Top Holland Michigan Guide: Windmill Island, Tulip Time, State Park, Tunnel Park, Nelis' Dutch Village and Downtown
Holland Michigan | by Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan
Did you know Holland was named one of “America’s Prettiest Towns” by Forbes Magazine! See for yourself what makes this town so special!
Downtown Holland Michigan’s iconic cobblestone sidewalks line the streets with over 100 unique and locally owned shops, galleries, eateries, and brew pubs. Be sure to visit on a warm Thursday evening during the summer to watch lively street performers entertain shoppers from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
You can dine, shop and explore all year round thanks to Holland Michigan's effective snow-melt-system. Snowmelt keeps downtown sidewalks and streets free of ice and snow so you can safely shop throughout the winter!
Holland is more than just tulips or the downtown area, it has nature centers, boardwalks, campgrounds and lots of hiking trails to explore! Keep reading to learn all about Holland Michigan Attractions and things to do!
Let's start exploring the city of Holland MI!
Distance to Holland Michigan-Where is Holland?
Where in the world is Holland, MI?
We thought some general distances would help you determine how far Holland is from your location.
Distance from Detroit to Holland: 2 hrs, 42 minutes; 181 miles
Distance from Grand Rapids to Holland: 32 minutes; 32 miles
Distance from Chicago to Holland: 2 hrs, 21 minutes; 151 miles
Distance from South Bend to Holland: 1 hr, 33 minutes, 82 miles
Distance from Milwaukee to Holland: 3 hrs, 50 minutes, 240 miles
Holland Michigan Attractions and Fun Things to Do
Holland Tulip Time Festival is the Festival of the Year!
The annual Holland Tulip Time festival is a much anticipated explosion of color, activities, shows, parades and dances. The festival occurs the first two weeks in May.
Get Our Interactive Map and Planner!
Each fall, the City of Holland Parks Department plants around 316,000 tulip bulbs in city parks and along the Tulip Lanes.
Don't miss fantastic photographic opportunities and experiences for the whole family! Looking for a tour? Hop aboard a trolley for a narrated tour that passes by the city's most exquisite tulip gardens. There is so much more than flowers to experience! CHECK IT OUT!
Grab Our Interactive Tulip Time Map & Planner
Downtown Holland Michigan Shopping
I MAY have a whole page dedicated to shopping in downtown Holland MI!
Don't judge!! ;)
There are so many shops in downtown Holland MI like Cherry Republic, the Holland Peanut Store, Francesca's, the Apothecary Gift Shop and so much more!
Since the Holland MI Cherry Republic is so popular, here is the address: 29 W 8th St, Holland, MI. They have everything cherry: bagged cherries, cherry salsa, cherry wine, cute cherry gifts and tons more!
The City of Holland MI is such fun to explore!
Tunnel Park Holland MI
Address: 66 N, Lakeshore Ave, Holland, MI
Tunnel Park in Holland Michigan is a great beach for swimming and features a playground for the kids. But of course, you gotta check out the cool tunnel through the sand dunes that offers incredible photographic opportunities, especially at sunset.
While visiting Tunnel Park in Michigan, be sure to enjoy the dune climb and save up some energy to climb the dune stairway as you will just love the incredible views of Lake Michigan from the top.
Love volleyball? There are four sand volleyball courts start a game or two!
There are modern restrooms, and seasonal concession stands. So many things to do in Holland Michigan and Holland MI county.
Windmill Island Holland MI
Windmill Island Gardens, Holland Michigan
Windmill Island Gardens Address: 1 Lincoln Ave, Holland, MI
One of the most iconic things to see in Holland MI is the beautiful Holland windmill located at Windmill Island Gardens. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for ages 3 to 15.
Windmill Island Gardens features an original working Dutch windmill named "De Zwaan" (the Swan) brought over from the Netherlands in 1964.
And the best part? You can climb to the top of the windmill for an incredible view of the tulips and surrounding gardens.
Also check out:
- The 'Four Columns' Street organ - a gift from the City of Amsterdam to the City of Holland
- The Antique Dutch Carousel that has hand-carved and painted wooden horses
- A stunning display of annuals and perennials that bloom in blazing color throughout the season.
Visit Nelis' Dutch Village in Holland Michigan!
Nelis' Dutch Village Address: 12350 James St, Holland, MI 49424
For an incredible Dutch experience, be sure to visit Nelis' Dutch Village, the famous Dutch Village in Holland Michigan. This is one of our favorite Holland Michigan attractions and fun things to do!
While visiting Nelis' Dutch Village, you can see how wooden shoes are made, ride a vintage Ferris wheel, have your photo taken in a huge wooden shoe and learn more about the Dutch way of life.
Be sure to grab lunch while visiting Holland's Dutch Village!
Go on a Holland Princess Paddle Wheel River Boat Ride! (Such a fun thing to in Holland Michigan!)
290 Howard Ave, Holland, MI 49424, 616 393 7799
Are you aching to get out on the water? The Holland Princess, a Victorian style paddle-wheel river boat, has fun public and private cruises. Grab your friends or family and enjoy the sites while on a lunch, dinner or sunset cruise!
All cruises begin on Holland's Lake Macatawa and cruise to the channel. If the weather is good the Holland Princess will cruise through the channel and into Lake Michigan.
You'll get a chance to photograph the BIG RED lighthouse while seeing picturesque lake homes, historic land marks, and lots of nature. Lunch and dinner cruises run May through mid-September. The cruises are two hours and run rain or shine. Click here for more information!
Visit the Holland Michigan Lighthouse: The Big Red Lighthouse
Holland Michigan Lighthouse: 2215 Ottawa Beach Road, Holland State Park View, Holland, MI 49424
Did you know The Big Red Lighthouse is Michigan's most photographed lighthouse? For a great view of Big Red, travel to Holland State Park Beach Parking lot and walk along the boardwalk to the north pier (wheelchair accessible).
You can also view Big Red (the Holland Lighthouse) from Mt. Pisgah, where the dune stair case takes you 157 feet above sea level. There's lots of info and directions below about that.
The narrowest point of the channel connecting Lake Michigan to Lake Macatawa is at the Big Red Lighthouse! The channel is only 180 feet wide so it's a showstopper when huge freighters navigate through the passageway. Definitely a cool sight!
Centennial Park Holland MI
Centennial Park Holland MI: 250 Central Ave, Holland, MI
We love this park as it has incredible paved walk paths, a pretty fountain and of course, gorgeous gardens. Centennial Park Holland MI a great place to visit during the Holland Tulip Time Festival as special dances and the Artisan Market are held here.
There is also a scenic gazebo, statues and photographic opportunities galore!
Kollen Park Holland MI
Kollen Park Address: 240 Kollen Park Dr, Holland, MI
This beautiful waterfront park has great paved walking or biking trails, a lovely waterfall. We love watching the passing boats. Kollen Park also connects to Heinz Waterfront Walkway, so take some time to explore this lovely park.
Holland State Park Michigan and Holland MI Campgrounds
Holland State Park Michigan: 2215 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI 49424.
The Holland State Park is fantastic for camping, riding your bike on the paved trails and snapping pics of colorful sunsets. The Holland State Park campgrounds are walking distance from the beach with showers and bathrooms.
Be sure to reserve your camping spot early as they fill up quickly in the summer, especially close to holidays. Visit the Michigan State Park and Harbor Reservations to book.
Below is a map of the Holland State Park-Lake Macatawa Campground.
The Lake Macatawa campground is a traditional campground offering 211 campsites, the Beach Campground is tucked between sand dunes with 98 paved campsites and 31 full hook-up sites. Nice restrooms available.
Both campgrounds are within 50 feet of swimming beaches and Lake Macatawa Campground is only a half mile from Lake Michigan.
Holland State Park Headquarters is located near 3rd street right after you pass the sign for Holland State Park. It is a great place to obtain brochures, a map of the area and ask questions.
Campgrounds Near Holland MI
Oak Grove Resort Campground-2011 Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, MI.
Oak Grove Campground in Holland is very close to Holland State Park and has a nice pool. Oak Grove is a full hookup RV resort with grass sites, modern cabins, 1 and 2 room rustic cabins, "The Barn" guest house, heated pool, hot tub, dog park, gift and candy store. No tent camping.
Dutch Treat Camping & Recreation -10300 Gordon St, Zeeland, MI.
Dutch Treat Campground has a great in-ground pool, laundry facilities, pond and camp store.
Mt. Pisgah Dune Boardwalk
2238 3rd Ave, Holland, MI 49424. (Off Ottawa Beach Road)
This incredible dune east of the Holland State Park is accessible via a boardwalk and stair system. With its apex 157 feet above Lake Michigan, the boardwalk offers breathtaking views of Lake Macatawa, marinas, Lake Michigan and the Big Red Lighthouse.
Mt. Pisgah Dune Boardwalk is one of our favorite Holland Michigan Attractions, so don't miss it!
Location: Look for the white gazebo which marks the start of the trail. It is paved until you reach the 237 stairs to climb to the top to view the lighthouse and lakes. There are two viewpoint levels so be sure to check them both out.
The rest of the trail is not a boardwalk, it's a dirt trail (see my photo above). Enjoy the walk through a cool wooded forest with numerous trail markers.
Parking: On our first visit we had a heck of a time finding the parking location for the boardwalk (I had to ask two people working in their yards!) as you cannot park on 3rd Ave. If you are driving south, drive past the State Park sign, pass the Mt. Pisgah trail head white gazebo on your right and look for a very small brown "Mt. Pisgah Parking" sign. There are two lots on the left.
Restrooms: The second parking lot closer to the State Park has a port-a potty. There is not a restroom near the boardwalk. There are also restrooms at Holland State Park and Lake Macatawa Campground to the east of the trail head.
Park Hours: April 1-Oct 31: 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Nov 1-March 31: 8 a.m.-dusk.
If you are unable to obtain parking in the two small lots on Ottawa Beach Road, proceed to the Holland State Park Beach Parking lot and walk back. You will need to have or purchase a Michigan State Park Pass.
The Mt. Pisgah Trail system does not lead to the beach. You will need to walk there from your parking space along Ottawa Beach Road.
Be sure to wear athletic shoes, bring water and your camera!
Where to Eat: So, a Traveling Michigan reader highly recommends Crazy Horse. We haven't been there yet but if you go let us know how it is!!
- No dogs are allowed on Mt. Pisgah wood stairway and boardwalks.
- Dogs are not allowed on the beach.
- No fires.
Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway
4214 56th Street, Holland, MI 49423. Nature & Wildlife Areas, Hiking Trails, Outdoor Activities, Nature & Parks. FREE!
This amazing nature center has a fantastic Birds of Prey Exhibit and the Visitor Center has lots of touch exhibits of bird wings, bones etc. There are lots of well groomed walking paths that lead you through beautiful marsh lands and wooded areas.
Don't miss the awesome wildlife viewing platforms and overlooks so you can get a birds eye view of the diverse Macatawa River environment.
The Outdoor Discovery Center has a pond that you can "catch and release" fish!! The center provides the poles and tackle so you can practice your skills! It's a great place for kids as there are lots of hands-on things to do. They have a wonderful raptor house and discussion area.
The Outdoor Discovery Center rescues raptors that can't be returned to the wild. They have a golden eagle, two bald eagles, several owls, red tail hawks, falcons and more.They are open year round and allow use of their trails to ski in the winter. Oh and did I mention this place is free?! ;)
Who Wants Ice Cream!?
ARRR! Visit Captain Sundae at two locations in Holland! Holland North-365 Douglas Avenue and Holland South-247 West 40th Street.
Ahoy Matey! It's impossible to FULLY enjoy Holland without a stop at Captain Sundae's for nautical themed ice cream treats! Maybe you need to try a Yucky Sailor or their delicious Kiss the Captain which involves creamy vanilla ice cream topped with gooey hot fudge, crushed cookies, a bright red cherry and a Hershey's kiss!
Holland Michigan Cottage Rentals
The Holland Area Visitors Bureau has a nice list of available home rentals.
Houses on or overlooking Lake Michigan tend to be pricey. But prices drop a block away from the beach, and houses on Lake Mackatawa are less expensive than on Lake Michigan.
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