No matter the season, there are always enjoyable things to do in Michigan. However, nothing compares to the state’s transformation into a winter wonderland. The frozen Great Lakes and snow-covered hills are just some of the good things about Michigan winters.
People in Michigan prepare for winter in many ways: firing up the fireplace, stocking up on hot chocolate, and pulling out snow gear. But some anxiously await the opportunity to enjoy activities that only winter offers. Here are some of the Awesome Mitten’s favorite things to do in Michigan in winter.
Visit Michigan Summer Vacation Destinations in the Winter
Visiting popular Michigan summer vacation destinations is a must-do winter activity in Michigan. For example, there’s no shortage of winter things to do in Traverse City, Petoskey, and Grand Haven. The best part is that, by comparison, these cities look like ghost towns during the cold season. Go off the beaten path and enjoy winter vacations in Michigan’s summer towns.k like ghost towns during the cold season. Go off the beaten path and enjoy winter vacations in Michigan’s summer towns.
Crowded summer beaches are a part of Michigan life, but the feeling of having a favorite lakeshore town completely to one’s self is a truly satisfying experience. Not to mention, the small businesses in these towns depend on summer traffic to survive the winter, which is why they will greatly appreciate a winter visit. Curing the winter blues while boosting the local economy is one of the best winter things to do in Michigan!
Photo courtesy of Shalee Blackmer for Awesome Mitten
Take a Winter Hike Along the Great Lakes
To take in the breathtaking beauty of the Great Lakes during the winter months, go hiking or backpacking along the shorelines.
Think the coast is just for the sun? No way! Frozen beaches and ice-crusted lighthouses are some of the most beautiful sites to visit. On a cold weekend, drive up the coast to do a winter Michigan lighthouse tour. It’s surprising how different lighthouses and shorelines look in January or February.
On the frozen beaches, one is likely to find rocks and stones that the freshwater waves have polished over the years. One might even come across pieces of sunken ships that have washed ashore.
There are many trails that are perfect for winter hikes in Michigan including ones within Isle Royale National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Negwegon State Park, Port Crescent State Park, and Warren Dunes State Park.
Photo of the Eben Ice Caves courtesy of Awesome Mitten
Look for Blue Ice on the Great Lakes
It’s unlikely that most individuals will ever travel to the North Pole or Antarctica, but there is a good chance of seeing blue ice on the Great Lakes. In fact, there isn’t anything more intriguing than this gorgeous phenomenon, making it one of the unique things to do in Michigan in winter. The ice itself isn’t blue, but it looks blue because of how sunlight bounces around within the mounds of cracked ice.
Explore Frozen Waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula
For more natural beauty during winter in Michigan, visit some of the frozen waterfalls across the Upper Peninsula. The flowing water freezes into giant icicles, creating a stunning formation that beckons one to admire and climb.
Munising Falls at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a great example of a must-see frozen waterfall. On hot summer days, visitors might stand under the falls to cool off. In the winter, visitors can use the frozen falls as a backrest as they sit and take in the surrounding beauty.
Other frozen waterfalls in Michigan to explore include:
- Laughing Whitefish Falls at Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park in Rock River Township.
- Wagner Falls at the Wagner Falls Scenic Site in Munising.
- Tahquamenon Falls at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise.
Discover Michigan Ice Caves
Harsh weather and cold temperature also help create a phenomenon known as the “Michigan Ice Caves.” The Eben Ice Caves and Grand Island Ice Caves are must-visit winter destinations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Their breathtaking beauty has caught the interest of The National Geographic, Huffington Post, and other international news outlets.
The best time to visit these caves is in mid-February. By this time, the ice has had plenty of cold weather to be safe enough to visit.
Experience the Michigan Winter Snow-Glow
The night after a winter storm, head out for a midnight stroll in the woods. The thick white snow reflects light, making the entire sky lighter than normal. Even with no moon, a person can see perfectly in the middle of the night.
The best places to experience an authentic Michigan snow-glow are the Manistee National Forest or deep in the Upper Peninsula. The further from city life, the better and more peaceful the walk becomes.
Photo courtesy of Shalee Blackmer for Awesome Mitten
Enjoy Snow Sports in Michigan
Michigan has 47 areas with skiing, snowboarding, fat biking, dog-sledding, snow tubing, and many other outdoor winter sports for all ages. With dozens of ski hills across the state, one is never too far to carve their way down a mountain (or a really big hill). Winter skiing is an activity for all ages, and it is the perfect way to incorporate a winter family getaway filled with fun. Many of the ski resorts also offer heated pools, hot tubs, and saunas to guests.
For those not fond of skiing or snowboarding, try winter tubing. It is common to find sledding hills at ski resorts. It offers a fun and thrilling alternative for those not keen on catching the fresh powder.
There are tons of interesting things to discover throughout the winter season here in Michigan. Get out and explore and you won’t be disappointed!
This article was researched and written by the team at Awesome Mitten and originally appeared at https://www.awesomemitten.com/things-to-do-in-michigan-in-winter/.