19 Things to do this Summer in Holland, Michigan!

Well-known for its Dutch history, Holland is historic yet hip. This unique place offers something for every personality.  Discover Holland put together a list of things that you need to experience before this summer is over.

19. Climb 230 steps to the top of Mt. Pisgah, a towering sand dune with stunning views of Lake Michigan, Lake Macatawa and Big Red Lighthouse.

18. Tour a 260 year-old historic windmill! “DeZwaan” is the only authentic, working, Dutch windmill in the United States! This gem is at the center of a 36-acre public park with manicured lawns, landscaped gardens, and a Dutch street organ. You can take a guided tour of this landmark structure, celebrating 50 years in Holland, Michigan!

DeZwaan Windmill. Photo Courtesy of Scott Mievogel.

DeZwaan Windmill. Photo Courtesy of Scott Mievogel.

17. Nelis’ Dutch Village – slide down a giant wooden shoe slide, kick up your heels at an authentic Dutch Dance lesson or get a birds’-eye view from the antique Ferris wheel. New in 2015 – make your own authentic Stroopwaffel at the Hungry Dutchman Café!

16. Learn how Holland’s breweries and distilleries are using Michigan-grown products to create their award-winning beers and spirits. Tour New Holland Brewing Company’s brewing and distilling facilities (Saturdays only), or Coppercraft Distillery (Wednesday-Saturday) for a farm-to-glass experience! A stop Warner Vineyards’ tasting room in downtown Holland will complete your tasting experience with samples of fine Michigan wines – or a wine slushie!

15. The Holland Farmers Market is the place to find the freshest local, seasonal produce, meats, cheeses and more! Visit Saturdays at 10am for the weekly Chef Series presentation or Wednesday mornings for free kids’ activities.

Holland Farmers Market - Photo Courtesy of Scott Meivogel.

Holland Farmers Market – Photo Courtesy of Scott Meivogel.

14. Thursday nights the streets of downtown Holland come alive with the Summer Street Performer Series, where you’ll find 8th Street packed with families enjoying more than 30 eclectic street performers, from mimes to musical acts to aerial acrobats!

13. Experience the lakeshore from two wheels – the Holland area has more than 155 miles of paved, bike paths for riders of all levels, as well as dedicated mountain biking trails. Is kicking back more your style? Take a ride on the Petal Cab, a pedi-cab service that offers tours of the Holland area.

12. Dine al fresco at Holland’s beautiful waterfront restaurants, (The Piper or Boatwerks), or view a stunning sunset from the 5th floor deck at CityVu Bistro, located in downtown’s CityFlats Hotel.

11.  Enjoy a summer sunset over Lake Macatawa during a Friday night concert at Kollen Park, where live music from high-energy regional acts brings the crowd to their feet!

10. Art in the Park is Holland’s annual fine arts and crafts fair in Centennial Park. The 46th annual fair on August 1 welcomes the lakeshore’s finest artists, potters and makers to showcase their wares in the heart of Holland. Local downtown galleries join the fun during the special gallery walk events Friday, July 31- Saturday August 1.

9. Savor the lakeshore, Michigan’s most agriculturally diverse region, with a u-pick experience at one of the area’s farms. Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches and apples are all readily available in season.

8. Explore the trails at the Outdoor Discovery Center or DeGraaf Nature Center, where you’ll find educational nature experiences and good old-fashioned fun! Families will enjoy barrier-free fishing and trail access at the Outdoor Discovery Center, and enjoy events like Maple Sugar Days at DeGraaf.

7. The fun continues even as summer winds down – the Holland/Zeeland Truck Parade on Monday, September 7 begins in downtown Zeeland and ends at the Holland Civic Center with a chance to climb aboard the big rigs!

6. Shop ‘til you drop! Downtown Holland’s eclectic mix of retail boutiques means there’s something for everyone – and get ready to find a bargain during the annual Sidewalk Sales August 7 and 8!

Downtown Holland Shopping. Photo Courtesty of Scott Meivogel.

Downtown Holland Shopping. Photo Courtesty of Scott Meivogel.

5. Have a hands-on cooking experience at Fustinis Oil & Vinegar, where cooking classes focusing on seasonal ingredients invite you to taste and experience fresh-pressed olive oil and flavor-infused vinegars.

4. Pour a candle at Candle-ology, inside Moynihan Gallery! Create your own custom scent from more than 100 choices or make your own soy candle or custom-scented room diffuser, liquid soap or lotion!

3. Pick up a self-guided historic walking tour brochure at the Holland Visitors Bureau and wander through Holland’s quaint historic neighborhoods where you’ll learn about the early Dutch settlers and how their ingenuity shaped the lakeshore’s history. During the summer, the Holland Museum and Gazelle Sports offer guided walks on designated Fridays.

2. Take a dip in the “Big Lake”! The shimmering waters of Lake Michigan welcome you from Holland State Park, Tunnel Park or several other Holland-area beaches. You’ll find sugar-sand beaches with plenty of room for all, including an off-leash dog beach at Kirk Park.

1. Catch a sunset with your family! There’s no better memory-maker than spending an evening watching the sun sink into the water from the pier at Holland State Park or perched atop the dune at Tunnel Park.

Five Things to Keep in Mind on a Lake Michigan Lighthouse Tour

Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state and all of them have a unique look and story, making it the perfect place for a summer lighthouse tour. Today, guest blogger Kendra Higgins from Spring Lake gives us five helpful tips to keep in mind on a Lake Michigan lighthouse tour.

Grand Haven Lighthouse by Missy Mayer

Grand Haven Lighthouse by Missy Mayer

As the name implies the Great Lakes Circle Tour follows state highways around Lake Michigan, through Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan creating one of the most memorable road trips where you can see over 80 of the iconic lighthouses that lace the Lake Michigan shoreline. The trip was inspired by our annual Glowing for Grand Haven event that takes place in July to help raise funds to restore and maintain the Grand Haven Lighthouse. We wanted to explore, learn more maritime history, and further cultivate the meaning behind our event. What better way to do so than to hit the road and learn firsthand along the Lake Michigan Circle Tour. So what does it take to accomplish such a road trip? Well you’re just in luck, we’ve narrowed down the top 5 Michigan musts!

North Pier Lighthouse in St. Joseph by Jerry Joanis

North Pier Lighthouse in St. Joseph by Jerry Joanis

1. Patience. If you set out with a plan for your road trip, you better pack a lot of patience. Let us just remind you the joys of traffic and road construction as they are a usual hurdle in everyday life, let alone a week’s voyage. Your phone doesn’t always get a signal, your GPS will take you on some strange path because you mistyped one number when typing in the coordinates, and heaven forbid you have car trouble! So, whether the trip is to see lighthouses, national monuments, explore state parks, or just go off the beaten path, just remember, it’s supposed to be fun. Be patient and enjoy the ride!

2. Plan for more time than you anticipated. While it correlates with being patient, we also suggest if you’re in it for the adventure, to plan for a couple extra days. Not all small lakeshore towns are tourist traps. Some are rich with locals that have lived in the same town for generations who can’t wait to hold the door open for you to explore the best local breakfast joint, or the long dirt road that opens up to unsurpassed views of Lake Michigan. Their shared secrets just may become a tradition in your family.

Little Sable Point by Kristina Austin Scarcelli

Little Sable Point by Kristina Austin Scarcelli

3. Michigan Weather. While Michigan weather is unpredictable, make sure you enjoy the season(s) you set off in. We had the luxury of starting out and ending in the warmer spring climate along the Southwest Michigan coastline; an intense 50 degrees. Yet in the U.P. we personally witnessed the feet (yes, feet) of snow and ice caves left as reminders from the polar vortex. Whether you enjoy 70° and sunny sun bathing on the beach, or snowmobiling across miles of trails, pick your season…or in Michigan’s case you may just experience all four!

4. Avoid Being Hangry. We get that when traveling with kids they’re hungry, bored, have to pee, dropped their snacks, and then starts the screaming. However, don’t doubt that the same can’t and won’t happen with grown adults who begin to experience the symptoms of being “Hangry” (anger caused by hunger). We recommend throwing out the rules of the new trendy diet you’re on, and load up on the snacks, and then get a few more “just in case”. There’s nothing like driving along the circle tour curves, with the sun roof open (or gloves on, depending on your season), jamming to the greatest hits of all time sharing a bag of Better Made chips.

Charlevoix Lighthouse by Brian Hudson

Charlevoix Lighthouse by Brian Hudson

5. Collect. Take in everything you see and share it! We’re not suggesting you continuously post on Facebook or Twitter every second something happens, but share the newest hotspot you found to grab dinner or share about the fabulous staff you encountered at one of your overnight stays. Travelers today are more prone to go off the beaten path and take suggestions from family and friends on what direction to head. When you begin to share, you’ll start to realize the things that are most important to you, bettering your vacation or overnight staycation experiences.

Kendra Higgins, Director of Marketing and Social Media for Holiday Inn Spring Lake. Sprouting from Mid-Michigan farm country, Kendra has a new found love and appreciation for Michigan’s golden coast as an active community member and newly fashioned lighthouse enthusiast.  She encourages you to visit the Grand Haven area and follow the hotel on Facebook, Instagram, and Blog to learn more about their lighthouse tour!

A Love Poem to Lake Michigan

Emma Anderson is a 13-year-old from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania who visits her great-grandparents’ Upper Peninsula home during summers. During a visit last year, she was inspired to write a poem about the area and the beauty of Lake Michigan specifically. We love what she put together and are excited to share it with you today!

Read from Emma below and see the poem at the bottom of the post.

Max (11), Jonah (5), and me at the top of the Tower of History in Sault St. Marie.

I’m Emma Anderson, a 13 year old homeschooler from Harrisburg, PA. I enjoy reading and writing (especially poetry). I also love learning about places and people all over the world.

My great-grandparents own a cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, in a small town called Naubinway. They have vacationed in the “UP” for over 50 years. My dad grew up visiting the cottage every summer, and my parents were engaged there. As for me, I’ve been to Michigan three times, and every time has been better than the last. Even though the trip is about 14 hours long, we all think it’s well worth it!

We have had many interesting experiences in Michigan! That includes stops in Frankenmuth to peruse the many unique shops, shopping in Mackinaw City, bike riding around Mackinac Island in order to eat the best fudge in the world, visiting Sault Ste. Marie to watch the freighters pass through Soo Locks, traveling to Whitefish Point to learn about the Edmund Fitzgerald, seeing the huge bears at Oswald’s Bear Ranch, and many more!

This is the view from my great-grandparents’ cottage-the inspiration for my poem.

But we all agree that the simple things are the best – like driving to Millecoquins Lake to see the deer, eating pasties and Mackinac Island fudge, walking along the beach, fishing (mostly my dad) and just enjoying time together as a family. Michigan is a beautiful place to go to for inspiration, rest, and a change of pace. Every year my great-grandmother leaves a note saying, “Janet will return.” She places it under a penny on her nightstand. And guess what? She DID return again this year at age 93!

My great-grandparents’ cabin looks right out over Lake Michigan, and that was the gorgeous view that inspired me to write “Lake Michigan’s Shore.” I hope through this poem I have captured the rugged beauty of all of Michigan, but especially of its Upper Peninsula.

Lake  Michigan’s Shore
By Emma Anderson
July 7, 2012
Age 12

Sun and sand, sea and sky
Breezes blow, seagulls fly.
On Lake Michigan’s shore stand I.

Waves roll up, and roll back down
Flowy winds swirl around.
The bright blue sky is where clouds abound.

Looking across an expanse of blue
A lovely, panoramic view.
And quiet-the bliss of solitude.

The sun is setting in the West
The waves recede, gone to rest.
The sky’s pink-orange-at its best.

Then there comes a silvery light,
The moon is rising, as if in flight,
Sending a glow upon the night.

The sand turns cold, stars glisten on high.
All is quiet, God is nigh.
On Lake Michigan’s shore stand I.


Thanks to Emma Anderson for sharing with us! Have you ever written about your love of Michigan? Post a link to your story in the comments section below or send us a note about being a guest blogger here.