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Find FREE and Fun Things to Do in Holland Mi with this Ultimate Guide
Are you planning a trip to Holland, Michigan? Or maybe you’re considering a move into the area? You will undoubtedly want to know the best things to do in Holland Mi. Anyone can google up a hotel and drive into town, but finding the best place to eat and the perfect place to play is easier when you have an insider’s input. I’ve lived in Holland for almost 17 years, so let me give you my best recommendations for things to do in Holland, Michigan.
A Short History Lesson
Known for its Dutch heritage, famous wooden shoes, and sand dunes that never end, Holland, Michigan, is a gorgeous small town not far from Grand Rapids that lies near the beaches of Lake Michigan. Holland was settled in 1847 by Dutch Calvinist separatists under the leadership of Dr. Albertus van Raalte. Conditions in their home country of the Netherlands were grim, which caused the Dutch to emigrate.
The Dutch held tightly to their religious beliefs, so they appreciated the religious freedoms offered here in the US. They stuck together and settled together here in Holland, Michigan. Spend time in our community and the surrounding areas, and you will see the Dutch influence in nearby communities such as Zeeland, Overisel, and New Groningen.
Of course, we can’t forget to give the nod to the Ottawa Indians who were here long before the Dutch made their entrance. One of our local communities bears the name West Ottawa, which pays homage to our original residents.
You can learn a whole lot more about Holland’s history and culture HERE. And you won’t want to miss a visit to the Holland Museum on 9th street, just one street over from the downtown area of 8th street. There you will learn all about the wonderfully rich history of the city of Holland and its people. This local museum is a hidden gem and filled with so much information. It doesn’t hurt either that it’s in a beautiful historic building!
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Things to do in Holland Michigan that Include Breakfast!
Take it from this Hip Grandma, before you begin your day, you should fill up with a hearty breakfast! We have a delightful selection of restaurants that speak to our local Dutch culture here in Holland. They also offer a great selection of everyone’s favorite breakfast classics, including bacon and eggs. You can’t go wrong with any of these delicious choices. From the Windmill Restaurant in Holland’s downtown area to the De Klomp Wooden Shoe on the main road through town, every restaurant on this list will have something to please everyone in your family.
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Things to do in Holland Michigan that are Family-Friendly!
After breakfast, you’ll want to consider visiting one of the many family-friendly attractions we have in Holland. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during our annual Tulip Time Festival, which takes place during the first full week in May each year, you can enjoy an extra dose of Dutch culture. Tulip Time offers viewings of the world-famous Dutch Dancers, parades, and more tulips in full bloom than you can imagine.
You can also enjoy all the good junk food, including ice cream, elephant ears, and fat balls, from the food trucks parked all around the downtown area during the festival. But Windmill Island Gardens, Veldheer Tulip Garden, and Nelis Dutch Village are open all summer and MUST make your to-do list even if you miss Tulip Time. Be sure to check out as many of them as possible while you’re here! These themed parks are great for learning about our Dutch Culture and are family-friendly and educational and appeal to all ages.
Things to do in Holland Michigan that Include a Lighthouse!
Of course, you cannot miss taking a trip out to see Big Red, our local lighthouse, situated at the edge of the channel that leads from local Lake Macatawa into the big lake, Lake Michigan. You can see her at Holland State Park beach. I love Big Red and have been to visit her countless times. This post will give you some insider information on how to access Big Red and take photos of her at dusk when she’s gorgeous!
You Don’t Have to Take the Photos to Enjoy Them!
Of course, not everyone that reads my blog is a photographer. Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered. Check out these photos of our Big Red lighthouse over the years. I do love to photograph her!
Related: 5 Habits that will Improve Your Photography Composition
Things to do in Holland Michigan that Include Beaches!
Now that we’ve taken a good hard look at Big Red, we can talk about Holland’s world-class beautiful beaches. The best part of Lake Michigan is that it is unsalted and shark-free! We are spoiled here with a lake that looks like the ocean but doesn’t burn the tongue when jumping in!
Of course, if you’re terrified of sharks, Lake Michigan is the place to be with not a shark to be found! But be careful, our beaches, with their soft sand and bright sunshine, are gorgeous and addictive. Be sure to bring your sunscreen and plan to stay a while!
Things to do in Holland Michigan that Include Photography!
Taking photos is my favorite past time! And lucky us for being in one of the most picturesque areas of the state. Although frankly, all of Michigan is quite beautiful. Holland is especially pretty in the spring when the tulips are in bloom. If you get a chance to visit or if you’re lucky enough to live here, you must take photos of the tulips! Here are some great tips for how to get the most out of your camera during Tulip Time!
You’ll Need a Caption for That Photo!
Once you’ve taken all of those amazing photos of the tulips and springtime happiness, you’ll need a caption or a tulip quote to post with it on Instagram, Facebook, or in your scrapbook. I’ve compiled the best 100 quotes and captions for that so you don’t have to go searching!
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Things to do in Holland Michigan that Include Food and Drinks!
I don’t know about you, but all this talk of swimming makes me hungry again! Before wrapping up your day, you must check out one of our delicious local restaurants. My personal favorite is number one on this list, but you won’t go wrong with any of these local favorites! New Holland Brewing is my second favorite. If you’re into pizza and have some time to kill, be sure to look at Crust 54, which has 2 locations and some of the very best deep dish pizzas you will ever enjoy! But you’ll need about 45 minutes to pick up your order, so plan accordingly. Perfection must not be rushed.
Things to do in Holland Michigan that are Dog-Friendly
What’s a fun family day without your furry friend? Not much! Good news! Holland Michigan is dog-friendly! Check out this amazing list of places to go and things to do in Holland, Michigan that welcome your 4-legged dog friend! Well, even if your dog has fewer than 4 legs, he will be welcome!
Things to do in Holland Michigan that make Great Birthday Parties!
Finally, if you fall in love with Holland so much that you decide to move here, know that you will be welcomed warmly. You won’t be the first who has visited and then decided to join our community! I moved here 16 years ago and can’t imagine calling anywhere else home! I have raised five kids in this community, and one thing I did over and over was host birthday parties for those kids! If you move on in and need some help finding a place to party, check out this list. If you’re not moving in, these are still some great venues to check out for a day of good, clean fun while you’re in the area!
Another great read: 5 Incredible Locations for a Gorgeous Autumn Photoshoot
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Bonus Things to do in Holland Michigan
One personality trait that the Dutch are known for is their ability to pinch a penny! Here are a few other fun things to see and do while you’re in Holland that may cost a bit but certainly won’t break the bank.
- See some history at the Holland Museum and the Cappon House Settlers Museum
- Shop in Downtown Holland and shop local growers at the Holland Farmers Market – don’t miss Bowerman Blueberries Farm
- Enjoy nature at the Outdoor Discovery Center
- Book a ride on the Holland Princess
Free Things to do in Holland Michigan
No list of things to do in Holland, Michigan would be complete without a few freebies, so if you’re running out of cash and you still need some good ideas, then check out some of these options:
- Cruise around and play at our many, many child-friendly and picnic-friendly parks
- Check out the Heinz Waterfront Walkway near Kollen Park – take a deep sniff and see if you can smell the Heinz pickle factory
- Take a short side trip to climb the Saugatuck Dunes at the Saugatuck Dunes State Park
- Take a walk around the campus of Hope College
- Enjoy a concert in Kollen Park on Friday evenings in the summer
- Take a nature walk at Van Raalte Farms
- Visit the Wizard of Oz statues in Centennial Park near the Herrick District Library
Wrapping it all up
You can see that Holland Michigan is a great place to visit and a wonderful place to live. We have fantastic school districts, delicious restaurants of all kinds, educational opportunities, and great shopping. This community is all about warmth, enrichment, and family. If you’re in the midwest and find yourself nearby, then you must stop in for a day or two, or even a week.
If you are local and I missed something you love to see or do in Holland, please share it in the comments below!
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