Your first instinct may be to spend Michigan’s frosty winter months bundled up indoors, but there is fun to be had if you’re willing to brave the cold. A variety of exciting outdoor winter activities are yours for the taking all across the state.
Strap on your skis! Featuring 114 downhill runs across two mountains, Boyne Mountain accommodates all levels of skiers and snowboarders from beginning to advanced. There are many lifts, including a six-person high-speed chairlift to help visitors get the most out of their days. Visitors can also participate in cross-country skiing, snow tubing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling and ice skating on frozen ponds. Skiing and snowboarding lessons are available, as are equipment rentals.
One Boyne Mountain Road, Boyne Falls, MI 49713; Hours: 9am-9pm during winter months; Admission: Varies, ranging from $42-$62 – Adult and $31-$45– Child for ski lift tickets, Children 8 and under are free.
Cancel that flight to Alaska, you can drive your own Iditarod dog sled team right here in Michigan at Nature’s Kennel. When you sign up for a half-day, full-day or overnight adventure, you’ll receive a kennel tour with a chance to hold the puppies, brief instruction, and the opportunity to drive the sled ten, twenty, or over thirty miles. If you prefer, you can choose to be a rider rather than drive. Either way, you’ll be under the care of their experienced guides.
McMillan, MI, 49853; Open December through March by reservation; Admission: $75 – $950.
Whether or not you know what a triple lutz is, you’ll enjoy skating at the Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink. This beautiful outdoor skating rink in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids features 166 fiber-optic lights that shine through the ice like twinkling stars. Skate rental is available, and as you skate you’ll enjoy popular music playing over the speakers.
30 Coldbrook NE, Grand Rapids, MI; Hours: Open from late November through March. Skates available Monday & Tuesday 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM, Wednesday & Thursday Noon to 9:30 PM, Friday & Saturday Noon to 10:00 PM, Sunday Noon to 9:30 PM; Admission: $1.
Michigan’s longest Rail-To-Trail State Park stretches over 92 miles from Comstock Park to Cadillac. Snowmobiling is permitted from Russell Road to Cadillac when there are more than four inches of snow on the ground. Hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers and snow-shoers are welcome anytime. Visitors will witness the best Mother Nature has to offer as they pass forests, farm fields, ponds and streams.
6093 M-115, Cadillac, MI 49601; Hours: Always open; Admission: Free.
Ski Brule is primarily a ski resort, but for a family-friendly adventure, you can visit the Whitewater Trail tubing park. If you enjoy sledding, snow tubing is for you! Just sit on the inner tube, hook onto the tow line that will bring you to the top of the hill and then go soaring down to the bottom of the hill, where you can do it all over again.
397 Brule Mountain Road, Iron River, MI, 49935; Hours: Mondays 5pm-7pm, Friday through Sunday, 1pm-3pm and during the Holidays; Admission: $5 for 5 runs.
Score a perfect ten when the seasonal, outdoor ice rink opens on the north lawn of downtown Detroit’s Campus Martius Park. Skaters will enjoy the chance to execute their twirls and spins right in the heart of the city. During the holiday season, a 60 foot Holiday Tree tops the Woodward Fountain beside the rink. Free wi-fi is available at the park.
One Campus Martius, Detroit, MI 48226; Hours: Monday – Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday 11am-12am, Saturday 10am-11pm, Sunday 12pm-8pm, November through March; Admission: $7 – Adult, $6 – Child, $3 – Skate rental.