Things to do in Michigan in the winter
Michigan, or Wolverine State, is a fantastic winter travel destination. There is plenty to do indoors and outdoors in Michigan in the winter with your friends, family or loved ones.
There is nothing more beautiful than the frozen lakes of Michigan. Snowfall transforms the entire state into a magical winter wonderland that will make your visit unforgettable.
Through snowy forests, icy shores and waterfalls, you will have the opportunity to discover breathtaking landscapes. The naturally incredible terrain is the perfect winter destination, especially if you are the adventurous type. We’ve picked our favorites from all the great things you can do in Michigan in the winter.
Let’s explore them together.
Hike on frozen lakes
Michigan’s snowy landscape is amazing for winter hiking, especially when the lakes are frozen over. Explore the coasts of incomparable beauty. The landscape is unique: remarkable rocks and large boulders on frozen beaches. It is a time of year to see certain features of the shoreline that are inaccessible during the summer months.
Winter hiking trails in Michigan are plentiful. However, nothing compares to the breathtaking views as you climb the 350 steps of Grand Haven of Rosy Mound Natural Area or the colorful sandstone cliffs of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Follow the marked trails through the woods to experience the spectacular unobstructed views of Lake Michigan. It doesn’t matter which trail you follow. Most lead to the shore. Be prepared and wear appropriate boots and a jacket.
Things to do in Michigan in the winter: ski and snowboard
Wherever there is a big hill and snow there is a ski resort. In this case, Michigan is a snow paradise! There are over 40 ski areas in the upper and lower peninsula. You can choose a different one each year. Nonetheless, there are a few things to consider before deciding which one is right for you.
Many ski resorts offer lessons for beginner skiers and snowboarders, as well as slopes and slopes suitable for beginners and families. However, rest assured that there are some fantastic and challenging black diamond trails for advanced skiers at Boyne Mountain and Mount Bohemia Ski Resort on the Upper Peninsula.
You will find other amenities at these ski resorts, such as spas, health clubs, and indoor sports if a member of your party does not wish to participate in the skiing activities.
Fun things to do in Michigan in the winter – dog sledding
Have you ever tried a dog sledding experience? This activity is also great fun for families. You can find dog sledding on the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Imagine sliding on a sled pulled by very energetic dogs in a beautiful forest setting. It’s a bucket list experiment.
Typically, a dog sled can accommodate a load of one adult or one adult and one child or three children. During these activities you will learn about the history of dog sledding and, of course, dogs. Cadillac and Munising are among the most popular destinations for this sport.
Dogsled trips are offered from mid-December to the end of March. Due to the high demand for the sport, you need to book early, around November, to make sure there is a place reserved for you.
If you prefer the thrill of dog sled racing, Michigan hosts several events throughout the winter. At the UP 200 in Marquette, the CopperDog 150 in Calumet, the Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race, and the Kalkaska Winterfest, you can experience the excitement of racing firsthand.
Take a craft beer tasting tour
Michigan is not only known for its fantastic winter landscapes. You also have the option of exploring Michigan in other ways. One of the things to do in Michigan in the winter is visit Michigan breweries. That’s right, Michigan is also known for its beers.
Specifically, there are over 350 different breweries statewide. In addition, there are numerous beer tours held throughout the state. Make sure to try the brewery closest to you.
Some will agree that there is nothing better than a good glass of wine. Michigan is home to five American Wine Zones (AVAs). We are talking about a wide variety of wines here, from red grape varieties to elegant white wines. Try the unique ice wine made from grapes harvested below 20 ° F!
Winter Camping in Michigan
If you love winter and are adventurous, you’ll love winter camping in Michigan. Small, cozy winter chalets await you in the snowy woods. Imagine waking up to a frozen lake and a view of the snowy forest.
Remember, you can also camp with your tent at several great locations like Muskegon State Park or Warren Dunes State Park.
Make sure you have all the essentials for camping (a good sleeping pad, winter tent, etc.) and, of course, a good camera. After all, you want the perfect images to create great moodboard designs and decorate your home with lasting memories.
Celebrate the Christmas season
Are you planning a visit to Michigan during the Christmas season? If so, you have a lot of options. There are many Michigan Christmas events that you can follow and enjoy with the activities.
Our favorite is Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth is a holiday town in Saginaw. Here you will find the largest Christmas store in the world. You will also be delighted with the festivities. Consult the knowledgeable guide before you go so you don’t miss out.
Visit the frozen waterfalls
The fantastic winter wonderland is not complete until you visit Michigan’s spectacular frozen waterfalls. Then, when temperatures drop in winter, the falls freeze over, allowing you to see a fairytale backdrop.
The best place to explore is Algiers County and more specifically the Hiawatha National Forest and the national shores of Lake Pictured Rocks in the Upper Peninsula.
There you will find more than 15 frozen waterfalls. This unique phenomenon takes place every winter. So if you visit Michigan in the winter you will have the chance to see it.
If you are a bit of a winter hiker, it is worth visiting the Eben Ice Caves just south of Au Train in the upper peninsula. This ice formation grows to enormous size as water seeps from deep sources. Some people bring equipment to climb the ice.
Mountain biking in the snow
Winter biking is another great way to explore Michigan’s winter wonderland. This activity is suitable for almost anyone who can ride a bike. You can easily explore beautiful scenery like the Deep Lake Trail and the Noquemanon Trail System on a fat bike.
Over 20 locations in Michigan are great for winter biking. If you like winter sports, cycling in the snow is essential.
Best of all, you don’t have to own a big bike. There are many ski resorts and ski towns that offer bicycle rentals.
Michigan Winter Stargazing and Northern Lights
Are you ready for dark sky events? If so, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of stargazing events happening in Michigan during the winter. Just to name a few:
- Midland Full Moon Walk (December)
- Full moon walk in Midland (January and February)
- Music under the stars in Bay City (February)
Michigan is known for its beautiful celestial landscapes. But, to be exact, the Great Lakes region is surrounded by total darkness. And it’s the perfect backdrop for starry sky events. One of the closest dark sky preserves to Detroit is Port Cresent State Park.
If you’ve never experienced stargazing before, this winter might be the time to do it!
Things to Do in Michigan During Winter Indoors – Cultural & Fun Activities
If you prefer indoor activities during the winter months, you’ve picked the right location. Michigan is full of cultural and fun indoor activities to explore. Let’s take a closer look:
The Henry Ford Museum
The Ford Museum is much more than a simple guided tour of the history of the automobile brand. The museum spans over 250 acres filled with exciting attractions. That is why it is a beautiful place to visit, even in winter. So, are you ready to explore a totally innovative museum?
Detroit Institute of the Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts is home to numerous art collections and exhibitions around the world. Nothing is left out here, from American and African art to photographs and art from Asia and the Islamic world.
Legoland does not need to be introduced. If you are a Lego fan or want to take a day trip with the family, you should visit this Discovery Center. Remember, Legoland is open Wednesday through Sunday and you need to book your tickets in advance.
Marine life aquarium
Sea Life is Michigan’s largest aquarium. Travel through a 180-degree underwater tunnel, face rescued sharks and sea turtles, touch a sticky anemone, and explore over 10 breathtaking exhibits. With over 250 species (sharks, sea turtles, jellyfish, clownfish, seahorses, etc.) and plenty of exhibits, a visit here will be one to remember.
Flint Institute of the Arts
Like the Detroit Institute of Arts, this institute is a must-see for art lovers. Located in Flint, the institute houses numerous collections and exhibitions. With over 850 paintings and sculptures and around 3,000 works on paper, the FIA has one of our most treasured collections of American art.
Visit a frozen Michigan lighthouse
With over 120 lighthouses and an endless coastline, Michigan has the perfect scenery for a lighthouse visit. Are you ready to explore the frozen beauty of Michigan? If so, all you have to do is wait for the temperatures to drop and visit one of the most famous lighthouses.
By far the most popular are the lighthouses on Lake Michigan. We recommend that you visit the two lighthouses on the north jetty (Saint-Joseph river). Keep in mind that some lighthouses are closed during the winter months.
It is becoming evident that Michigan offers many sights and activities during the winter months. However, increasing temperatures will likely cause a delay in Great Lakes ice cover in 2021-2022.
So maybe it’s time to explore other breathtaking winter landscapes and deeper into Michigan culture and history as well.