Out of all the seasons that put on a wild show in the Wolverine State, but things change once temperatures drop and snow starts to fall here. Sure, spring, summer, and fall have warmer weather and plenty of fun activities, but winter in Michigan allows residents and guests to pull out their skies, snowmobiles, and snowshoes so they can get out and explore the beautiful snow-covered wilderness!
If you want to experience all there is to see and do in our great state during the winter time, request access to our free Michigan Vacation Guide!
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Spending Your Winter in Michigan
Enjoying the Wild Nature of the Upper Peninsula in Winter
1. Zip Around the “Snowmobile Capital of the Midwest”
Snowmobiling during winter in Michigan is one of the top things to do in the Upper Peninsula. The UP has four main trail systems: Munising, Sault Ste. Marie, Paradise, and Marquette. A couple of these trails connect so you can start your journey in Munising, stop in Marquette for lunch, zip up to see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and then head back to Munising! A day (or a few days) of snowmobiling is a classic way to enjoy Michigan at it’s finest during the winter time, especially for adrenaline junkies!
2. See Frozen Waterfalls
Munising, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Tahquamenon Falls State Park all have tremendous waterfalls that freeze over in the winter. These areas have a mix of majestically flowing water and several frozen waterfalls during winter in Michigan. You can watch daring outdoors enthusiasts climb frozen water cascades near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and in some cases, there are free clinics offered for beginners. Tahquamenon Falls doesn’t freeze over, but it’s still a fantastic place to stop during a snowmobile ride or a drive through the UP due to the sheer sight of the second-largest waterfall east of the Mississippi River.
Ski and Snowtube in Northern Michigan
3. Hit the Slopes
Northern Michigan has more than a fair share of excellent ski areas to hit during wintertime in Michigan. Crystal Mountain and Nub’s Nob offer the widest range of activities and the largest concentration of ski slopes. Hickory Hills Ski Area outside of Traverse City is a great intro to skiing if you’re looking for a small taste of skiing on a budget.
4. Have Fun in Traverse City
Traverse City crams all of the best things to do in Michigan into one place. Skiing, snow tubing, fat tire biking, shopping, indoor waterparks, movie theaters, dining, wine tours; you name, it and Traverse City has it. You can also drive over to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park where Nordic skiing, hiking, and sledding are fun ways to spend the day on Lake Michigan’s shoreline.
See the Countryside in Eastern Michigan
5. Try Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
Gaylord has an extensive trail system of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails around the town center that branches out into the beautiful wintry woods. This fun winter activity is easy to learn for beginners and is a perfect way to experience the great outdoors (and get some exercise).
Bike and Ice Skate in West Michigan
6. Explore West Michigan on a Fat Tire Bike
Fat tire biking is a fantastic way to get out and explore the Wolverine State’s great outdoors in the snow! Several trails including Merrell Trail, Deep Lake Trail, and Cannonsburg Ski Area are all great spot to ride around the outskirts of Grand Rapids.
7. Keep Warm in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids has tons of activities for residents and guests during the wintertime in Michigan. Go ice skating in Rosa Parks Circle before heading to one of the breweries or bars in downtown to grab a craft beer or cider. The Winter Beer Festival draws a big crowd in February, even in the cold weather!
Great Family Winter Activities in Michigan
Take a Sleigh Ride
Tap into your inner Santa when you sign up for a sleigh ride in Northern Michigan! A relaxing romp through the woods of Michigan can be yours when you visit Northern Michigan and visit towns like Traverse City where you can draft a sleigh ride for the whole family.
View the Northern Lights in Michigan
If you’ve never seen the natural light show that is the Aurora borealis (Northern Lights) you are missing out! The lights are best seen from August through April, but are unpredictable so you can’t plan to 100% see them on your trip! The farther North you go the higher the chance of seeing them so we recommend a trip to the Upper Peninsula and find places without light pollution to enjoy a free light show!
Michigan Snowmobiling Trails
Snowmobiling is a popular activity for those who want to put some horsepower into their family adventures. The network of 3,000 miles of snowmobile trails means its only a matter of where to go when you visit Michigan this winter. Here are a few cities in Michigan that have the best trails in the country!
Stay at Freshwater Vacation Rentals
Freshwater Vacation Rentals is your key to the perfect Michigan winter vacation. With properties across the state in the UP, Northern Michigan, West Michigan, and Eastern Michigan, you can find your ideal fit in the area that you want to stay in during your trip! You can also bring your pet to our pet-friendly cabins for rent in Michigan!
Browse our rentals and start planning your vacation today! We look forward to welcoming you to the Wolverine State!