4 Things to Do in Holland, Michigan During the Colder Months

A fall color tour and all things Christmas make Holland, Michigan the perfect destination for a fall or winter family road trip. Start planning now!

Family road trips aren’t just for the warmer months. Holland’s beaches are just as interesting off-season — and it turns out there are plenty of things to do to welcome you back when the weather is chilly. Here, the colder seasons shine. Think fall colors, Christmas markets, Santa Claus and more, then make your plan to visit Holland in the fall or winter, or both!

Fall Color Tour

What to know

In Michigan’s lower peninsula, you can typically expect fall colors to peak between mid-October and late November.

Why you should go

Holland in the fall is a gorgeous time of year. The trees gain their hues of orange, yellow and red for all to see. Self-guided color tours are the perfect way to spend a crisp autumn afternoon. Visit Discover Holland Michigan for two different routes to follow for the best views.

What people say

“What we liked most about our visit to Holland was our trek along the lakeshore which was majestic with the leaves turning colors and the vast lake view.” — Deb. S on Tripadvisor.

“For panoramic views of the fall colors, consider visiting Holland State Park and ascending to the summit of Mt. Pisgah, a large dune accessible via a boardwalk and stair system within the state park. With 275 steps leading to a peak that stands 157 feet above Lake Michigan, it offers an ideal vantage point for appreciating the natural beauty of the area.” Michael Perna said in a blog post.

Kerstmarkt

What to know

In the Netherlands during the holiday season, “Kerstmarkts” or Christmas Markets pop up all over, showcasing local artisans and specialty shops.

Why you should go

Traveling from Europe to Holland, Michigan, these markets put a unique spin on our American Christmas. On weekends running from November 16-December 21, visitors can experience a European-style bazaar with holiday items, great food and artisan demonstrations. This is located at the 8th Street Marketplace at the corner of 8th Street and Pine Avenue.

Artisan Crafts in Holland Michigan
Photo Credit: Holland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

What people say

“This is a big show for so many small businesses but there’s also that joy of finding just the right unique gift or something that will help celebrate your holiday. So many of our visitors are first-timers and now it’s part of their holiday tradition.” — Event Organizer Lona Bronkema said in a MLive article.

“I’ve counted myself blessed that West MI has a European style Christmas market….You guys put on a stellar presentation and I…invite my friends and family to the Holland Kerstmarkt any day during the holiday season.” — William Christopher Burgess said on Facebook.

Parade of Lights

What to know

Every year, Santa Claus will arrive downtown in December during the Parade of Lights. He will be escorted by 75 floats, trucks, walkers, marching bands and antique cars, which are all decked out in thousands of twinkling lights.

Truck in Parade of Lights
Photo Credit: Holland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Why you should go

This sparking celebration is fun for the entire family and may just be your new holiday tradition. 

What people say

“Holland is decked out with wreaths, pinecones, garland, and everything you’d expect at this time of the year. Adding in warm, cozy, snow-free sidewalks, Santa, parades, and more…. There’s truly something for the kid in everyone in Holland every holiday season.” — Lucas Grill, the proprietor of local restaurant Seventy-Six, in a Travel + Leisure article.

“It’s really our goal in downtown Holland to kind of put the magic back in the holidays. It can be such a stressful time for people. So we really tried to create a unique, truly magical experience.” — Kara De Alvare, marketing coordinator for downtown Holland, in a Fox17 article.

Magic at the Mill

What to know

During the first three weekends in December, the Windmill Island Gardens is set aglow for Magic at the Mill. This event features 1,000 LED tulips showcasing a light and music show.

Why you should go

Walk through the gardens of the windmill as glittering lights dance around you and your family. It’s truly something to behold. Santa Claus is there for a photo opportunity, and snacks and beverages are available for purchase.

What people say

“Windmill Island Gardens’ Magic at the Mill is another ‘must-see’ this time of year. It boasts a light show with all the trees and windmill lit up as well. While the event is particularly good for kids, there’s fun to be had for the whole family. The street organ plays holiday music, the gift shops are open, and there’s even a chance to meet the Dutch predecessor of Santa Claus.”— Gwen Auwerda, executive director of Tulip Time, said in a Travel + Leisure article

“…Magic at the Mill is back again this year and we couldn’t be more thrilled! …Enjoy an incredible light show with friends and family. Enjoy the street organ playing holiday music, take a ride on the antique carousel or shop for last-minute gifts.” — Michigan Beachtowns says in an article

Ready to visit but are planning a visit in the spring or summer? Find out the best things to do during the warmer months, plus where to stay, what to eat and ways to plan your trip

Content brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers. Learn more at buyfordnow.com. Find more articles like this at Metro Parent’s Ultimate Family Road Trip Guide.

Metro Parent Editorial Team
Metro Parent Editorial Team
Since 1986, the Metro Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for metro Detroit families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.

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