One of the reasons I chose Hope College was because of its location. Being from the Detroit area, I fell in love with the West Side of the state when I came here for the first time in high school. The nature and scenery are beautiful and there are fun things to do in Holland’s quaint downtown as well as Grand Rapids, but one of the biggest draws are definitely the beaches. Therefore, I wanted to provide a guide of the beaches around Hope’s Campus for anyone new to Hope or thinking of coming here!
Holland State Park
There are multiple public beaches in the area and they are all breathtaking and fun to go to. The most popular is Holland State Park. The State Park is a 13 minute drive from campus and is home to the famous lighthouse referred to as “Big Red.” The State Park is a fun choice when you want to be in a lively atmosphere with volleyball courts and concessions. It is the closest distance to campus and on the way you pass a bunch of good restaurants to stop at for a bite to eat on your way back. If you have a state park pass, beach parking is free, otherwise it costs a few dollars. This was the beach I came to the most often as a freshman.
Tunnel Park is the second busiest, although you encounter less traffic to get there, and about a 16 minute drive from campus. Tunnel Park has a large grassy area to have picnics and barbecues. Tunnel, like the State Park, is on the north side of Holland. To park within the gates costs a few dollars per car, but to park across the street and walk in is free.
Riley Street beach is one of the less common choices because it is pretty small and less known. It’s a great option when you want to relax. Parking and entry are free and the drive to get there is beautiful with little to no traffic. The walk up to the beach is through a breathtaking tree branch covered path. Riley Street Beach is a 15 minute drive and also on the north side of Holland.
My personal favorite beach is Laketown, which is about an 18 minute drive from Hope’s campus on the south side. My friends like to call this the “secret beach” because it is hidden on the other side of a massive sand dune. It is fun to climb up this dune and run down the other side into the water. Laketown beach provides a beautiful view of the coastline with beautiful trees and houses on one side and down the other side you can see Big Red at the Holland State Park. Laketown is about the half-way point between Hope College and Saugatuck, so often after a trip to the beach my friends and I will drive the rest of the way downtown to grab lunch or dinner.
Holland is beautiful and provides great ways to take a break and spend time in nature. The beach is just one way to do that! Holland also has beautiful hiking trails, parks and more to enjoy. It is fun to pick out your favorite spots to be with friends and be in awe of God’s creation!