Michigan winters present an entirely new set of activities for people of all ages, and that’s just one of the great things about living here. Here’s a look at some of the best things to try this winter.
☃️ Wintering it up in Michigan
Winter in Michigan. It’s cold, it’s snowy, and sometimes, it’s super fun. Get out and enjoy it! Here are some top recommendations from Pure Michigan:
🚴 Fat Tire Biking
A fat tire bike can get you through just about anything, including a thick layer of snow. There are some great trails around Michigan to fat-tire it right through, including:
- Waterloo Recreation Area in Chelsea
- Noquemanon Trail Network near Marquette
- Winter Sports Singletrack near Traverse City
- Yankee Springs Recreation Area in Middleville
Find more potential fat tire biking trails across the Mitten right here.
🎣 Go Ice Fishing
Maybe you’ve heard, but Michigan has a lot of lakes. And in the winter, many of them turn into ice rinks.
Ice fishing takes a bit of experience to get going, so bring someone you trust, and find ice that can hold you.
The state boasts more than 150 species of fish and almost all of them can be caught through the ice. Popular species when the ice freezes over include panfish such as bluegill and perch as well as northern pike, walleye and various trout species.
🐕 Dog Sledding
Mush into the winter with dog sledding! From dog sledding treks to races, it’s strangely common and easy to find around Michigan:
For adventures, rides and excursions:
- Treetops Resort – Gaylord
- Shemhadar Kennels – Cadillac
- Marquette Recreational Tours – Marquette
- Husky Haven Kennels – Shingleton
For dog sledding races:
- The UP 200 Sled Dog Race (Feb. 16-20): The UP 200 held in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is one of America’s top-notch sled dog races. The race trail covers over 240 miles of challenging terrain through the areas of Marquette, Grand Marais, Wetmore and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and finishes at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette. (More info on the race here)
- The Midnight Run – Marquette: This race is in the midst of the UP 200 race. Midnight run mushers, with a team of eight dogs, leave Marquette from Washington Street shortly after the U.P. 200 mushers.
Find more info on dog sledding activities across Michigan right here.
🎿 Hit The Slopes
Michigan has the 2nd most ski resorts in the U.S., thanks to our usual abundance of snow and hills. It’s a big draw, especially for the Up North area.
Favorite downhill ski resorts include Boyne Mountain Resort, Boyne Highlands Resort, Crystal Mountain and Cannonsburg Ski Area, among many others. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park not only offers Alpine and Nordic skiing but ski-in winter cabins as well.
Find more info on skiing and snowboarding right here.
♨️ Treat Yo Self
If you’re not feeling the outdoor vibe (hey, it’s cold, I don’t blame you), snuggle up at a Michigan resort for a weekend. Here are some recommendations from Pure Michigan:
Enjoy a cozy grown-up winter getaway at the Amway Grand Plaza Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel turned heads in 1913 when its builders included one of the world’s largest gold-leaf ceilings in the construction, and the Amway Grand remains one of Michigan’s most romantic getaways.
For a boutique experience in Detroit, experience the back-in-time glam of The Siren, the industrial-chic flair of Detroit Foundation Hotel, the modern yet eclectic rooms of Trumbull and Porter Hotel, or the cogs and gears inspired look of Shinola Hotel, enjoy a night in curled up with elevated room service delivered from the celebrated restaurants below.
In the Petoskey Area, the Inn at Bay Harbor offers cozy rooms overlooking Lake Michigan. Enjoy dinner at the Vintage Chophouse Wine Bar, relax in the spa on site and indulge in high afternoon tea. Wine lovers get cozy at Sutton’s Bay’s Inn at Black Star Farms, part of Black Star Winery. Luxurious overnight accommodations include premium wine tastings, gourmet breakfasts and a rural landscape thick with snow-covered fir trees, all surrounded by Traverse City’s award-winning wine country.
Get away farther north with a stay at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is a historic wilderness resort built in 1934 atop Keweenaw Mountain. The property offers one-, two- and three-bedroom cabins. Use the resort trail for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing (rental snowshoes with poles available) to check out the designated state and national historical location. Then enjoy a meal at the lodge dining room, a drink from the bar, or something from the cabin café.
Check out the Pure Michigan Support Local Guide here.
🧊 Find Frozen Waterfalls
One of the most satisfying and adventurous things you can do in the winter is go on a hunt for a frozen waterfall. You’ll have to head north to find one!
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula waterfalls take a stunning turn in winter, when cascades freeze into oversized icicles. Try your hand at ice climbing frozen waterfalls at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. In nearby Munising the Michigan Ice Fest offers ice climbing opportunities for experienced climbers and free clinics for beginners.
Check out more frozen waterfall finds here from Only in Your State.
Want more? The Pure Michigan winter guide has more ideas, like snow-shoeing, equipment rental, licenses and more links to places and events to enjoy this winter.
📅 Ready, set, mark! ☃️
Here are some upcoming events around town to mark on your event calendar!
- Cold Rush in Warren: Happening Jan. 22 in at Warren City Square near City Hall, activities include ice skating, ice carving, bon fires, food trucks, music and more.
- Plymouth Ice Festival: Feb. 11-13 in Downtown Plymouth. Enjoy the festive area with sidewalks lined with ice carvings. Sculptures are available for viewing 24 hours a day and will remain standing after the event – weather permitting. More info here.
- Winter Blast in Royal Oak: The festival will take place east of Main and South of 11 Mile near the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market and Centennial Park. The event will feature an outdoor skating rink, ice sculptures, live music, family activities, marshmallow roasters, the Winter Slide and more. Admission is free, Feb. 18-20. More here.
For more events every day around Metro Detroit -- or to submit an event yourself -- check out our Live Guide here.