Winter in Michigan Bucketlist – Try Something New in 2022!

It’s no surprise that Michigan is full of wonders and beautiful waters. However, winter in Michigan has no shortage of amazing activities and endless opportunities to wander and explore. Let’s get out and make the most of the season!

  • Sleigh Rides
  • Dog Sledding
  • Skiing
  • Ice Skating
  • Sledding
  • Beaches
  • Snowmobile
  • Indoor Waterparks

Sleigh Rides

Thunder Bay Resort – Hillman

Begin your journey by boarding a horse drawn sleigh or carriage, lead by magnificent draft horses. To literally, be whisked “over the river and through the woods” to view Rocky Mountain elk in their natural habitat.

After the unforgettable ride, a delicious five-course gourmet dinner is served in the Elk Antler Cabin. Warm up by the cozy fire with enchanting aromas, experience up to six different wines and enjoy entertaining stories from your hosts. 

*Thunder Bay Resort’s award-winning, elk viewing, horse-drawn sleigh or carriage ride, gourmet dinner & wine tasting event is a “real-life fairy tale” and was declared by USA Today and Fox News Online as a “Top 10” Event! *

Cook’s Family Farm – Gaylord

Cooks Family Farm offers 40-minute private horse drawn sleigh rides through “God’s country.” After the magical ride, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies.

Mackinac Island Taxi – Mackinac Island

Whether it’s a quick trip down the street or further, horse-drawn taxi cabs are radio dispatched and available year-round. During the winter season, November through April, taxi’s hours are 8am – 5pm. Call the taxi dispatch office to request taxi service.
If a taxi is needed after 5pm a reservation must be made no later than 4pm of the day it is needed. If a taxi is needed before 8am reservations must be made the day prior. Taxi drivers are able to accept cash only. ATM’s are available at the taxi stand and at the Mackinac Island banks.

Fantasy Carriage Company – Frankenmuth

Enjoy a “fantasy” horse-drawn carriage ride back in time, through the decorated streets of historic Frankenmuth. Starting just south of Zehnder’s Restaurant parking lot, tours include historical sites as well as Main Street attractions.

During the Christmas Season, carriages are draped with garland and twinkling lights. While sitting on the crushed velvet seats of a Vis-à-vis enjoy holiday themed music along with the horse’s jingling sleigh bells.

Before the ride, you can get photos with the carriage, upon your return the prints will be ready to view and purchase. If you fancy, there are also Souvenir Blankets and Hot chocolate, available for purchase to enjoy during your ride.

Dog Sledding

Shemhadar Kennel – Cadillac

Sled rides are completely booked for the 2021/2022 season, but Dog Sled Adventure Kennel Tours are still available. Riding the sled is not included with the tour, but an opportunity to learn about dog sledding and play with sled dogs, maybe even some puppies! Although the full sledding adventures are booked, there is an option add a One Dog Children’s Ride onto your tour.

Family fun run rides are 2-3 miles long, through the fields and beautiful woods, for a taste of dog sledding. Each tour package includes cookies, cocoa, and an abundance of barking! 

Nature’s Kennel – McMillan

Ready to go mushing? Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the premier dog sledding destination. At Nature’s Kennel, trips are fully guided, with the option for guests over the age of 10 to drive their own team, or you may ride in a sled driven by a guide, if desired. Reservations are available this winter season.

Dog Sled team at Nature's Kennel
Dog Sled team at Nature’s Kennel


Snow Snake Ski And Golf – Harrison

This one has a special place in my heart as it is where I first learned to ski 24 years ago! Snow Snake is worth the trip for a day of  sledding, skiing and snowboarding.

Snow Snake Ski & Golf provides facilities ski lodge, snowmaking, ski school lesson center, rental shop equipment, Terrain Park and snow tubing. The Snow Snake Ski Patrol provides ski boarding safety services like emergency care, safety education and first aid treatment to the injured.

Winter Lift Packages are available at The Doherty Hotel which include ski lift passes and overnight accommodations in Clare.

Boyne Mountain Resort – Boyne Falls

A winter visit to Boyne Mountain Resort presents snow sports galore. From 60 trails of downhill skiing, cross country skiing, as well as exclusive snowshoe trails, horse-drawn sleigh rides, tubing, ice skating, fat tire biking in the snow, and even the option ride in a groomer.

This family-owned resort also offers year round attractions which include Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, Avalanche Bay. A luxurious 19,500 sq. ft. Spa, lodging, dining and Ziplining Adventure!

Summer attractions include two golf courses, a mountain disc golf course, mountain biking, Segway Tours, tennis, hiking, chairlift rides, fishing, hayrides, movie nights, and so much more.

Treetops Resort – Gaylord

When you’re ready for a northern Michigan skiing adventure visit Treetops ski resort. A family fun resort with more winter activities than I can shake a ski at. Stay in comfortable lodging, enjoy the deluxe spa, and dining – you won’t need to leave!

Treetops cool offerings include skiing and extreme tubing, as well as dog sledding and sleigh rides. You wouldn’t want to miss the famous Skiable Feast. With comfortable lodging, a deluxe spa, and dining, you won’t need to leave!

Crystal Mountain – Thompsonville

Crystal Mountain is a winter wonderland adventure with 58 downhill trails. A place to explore and connect. Breathe in the fresh are and cruise on a Fat Tire Bike, strap on some snowshoes, ride a Horse Drawn Surrey and create memories to last a lifetime.

With one-of-a-kind attractions and accommodations, like the park at Michigan Legacy Art Park and Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide. Crystal Mountain is as attractive during the summer and fall, as it is when the lifts are running, and the hills are covered in snow.

Ice Skating

Greenfield Village – Dearborn

A heartwarming holiday celebration with more than 80 acres of historic village to explore. Enjoy an evening of favorite family traditions, in an after-hours Greenfield Village event. Filled with historic vehicles, horse-drawn carriages, glimmering holiday goods, food and beverages, live music and the finest details.

Warm up beside the wood fire and listen to Christmas tales, take a ride on the carousel and then take some ice skates for a spin. Each enchanting evening is complete with a firework filled sky!

Island Park – Mt. Pleasant

Over Winter 2022, Island Park in Mt. Pleasant will see an exciting addition, an outdoor skating rink! For the first time in decades, skaters can bring their own skates and enjoy the new outdoor facility.

The rink building is currently in process, to hopefully open next month when there are five consecutive days with the temperature in the 20’s. Then the ice will be ready to ride!

Campus Martius Park – Detroit

In the heart of downtown Detroit, Campus Martius Park opens a seasonal outdoor ice skating rink with skate rentals and the most beautiful back drop. Ice skating is open until March 6, 2022.

Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink – Grand Rapids

Rosa Parks Circle in the heart of Grand Rapids transforms into an ice rink in the winter. It is currently under construction and closed for the season. For those looking to explore this favorite winter past time, admission will include your skate or you may bring your own. The rink hours are weather dependent, call ahead for up-to-date info.


City Forest – Midland

During the winter, the gem of City Forest are the toboggan runs. Let one of the last remaining toboggan runs in Michigan, become your new favorite winter pastime.

Each of the two towers feature two snow-packed, iced and elevated toboggan runs. Toboggans are rented per hour with a two-hour maximum, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Deerfield Nature Park – Mt. Pleasant

Sled, cross-country ski, walk or bike the trails along the banks of the Chippewa River at Deerfield Nature Park. Play a round of disc golf, go fishing, play Horseshoe, swim or bring along your camping gear for a rustic camping experience. This 591 acre park, is also home to a covered bridge and two swinging bridges, an artesian well, as well as picnic areas and covered pavilions.

Woodland Park – Ithaca

Tucked away in a woodsy setting is Woodland Park, a great place to enjoy some peace and quiet in nature. There are groomed trails for taking a walk through the trees, plenty of picnic areas and a large wooded Playscape structure.

Woodland Park stays busy in the winter, as it host’s Gratiot County’s only sledding hill. A band stage is located in the center of the park for music activities throughout the summer.


Little Traverse Bay – Petoskey

There is no doubt, the Little Traverse Bay is great for watching the sunset and where else is better to collect rocks, especially Michigan’s State Stone – Petoskey!

Along Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay, Bayfront Park boasts 7800 feet of public shoreline. The park features various facilities and amenities, easily accessed to/from downtown Petoskey via a pedestrian tunnel.

Lake Huron – Mackinaw City

Mother Nature likes to make the Great Lakes even greater by turning the beach into a scene from Disney’s Frozen with mountains of Blue Ice. The giant shards have bright blue tint to the ice, a rare phenomenon with happens when ice forms by selective absorption by water and ice in the red/yellow part of the color spectrum.


Boyne Recreation – Boyne Falls

Rent a snowmobile and enjoy a self guided trips through the spectacular Jordan River Valley. Great for beginners and advanced riders. Tours options include a 25 mile or 45 mile tour, as well as rentals for snowmobile helmets, insulated boots, snowmobile suits, and fuel. Located next to Boyne Mountain Resort.

Mackinac Island

On Mackinac Island, snowmobiles are the main form of transportation in the winter. Snowmobile rental is not available on the island and visitors are not permitted to bring snowmobiles on the ferries. Many snowmobilers come to Mackinac Island via the Ice Bridge from St. Ignace.

Please contact the U.S. Coast Guard Station in St. Ignace about traveling on the ice in the Straits of Mackinac and use extreme caution. Once you are on Mackinac Island, get a city license and ride around town.

Snowmobile Festival – Gaylord

A snowmobiler’s paradise, the city of Gaylord is situated in the middle of a 500 mile snowmobile network crossing eight counties. Jump on the popular Trail #7, which runs straight up the middle of Michigan into the Upper Peninsula. Take trail #4 westward and meander through the quaint communities of East Jordan and Mancelona. To the east, trails lead to Johannesburg and Lewiston then zigzag north to Millersburg and Onaway

If you’re hauling your sled to the trail, park your truck and/or trailer at one of our staging areas, to begin your ride. The Michigan Snowmobile Festival is scheduled for February 25-26, 2022 with two fun-filled days of scenic trail riding, along with live music, dancing, delicious food, and cash prize drawings.

Indoor Waterpark

Zehnders Splash Village – Frankenmuth

Enjoy 50,000 square feet of aquatic fun, with two distinct waterparks, hotel and arcade, there is something for everyone at Zehnder’s Splash Village! The outdoor family pool area, includes concessions and locker rooms. The Atrium Waterpark features include a 6-story raft ride and 6-story speed slide, action river, zero entry pool, water basketball, private cabanas, a family hot tub and so much more.

Great Wolf Lodge – Traverse City

No matter the weather, Great Wolf Lodge keeps the waterpark flowing 365 days per year. Splash, swim, slide and create memories of a lifetime. With bowling, arcade games, mini golf, adventure game, yoga and arts & crafts and more. Kids will stay entertained all day, and each evening includes a dance party and story time.

Double JJ Resort – Rothbury

The Double JJ Resort is the perfect place to unplug, find your escape at this rustic, ranch-style resort. Surrounded by orchards and spans over 2,000 acres of forest. Overnight guests can enjoy nature trails, indoor and outdoor waterparks, two golf courses, equestrian activities, indoor glow mini-golf, snow tubing hill, and free shuttle service.

At the historic “Old West Town” you’ll find simple, rustic log homes, cabins, and campsites. As well as a General Store, old-time photo studio, campfire and outdoor waterpark. Ride horseback to the resort’s cookout site, for a meal prepared over the fire, by real cowboys and learn what it’s takes to herd live cattle.

Soaring Eagle Waterpark – Mt. Pleasant

Soaring Eagle Waterpark and Hotel hosts a 45,000 square foot indoor waterpark, arcade, restaurant, executive golf course, pro shop, and RV Park. A gift shop, pool, sauna, steam room, and hot tub is also on site, and the hotel’s courtyard features a fire pit, water feature, play structure and putting green. Waterpark guests can enjoy a half or full day pass. Read about visiting Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort.

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