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South Haven vs. Holland

ft thomas, ky
2 posts
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South Haven vs. Holland

Need opinions please. We are headed to Lake Michigan week of 7/4. I have reservations at a Hampton at both South Haven and in Holland. We keep flip flopping on which one we should keep. We have 3 kids (10, 9, 8) and love the beach, bowling, putt-putt, and eating good suppers. We want lots of action and people watching. Which would be better or are both places pretty similar? thanks for any input

MI
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for Ludington
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1. Re: South Haven vs. Holland

I can tell you that Holland State Park is not in the town but about 10 (??) miles west of the shopping district. The Hampton Inn is off one of the main north-south highways. The State Park will be packed. Since you are from out of state, you will have to wait in line to get into the park each time you visit, even if you buy a daily pass. Holland isnt somewhere where you could park and walk into the beach area, unless you get there early in the morning and nab one of the few street parking spots close to the state park. Holland has a few mini golf courses, and a lovely downtown shopping district, but for a weeks vacation I would have second thoughts if staying the entire time at the Hampton Inn. Also be aware of the big construction area between Holland and Saugatuck. It might slow your travel time especially if you are driving to visit nearby area's & attractions.

Bay City, Michigan
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for Michigan
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2. Re: South Haven vs. Holland

I'd go for the one in South Haven. Holland is close enough to visit for a day (or 2) trip. Also, you could easily visit Grand Haven, Saugatuck, and St. Joseph. All have very nice beaches, with many things to entertain your kids . Do a search for "Things to Do" in each town, and you should get a good idea what is available. Again, South Haven puts in you in the middle between all these other, easily accessible towns, so that is the town I lean towards. I have also stayed at that Hampton, it is pretty nice. I have never stayed at the one in Holland.

Ann Arbor, MI
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for Michigan, Ann Arbor
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3. Re: South Haven vs. Holland

Would you consider doing half the week at each place rather than just one week in one place?

The two towns are laid out differently in terms of access to the beach. In South Haven the closest state park and the town are right next to each other so logistics like parking are easier. South Haven definitely feels like a beach town which is fun. You have the option of the state park beach right in town or going south to Van Buren State Park. I've never tried to park at the day use area at Van Buren (we're always camping), but it seems to me that there are spots left when we walk over to swim. Van Buren SP has a little "dune" area where kids like to run up and down I've never seen it posted to keep off so I think it's OK to do that.

In Holland, the state park is separate from the town which is both good and bad. The bad part is what doggy1 mentions--if you don't get out to the beach early in the day you're going to have trouble parking if the weather is good. The good part is that it feels more like an actual state park beach (at least to me) because it is away from town--but if the weather is good it will be crowded even though it is a state park (South Haven will too). There are a couple restaurants/ice cream places close to the park so you can walk a ways and get something if you need. It also means that the downtown of Holland is its own unique place to visit, separate from the beach. Also in Holland is a nice county park right on the beach too--Tunnel Park--so there is a good option besides the state park. What I don't like about Holland (and prefer about South Haven) is that it is larger and more spread out. We drove longer distances on our week in Holland last summer than I prefer to drive--but that's just me, it may not matter to you at all.

If you happen to be coming with bikes for all of you Holland has good bike trails leading out to the park and beyond which makes mobility a bit easier.

Either town will have the things you're wanting to do. Holland will put you closer to Grand Haven where the musical, lighted fountain is. It is a fun evening activity for families.

I continue to be stumped about a good selection of restaurants in South Haven. I'd be hard pressed to eat out for a whole week there. That would be easier in Holland, at least for me.

Again, I'd recommend thinking about dividing your time between the two cities--both are nice and will give you a different experience. I also know what a hassle it is to pack up the family and move to a different location--been there, done that!

Wherever you choose you'll have a great time so don't stress about it!

ft thomas, ky
2 posts
1 review
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4. Re: South Haven vs. Holland

Thanks so much for your input. I should have added we are only staying for 3 nights/4 days (the remainder in Houghton Lake). Have decided to stay in South Haven and go with the flow. Your alls input helped us decide, thanks again. I love this site!!!

Chicago's North...
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for Illinois, Chicago
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5. Re: South Haven vs. Holland

yes, you made the right choice.... i know i'll prolly get flak for this, but the 1 or 2 times i was in holland town, i wasn't impressed.... the town itself is miles from the lake... south haven is much more compact.... you hotel is maybe 5-6 minutes from the harbor/beach area... and maybe 25 minutes from st joe, which is a very family-friendly town... and the beaches are top notch in both towns.....

6. Re: South Haven vs. Holland

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