This past week, Nic, Ava, my mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law and I took a fun trip north to visit Holland, Michigan!
Holland is only about a 5-hour drive from Central Ohio, so we knew this would be the perfect place to getaway for a few days to reconnect and spend time with family!
Our weather was ideal while we were in Holland, easily agreeing with others’ advice that Michigan has the best weather in July – warm days and cool nights.
I had seen pictures of Holland before because of their famous Tulip Time Festival they have every Spring but was excited to check out the area because Michigan is a state that I’m not that familiar with!
Before I get into what we did, I first must say… I couldn’t get over the GORGEOUS hydrangeas that grow there! I had a reader comment on one of my Insta posts to say the secret to how large they can grow up there is the sandy soil – if you know any more about this, please let me know… I’m dying to grow mine as big as I can and I had serious hydrangea envy while I was there!
Okay, back to what we did… the first night we got in, we went to dinner at Boatwerks, a must-eat at in Holland that has live music and boasts waterfront dining on Lake Macatawa.
The next day, we visited Nelis’ Dutch Village for a lil’ kiddie fun for Ava (a petting zoo, Dutch dancing, cheese tasting, etc.), shopped downtown (sooo many cute shops, entertainers, and restaurants!), and hiked out to Big Red Lighthouse, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip!
The weather turned from sunny and warm (I took all of these pictures as soon as we got there thank goodness!) to verrry windy and dark as we made the short hike to see the iconic, historic site.
It was almost as if we were in a movie, with time standing still, taking in the strikingly red lighthouse next to the notably choppy and seemingly dark Lake Michigan water. Very memorable, and if you go to Holland, you must not miss Big Red!
We stayed in the sweetest, coziest home I found on HomeAway/AirbNb: South Shore Cottage if you want to look it up! It was so nice staying in a home where we all could spend time together, vs. a hotel.
On our last full day in Michigan, we visited the Holland Farmers Market in the morning, which I must say had an absolutely impressive bounty of food! I bought fresh blueberries, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, and the largest spinach leaves I’ve ever seen!
We also had the most delicious, melt-in-your-mouth blueberry donuts from Bowerman Blueberries at the Market, per the advice of the owner of our rental home.
After the Market, we ventured to the Windmill Island Gardens and took in the beautiful flowers, had a windmill tour, and explored the Water Festival, which happened to be going on the same day we were there.
That afternoon, we decided to explore just south of where we were staying and go into nearby Saugatuck, as we’d heard so many great things about the area. We discovered Saugatuck Dunes State Park and we are so glad we did! Following a wooded, serene .75 mile hike, the trees open up into the prettiest beach on Lake Michigan.
Surprisingly, the water was much bluer and clearer than the windy night before and the water temp was much warmer than expected! After our hike, we drove into downtown Saugatuck, which is absolutely charming! That evening, we had dinner at The Southerner, and if you’re in the area, I highly recommend this place! So delicious (get the biscuits!!) and the service was stellar.
After dinner, we went back to the State Park to hike again, take a quick dip in the water, and to see the sunset over the Lake. Our trip to Holland was the perfect mix of relaxation, outdoors time, great food, culture, and it was all super affordable. A successful family vacation for sure!
Have you ever been to the Holland/Saugatuck, Michigan area? If so, any recommendations if we make a future trip?
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