Holland’s Tulip Time Festival ushers in the long-awaited arrival of spring as millions of tulips burst into bloom painting the town with an array of vibrant colors. The community is rich in Dutch heritage and culture making the Holland Tulip Festival a must on any Michigan bucket list.
There are endless ways to enjoy the tulips in Holland. Take iconic tulip photos at the Windmill Island Gardens, experience Dutch culture at Nelis’ Dutch Village Family Theme Park & Wooden Shoe Factory, then buy a few tulips to take home from Veldeer Tulip Gardens. This guide will help you make the most of your visit to the Tulip Time Festival.
When Is Holland’s Tulip Time Festival
The tulips start blooming in Michigan around mid-April with the festival happening one week in early May.
Pro Tip: Visit Holland either the week prior or the week after the Tulip Time Festival for fewer crowds. The tulips are still in full bloom, however, the festivities will be over.
What To Expect At Holland’s Tulip Time Festival
The Tulip Festival is not an event that happens strictly at one particular place, on the contrary, there are many spots throughout Holland to enjoy the tulips and a variety of different activities. Crowds do accumulate quickly so my advice is to arrive early to ensure parking.
Pro Tip: Make reservations in advance if possible. This goes for attractions and restaurants. Many of the restaurants are flooded with tourists thus making wait times over an hour long. If possible, eat during an off-hour for fewer crowds.
Windmill Island Gardens
One of the most popular spots to take in the tulips is Windmill Island Gardens. The picturesque windmill makes the ideal backdrop to fields of colorful tulips. The windmill named, DeZwaan, is the only authentic Dutch windmill still in operation in the US. Guests can purchase the locally-ground flour at the gift shop.
Windmill Island Gardens is home to a hand-painted Dutch carousel, an Amsterdam street organ, a cute Dutch-themed village, along with a playground, and picnic area. During the Tulip Time Festival, there were many guides adorned in traditional Dutch attire, along with educational presentations.
Tips For Visiting Windmill Island Gardens
- There is a fee to enter Windmill Island Gardens, we recommend checking their website for the most updated fees and event information. They do take credit.
- Bring a stroller if you have small children. There is a lot of walking and many of the paths are paved.
- There was a food stand available for those looking for a snack.
- Parking is limited and once the lot is full they will close off the entrance to Windmill Island Gardens. Guests will then have to find public parking and walk if they wish to still visit. Get there early!
Veldheer Tulip Gardens
Another must-see spot during any visit to Holland during Tulip Time is Veldheer Tulip Garden. Not only is it your one-stop-shop for tulips but it is home to the DeKlomp wooden show and delft factory. Come browse the vast variety of tulips then have the bulbs shipped to your house in the fall!
The gardens do tend to get very busy during Tulip Time, so plan on arriving early and purchasing tickets ahead of time. Tickets can be purchased at the garden gate.
Nelis Dutch Village
Kids will love this traditional Dutch village is complete with fun activities, rides, shops, and gardens. The Nelis Dutch Village immerses visitors in the Dutch culture with demonstrations such as wooden shoe carving, Dutch dancing, and kids can even make their own Dutch Stroopwafel cookie!
The rides are geared at younger kids offering attractions such as swings, a carousel, Ferris wheel, and pedal cars. There is a giant wooden shoe slide, a kids’ corner, and a petting farm. If you have young kids in tow, this is a spot that offers beautiful tulips views alongside entertainment. It is a win-win.
Go To The Carnival
For the more adventurous crowd venture down to the midway at the Tulip Time Carnival where a wider selection of rides and games are available. They also offer a good variety of rides for the younger kids as well.
Typically carnival fare such as funnel cakes, sausages, and other fried favorites are around every corner. Check the Tulip Time Calendar for details on performances, events, and operating times.
This past year the carnival did put special precautions and regulations in place with the ongoing pandemic.
Stroll Downtown Holland
Regardless of when you visit Holland, a stroll through the downtown area should be a priority. With darling boutiques, local eateries, craft breweries, and art galleries scattered throughout make it easy to spend a whole day exploring downtown!
Blooming tulips line the streets and flower boxes often are overflowing with tulips during the spring. Boutiques are full of trendy spring fashions while the flavors of spring make their way onto menus everywhere.
Pro Tip: Restaurants in the downtown area can get very busy during Tulip Time. I recommend visiting during non-peak hours or attempt to make a reservation.
Tulip Time Scavenger Hunt
Every year Tulip Time releases a fun new scavenger hunt! It takes guests all through the city as they discover fascinating facts and unique sites. Be sure to check their website for the yearly hunt with clues!
Holland Museum and Dutch Galleries
Step back in time to learn about the history of Holland and its Dutch heritage. The Holland Museum is home to an impressive collection of Dutch artifacts and artwork. It tells the story of how Holland was founded by Dutch immigrants, all leading up to the wonderful community that it is today.
Pro Tip: This is a great rainy day activity in Holland. Check the weather during your visit and pencil in the Holland Museum for a day with inclement weather.
Tulips may be taking center stage for a few weeks, but ensure to get out to visit Lake Michigan during your visit. One of our favorite areas to enjoy the lake is Tunnel Park. Tunnel Park is somewhat shielded from the winds coming off the lake since you have to walk through a tunnel in a dune to get to the beach.
Tunnel Park has a great playground, along with a portion of the dune you can climb up. At the top of the dune, there is a picnic area with an incredible view of the lake. The beach area is through the tunnel which makes a fun photo opt.
Note: This park typically charges admission, along with Holland State Park.
Holland State Park
Another popular beach spot along Lake Michigan is Holland State Park. The Big Red Lighthouse sits proudly at the shore signaling to nearby ships. The state park has a vast beach that is perfect for watching the boats or sunsets. During the summers months many flock to the beach for family fun, sunbathing, and watersports.
Tip: Depending on the weather this can be the ideal spot for a little relaxation or a picnic. Springtime weather can be fickle with strong winds and chilly temperatures closer to the lake.
Bike Through Holland
A great way to see Holland is by biking. Whether you want to bike downtown, the lakeside, or the scenic state parks, Holland has 150 miles of bike trails for your to explore. If bringing your own bike isn’t a possibility, bike rentals locations are scattered across the city.
Biking tours and weekly rides are also available for guests looking for a unique biking experience while connecting with others.