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So, for some reason, Holland, Michigan has been on my bucket list for a strangely long time. I have no idea why. I don’t even know how I found out about it. I think I probably saw it on a map then Googled it and saw the pictures of a cute European looking town and the rest is history.
At least until now. I actually went! But it was absolutely nothing like I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved it, but it was nothing like I thought it would be. And that’s ok. I do wish I knew some of these things before going, but I’m still super glad we went and I actually got to see it.
So now I’m going to share some of the things I wish I knew before visiting Holland, Michigan with you! While this may seem like reasons not to go, it’s not. I promise. It’s still absolutely worth visiting this charming midwestern town even if it doesn’t feel like you stepped right into Europe.
You probably need a dinner reservation
I’m not sure if this is just a 2020 thing or an all the time thing, but definitely think about making dinner reservations if you want to sit at a restaurant. Almost everywhere had over an hour wait, at least in the downtown area. You may also bee able to avoid this by doing take out.
I will say though, pretty much every menu I looked at sounded delicious so it’ll be hard to go wrong, whatever you do pick. We ate at the Boatwerks Water Front Restaurant and I loved it! The hot honey chicken sandwich thing was delicious and the sauce on it goes great with the chips, too.
The windmill and Dutch looking buildings are in a special garden
So, when you look at Holland, Michigan on Google images, it makes you think (or at least made me think) that the whole little town would be small (it’s not that small) and would look like it was pulled straight out of the Netherlands. Well, it doesn’t. Sorry.
If you want to see that part, you have to go to the Windmill Island Garden. There is a small fee to enter ($5-10) but I would check before going to see what parts of it are currently open. 2020 and all that. The best time to visit the garden will definitely be spring with all the tulips blooming. Which is my next point.
You can really only see the tulips in spring
Now, I didn’t think we were going to see any tulips blooming in early October, but you never know. If you do want to see the garden and town covered in the blooming tulips, you’ll want to plan a trip there in the spring. Maybe even for the Tulip Festival!
This is pretty much what the town is known for and this is a very popular time to visit, so just be prepared for that. Consider booking hotels in advance if you can and know when you’ll be there. I’m sure it’s totally worth visiting during this time, even with the crowds!
The whole town doesn’t look European
I mentioned this above, but again, the town just looks like any other cute midwestern downtown. But it feels a little fancier. More high-end. I’m not sure if it really is that much, but it just feels like a classy downtown area.
This is what I think Sedona should be like, not the cheaped (but really expensive) out Moab that it currently is. The shops here are so much better. They look so much nicer. It’s a really great area to walk around in and I would love to spend more time there.
Early October is reaaaaally cold
I shouldn’t have been so surprised by this since it’s right on Lake Michigan, technically not with a view of the sprawling lake, but it’s right by the coast. We went in the first weekend of October and it was freezing! I had to break out my winter hat in the evening and was still cold!
So, if you do go in the fall or spring, definitely bring layers and pack warm things. Like a hat and gloves and scarf. I’m serious. It was freezing. Maybe it felt worse to me since we had recently come from 90+ degree weather.
I hope this doesn’t discourage you from visiting Holland, Michigan at all, but makes you even more prepared for and excited about your trip! I know I would love to go back to see the tulips and just wander around the downtown area more since we didn’t get to much.
Have you been to Holland, Michigan? What did you think of it? What is your favorite thing to do there? Have you seen the tulips there?