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Holland or South Haven with Kids?

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Hartville, Ohio
posts: 17
reviews: 23
Holland or South Haven with Kids?

We are trying to decide between Holland and South Haven and are traveling with two small children in Sept. Which has better beaches? Thanks!!

Michigan
Destination Expert
for Saint Joseph
posts: 925
reviews: 35
1. Re: Holland or South Haven with Kids?

Honestly St Joseph is the best place for families with small children. Our new interactive fountain near the beach and train station is a huge hit this summer with families. Just across the street is the new carousel too. AND we have cute painted dog sculptures spread all over the downtown area. As always Silver Beach ( or the new and imporved Jean Klocke park beach up the shore a mile or so ) is a great place too. Everyone loves walking on the lighthouse pier or on the bluff by downtown ( it is best if you are also eating an ice cream cone) the bluff area has lots of things kids can climb on. Just down from the band shell you can walk along the new river side walk and feed the ducks and watch the boats and drawbridge.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for South Haven, Saugatuck
posts: 3,513
reviews: 14
2. Re: Holland or South Haven with Kids?

You're trying too hard TD. By the way you forgot Courious Kids Museum. I will admit St Joseph would be a better option over Holland.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for Saint Joseph
posts: 925
reviews: 35
3. Re: Holland or South Haven with Kids?

Rono -- Not trying too hard -- just stating the facts. There is nothing in it for me if people come here or not. Maybe you could list all the virtues of South Haven for families so the OP could better base their decision instead of critizing me for making an effort.

Hartville, Ohio
posts: 17
reviews: 23
4. Re: Holland or South Haven with Kids?

We'd like to be within an hour of Grand Rapids which is why we were thinking Holland or South Haven. I looked at Saugatuck but haven't been able to find any cottage rentals that are available in our price range for the dates we have. Would Grand Haven be better?

MI
Destination Expert
for Ludington
posts: 1,065
reviews: 111
5. Re: Holland or South Haven with Kids?

Holland has wonderful beaches. Next to the state park down Lakeshore drive is "Tunnel Park". We like this park as well as the state Park, especially with younger kids. Of course it has a walk-thru tunnel under a dune to get to the water. There is also a nice sized dune to climb and slide down. If you prefer the state park, there is also a new staircase which climbs a huge dune. Might be a bit much if your children are real small.

We are very familar with Holland, so feel free to ask questions.

Michigan
Destination Expert
for South Haven, Saugatuck
posts: 3,513
reviews: 14
6. Re: Holland or South Haven with Kids?

Holland and South Haven both have lots of fun things for kids, and both have great beaches. I believe the biggest difference is that Holland is a much larger town and is more spread out. Both the state park and tunnel park are several miles from downtown in primarily residential areas. There hotels are a couple, to several miles from downtown. They both have nice downtowns (Holland stores are not open on Sundays) with lots of stores. In South Haven you can nearly walk anywhere as everything is very close together. Grand Haven is another good choice however I think conventional wisdom considers Saugatuck/Douglas a more adult destination, but with that said you'll see lots of kids there too.

I apologize TD, my comment wasn't meant to be critical. I admire your dedication.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 1
7. Re: Holland or South Haven with Kids?

We have rented in Holland for 1 week and South Haven for 1 week and much preferred our stay in Holland. The town seemed a little more interesting and had more restaurant choices compared to South Haven. We also have 2 children and Tunnel Beach in Holland was perfect for them.

Antrim, New...
posts: 1,606
reviews: 14
8. Re: Holland or South Haven with Kids?

We have been visiting Holland with our kids for 16 years since our in-laws moved there. Our kids, now HS and college seniors, still love our summer visits. There is always so much to do. The beaches are great, the city is always sponsoring all kinds of events, there are some very good playgrounds around the neighborhoods. Rentals in Sept should be plentiful and prices often drop. As Rono said, hotels are a couplw to a few miles from downtown, and from beaches, but the city is uncongested enough so that no drive is much more than 15 minutes. I don't know how old your kids are, but the Hampton Inn is very kid friendly, with a indoor large pool and recreation area (not playground type stuff, though, but games and noise friendly.)

Depending on age, our kids have always enjoyed the dune rides in Saugatuck, which is only 15 - 20 minutes away from Holland.

Biking in Holland is great, whether your kids are old enough to pedal or sit. Bike paths will take you from downtown all the way out to Holland State Park, Tunnel Park, and pretty far north toward.

There is also an awesome farmer's market on Weds and Sat in downtown Holland.

For cottage rentals, if you haven't already discovered it, the Holland Chamber of Commerce maintains an excellent listing of vacation rentals. That is where we have always gotten our rentals. They always have many more listed than VRBO, and I'm a big VRBO fan.

I have no experience with South Haven, so cannot offer a comparison. But I am sure that you will have a great time and successful experience in Holland.

Hartville, Ohio
posts: 17
reviews: 23
9. Re: Holland or South Haven with Kids?

Thank you everyone for your suggestions! We found a great off-season deal at a cottage near Holland State Park and are very excited about the trip!

10. Re: Holland or South Haven with Kids?

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