Day Trip: Chicago, IL – Holland, MI

Hi besties. I missed you all!

I am back and here is a snippet of our impromptu visit to Holland, MI!

A little backstory first. I’ve had Holland on my bucket list for a few years now. Particularly because of their infamous tulip festival and all of its glory. But every spring, during the said festival, we aren’t available to visit. So this past weekend, on a whim, I asked my husband to go to Michigan. And so we did. No plan, no preparation. We just knew we would go to a beach town, packed a beach bag off we went.

Once on the road, I decided to make Holland our destination.

So glad we did.

gray and brown pebbles near sea
Photo by Brett Schaberg on

I am sure there are so many other bigger, smaller, better, beach towns but since Holland was on my list already, that’s where we headed.

Here is what we did and how the day trip actually went:

We left at 6 am (7am Michigan time) and it took us 3.5 hours.

Our first destination was, Neli’s Dutch Village.

This little gem was so much fun. You can easily spend a few hours here. We stayed for about 2 and did not get to do everything. But what we did do, was a blast. From watching their traditional Klompen dance, riding some Dutch themed outdoor rides, visiting and feeding the animals, shopping the gifts, souvenirs, cheese tasting, trying on their traditional shoes, and finally making syrup waffles. YUM!

holland mi

But the photo ops, an influencers and bloggers dream.

nelis dutch village

I am telling you, this place is truly a rare find and I would definitely go back.

Since we were already running behind (due to the time difference) we quickly asked my social media friends for a good place to eat. And sure enough, a Holland frequent visitor and a Grand Rapids local, recommended Lolo’s. Right on the water and definitely appeared to be a local hangout. I will be honest and say that this was not my favorite place. Sorry. But, everyone’s experience is different and if you are looking for something super casual and don’t care about the food or cleanliness, this may be your spot. It’s very cute.

lolos holland michigan

It is located at a Marina, which would have been wonderful if you could actually get a view of the boats and not a parking lot. You seated yourself and while we did not have to wait too long (15 minutes), the place was not clean. At all. Tables haven’t been wiped, maybe ever. The food was not fresh. Their chicken was from a bag not freshly grilled. The cheese had a very weird texture and taste. The tacos my husband had were good. Not the best. There is no kids menu so my son only had fries but he was okay with that.

Their drink menu was extensive and looked good but I was too hot and thirsty to experiment with cocktails on this day. So – we ate and made our way to the beach.

tunnel park and beach holland michigan

We opted for Tunnel Park and Beach because a few locals mentioned that this is less crowded than the state park down the street.

The parking lot was full but they did have an overflow parking across the street for $8.

It was about a 10 minute walk to the bathrooms/ changing rooms and another 5 to the beach. Once you walk through the tunnel, the views are incredible. But it was very, very busy this day (4th of July weekend).

It did not take us a long time to find a spot on the beach and we were in the water in no time. Lake Michigan really welcomed us with open arms. We spent about 2 hours on the water, playing, swimming, refreshing and having a blast. Afterwards, we climbed the dunes and it was torture! Be ready for that one. Phew!!!! But the view from the top was worth it.

Afterwards, we stopped to use their changing rooms and headed for the nearest ice cream place. But since it was Sunday and holiday weekend, a lot of places in their downtown area were closing at 4pm. So DQ saved the day.

We headed home around 630pm, local time and arrived home just in time for fireworks!

Great – quick – fun – day trip to Holland, MI. Highly recommended.

NOTES: we did not get to see nearly as much of Holland as I would have liked to. Therefore, we will be back to explore more local and surrounding areas. Hopefully on our next visit, we will stay the night and come during the tulip festival.

But if you are visiting any time soon, here are a few places that are on my list for next time.

  • Holland Museum
  • Windmill Island Gardens
  • Centennial Park
  • Holland State Park so I can also see the Lighthouse
  • Visit more of their local Dutch bakeries and eateries

Hope this helped you with your visit to Holland, MI. If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment. Until next time, check out my other travel posts and go with the flow.

x, Dijana

Hazel Eyes Mom

Here is to honest motherhood, fun family adventures and parenting challenges. I can be sassy, moody and sarcastic but all with good intentions. Stick around and let's have fun together. x, Dijana

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