View of De Zwaan from Windmill Island Gardens
Golden-hued Sanctuary Woods in the fall
Stand-up paddleboarding at sunset
Outdoor dining with tulips as the centerpiece
Mt. Pisgah as the leaves are beginning to turn
Traditional cheese-making at Nelis’ Dutch Village
Whimsical Windmill Island Shops
Kayaking past Windmill Island
Walking Holland State Park Pier at sunset
Klompen dancers in formation at Tulip Time
Lively, small-town charm with a touch of the Netherlands
Small-Town Scene & History
Settled by the Dutch, Holland’s earliest homes were log sheds that grew out of the forest. Now, that heritage is preserved in the Dutch architecture, food and festivals throughout the city. Visit the DeZwaan Windmill, the Veldheer Tulip Farm and Nelis’ Dutch Village to see wooden shoe carving demonstrations. Explore the Dutch collection at the Holland Museum. With no less than 17 micro-breweries and distilleries, Holland fully honors its hoppy roots and invites you to do the same. Locally-owned restaurants and shops (100 in all) reflect Holland’s modern tastes, from book and music stores to specialty food shops and galleries.
The white, sandy beaches collected here on Lake Michigan form a freshwater playground – never too busy, and never out-of-season (cross-country skiers have been known to traverse them in winter). Head first to Holland State Park, where you’ll find a big shore complete with fire pits, grills, campgrounds and a pier from which to cast a line. Get a great view of Big Red, Michigan’s iconic lighthouse, from the boardwalk to the north (in summer, there are occasional tours of the lighthouse). Just east, Mount Pisgah Dune Boardwalk raises you above Lake Michigan on a 58-meter sand dune, offering sweeping views and the perfect place for a sunset picnic. Don’t miss Tunnel Park, a 75-year-old tunnel built through a dune that takes you straight out to a sandy beach. To encounter wildlife, stop at DeGraaf Nature Center or Outdoor Discovery Center, which offer preserved land to explore, exhibits, displays and play areas.
Living the Active Life
Canoeing, kayaking, jet-skiing and stand-up paddle-boarding are all big deals here – both Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa offer plenty of room for recreation. But there is as much land to cover here as water, specifically 240 kilometers of paved bike paths. You can go all the way from Holland State Park along Lake Macatawa to Saugatuck Dunes State Park on one scenic cycling trail. Saugatuck also has some of the best dune trails to hike – 400 hectares of easy-to-moderate ones, to be exact.