A western Michigan city gives families a taste of Dutch culture without ever having to leave the states.
There's not much that can beat the breeze off Lake Michigan, laying in the sun along the shoreline at Holland State Park, taking the boat out into the pristine waters, or just enjoying some play time in the sand.
“This is one of the nicest beaches in the country. We just sit and read and play, and it's relaxing,” Jean and Mark Volkers said.
The Volkers are vacationing in Holland for the summer. With fishing poles in hand, they headed out to the water.
“I like coming to the state park so I can go out fishing on the pier. It's very nice, a great place to vacation, it's beautiful.” Martin, Maddie and Ben Brown said.
Standing out along the spanning shoreline is “Big Red.”
“The light is roughly 56 feet above mean Lake Michigan level, which means it can be seen for 15 miles,” said John Gronberg, president of the Holland Harbor Lighthouse Commission.
The lighthouse has been a beacon in Holland for more than a century and it's gone through a lot of changes, including a major paint job.
“Right around 1960, the Coast Guard said everything on the right-hand side of the pier that's used for navigation purposes has to be painted red, so thus, Big Red!” Gronberg said.
Still today, the lighthouse lights up and guides ships to the pier, though, it also serves as a great backdrop for photographs.
Not far down from the state park is Tunnel Park - a smaller, quieter beach for families to play.
The name of the parks comes from the tunnel that leads to the beach. It’s the only man-made tunnel through a sand dune in Michigan.
If you’re looking to get some more exercise while in Holland, hike up the 240 steps of Mount Pisgah and take in the beautiful sights of Lake Michigan.
The grand staircase is worth the climb, because at the top is one of the most spectacular views in the area.
To one side is a view of Lake Michigan and Big Red, and to the other side is the sights of sailboats on Lake Macatawa.
“This is beautiful, it’s pretty awesome. It is. It’s hard to imagine we’re on sand,” Terry and Patty Camille said.
Whether kayaking, sunbathing, or hiking your favorite way to explore the outdoors, there’s somewhere beautiful to do it in Holland.
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