• Elizabeth Listerman

Unique Winter Activities in Michigan

Winter is usually the time of the year when we Michiganders pack things up and hibernate for the season. We only come out on sunny days when the snow is a light fluff adorning our trees and lawn, while the sun is shining just enough to keep us warm. We might make a snowman, snow angel, or sled down some steep hills but we often stick to the indoors where we will cuddle up watching Christmas movies or playing board games with our family.

Michigan is the state that embodies wintertime fun. It’s beautiful, snowy, and doesn’t get arctic cold, most of the time anyway. There is so much outdoor fun to be had in our favorite state: skiing, tubing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and sledding, but there are some unique activities that you might not know of that go on in Michigan. That is why we want to help you experience winter in Michigan to the fullest. So, let’s get started!

Take it to the next level with ice climbing in the U.P.

· Downwind Sports: Marquette, Munising, and Houghton

· Michigan Ice Fest

Ice climbing seems like it might be dangerous, exhausting, or that you have to be in tip-top physical shape to be able to ice climb. But you don’t! It might be scary for some, especially when you might be afraid of heights, but otherwise, ice climbing is safe, exhilarating, and fun for all ages and body types! Downwind Sports has three locations in the U.P. where they offer ice climbing equipment rentals and guided tours and lessons for first-time ice climbers. They are super helpful and excited to be able to share their love for ice climbing with others. Usually, ice climbing takes place along the Pictured Rocks National Shoreline on Lake Superior, which is stunning during the summer but even more beautiful during the winter. Ice cascades over the sides and creates structures of ice that reflect shades of blue, iridescent opal, or hints of pinks. It’s a beautiful sight to see, and an even better sight once you reach the top of these gorgeous ice structures.

Snowmobiling as a mode of transportation in the U.P.

· Munising Motor Sports

· Munising Snow Mobile Rentals

· Renze Power Sports

· Grand Marais Powersports

· Adventure Centre Arctic Cat

Snowmobiling isn’t a secret in Michigan. But it something that everyone should have the chance to experience. I used to love riding snowmobiles with my dad and brothers, it is my favorite winter pastime and I wish I still had the time to go home, get bundled up, ride the snowmobiles all day with my brothers, maybe pull a sled or two behind the snowmobiles, and then come home to find fresh hot cocoa made by my mom waiting inside. That was the life. Snowmobiling is so exciting and gets the adrenaline pumping. To make it even better have your dad drive the snowmobile while you and your brothers ride on the sled being pulled behind him as you race down hills and hold on for dear life. It’s thrilling.

The U.P. offers an abundance of trails for you and your companions to fly down. During the winter, the U.P. becomes the hub for snowmobile travelers and many trails are overrun with gangs of snowmobile outdoorsmen. The most popular of the trails run along Lake Superior and the Pictured Rocks National Shoreline. Snowmobiling is dangerous though, so please be safe and cautious while you take to the trails this winter.

The festive light shows you have been waiting for.

· Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village – Dearborn

· Big, Bright Light Show – Rochester

· Nite Lites – Michigan National Speedway

· Wild Lights – Detroit Zoo

· The Christmas Lite Show – Grand Rapids

· Zoo Lights – Binder Park Zoo

Kids love Christmas lights, adults love Christmas lights, everyone loves Christmas lights. So, make the holiday season special this year and go out to one of the light shows and experience Christmas in colorful, luminescent lights.

Two of these light shows are unique iterations on zoo life. For most Michigan zoos, they must close down during the winter due to the cold season, but that doesn’t mean they close completely. Instead, they open back up with animated lights that bring Christmas and color to our desolate and barren zoos! It is such a fun experience for kids, adults, and also makes for a great date night too! Make a trip to a light show your yearly winter tradition with your family and friends and bring more magic to your holiday season.

Glamp like you have never glamped before.

· Mount Bohemia

· Pinckney Recreation Area

· Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

· Waterloo Recreation Area

· Muskegon State Park

Now, this is what I call living like a Nomad. Yurts originated from central Asia over 3,000 years ago, and now in 2020, they are all the rage. I stayed in a yurt this past summer and it was awesome, but now I could stay in one this winter?! That’s crazy! Yurts normally can fit up to 8 people situated with bunks and a warm living space, but it also sounds like a great activity to do with just your significant other! Michigan offers a couple of state parks and a resort that has yurts for those willing to try something different! Many of these yurts are situated in the middle of nowhere and are often found by snowshoeing or snowmobiling (others can be found by cars). Take a leap this winter and plan a fun, unique trip to one of these yurt destinations where you can have a long weekend snowshoeing beautiful terrain, sledding on desolate hills, ice fishing frozen ponds, or cross country skiing across gorgeous untouched snow!

I hope that this winter brings you peace, relaxation, and a whole lot of fun! Take a chance on Michigan’s winter and go outside!

*The Polar Express Train will not be happening this year due to Covid, this subject would have been apart of this blog, but it is no longer happening this year*

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