Winter in Michigan is so much more unique compared to other areas. It is due to the unique topography that Michigan is known for. From lakes, mountains, to beaches, Michigan has it all. Weather wise, this unique topography creates a different winter vibe and so many winter activities in Michigan. For instance, the great lakes warms the cold winds of winter creating a slightly warmer and moist climate than other states. However, higher areas such as the Upper Peninsula tend to be colder than lower Michigan areas.
Due to these geographical advantages, Michigan has so much to offer during the winter. Name any fun winter adventure you can dream of, Michigan got you covered. Now get ready to enter the Michigan winter wonderland with a proper plan as we provide you with the best winter activities in Michigan you can slide right into.
Table of Contents
- Best Winter Activities in Michigan
- 1. The UP Frozen Waterfall
- 2. Treetops Lift
- 3. Ice Climbing
- 4. Staycation at Tangled Root Lodge
- 5. Not Hibernating at Sleeping Bear Dunes
- 6. Visit Frankenmuth
- 7. Sleigh Rides at Traverse City
- 8. Sno-Go Skibiking
- 9. Off-trail Snowmobiling
- 10. Observe Winter Break Plants
- 11. Mushroom Houses Vacation
- 12. Ice Golfing
- 13. Dog Sledding
- 14. Explore a Nature Center
- 15. Snow Tubing
- 16. Enter Michigan Winter Wonderland
- 17. Connect with Local Community at Cheboygan
- 18. Visit the Winter Market
- 19. Ski Jump
- 20. Frozen Lighthouses Tour
- 21. Fat Tire Biking
- 22. Watch Snowmobile Racing
- 23. Swim at Indoor Parks
- 24. Have a Road Trip
- 25. Eat Inside an Igloo
- Final Thoughts
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How Do You Start Enjoying Winter in Michigan?
The best way to start enjoying winter in Michigan is, of course, by getting outside and admiring the fantastic view it has to offer. Even though there are some indoor activities you can consider, staying indoors during your visit will be such a waste. From rather easy activities such as snow tubing to more adventurous ones like ski jumping, Michigan provides us all with the best outdoor activities that are just hard to miss.
What is There to Do in Michigan in January?
One of the things you can do in Michigan in January is visit the winter farmers market. It is a must considering you’ll get real life experience and get connected to the local communities. Other things you can do is participating or spectating winter sport tournaments. There are a lot of fun events happening in Michigan that you can attend like the party never ends.
Best Winter Activities in Michigan
1. The UP Frozen Waterfall
The awesome scenic view of Michigan will call you to go on an outdoor activity. Seriously though, have you ever witnessed the breathtaking views of frozen waterfalls? If you haven’t already, then we believe visiting the Upper Peninsula during winter should be one of your main priorities. Munising Falls is one of the most easily accessible waterfalls that completely freezes in the winter. It is located at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and can be a great start of your frozen waterfall journey.
2. Treetops Lift
Aren’t you jealous of those scenes in Christmas movies where the main characters get on a snow lift, admiring the views, and have a deep talk? Yes, you can go on this exciting snow activity too in Michigan. Treetop Resorts offers accommodations and attractions to make your romantic fantasy a reality. Lift tickets start from only $10 and you get to experience other attractions as well.
3. Ice Climbing
If you crave a more adventurous and challenging activity, then we would advice you opt for ice climbing. Keep in mind that this one of the best winter activities in Michigan that requires a specific skill set and experience. So, bear in mind that you may need to take some courses before going on your own ice climbing experience.
You can sign on a training program at Peabody Ice Climbing that is available for both the experienced and the amateur. The training cost started from only $50 per month and you can customize the training plan based on your personal goals.
4. Staycation at Tangled Root Lodge
We can all agree that Tangled Root Lodge is an absolute gem in winter in Saugatuck, Michigan. The property has modern cozy rustic vibes that will make you feel comfortable during your stay. We have no doubt, this is the best place to spend with the family even if you have a big family.
The lodge is a single story building with eight bedrooms and large gathering space with a bar, perfect to hold a private party. It also has a backyard fireplace area with direct view to the woods. To enjoy this facility you will need to pay a costly amount of money around $3000 for two nights, but we can assure you that the experience will be worth it.
5. Not Hibernating at Sleeping Bear Dunes
No matter how winter weather tempts you to just stay home and hibernate, there are so many winter activities in Michigan, plus many magical places to visit as well, such as Sleeping Bear Dunes. Named the “Most Beautiful Place in America” on ABC’s Good Morning America, this is the place where both adventure and tranquility await.
You can do numerous winter activities here from hiking, skiing, climbing, snowshoeing, to visiting the amazing art gallery. All in all, this place gives you all in the comfort of the quiet nature around.
6. Visit Frankenmuth
Sometimes, it is just too cold to get outdoors during winter, but don’t let it stop you from having fun. You can visit Frankenmuth as the place offers amazing things to do in Michigan during winter that won’t require you to go outside.
Here you can go to the arcade, play an escape room with your friends, or learn more about Michigan’s Little Bavaria at the Frankenmuth Historical Museum. Located at 635 South Main Street, we can assure you that this is a great place to be when you can’t afford the outdoor cold but don’t want to miss the fun.
7. Sleigh Rides at Traverse City
This is another option of some fantastical winter activities in Michigan that you definitely need to experience at least once in your lifetime. We mean, when will you get another chance to cosplay as a Santa riding his sleigh around town?
Well, the experience may not be exactly like how Santa is pictured in movies, but the fun is guaranteed. Ranch Rudolf at Traverse City offers a 45-minute sleigh adventure that will take you through the beautiful Boardman River Valley. Sleigh rides are $16 per person and free for children aged 2 and under.
8. Sno-Go Skibiking
As the name might have suggested, ski biking is a combo of skiing and biking. A perfect winter activity for those who love adventures and always looking for some new challenges. Sno-Go is a relatively easy snow activity to learn, but you still need to follow a safety and riding tutorial.
The Adventure Center of Boyne Mountain provides Sno-Go rentals along with safety helmets and safety instruction. They are open daily and with $69, you can rent the Sno-Go bike for a half day and $115 for a full day.
9. Off-trail Snowmobiling
Michigan is one of those places that is blessed with the best snow trails to ever exist. Try visiting Gaylord and you will know what that means. It has more than 500 miles of snow trails across eight counties, circling the city in the middle.
There are different trail routes available that you can pick, from the humble wandering type to a more adventurous one that connects Bridge Authority to the upper Peninsula. From Gaylord, you can go pretty much anywhere in northern lower Michigan. Moreover, you can even join one of their snowmobile festivals to sled the snow with others with the same interest.
10. Observe Winter Break Plants
Most of the time, winter turns everything frozen and goes all white. The winter view is indeed amazing, but sometimes you might miss the beauty of colorful plants. If you want to get away for a sec from the winter, you can go to Matthaei Botanical Gardens where they preserve tropical plants and keep them alive and blooming even in the freezing weather. Located at 1610 Washington Hts. Ann Arbor, Michigan, they are open daily from sunrise to sunset.
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11. Mushroom Houses Vacation
Another Michigan winter activity you might never think of? Sure The Mushroom houses look amazing during other seasons, but they are just as magical during the winter. Earl Young Mushroom Houses is the home of unique properties designed and built by Earl Young where he doesn’t follow common architecture designs.
Instead, he is making the houses to fit the spaces, making each building has its own unique design and story. This is a perfect winter activity to do in Michigan for those who have an eye for architecture, designs, and stories.
12. Ice Golfing
Yes, it is a thing even though you may not find it in a common favorite winter activity in Michigan list. If you are an avid golf player, then we believe you’d love to join the fun and get involved in one of the ice golfing contests. In the U.P. Ice Golf, you can participate in the events and get the chance to enjoy the game, the view, great food, and a chance to win interesting prizes. The entry fee is $40 per person and you will be accommodated with a free Trolley shuttle during the weekend in St. Ignace.
13. Dog Sledding
Have you watched The Call of The Wild movie and want to relive the experience yourself? You definitely need to try dog sledding as one of the things to do in Michigan winter. If you are wondering as to where you can go dog sledding in Michigan, Shemhadar Kennels is a great place to learn about dog sledding and see the dog kennels.
Here you will be able to glide through 80 acres of beautiful woods and fields. Even better, it is beginner friendly and it will cost you approximately $60 per person for 10-15 minutes of dog sledding. We must say that it’s a little bit expensive, but we can assure you the experience will be worth it.
14. Explore a Nature Center
And if you are looking for winter activities in Michigan for kids, we have to say that there are just too many activities you can think of. From hitting the ice, learning something new at the museums, to participating in artistic activity, Michigan has some interesting offerings your kids will find hard to resist.
Among the many activities kids can do in Michigan, we highly recommend you to go to Nelson Meade County Farm Park where they offer countless activities your kids can participate in including the Junior Naturalist program.
15. Snow Tubing
Snow tubing in Michigan is a fun activity for Michiganders of all ages. It is a combination of adventurous thrill with the ease of a less-technical ride that is very beginner friendly. Plus, you don’t have to master a specific skill to join the fun rides.
One of the best spots for snow tubing in Michigan is Bower’s Farm Winter Park. With only $17, you will get a tubing ticket along with their general admission ticket so you can enjoy many activities including 50 minutes of tubing, meet animals, warm up around the bonfire, and entertainments on Saturdays.
16. Enter Michigan Winter Wonderland
Say you are visiting Michigan for the first time and you need some inspiration on winter travel activity in Michigan. Well, we would recommend you to go to Houghton. It is the biggest city in the Upper Peninsula that is full of amazing forests and frozen beaches during winter. You can also participate in their events called Winter Wonderland where there are horse carriage rides, hot chocolate, cast from the Frozen movie, and open skating at Dee Stadium.
17. Connect with Local Community at Cheboygan
Located in northeast Michigan, Cheboygan County is full of iconic attractions, hidden gems, and opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you enjoy riding, biking, skiing, hiking, or boating, In our opinion, Cheboygan County will not disappoint. You can also connect with local communities from art vision, chamber of commerce, to economic development groups that will give you a different experience.
18. Visit the Winter Market
And of course, you can’t leave west Michigan without visiting their winter market. In Holland, Michigan, they hold a Winter Farmers Market every first and third Saturday during January to April. The winter market is held inside the Holland Civic Center Place at 150 West 8th Street with over 25 vendors participating. You’ll get to shop winter and greenhouse grown produce, baked goods, sweet treats, honey, and other fresh produce and locally-produced foods.
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19. Ski Jump
Ski jumping is one of Michigan’s most popular winter activities. If you always dreamt of ski jumping but haven’t got the opportunity your whole life, then we say this is the sign for you to get it crossed out of your bucket list. Pine Mountain is known as one of the best jumping hills. Of course, you need to take some courses without getting yourself in the jumping experience.
However, if you are a pro, you can enter their annual tournament and get the chance to be witnessed by over 20.000 spectators. It is located at N 3332 Pine Mountain Road, Iron Mountain and you need to reserve for accommodations early because it usually booked out really fast during the high season.
20. Frozen Lighthouses Tour
And if you are looking for a non-skiing activity, you can still enjoy the great Michigan winter by going on a frozen lighthouse tour. It is a very unique yet memorable activity that you can’t just get somewhere else. St. Joseph North Pier is one of the lighthouses that will give you an otherworldly experience. During winter the waves from Lake Michigan crash to the pier and frost it. As a result, the amazing ice formations cover the lighthouses and look like it is out of a fairy tail.
21. Fat Tire Biking
While you’re in Michigan, don’t let winter stop you from enjoying a fun and challenging fat tire biking. As one of the outdoor sports that gains more popularity, fat tire biking will definitely be worth your effort. One of the best and most popular spots for this activity is at Crystal Mountain. With over 12 miles of winter bike trails, we can assure you that you will enjoy a fun and unforgettable experience here. Moreover, you can also rent the bike and equipment on the spot with a price starting from $19 per person for one hour.
22. Watch Snowmobile Racing
Next up we recommend you to watch the famous snowmobile racing that will pump your adrenaline watching all the racers drive their mobiles in the snow. Moreover, do you know that snowmobile racing in Michigan is the most famous and grueling snowmobile race in the world? With that as a fact, we believe that you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to watch this prestigious race while you’re there. You can watch the International 500 race and see snowmobilers drive their mobiles in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. Plus,the International 500 race is also known as the most prestigious snowmobile race events in the world.
23. Swim at Indoor Parks
If you are a fan of swimming, make sure you don’t miss the chance to swim at one of many indoor parks in Michigan. We can understand that swimming outdoors during winter is just not possible, but don’t let go of the fun of swimming just yet. One of the best indoor water parks in Michigan is definitely the Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark. It is located inside the Boyne Mountain Resort, and even better, once you’re finished with your swimming, you can also continue the excitement by going for some ice skating! So, interested?
24. Have a Road Trip
We all know that the view of winter is amazing. And guess what? You can enjoy the amazing winter views and sceneries in Michigan by having a road trip with your loved ones. In our opinion, having a road trip will never be a boring kind of idea to be done during winter, especially since we know that winter in Michigan can be brutal, in a positive way that is. The most recommended road trip to have is definitely the Copper Country Trail National Byway. Aside from the amazing views, you can also find several places to stop, to simply enjoy a break with breathtaking views.
25. Eat Inside an Igloo
And of course, we can’t skip the idea of enjoying an Igloo dinner in Michigan. Many restaurants offer outdoor dining experience inside an Igloo during winter in Michigan. In our opinion, it would be for you to enjoy the experience with your family, or with your significant other. Because we think there is nothing romantic than having a romantic dinner with your loved one inside an igloo during winter, and it would be even better to have it in Michigan. There are plenty of restaurants that offer Igloo dining, but do make sure to make reservations to avoid hassle on the spot.
With a long list of winter activities, Michigan does offer fun and exciting activities for everyone in the family. Wo while you are there, make sure you make the best of your time there and create as many memories as you can with your loved ones. If you need some recommendations on the best winter activities, make sure you check out our list and we can assure you that you will have so much fun this winter in Michigan.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What activities can kids do in Michigan in the winter?
There are a lot of kids friendly activities in Michigan during winter. Some of them include ski lifts, snow tubing, dog sledding and sleigh rides. They can also enjoy other activities such as visiting parks and gardens to get a more educational experience of investigating and learning more about nature.
What to do in Michigan when it’s snowing?
The best activity you can do in Michigan when it’s snowing is literally get out there and enjoy the snow. Whether you want to go on a snow adventure or simply enjoy the view with hot chocolate in your hands, it will always be a great experience that will leave a lasting memory in your heart.