31 Unforgettable Things to Do in Holland, Muskegon, Zeeland and Grand Haven

Grand Haven Beach lighthouse Malski

The Lakeshore is the Perfect Beach Life for Michiganders

The Lakeshore.

An idyllic place that brings lazy beach days and exhilarating boat rides to mind.

And while lake play is probably the pinnacle of fun for Michiganders, West Michigan lakeshore communities are bursting with spots for indoor and outdoor fun, year-round.

Lakeshore residents are kind of the envy of Grand Rapids. They have easy access to big-city amenities, but are even closer to the pride of West Michigan: Lake Michigan.

And Lake Michigan isn’t just any old lake. This turquoise beauty has the best sunsets east of California and endless sandy beaches.

Sound too good to be true? It kind of is – if you don’t like snow. Because along with the unbelievable beauty and enjoyment of Lake Michigan comes with it unbelievable amounts of snow in the winter.

It’s called Lake Effect snow and it’s not a joke. Many Lakeshore residents have AWD vehicles or get snow tires each winter.

Help Me Grow – Ottawa

Help Me Grow® connects families with children prenatal through age five to local resources helping children grow up healthy and ready to succeed in school.

We’d love to connect with you so that we can better support you and your child.

Help Me Grow Ottawa ad

Lakeshore City Highlights

The Lakeshore area is a big draw for families. Read on to see which town speaks to you the most.

Holland, Michigan

Why People Love to Live Here:

You get Lake Michigan life and city amenities in one. Residents can enjoy miles of beautiful Lake Macatawa, which empties into Lake Michigan.

You Should Know:

As you can guess from the name, Holland has Dutch heritage, and they’re proud of it!

In addition to their annual world-renowned Tulip Time Festival, visitors and residents alike enjoy Windmill Island gardens, as well as Nelis’ Dutch Village, an amusement center celebrating everything Dutch. They’ve also got a fun connection to The Wizard of Oz.

Grand Haven, Michigan

Why people love to live here:

Grand Haven is THE beach town of Lake Michigan. If you are a beach bum at heart, this is where you need to live in Michgan. It’s bordered on the north by the Grand River as it meanders to Lake Michigan, offering lots of waterfront experiences and views. Residents and visitors alike can’t get enough of Grand Haven’s sandy shores, ice cream shops, and its two lighthouses. Historically, visitors can walk the catwalk on the pier to see them up close.

You should know:

Being a beach town, expect lots of visitors in the summer. Between the massive Coast Guard Festival, Kite Festival and Musical Fountain, Grand Haven gets a lot of love from tourists.

Muskegon, Michigan

Why people love to live here:

Muskegon is for lake lovers who need equal proximity to “Up North” and the big city of Grand Rapids. Bordered by Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan, Muskegon life is all about the water, outdoors and adventure. There are several beautiful beach front parks, including iconic Hoffmaster State Park. Residents looking for bigger thrills head to Michigan’s Adventure, the state’s largest amusement park (and water park!).

You should know:

Muskegon is changing from a sleeper town to a hot spot for families. As housing prices climb in the Grand Rapids metro area, Muskegon is an affordable option (for now).

Zeeland, Michigan

Population: 5,564

School District:

Known for:

Why people love to live here:

It’s the small town everyone dreams of. You have the small town charm and friendliness, with a highly rated public school system. And your sister city, Holland, with loads of amenities, is right next door.

You should know:

Get ready to Feel the Zeel! Zeeland has an active city office, creating lots of community engagement. Residents are loyal to their local, small businesses. Proximity to Holland, Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan make this a popular spot for families.

Things to do in Holland, Muskegon, Zeeland and Grand Haven

Whether you come for the day, a week of vacation, or call these places home, here are 29 fine ways to make memories with your kids.

01

Explore the Outdoor Discovery Center

4214 56th Street, Holland, MI 49423

Enjoy the outdoors in all seasons at the Outdoor Discovery Center– it’s open 365 days a year! With hiking trails, a nature preserve, visitor center, live birds of prey, a wildlife enclosure, Imagination Forest, Fillmore Discovery Park and more, there’s always something new to explore.

And don’t forget to check the schedule for community programs and special events!

michigan nature centers - outdoor discovery center
02

Ride the Coasters at Michigan’s Adventure

1198 W Riley-Thompson Rd, Muskegon, MI 49445

The largest amusement park in the state, Michigan’s Adventure is two parks in one – rollercoasters and water park. Live close enough and you can get season passes for year round thrills.

 

Michigans Adventure overview Ward
03

Find the Free Family Fun at Zeelmania

Zeeland, MI

Every summer you can head to Zeelmania! The kids will enjoy new activities and themes each week- all for free!

zeelmania
04

Cool Off at the Zeeland Splash Pad Park

21 S. Elm St, Zeeland, MI, 49464

Have fun and cool off at the Zeeland Splash Pad! It is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, is barrier free, has public restrooms and water features for all ages!

zeeland splash pad
05

Feed Animals at The Critter Barn

9275 Adams St, Zeeland, MI, 49464

There’s always lots to do at the Critter Barn! Learn about and interact with rabbits, sheep, goats, hogs, cows, pot-bellied pigs and more! You can even bring a picnic lunch and enjoy eating at the tables near the front pasture.

Critter Barn Time
06

Tour the USS Silversides Submarine

1346 Bluff St, Muskegon, MI, 49441


The kids will be fascinated as they tour the USS Silversides, a World War 2 submarine.

Maybe they will even want to spend the night aboard! And be sure to come back in the summer as well to enjoy “Movies on Deck.”

USS Silversides in Muskegon Michigan
07

Swim at Holland Community Aquatic Center

550 Maple Ave, Holland, MI, 49423

They have a 150 foot water slide, water playground, diving boards, floating obstacle course, water basketball, swimming pool, zip line, vortex pool, water cannons, spa, therapy pool and fully equipped fitness room… 

With all that the Holland Aquatic Center has to offer, your kids will never want to leave!

Holland Aquatic Center Swimming Pool
08

Experience Tulip Time

Holland, MI

You do not want to miss this annual world-renowned tradition in Holland!

Tulip Time is full of parades, shows, trolley rides, dutch dancers, special events, and of course- tulips!

Use only for Tulip Time girl high kicking Dutch dancer
09

Enjoy the Show at the Grand Haven Musical Fountain

101 N Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417

The kids will love the synchronized water and light shows at the Musical Fountain!

Each 25-minute show features a variety of well-known music and plays daily at dusk from Memorial Day through Labor Day as well as Fridays and Saturdays in May and September.

Grand Haven musical fountain
10

Get Ice Cream at Captain Sundae

3 locations between Holland & Zeeland

Captain Sundae is ice cream + local hangout in one. Enjoy the pirate themed mini golf course at the Holland North location and be sure to try the Tommy Turtle Sundae.

11

Cheer on the Muskegon Lumberjacks

470 W Western Ave, Muskegon, MI 49440

Grab some tickets and head to L.C. Walker Arena for a Muskegon Lumberjacks hockey game! Your family will have a blast!

hockey
12

Attend Kids Day at the Coast Guard Festival

Grand Haven, MI

Check out Kids Day at the Coast Guard Festival for games, displays, storytelling, face painting and arts and crafts.

And then stick around- because there’s more fun to be had! Parades, fireworks, ship tours, boat races and even a carnival!

Coast Guard Festival
13

Learn to Klompen Dance at Nelis’ Dutch Village

12350 James St, Holland, MI 49424

Take a step back in time to discover the Old Country at Nelis’ Dutch Village. Watch the Dutch dancers and see cheese, candles and wooden shoes being made.

Visit the petting zoo, the Old Schoolhouse and the Tulip Farm exhibit. All presentations, demonstrations, petting zoo and rides are included with your admission!

Nelis Dutch Village boy on swing Rudd
14

See the Stars at Carr-Fles Planetarium

221 South Quarterline Rd, Muskegon, MI 49442

Looking for fun, educational and FREE?

Located on Muskegon Community College campus, Carr-Fles Planetarium offers state-of-the-art digital projection, sound and lighting systems, modern theater seating, a new domed ceiling and FREE themed planetarium shows every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 PM.

15

Get Outdoors at DeGraaf Nature Center

600 Graafschap Rd, Holland, MI 49423

Get the kids outdoors and let them explore this 18 acre nature preserve. Burn off some energy and then educate yourself with informative and hands-on displays and live animal exhibits.

And if the kids love it, they can always come back for the Naturalist Classes for preschoolers, summer nature classes or even have their birthday party there!

michigan nature centers - degraaf nature center
16

Let Loose at the Accessible Imagination Station

Mulligan Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417

Introduce your kids to the coolest playground ever! Imagination Station is 10,000 square feet of playground fun that will keep them busy for hours!

It was just rebuilt in the fall of 2018 and it’s playground perfection. It offers lots of features that reflect the Grand Haven area and it’s much more accessible for people with special needs.

Imagination Station Feature Image
17

Get Your Michigan History Fix at the Lakeshore Museum

430 W. Clay Ave, Musekgon, MI 49440

Lakeshore Museum exhibits trace over 400 million years of Michigan history in the making, explore animal food webs, and encourage children to participate in hands-on activities in the Science Center and Body Works.

The museum is open year-round and admission is free!

18

Oooh and Aaah at the Grand Haven Kite Festival

Grand Haven, MI


World-famous stunt kite fliers perform to music on the center flying field while kites larger than a school bus hover above. Don’t forget to bring your own kite to fly on the open flying field.

The Kite Festival is cancelled for 2021 but they look forward to returning in 2022.

grand haven kite festival
19

Ski for Free at Mulligan’s Hollow

600 Y Dr, Grand Haven, MI, 49417


If your family likes to ski, head to Mulligan’s Hollow– all parents ski free with a kid’s ticket!

They host fun events throughout the winter (Glow Ski Night anyone?), so be sure to check their upcoming events calendar.

20

Learn & Explore at Hemlock Crossing

8115 W Olive Rd, West Olive, MI, 49460

Hemlock Crossing has so much to offer! Go for a walk on the trails, snowshoe in the winter, explore the bird watching area, read nature books inside a tent and check out all the fun activities in the kids area.

And then come on back to take one of the free classes they offer or attend a summer day camp!

Hemlock trails feature image
21

Adventure at Muskegon Winter Sports Complex

462 Scenic Drive, North Muskegon, MI, 49445


It’s THE place for winter sports recreation. Boasting an ice skating rink through the woods, an 850′ luge track (one of only 4 luge tracks in the nation), night cross country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding, people travel far to come to this unique sports complex.

Summer more your style? Head on over for zip line and archery, or ride the luge – on wheels!

muskegon winter sports complex ice skating trail
22

Plan a Beach Day at Tunnel Park

66 N Lakeshore Dr, Holland, MI 49424


If you are near the lakeshore… you must head to the beach, of course! There are lots of great options for fabulous beaches in the area, but Tunnel Park is one of our reader favorites. 

It has a swimming beach, great playground, bathrooms, dunes to climb, volleyball courts and a picnic area with shelters, tables and grills!

lake michigan beaches: tunnel park - family at end of tunnel
23

Pick Strawberries at Visser Farms

10791 Blair Street, Zeeland, MI 49464


Visser Farms offers u-pick strawberries, flowers, honey and tons of in-season vegetables.

If you’re around in June, check out their Strawberry Extravaganza with strawberry picking, hot dogs, face painting and hay rides!

Other farms and orchards in your area:
Cranes Orchard
Bowerman Blueberry Farms

24

Settle in for Story Time at the Library

10791 Blair Street, Zeeland, MI 49464


Come for story time, play and learn in the kids area and then check out some books to continue the fun at home! Check out these locations near you:

Howard Miller Public Library14 South Church Street, Zeeland, MI 49464
Herrick District Library: 300 S. River, Holland, MI 49423  and  155 Riley St., Holland, MI 49424
Loutit District Library: 407 Columbus Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Muskegon Area District Libraries

25

Hike Rosy Mound

13925 Lakeshore Drive, Grand Haven, MI 49417


This is a great hike that winds through the woods, up several hundred stairs, over some picturesque dunes, and ends at the lake front!

The beach is a public beach, so pack those towels and feel free to cool off when you reach the lake.

Perfect for older kids or babies you can wear in a carrier; you may end up carrying a 3 or 4 year old for part of this hike. Parking is free during the off season (Labor Day through Memorial Day) but otherwise it’s $8.00.

Rosy Mound Feature Image
26

Tour a Chocolate Factory

219 N 7th Street, Grand Haven, MI 49417


Chocolates by Grimaldi in Grand Haven offers factory tours so you can have your very own I Love Lucy moment! Tours must be scheduled in advance and are affordable, family fun at just $4 per person.

27

Free Family Fun at Holland Playland

446 W 40th St, Holland, MI 49423

Holland Playland is located inside Central Wesleyan Church and it’s serious fun for kids of all ages. Your kids can run, slide, and play the day away. Playland is primarily volunteer run–which means it’s totally FREE to go and play whenever you’d like!

Holland playland boy outside
28

Loop Around Ottawa Sands in Ferrysburg

18153 N Shore Dr, Spring Lake, MI 49456


Ottawa Sands is the newest Ottawa County Park and it’s a real treat!

It’s a simple, sandy path the winds around an inland lake. Both times I’ve visited I’ve spotted a Bald Eagle–so fun! Despite the sand, it’s not too far of a loop (and easy to follow)–perfect for little legs. Dogs are welcome!

ottawa sands trail
29

Treasure Hunt at Pirate’s Landing Mini Golf

365 Douglas Avenue, Holland, Michigan 49424


An offshoot of Captain Sundae’s north Holland location, visitors can try to find Captain Burke’s stolen treasure.

Boy at Captain Sundae mini golf
30

Take the Lake Michigan Ferry to Milwaukee

1918 Lakeshore Dr, Muskegon, MI 49441


The Lake Express ferry transports visitors between Milwaukee and Muskegon, making your trip to Wisconsin just 2 1/2  hours long. It’s a great way to experience the grandeur of Lake Michigan and makes Milwaukee a very easy getaway.

lake express high speed ferry muskegon to milwaukee 1
31

Stock Up on Fresh Produce at the Holland Farmer’s Market

150 W 8th St, Holland, MI 49423


Every Wednesday from 9:30 – 11:30, enjoy a fun educational activity for kids at the Holland Farmers Market.

Then grab some lunch at the Food Court and explore the rest of the Market, where you will find a huge variety of fresh fruits and veggies, baked goods, cheese, herbs and spices, eggs, meats and more!

6 thoughts on “31 Unforgettable Things to Do in Holland, Muskegon, Zeeland and Grand Haven”

  1. Hi! Love the article! But I work at the Howard Miller Public Library (Zeeland) and is the wrong address.

    The correct address is
    :
    14 S. Church St
    Zeeland, MI 49464

  2. Keri, this is terrific! We visit grandparents with our preschoolers regularly in Holland from overseas… and this is our first winter, so all these play places are great suggestions!

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