Tulip gardens, an authentic windmill and the clickety-clack of wooden shoes all signal you’ve arrived in Holland, a small town steeped in Dutch-inspired charm.
Venture to an island dotted with tulips, lounge at a pretty beach park and explore the lively downtown scene loaded with an abundance of shops, cafes and pubs. Uncover three unique aspects of Holland, Michigan, a quaint small town located on the Lake Michigan shore.
Windmill Island Gardens: Dutch Heritage in Bloom
Windmill Island Gardens is a breathtaking locale – imagine quaint Dutch buildings and gorgeous landscapes. In the springtime, visitors can stroll along rows of tulips alight in varying shades of vivid red, orange, purple and pink. Floral gardens and foliage line the walkways year-round. Whether you’re climbing the authentic windmill or wandering colorful streetscapes, you’ll be intrigued by this mini-replica of Dutch life. If you’re traveling with kids in tow, they are going to love hopping on the hand-painted Dutch carousel for a ride or two. And don’t be surprised if you end up leaving with a few pairs of wooden shoes as souvenirs – they’re hard to resist. Take your time to explore all the adorable shops and fill your camera roll with fun photo ops at this not-to-be-missed attraction. It’s open from late April until early October.
Colorful flowers in bloom amid Dutch-inspired details at Windmill Island Gardens
Holland State Park: A Laid-back Beach Escape
Ready for a beach escape? Grab a towel and your trusty flip flops and head to Holland State Park. Lounge on the beach or wade into the cool, clear waters of Lake Michigan – either way, it’s an ideal spot to unwind. If you’re seeking something a little more active, check out the hiking trails for a scenic trek. Just east of the park, you can climb a winding boardwalk up Mount Pisgah, a huge dune, for scenic views of the lake and the Big Red Lighthouse, one of the most photographed lighthouses in Michigan. If you didn’t pack a picnic, don’t worry. You can grab a bite from the beach concession stand or pop over to the super-popular Dune Dogz, a fun local hangout, for a famously delicious hot dog or fresh fruit smoothie. Make the afternoon last with a bike ride or stroll along the Holland State Park Pier. Hang out until the light softly dims; that’s your cue to catch a heavenly Lake Michigan sunset, a lovely way to end a day at the beach.
Families gathering on the beach at Holland State Park
Downtown Holland: Abundant Charm
After you shaken the sand off your toes and refreshed, spend a slow day wandering around Downtown Holland, home to more than 100 independent retail shops to browse. Beyond shopping, soak up the beautiful Victorian architecture and old-school ambience, then duck into a lively eatery. Chances are you’ll strike up a conversation or two with friendly locals. Drop by for a locally brewed pint at New Holland Brewing's downtown brewpub or lunch at popular Butch’s Dry Dock. Next, follow the yellow brick road in Centennial Park to a fantastical tribute to Frank Baum, the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Baum had strong ties to Holland as it was one of his beloved vacation spots. Wander the path until you see the giant-sized version of Baum’s most famous book crafted completely out of bright flowers and foliage. Then, follow the yellow brick road across the street to the Herrick District Library, where you’ll find six life-sized bronze sculptures of characters from the book. There may be no place like home, but Holland comes close.
The topiary celebrating “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in downtown Holland’s Centennial Park
Fly into Michgan's Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) or O'Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago, Illinois. From either airport, rent a car and drive just under 3 hours to Holland, Michigan. You can also catch a connecting flight to Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, about 50 minutes by car from Holland.
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