Exploring West Michigan during peak weather

Holland is full of fun activities to do throughout the whole year, but while the weather is still feeling like summer, it is important to take advantage of the surrounding area. Some individuals may love the winter months and everything that comes with snow. To each their own. For those that hate the cold, staying warm is the number one
priority throughout the frosty winter. While it may seem that most of the school year is spent in a wintery wonderland, there are those few months of fall and spring to take advantage of. Particularly in the early weeks of September when some days still feel like summer, there are many things to do surrounding the coast of Lake Michigan and right here in Holland! Hope College’s campus is beautiful, but there is so much more to see surrounding the school.

The most obvious outdoor excursion would be Lake Michigan beaches. The State Park has a lovely beach to lay out towels and relax on, go for a swim, or play some frisbee! The pier is also fun to walk down, along with jumping into the water or even going fishing. While this is the most common beach to visit in Holland, there are many more. Riley Beach, Tunnel Park and Laketown Beach are just a few others with more fun dunes to explore and smaller beaches to escape the crowds. All of these are just 10 minutes away by car. Another option some students choose is biking, which makes for a fun adventure! And, of course, paying a visit to Captain Sundae for some post-beach ice cream is always a good idea. If you’re up for more than relaxing on the beach, getting out on the trails surrounding the Holland area provides another wide range of outdoor activities. Trail running is much more fun than sticking to roads or sidewalks. And while going for a run isn’t for everyone, exploring the outdoors via hiking is just as enjoyable. Some paths also allow for “mountain” biking (disclaimer: there are no mountains in Michigan). Van Raalte Farm Park, Riley Trails Park and Pigeon Creek Park are some viable options for an attempt at tackling the trails. Now for looking past Holland itself… Saugatuck is a town about 12 miles south of Holland, and only a 20-minute drive. This beach town includes a boardwalk, a nice downtown area for shopping/coffee/food and more trails and dunes to explore. This is a good option for changing things up from the Holland area. West Michigan is full of great outdoor scenes. All you need is some friends and a car, and you can take an afternoon or weekend to see more!

While Saugatuck is just south of Holland, there is plenty more to see up north. Sleeping Bear Dunes is a beautiful location full of campsites, hikes and of course the dunes. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is right next to Glen Arbor, which is a cute little town full of character and lake vibes. Glen Lake is a part of the scenery and can be seen along with Lake Michigan from fantastic views on the dunes. Some of the hikes and climbs are harder than others, but there is a wide range of things to do. Picking a weekend to go camping with friends makes for a fun mini-vacation from school. And of course don’t forget s’mores ingredients for a campfire.

Do not be afraid to explore the coast while the weather is in your favor! You’ll be glad you did when you are snuggled in your dorm or apartment with only homework to do this coming winter. And if you like Winter activities, then you’ll be glad you made the most of each season.

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