Day 5: Holland, Grand Rapids, Silver Lake

Trip Start Jul 16, 2012
Trip End Jul 25, 2012

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Grand Rapids, Michigan
Silver Lake

Flag of United States  , Michigan
Friday, July 20, 2012

The weather finally cleared up!! Today I started in Holland and went to see the Holland Lighthouse. You have to pay to get in, however, I found a small parking lot a little ways down the road and there is a bike trail that takes you along the water so you can see the lighthouse. And since it was about 7am, there were hardly any people and I snuck right by the gate where you pay to get in. I'm sorry, but I don't feel like I should have to pay to take a couple pictures of a lighthouse that I can't even get into. The rest of Holland is kind of a tourist trap. And I'm sure it is a whole lot nicer in the spring time when the tulips are in bloom. When I left the lighthouse area, I went to Windmill Island. It was $7.50 to get in. It was okay, a lot of the flowers were dead. They have a lot of nice flowers around the windmill but I would rather go to The Netherlands and see a real windmill. I also got there right when it opened so there wasn't much going on. I left and tried to find the Veldheer Tulip Garden but I couldn't find it! I spent an hour driving around looking for it, but my GPS just couldn't locate it.

Next I stopped in Grand Rapids and I drove around for a little bit. There are a lot of nice churches here. I stopped at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew which is a beautiful church. I also went to the Frederik Meijer Gardens which is a definite must-see! The gardens are very nice and kept well and the sculpture garden is great too. I decided to head back up the coast and stopped in Silver Lake along the way. This is definitely a nice spot in Michigan and looks like an area where a lot of locals come on weekend getaways. You can rent jet skis, dune buggy's or even Jeep Wranglers. There is a huge lake (Silver Lake) which is surrounded by dunes on one side and a forest on the other side. There is hardly any parking anywhere! Maybe I was just in the wrong area, but I had to pull over in the grass and put my hazards on just to take a couple of photos!

Next I kept heading north up the coast and stopped at Sleeping Bear Dunes. This is a MUST SEE if you are going to be in the Northern Michigan area. You pay $10 for a parking pass and there is a lot of different areas of the park to discover. First I did the dune climb. It doesn't look that hard from the bottom but once you start hiking up, it is a hard climb!!! The sand is really deep and it definitely takes some time to get to the top, but once you are up there the view is so worth it! Next I went on the Stocking Scenic Drive. This is also a must when in the park. You take the drive up the dune (don't worry, it's a paved road, not sand!) and there are different points along the way that you can stop and take pictures. Once you get to the top, there is a parking lot where you park and walk the rest of the way to the top of the dune for an overlook of Lake Michigan. The view is BREATHTAKING!!!! I stayed and watched the sunset, I didn't want to leave!!!

When I finally left the park, it was late in the evening and I hadn't worked out a hotel arrangement. I decided to just sleep in my car. I drove back to Traverse City and parked in the Walmart parking lot. It would've been a lot better if my car windows were tinted, but no one bothered me.
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