Michigan is a winter wonderland! Whether you are looking for exciting adventures on the area’s award-winning downhill skiing and snowboarding hills, want to race around on snowmobiles, or would rather head out on a quiet snowshoe hike, cross country ski, or bike ride through the trails, you’ll find plenty to pack into your winter days in West Michigan.
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Keweenaw Peninsula (Upper Peninsula)
Photo: Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau
On average the Keweenaw receives over 270 inches of snow annually. From meticulously maintained trails to adrenaline-packed experiences through the pines and along Lake Superior shoreline, there’s no shortage of sledding adventures. With over 200 miles of snowmobile trails and award-winning restaurants and hangouts along the way, the Keweenaw is a snowmobiler’s dream destination!
Drummond Island (Upper Peninsula)
Photo: Drummond Island Resort
This winter, experience all the splendor Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has to offer at Drummond Island Resort. Spend the day snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, or downhill tubing. Snowmobilers can enjoy a leisure trek or thrill-seeking ride on nearly 100 miles of carved out, tree-lined trails. After a day on the trails, warm up with a hearty meal at Pins Bar & Grill featuring hand tossed pizza. Visiting with your family or a group? Schedule a tractor-pulled hayride, s’mores bonfire, or crisp lighted trail walk. Relax fireside in the privacy of your Log Cabin starting at $179/night or enjoy a board game in your rustic lodge room for only $89/night. Book your Winter Wonder-Island experience at Drummond Island Resort.
Photo: Charlevoix Convention & Visitors Bureau
Experience the magic of snowshoeing, hiking, or cross-country skiing on candle-lit trails in Charlevoix. Set your own pace on this self-guided journey and follow the candlelight to a roaring fire and hot chocolate every Friday evening through February 26th. The hike begins at the Mt. McSauba sledding hill parking lot. Remember to dress for the weather!
Boyne Falls/Harbor Springs (North)
Photo: Boyne Highlands
Photo: Petoskey Visitors Bureau
Gone are the days when snow signaled the end of biking season. With the growing popularity of “fat bikes” the Petoskey area has embraced winter riding by grooming many of the local mountain bike trails for winter riding. For those not in the know, a fat bike is a bike with 4″+ tires designed for riding on snow. With these amazing machines, outdoor riding is possible, and enjoyable, year-round. Check out these groomed routes this winter.
Photo: Gaylord Area Convention & Tourism Bureau
What will your wide-open winter look like in Gaylord? Find all kinds of snow-day fun to take you through the next few months in this northern winter wonderland. And check out Winter Rafting 101 as you plan your winter rafting adventure.
Photo: Treetops Resort
Walloon Lake (North)
Photo: Hotel Walloon
Traveling for a skiing or snowboarding adventure? Escape the chaos of large resorts and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of Hotel Walloon and their Ski & Stay Package, which includes round-trip transportation to Northern Michigan ski resorts and complimentary ice skate rentals for hotel guests.
Photo: Grass River Natural Center
Grass River Natural Area in Bellaire grooms their Algonquin, Chippewa, Nipissing, and Rail Trails (over 3 miles total) for classic cross-country skiing throughout the winter. All other trails are accessible by snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. Children’s cross-country skis and snowshoes for all ages are available for rent at the Grass River Center when the building is open (check website for hours). Come enjoy the beauty of nature in winter at GRNA!
Photo: Shanty Creek Resort
Conveniently located in Bellaire, just 31 miles Northeast of Traverse City, the 5,000-acre Shanty Creek Resort offers a variety of winter experiences for the entire family. The three distinct villages within the resort – Summit, Schuss, and Cedar River – offer everything from downhill to cross country skiing, multiple terrain parks, a multi-lane alpine tubing park, dog sledding, and more: something to please every skill level and thrill seeker. With more than 160” snowfall annually, snow-lovers can’t get enough of Shanty Creek. To continuously offer the best experience possible, Shanty Creek Resort is encouraging guests and visitors to plan ahead and purchase lift tickets and/or rentals online. Submit a simple online form and pay in advance for a quick, easy, and touchless transaction. Ski school reservations can also be made online. For additional information on the changes and improvements Shanty Creek has made to keep guests and visitors safe, and to make reservations, visit ShantyCreek.com.
Photo: Short’s Brewing Company
Nestled between some of the region’s best hiking, fat-biking, cross-country ski, and snowshoe trails, and just a few short miles from Shanty Creek Resort, Short’s Brewing Co is the after-sport destination this winter. Reservations required to dine in, or grab a growler and some takeout to-go. Don’t forget to hit the Short’s Mart for a fresh beanie or sweatshirt to keep you cozy in the snow.
Suttons Bay (North)
Photo: Black Star Farms
People love to escape to the beauty and tranquility of Northern Michigan. The Inn at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay provides a luxurious, relaxing winery estate escape from it all. The new Outdoor Winter Package offers a great way to get out into the many spaces that Leelanau County provides on fat tire bikes and snowshoes.
Traverse City (North)
Photo: Traverse City Tourism
Snow sports are part of the Traverse City lifestyle, so you’ll find activities to meet every taste and skill level. From downhill slopes to trails and tubing to terrain parks, there’s no shortage of hills for adventure seekers. Find ski resorts like Shanty Creek and Crystal Mountain within a short drive, explore the snowy trails of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, tube down the hill at Mt. Holiday, or glide along the groomed tracks of the VASA Trail. For those looking for a unique outdoor winter experience, try horse-drawn sleigh rides in area farms, snowmobile at Timber Ridge Resort, or take a snowshoe hike. Find more outdoor adventures and travel tips by visiting Traverse City Tourism online.
Photo: Crystal Mountain
Want to learn to ski or snowboard? Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville offers lessons to learn all of the basic skills necessary to conquer the mountain in a safe environment, and offers a variety of lessons for all ages and abilities, group lessons, and even private lessons. Learn more about Ski and Snowboard Lessons or call 888-968-7686 ext. 2000 to learn what program is right for you.
Bear Lake (North)
Photo: Bella Vista Inn
The Bella Vista Inn in Bear Lake invites you to escape the city and stay a few nights this winter and enjoy all the excitement winter in Michigan brings. Hot chocolate and a warm fire will await you when you return from a snowy weekend on the slopes or from that fun day on local snowmobile trails. To help plan your winter adventures, they are offering a free night of winter lodging when you purchase two nights, as well as group rates: book five rooms with friends and family, and your room is free.
Photo: Pine River Paddlesports Center
Pine River Paddlesports in Wellston will be offering winter rafting this year! All trips will be guided for safety reasons, but guests have the option of either paddling by themselves in the raft while the guide takes a canoe, or having the guide paddle in the raft with them. Find details and reservation information on their website and get excited for a whole new way to experience the mighty Pine River!
Enjoy a day full of winter fun at CranHill in Rodney on January 24th and February 21st for Winterfest! This is a free community event that happens from 2:00pm-6:00pm where friends and families can enjoy a day packed full of winter fun. Activities during Winterfest include: tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing, broomball, ice climbing, pony rides, bonfire, marshmallow roast, game room, petting farm, and more. There will be free meals served from 2:30pm-5:30pm, and snacks and drinks are available for purchase at the Barn Store all day. Tractor-drawn wagon rides will be running continuously during the entire event. For more information visit the CranHill website or call the main office at 231-796-7669.
Mecosta County (Central)
Photo: Mecosta County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Explore the Big Rapids region outdoors with endless snow sports and activities! You can enjoy an invigorating snowmobile ride, snowshoe, or even cross-country ski on the White Pine Trail or the Big Rapids Riverwalk. Michigan’s Dragon is a new trail that has endless recreational fun, but is still in the process of construction so make sure to check open segments and trail portions on the Dragon Trail site. Enjoy ice fishing on the many hundreds of lakes found throughout Mecosta County as well. You can see this and other recreational fun by visiting the Mecosta County website and click on the “Explore” tab.
Photo: Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
Head to Ludington for winter outdoor fun. Find places to sled, cross country ski, snowmobile, snowbike, ice skate, and more to explore this winter. The area’s many hiking trails turn into perfect playgrounds for winter sports when the snow flies. One of the most popular places for a winter sojourn is at 5,300-acre Ludington State Park, with multiple trails groomed for cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. In addition to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing at Ludington State Park, Ludington School Forest Trails offer five miles of trails. Other cross-country trail systems in the area include Big M Cross-Country and Mountain Bike Trail, Crystal Valley Ski Trail, and Pentwater Pathway. Fat bike trails include Big M, Manistee Non-Motorized Trail Park, and Ludington School Forest Trails.
Photo: Pere Marquette River Lodge
The Pere Marquette River Lodge and its full-service fly shop are open all winter and offer half and full day guided trips for steelhead. The riverside lodge, which includes 10 rooms, is also conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from miles of groomed trails in the Manistee National Forest for snowmobilers looking for a place to stay. Warm up in front of the toasty log fireplace in the lodge’s Great Room after a long day on some of Michigan’s best snowmobiling trails.
Photo: Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park
Winter adventures abound at Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Complex located inside Muskegon State Park. Choose from winter luge, ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and winter zip line. Find hours of operation, snow conditions, and more on their website.
Photo: Cannonsburg Ski Area
Bring your friends and family to Cannonsburg for tubing fun for all ages! Their fast and fun tubing lanes are serviced by a state-of-the-art magic carpet, ensuring your group gets maximum laps. Cannonsburg also features nine lifts and 21 runs for beginner to advanced skiiers and snowboarders. Check their site for opening date and operation plans.
Grand Rapids (Central)
Photo: Blandford Nature Center
Explore the winter beauty of nature with a snowshoe hike and more winter fun at Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids.
Photo: Critter Barn
Critter Barn in Zeeland is open year round, and welcomes you for winter visiting. The animals love visitors in the winter months and the barn’s winter wonderland will cover their 3-acre farm with a blanket of snow and make it easy for a sled ride around the barns, so remember to bring your sled when you visit! Sheep will be sheared near the end of January (check the website for the date) and the December bunnies will be ready for holding. Walk out to see the donkeys, cows, geese, ducks, and sheep. All of these animals grow amazing winter coats or have downy feathers that are waterproof and handle the cold weather well.
Photo: Saugatuck-Douglas Convention & Visitors Bureau
Explore Saugatuck’s tranquil woods and snow-covered dunes by snowshoe or cross-country ski along miles of spectacular scenic trails. Saugatuck Dunes State Park and the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area are stunning no matter what time of year!
Photo: Virtue Cider Farm
Take in winter views on a snowshoe tour through Virtue Cider Farm in Fennville. Trek through woodland trails, walk past the solar field, learn their rich history, and see a 100-year-old apple tree. End your tour with a mug of mulled cider and warm comfort food.
Photo: Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Photo: Echo Valley
Head to Echo Valley in Kalamazoo for tobogganing and tubing winter weekends! You’ll reach speeds up to 60 MPH before coming to a stop at the end of the quarter mile long runs. At the end of the run, the staff returns the toboggans to the starting platform via an overhead lift. No more lugging your group’s toboggan back to the top! For tubers, a tow rope is available to assist you and your tube back up to the top, and the walking surface at the tow rope is paved and heated for your walk back up the hill. Visit their site for hours and pricing.
Calhoun County (South)
In the deep freeze of winter, it’s easier to ice fish at the bigger lakes. Check out Goguac Lake, which is conveniently located right in the middle of Battle Creek’s metropolitan area. You’ll be right down the street from Meijer and restaurants. The biggest lake in Calhoun County is Duck Lake, with public access in Albion. The patient and wily angler will be rewarded with a well-stocked variety of healthy fish.
South Haven (South)
Photo: South Haven/Van Buren County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Southwest Michigan (South)
Photo: Southwest Michigan Tourist Council
Space to move. Space to think. Space to feel carefree. It’s what you will find all year-round in Southwest Michigan. Try this invigorating, three-day itinerary of fresh-air fun to get you outside and loving every minute of it. From walking or cross-country skiing on 12 miles of trails with stop-in-your-tracks views (only six minutes from downtown St. Joseph), to hiking, biking, or snowshoeing between two wineries, to climbing or snowboarding down towering dunes, this itinerary has adventures for all ages every day.
Benton Harbor (South)
Photo: Sarett Nature Center
Sarett Nature Center offers five miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing and designated trails for snowshoeing. Bring your own skis or snowshoes to enjoy the mostly flat terrain of Sarett’s forest, prairie, and wetland habitats.
Coldwater Country (South)
Photo: Coldwater Country
Get outside and celebrate the winter season at the 2nd Annual Winter Festival in Coldwater, Saturday, January 23rd. Fun for the entire family with live wood carving demonstrations, sled dogs, a professional juggler, a chili and soup cook-off, and a snowman building contest.
With more than 100 lakes, including two chains of lakes, Coldwater Country offers countless opportunities for anglers. The frozen-over lakes offer an opportunity to get outside and breathe in the frosty, clean air. Need an incentive to drop a line this winter? Try it as part of the Free Fishing Weekend, February 13-14, 2021. This annual weekend provides two days where no fishing license is required for residents or non-residents, although all fishing regulations still apply.