Visit Holland, Michigan, and discover a place brimming with activities that kids and adults can enjoy. From snow skiing in the winter to play on sandy beaches in the summer, this beautiful lakeshore vacation destination boasts many opportunities for fun and learning. Step outside your Holland, Michigan vacation rental, and enjoy these top 11 family-friendly activities.
1. Visit Holland State Park
Feel the sand between your toes and bask in the sun’s rays while your kids swim and build sandcastles at one of Holland State Park’s picturesque beaches. The park boasts two separate beaches, one on Lake Michigan and one on Lake Macatawa, so your family can choose the perfect spot to spend the day. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the beach, or grab a bite to eat at the full-service concession stand at the park. After lunch, enjoy an exciting family game of beach volleyball, or put on your hiking shoes so your kids can explore the dune walk stairway and hiking trail that runs through Lake Macatawa. Come back to Holland State Park’s Lake Michigan beach after dinner for spectacular sunset views.
2. Check out the Outdoor Discovery Center
Foster your kids’ love of nature at the Outdoor Discovery Center. If you have younger kids, check out Imagination Forest, where children have a variety of creative play options, including walking on balance beam logs, hopping onto stepping stumps and rocks, and creating in the natural materials building area. Children and adults of all ages enjoy hiking through the nature preserve, seeing the impressive Rocky Mountain Elk herd and viewing the De Witt Birds of Prey Center, which houses hawks, owls, falcons, vultures, and eagles.
3. Enjoy Tulip Time
Visit Holland in May to experience the wonder of Tulip Time. The stars of the festival are the nearly five million tulips planted throughout the city, so make sure you bring your camera to capture their beauty. Learn about Dutch culture as you watch the Dutch dancers perform, and take a free lesson to learn some of the dance moves. Visit the carnival for games and exciting rides, then watch the parades, which feature marching bands and colorful floats. If you need a break from the action, check out the Family Rest Area. This area not only has family restrooms and a diaper changing area, but it also offers free activities for kids and snacks.
4. Explore Teusink’s Pony Farm
Give your kids a peek at farm life when you visit Teusink’s Pony Farm. Ride the ponies on the pony ring ride, tour the farm on the hayride, and then head over to see the barn animals and exotic birds. The entire family can work together to get through the hay maze before feeding the goats and sheep on the farm. Hours and days of operation change by season, so be sure to call ahead to plan your visit.
5. Step Back in Time at Nelis’ Dutch Village
Celebrate Holland’s rich Dutch heritage at Nelis’ Dutch Village. See how wooden shoes are made, watch a cheese-making demonstration, and walk through a traditional Dutch farmhouse. Check out the interactive petting zoo, where kids can take a goat for a walk and get up close to a variety of farm animals, including pigs, sheep, and cows. For some excitement, visit the rides, including petal pumper cars, a carousel, and the popular Dutch chair swing ride. All presentations, demonstrations, and rides are included with the reasonable admission cost, making this a fun and affordable family activity.
6. Tour the Lakeshore Museum Center
Take a 45-minute drive north from your Holland vacation rental to explore Michigan’s history at the Lakeshore Museum Center. Learn about the plants and animals living in Michigan in the Habitat Gallery, and find fun ways to embrace health in the Body Works exhibit. At the Science Center, kids enjoy interactive learning opportunities, such as pedaling a bike to generate electricity and learning about sound using a whisper tube.
7. Ski at Mulligan’s Hollow
Winter fun awaits at Mulligan’s Hollow, located 20 minutes south of Holland. Boasting seven acres of land for snowboarding and skiing, including six slopes and five rope tows, Mulligan’s Hollow is an ideal destination for the whole family. New skiers and snowboarders can rent their equipment at the lodge and give the sport a try with a private or a group lesson, while experienced skiers can cruise down the more difficult hills. Return to your vacation rental to warm up and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate after your day outdoors.
8. Attend the Coast Guard Festival
Tour a real Coast Guard ship, watch parades and walk through the carnival at the Coast Guard Festival in nearby Grand Haven. The festival’s younger guests love Kids Day; they can get their faces painted, play games, create arts and crafts, and play in the bounce houses, all at no cost. On the last day of the festival, head to the waterfront at dusk, where you and your family can see a fantastic fireworks show.
9. Enjoy Water and Music at the Grand Haven Musical Fountain
Water, music and lights mix to create a stunning display at the Grand Haven Musical Fountain. Bring your chairs or a blanket and enjoy the show, which lasts about 25 minutes and features water spray formations and lights synchronized to well-known music. Shows play at dusk every day from Memorial Day through Labor Day and on Fridays and Saturdays in May and September.
10. Find Local Food at the Holland Farmer’s Market
Stock the refrigerator at your vacation rental with local crops from the Holland Farmer’s Market. Besides fruits and vegetables, you can find eggs, grains, cheese, and ready-to-eat meals at the market. Involve your kids and make healthy eating fun by searching the farmer’s market for fresh fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow.
11. Make a Splash at Holland Community Aquatic Center
Cooler days can’t ruin your swimming plans when you visit the Holland Community Aquatic Center. Take a spin in the vortex pool, have a water cannon fight, or tackle the AquaTrack, a floating obstacle course. Older kids love zooming down the 150-foot waterslide, while younger children splash through the water playground. It’s important to note that some of the activities have a height requirement or require children to pass a swim test in order to participate.
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