The Best Activities for Michigan Winter Fun

Winter in Michigan may be cold, but it's also a time of year that offers a wide variety of fun and exciting activities for everyone. Whether you're a thrill-seeker looking for an adrenaline rush or someone who prefers a more relaxed pace, living in Michigan during the winter provides ample opportunities to get outside and enjoy mother nature. So, grab your warmest coat, hat & gloves, and let's explore all the fun things Michigan has to offer in the winter!

     

Bowers School Farm 

The Bowers School Farm, owned and operated by Bloomfield Hills Schools (BHS) since 1967, serves as a place for schools and the community to gather and celebrate agriculture. With a focus on the importance of food, farming, and the outdoors for healthy living and harmony with the environment, the farm spans over 93 acres of forest, fields, gardens, and barns, offering endless opportunities for exploration. As a non-profit organization, the farm is supported by public funding through the BHS general fund, which allows for teaching and learning activities for K-12 schools. Additional activities are made possible through user fees, memberships, donor support, and sales of farm-fresh products. The farm's mission includes promoting recreation, family, and special events, all with the goal of fostering a sense of belonging and "place" for all who visit.

During the Winter Park's open period from January 6th to February 26th, all visitors will be required to have a general admission ticket to gain entry. At the park, visitors can interact with the animals, warm up by one of the bonfires, indulge in comfort foods from the Farm Kitchen, shop for local products at the Farm Store, take in special entertainment on Saturdays, and more. In addition, those who bring their own skates will have access to the outdoor ice rink, or skates can be rented on site. Visitors can also enjoy 50 minutes of tubing with their General Admission ticket. The park boasts one of the most exciting sledding hills in Metro Detroit, and during evening hours, the hill is illuminated with lights, adding to the overall experience!

Dog Sledding 

Although it originated in Alaska & Siberia, dog sledding has become a widely loved winter activity in both the northern lower and upper peninsula of Michigan. The sled is typically driven by a musher, who stands on runners at the back of the sled and uses their body weight and a set of brake and steering handles to guide the dogs through the snow.

Dog sled racing is primarily located in Michigan’s upper peninsula, including The UP 200 and The Midnight Run, which begin in Marquette, MI. The UP 200 dog sled race is a must-see two day event for any winter adventure enthusiast. The race, which takes place annually in February, draws mushers from all over the world and thousands of people come out to cheer on the teams and celebrate the start and finish of the race. It is known as one of the most challenging and competitive mid-distance sled dog races in the Midwest covering over over 200 miles of rugged terrain, taking mushers and their teams of dogs through the beautiful and pristine wilderness of the upper peninsula.

Michigan is also home to several dog sledding outfitters that offer guided tours and excursions for visitors. These can range from short rides around a small track to full-day expeditions through the wilderness. Some outfitters also offer overnight camping trips, where visitors can experience the thrill of dog sledding by day and spend the night in a cozy cabin or yurt. Unfortunately, Shemhadar Dog Sled Adventures in Cadillac, MI, which we featured in our video was forced to stop offering dog sled tours due to financial struggles brought on by the pandemic. However, if you travel not far to the East, Treetops Resort in Gaylord does offer dog sledding for a closer to home option.

To learn more about dog sledding races and outfitters in Michigan click HERE.

Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park 

The Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park located in Muskegon, Michigan is a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. This state-of-the-art park offers a variety of exciting activities that will keep you entertained for hours.

The main attraction of the park is the luge track, which is the only one of its kind in the Midwest. The track is a quarter-mile long and features a variety of twists and turns that will test your skills and give you an adrenaline rush. The park also offers a variety of other seasonal activities including a mountain bike park, skatepark, disc golf course, hiking trails, and zip-lining, so there's something for everyone. There is also a small village where you can find food, drinks, and souvenirs.

The park is open year-round and offers different activities depending on the season and is a great place to host birthday parties, corporate events, and team building activities. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and they will make sure you have a great time. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a first-time visitor, the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park is a unique and exciting destination that should not be missed.

       

Cross Country Skiing 

Cross-country skiing is a popular winter activity in Michigan, with many state parks and recreation areas offering groomed trails for skiers of all skill levels. With over 3,000 miles of trails the state's diverse landscape, including dense forests, rolling hills, and frozen lakes, makes it an ideal destination for cross-country skiing.

One of the best places to go cross-country skiing in Michigan is the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The park offers over 30 miles of groomed ski trails, with a variety of difficulty levels to choose from. The park also has a ski chalet that offers ski rental, waxing services, and a warming room. Other popular cross-country ski destinations in Michigan include the Huron-Manistee National Forest, the Tahquamenon Falls State Park and the Sylvania Wilderness.

Cross-country skiing is a great way to explore Michigan's winter wilderness, and it's a low-impact exercise that's easy on the joints. It's also a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced skier, Michigan's state parks and recreation areas offer plenty of opportunities to hit the trails and enjoy the sport. Many parks also offer ski lessons, guided tours, and even moonlight ski tours, making it easy for everyone to discover the joy of cross-country skiing in Michigan.

Ice Climbing 

Peabody Ice Climbing is a popular ice and mixed climbing venue located in Fenton, Michigan on a retired apple orchard. The venue is designed to provide a controlled environment for experienced and certified instructors to train and introduce beginners to the sport of ice climbing. The two towers, 45 feet and 72 feet tall, are iced over in the winter to offer a place for experienced ice climbers to train and to provide an ideal introduction for people interested in the sport.

As the only permanent mixed climbing/dry tooling training facility in the United States, Peabody Ice Climbing offers mixed climbing routes that are ideal for both winter and off-season training, climbing competitions, learning new ways to use axes and crampons, as well as simulated altitude training. The venue also includes a heated clubhouse where climbing gear can be rented, a 10-person sauna, and a heated bunk house that can accommodate up to 12 people. Additionally, visitors are also welcome to pitch a tent and camp on-site.

Mount Bohemia Ski Resort 

Mount Bohemia Ski Resort located in Mohawk, Michigan is a hidden gem for skiers and snowboarders looking for a unique and challenging experience. The resort boasts some of the steepest terrain in the Midwest, with 900 vertical feet of skiing and snowboarding, and an average of over 300 inches of snowfall annually.

Mount Bohemia is truly a skier's mountain, with its terrain ranging from gentle groomers to double black diamond runs. The resort also has a wide variety of glades, chutes and bowls, making it a great destination for advanced skiers and snowboarders. The resort is also known for its backcountry terrain, featuring off-piste and hike-to terrain with no grooming, providing skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to explore the mountain in a more natural state. The resort also offers rental equipment, lessons, guided tours, and a variety of dining and accommodation options.

Mount Bohemia Ski Resort is a great destination for those who are looking for a more rustic and authentic ski experience. The resort has a laid-back atmosphere, and the staff is friendly and welcoming. It's also a great place to go for a winter getaway with friends and family, and it's a great place to make memories and enjoy the beauty of winter. With its challenging terrain, abundant snowfall, and unique atmosphere, Mount Bohemia Ski Resort is a must-visit destination for skiers and snowboarders looking for an unforgettable experience.

A Winter Sleigh Ride

What better way to enjoy the season than going for a sleigh ride in Michigan’s winter wonderland! While there are many options to choose from throughout the state, we have two favorites at the top of our list. The first being Thunder Bay Resort, located in Hillman, Michigan.

Thunder Bay Resort is a premier vacation destination that offers a variety of activities for the whole family. One of the most popular winter activities is the award winning elk viewing carriage/sleigh ride, followed by a five course dinner & wine tasting event. Packages can be purchased for either one or two night stays. The resort itself is located on 500 acres of beautiful woodlands and boasts a wide range of amenities, including a championship 18-hole golf course, an indoor and outdoor pool, a fitness center, a spa, and a variety of dining options. The resort also offers a variety of recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, hiking, and cross-country skiing, which makes it a great destination for nature lovers. Accommodation options include luxurious suites to cozy cabins, making it an ideal destination for couples, families, and groups. 

Our second pick is Fantail Farm Wagon & Sleigh Rides, located in Benzie, Michigan, which offers visitors the opportunity to experience the beauty of the countryside during the winter season. The farm offers 45 to 55 minute horse-drawn wagon and sleigh rides through 90 acres of picturesque landscape, providing a serene and peaceful experience. This is a great activity to do with family and friends, and it's also a romantic experience for couples. At the end of the sleigh ride, a warming shed will be provided for the group, where hot cocoa will be served. On occasion, a campfire may also be available for use. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lap blankets for added warmth. The facility does not have indoor heated restrooms, but an outdoor John is available, so we recommend that visitors plan accordingly for their individual needs.

PAMPER YOURSELF WITH A Staycation

We realize that not everyone enjoys getting out in the cold, so perhaps a winter staycation may be more of your idea for a weekend getaway. If that’s the case, we highly recommend staying at one of Michigan’s luxury hotels for some excellent dining and a little pampering to cure your winter blues.

One of our absolute favorites is the four diamond Amway Grand Plaza Hotel located in the heart of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This hotel offers a wide range of amenities and services, making it the perfect destination for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel features elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites, each equipped with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, high-speed internet, and plush bedding and boasts a variety of dining options including 24-hour room service, The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, MDRD for some modern Spanish entrees & shareables, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House for a mouthwatering meal.

The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel also features a full-service spa, an indoor swimming pool, and a fitness center. For those in town for business, the hotel offers over 30,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a grand ballroom and several smaller meeting rooms. The prime location in the city’s center also makes it easy for guests to explore the many nearby attractions, such as the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Van Andel Arena. Whether you're in town for work or play, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel offers a luxurious and convenient experience for all its guests.

If you live in Metro Detroit and wish to stay a little closer to home, we highly recommend a staycation at The Siren Hotel, Trumbull and Porter Hotel, or Shinola Hotel - all of which are located right here in the Motor City. All three hotels have great atmospheres, comfortable rooms and are loaded with amenities that you’re sure to enjoy. Pair your stay with visiting one of Detroit's historic museums, shopping & dining at the endless choices downtown, or a night out at one of the many venues local to catch a concert, Broadway show, or a sporting event for an exciting getaway!

 

From skiing and snowboarding at various ski resorts & parks, winter festivals, ice skating, snowmobiling on thousands of miles of trails, ice fishing and wildlife viewing in the state's beautiful wilderness, Michigan's natural beauty shines through all winter long! With so many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, spend time with friends and family, and create lasting memories, it's no wonder that wintertime in Michigan is considered a fun and exciting season.

For location and info on each of the places included in this article please visit our interactive map below


Posted by Michael Perna on
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