Holland Travel Guide
Holland, Michigan, is a city of around 33,000 that is located on the south-central Lake Michigan coast of the Lower Peninsula. It also lies along the shore of Lake Macatawa. The city was founded by Dutch immigrants and retains a high percentage of residents with Dutch ancestry. Many surrounding small towns and villages are also of Dutch-immigrant origin. Holland is a major tourist attraction for its history, natural beauty, and the annual Tulip Time Festival that has gained it the nickname “The Tulip City.”
The area in and around Holland, Michigan, was long the domain of the Ottawa people. In 1846, a mission, called “Old Wing Mission,” was established among them. In 1847, a group of Dutch immigrants, who were like the Plymouth Pilgrims Calvinistic separatists, founded the town of Holland. The town was set up right at the Old Wing Mission site and in the midst of the Ottawa settlement. This led to conflict, until the people of Holland bought the land from the Ottawa, while the Ottawa moved a little north to continue their own way of life.
Things to see and do in Holland
Visit in May for the Tulip Time Festival. There are literally hundreds of thousands of tulips in bloom all over town. Especially be sure to stop by the Veldheer Tulip Gardens.
See Big Red Lighthouse, which is located at the junction of Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. Also see the De Zwaan, Dutch-style windmill at Windmill Island Gardens. The windmill is 250 years old, and replicas of famous buildings back in “old Holland” are also on Windmill Island.
Visit Holland State Park, where you can hike through 142 acres or use the many bike trails. There is also a beach on Lake Macatawa where you can boat or swim. Other activities include camping, fishing, and watching the amazing sunsets over Lake Michigan to the west.
Tour Holland to see why it is also known as “the City of Churches.” There are around 170 church buildings, many of them used by Reformed congregations, some of them of historic significance.
Tour the Holland Museum, where you will learn about the history of Holland, Michigan, and see Dutch artwork spanning six centuries. Also see the Cappon House Museum, which presents the living conditions of Holland’s first mayor, and the Settlers House Museum, which does the same for “ordinary” settlers.
Holland has a “humid continental” climate. Its summers are fairly warm, with highs often in the 80’s, and winters are cold, with highs often averaging around 25 degrees. Most of the year is sunny, and cool lake breezes are pleasant during the summer. Holland gets 35 inches of rain per year, about the U.S. average, but has no dry season. It also sees some 82 inches of snowfall, which is over three times the national average.