this charming windmill.
Stroll Along the Boardwalk at Riverview Park
This park offers some of the best views of Windmill Island, and it is a popular place to go tulip spotting in springtime. There is no cost to enter this public park.
Spend the Day at Lakeview Beach
This beach is a hidden gem in Holland Michigan, and you will often feel as if you have the entire place to yourself. Best of all, you can get onto the beach for free.
Visit the Veldheer Tulip Garden
This historic site was once home to the first commercial tulip bulb farm in America. Today, the gardens feature over 100 varieties of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, irises, lilies, crocuses, and other flowering perennials. Visitors can stroll through the grounds and enjoy free admission during daylight hours.
Discover the Flavor of Holland at These Local Restaurants
To get a feel for the flavor of Holland, you are going to want to dine at some of the local Holland Michigan restaurants that can be found throughout the city. Downtown Holland, in particular, is filled with locally-owned restaurants that offer authentic atmospheres and fresh, seasonal menus.
Seventy-Six is a fine dining restaurant in Holland Michigan that offers an eclectic menu that features comfort food with a twist. Its extensive wine list makes it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Russ’ Restaurants is a local legend in Holland. What started as a burger joint in the late 1950s has transformed into a family dining brand that is known for its delicious food and welcoming atmosphere.
Waverly Stone Gastropub
Waverly Stone Gastropub is a downtown restaurant that blends the history of the city with its modern appeal. Located in a historic building in downtown Holland, this restaurant hails itself as a pub for food lovers.
More Holland Michigan Restaurants to Enjoy
Of course, these are just a few of the local restaurants in Holland Michigan. As you explore the city, you will find that there are many more, some of which feature rooftop dining and others that boast waterfront views.
No matter what you are craving, you are sure to be satisfied when you dine in Holland!
Refresh Yourself at These Holland Michigan Breweries and Wineries
In the last several years, Holland has made a name for itself as a foodie destination. As more and more local restaurants have popped up in the community, there also has been an influx of breweries and wineries.
If you are the type of person who likes to top off your day with a glass of fruity wine or a frothy brew, then you are going to love these breweries and wineries in Holland Michigan:
Big Lake Brewing
This is one of the largest and most well-known breweries in Holland, and it is a favorite of both travelers and locals. Big Lake Brewing is situated in downtown Holland, and in addition to its tap list, it also features a full menu.
For those who feel the need to compromise when it comes to the best drinks, the Hopland Brewstillery is the perfect destination. This facility is not only a microbrewery, but it’s also a distillery and a winery, meaning that you can get beer, cocktails, or a glass of wine that has been hand-crafted for flavor and style.
Tanglewood Winery is not a newcomer to the food and drink scene in Holland. This farm-turned-vineyard has been producing a unique and flavorful blueberry wine for decades. Its infamous Blue Silk vintage has earned a reputation for being “What Michigan Tastes Like.”
New Holland Brewing Company
New Holland Brewing Company was founded by two native Michiganders in 1996. Headquartered in Holland, the company operates a brewery and distillery on the northside of the city, as well as a brewpub and restaurant in downtown Holland and in neighboring Grand Rapids.
More Breweries and Wineries Near Holland Michigan
In addition to there being many breweries and wineries located within the borders of Holland, there also are many other vineyards and tasting rooms to visit throughout the region. Nearby Holland Michigan wineries and breweries in Saugatuck, Fennville, and Hudsonville are worth a visit as well if you have time in your itinerary.
Where to Stay in Holland Michigan: The Best Lodging
One of the best parts about planning a Holland Michigan vacation is that there are many options for lodging. Holland Michigan boasts hotels, vacation rentals, and campgrounds, ensuring that every type of traveler can find a place to stay that suits their style and fits their budget.
For convenient downtown lodging and premier amenities, consider booking a room at CityFlatsHotel.
This downtown hotel is one of the newest additions to the Holland travel scene, but it has quickly earned a reputation for excellence among both business and leisure travelers. Its central location allows you to walk to many of the best tourist attractions in Holland.
For a more rustic and rugged experience near the shores of Lake Michigan, you may want to consider camping in Holland.
One of the city’s most popular campgrounds is Oak Grove Resort, which not only has full hook-up sites for RVs but also has cabin rentals for families who prefer more creature comforts during their time in the great outdoors.
AirBNB Holland Michigan
Of course, if you are searching for a bit more peace and privacy while you are staying in Holland, you might want to consider an Airbnb or VRBO rental.
Vacation rentals in Holland are becoming increasingly popular, as there are many residents with vacation homes in this community who are willing to offer short-term rentals to visitors. There are Holland Michigan vacation rentals near the lakefront or in the downtown area.
The Story of Holland Michigan and How It Transformed Into a Premier Michigan Destination
The story of Holland is similar to many communities that were settled in the Midwest by European immigrants who were looking for a new place in America to call their own.
Holland Michigan was, and still is, tied closely to the Netherlands. The people who founded Holland were a group of Dutch settlers who traveled to New York from Holland, with hopes of purchasing land and settling in Wisconsin.
It was a mere coincidence that an early winter arrival and poor travel conditions forced the group of pioneers to stay in the Detroit area, with hopes of traveling again in the spring. While staying in Detroit, the group’s leader, Albertus C. VanRaalte, heard about available land in West Michigan and decided to look into the opportunity.
VanRaalte Settles Holland
After discovering the natural beauty and the abundant natural resources, VanRaalte changed the settlers’ plans, ultimately leading them to the shores of Lake Macatawa.
This original group of settlers arrived in 1847, and soon after, many more Dutch immigrants followed. Lured by the promise of the American Dream, they did not realize that there were many years of hardship ahead as they worked to settle the land and make it prosperous.
Railroads & Tourism
By the late 19th century, railroads connected Holland to the rest of the Midwest, which helped spur industry in the community. In addition, Holland was almost immediately hailed as a tourist destination.
By the 20th century, Holland was home to many industries where stuff ranging from pickles to pianos was being created. Throughout the 20th century, Holland continued to grow and develop, and it benefited from the many industries that were able to find success in this community of tight-knit residents. However, the economy was almost always anchored by the tourist industry, as visitors from around the state sought refuge in the peaceful, natural beauty of the area and the charm of this cultural community.
The Nelis Family
In 1910, the Nelis family first ventured to the United States. They were so in awe of the beauty that is West Michigan, they purchased land and began growing produce.
During the Great Depression, the family started growing flowers, specifically tulips. This business became quite successful, and as an added feature the family began to import Dutch goods to sell in their shop.
By 1952, the Nelis’ small operation was outgrowing its small beginnings, so the family purchased land on a small two-lane road that would become Dutch Village.
Holland Michigan Today
Today, Holland Michigan is a thriving lakefront community, with thousands of full-time residents who honor the heritage of their Dutch settlers while looking to move forward into the future.
It is still a premier tourist destination, with travelers from around the world flocking to the area to see the tulips, visit the Dutch Windmill, climb the sand dunes, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the downtown area.
FAQs About Holland Michigan
Is Holland Michigan Worth Visiting?
In a word, absolutely! Holland Michigan is one of those places that is famous around Michigan but is not known to many other people around the Midwest. It is a local gem, and it is well worth it to visit this community at any time of the year. Whether you want to come for the ever-popular Tulip Time Festival or you are hoping to enjoy the peaceful quiet of the winter months, you won’t regret making the trip to Holland Michigan.
What is Holland Michigan Known For?
Holland Michigan is most well-known for being a community that has preserved and cherished its Dutch heritage. The Dutch windmill on Windmill Island has become one of the most iconic spots in the city, and its annual Tulip Time Festival has put Holland on the map as a premier tourist destination in the Midwest.
What are the Most Popular Activities in Holland Michigan?
Some of the most popular activities in Holland Michigan include boating, fishing, hiking, and swimming. It is a lakefront destination where people love to spend most of their time outdoors. Almost everyone who lives in Holland Michigan has summited the top of the Mt. Pisgah dune climb, which offers some of the best views in the city.
Is Holland Michigan a Cheap Destination?
You can create a vacation itinerary for Holland Michigan that suits any budget or lifestyle. There are luxury hotels and fine dining restaurants as well as budget-friendly accommodations and local diners that offer both atmosphere and flavor.