Parts of Holland, Michigan feel like another place and time, and for good reason: the town was founded by Dutch immigrants in 1847, and it is still firmly rooted in its heritage.
Today, visitors can explore an authentic, working windmill relocated here from Holland, learn about Dutch traditions at a “Dutch Village” theme park, and sample authentic Dutch cuisine at a number of local restaurants.
In the spring, Holland’s Tulip Time Festival attracts thousands of tourists annually to see the thousands of colorful flowers that line downtown streets and fill parks.
In the winter, Pigeon Creek Park in nearby West Olive offers ski rentals, lessons, and groomed trails that are lighted for night skiing.
Year round, Holland’s downtown is full of boutiques, an old-fashioned candy store, and several breweries - including the popular New Holland Brewery, whose logo proudly touts its origins with an image of the town’s iconic windmill.
And like its European namesake, Holland is also a great place to ride a bike. The 20-mile Lakeshore Trail, leading from Holland State Park north to Grand Haven State Park, is dotted with several natural areas and parks. Birders find many species along the lake and also at the DeGraaf Nature Center.
But for many visitors, the main attraction in Holland is the beach. Holland State Park features soft sand, a beachside playground, and a sizeable concession stand with kayak and paddle board rentals. Its iconic red lighthouse, affectionately known today as Big Red, was first built by descendants of those aforementioned Dutch settlers in 1872. Today, it is maintained by a local nonprofit.