Holland State Park
Holland is known for its tulip festival in the spring. Come back in the summer for the beach on Lake Michigan and see why Holland State Park is one of the most visited state parks in Michigan. Trick your mind that you are at the ocean instead of a lake. Enjoy nature’s beauty at this beach while still being close to creature comforts and civilization. Don’t miss the iconic red Holland Harbor Lighthouse while you are at Holland State Park. Stop by even in the winter and see the dark blue of Lake Michigan or the large waves when it storms.
West Coast Michigan, Lake Michigan.
Grand Rapids: 35 miles (46 minutes)
Kalamazoo: 57 miles (1 hour 14 minutes)
Lansing: 96 miles (1 hour 36 minutes)
South Bend, IN: 97 miles (1 hour 44 minutes)
Flint: 141 miles ( 2 hours 19 minutes)
Chicago, IL: 159 miles ( 2 hours 37 minutes)
Detroit: 186 miles ( 2 hours 54 minutes)
Toledo, OH: 215 miles ( 3 hours 16 minutes)
Indianapolis, IN: 243 miles ( 3 hours 57 minutes)
I arrived around lunch time to flat water and refreshing 75-degree water. It was a hot and humid August day in the upper 80s. The water was the perfect temperature to spend all day in the water and beat the heat. The white sand from the beach continued out into the water, no water shoes needed here. The wind and waves picked up a bit in the afternoon, but nothing to worry about. There are times when wind can cause rough “seas” throughout Lake Michigan and its beaches. Holland State Park is also a popular area for boaters to drop anchor offshore.
Sand and Land:
Holland State Park is a very large beach, about 100 yards wide by 500 yards long. It is so large that it has signs marking off sections of the beach 1 through 5. It has beautiful white sand throughout. Initially the sand wasn’t hot because it was overcast when I arrived, but it quickly heated up as the sky cleared up. There is a large area to choose from, to choose your spot for the day. There are numerous volleyball nets and a basketball court. Between the beach and the parking lot there are a few small sand dunes you can climb or send your kids up to burn off excess energy.
Holland State Park balances Michigan’s natural beauty with civilization. You can appreciate nature without giving up modern conveniences. You can see private homes, but it doesn’t feel overdeveloped. Look to the north or south and you will see forests and sand bluffs surrounding homes. Look out to the west at the might of Lake Michigan. Next to the beach is a channel connecting Lake Macatawa to Lake Michigan. Lake Macatawa forms a harbor for Holland, not just for pleasure boats, but is deep enough for freighters. I saw a freighter leave Holland at sunset and head out to “sea” on Lake Michigan. Head to the pier at the southern end of the beach and get a closer look at the Holland Harbor Light on the opposite pier. If you are near the beach in the evening, it is worth the trip to see the sun dip below the horizon and see the sky change colors. No lack of stimuli here.
There is a large bath house building near the middle of the beach with decent bathrooms and a small beach shop for snacks, toys and beach accessories.
Parking and cost:
I went to the beach on a Friday in August, and it was decently crowded. While the parking lot is quite large, it can fill up quickly on the weekend. If you have the Michigan recreation passport on your license plate ($12 a year in 2022) it is free to get in. The park doesn’t offer day passes for Michigan residents, but it does offer annual passes for $17. Even if you’re just going for the day it would be worth it to buy the pass if you don’t have the recreation passport. The park does offer day passes to out-of-state visitors for $10 and annual passes for $36.
Beach size: 5/5
Swimming conditions: 5/5
Worth the trip! Make your summer plans now! Holland is about an hour away from Grand Rapids, making for an easy and excellent day trip for most people on the west side of Michigan. People of Detroit and Chicago, Holland is an amazing weekend getaway.