8 Best Michigan Winter Getaways: Romantic Couples Weekend | Family Vacation | Photography and Things to Do in Michigan 

8 Best Michigan Winter Getaways: Romantic Couples Weekend | Family Vacation | Photography and Things to Do in Michigan 

By Sherry Trautman | Travel-MI.com | Last Updated December 15, 2022

Looking for a romantic winter getaways in Michigan for couples? Or maybe a northern Michigan winter vacation for the whole family with the best places to take pictures? 

Keep reading for fun places to visit in Michigan in winter. There's so many fun things to do on these Michigan winter getaways to Midland, Northern Michigan and Frankenmuth! You will see natural springs, breathtaking scenery and lots of natural wonders!  There will be lots of hiking opportunities, great restaurants and quaint hotels. 

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1. Midland Michigan Is One of Our Favorite Michigan Winter Getaways

Midland Michigan offers great photography, skiing, hiking and exploring in the winter. See our top 5 Things to do in Midland Michigan in winter! 

Perfect romantic winter getaway in Michigan for couples or a northern Michigan winter vacation for the whole family.

Walk the Scenic Downtown Midland Tridge

The Tridge, Midland MichiganThe Tridge, Midland Michigan

Explore the Tridge located at 111 W. Main Street, Midland, MI (shown above).

What a Tridge?  The Tridge, located in Midland, Michigan is a three-way wooden footbridge spanning the confluence of the Chippewa and Tittabawassee Rivers. It was constructed with one 31-foot tall central pillar that supports three spokes. Each spoke is 180 feet long by 8 feet wide.

  • There are restrooms at the Tridge
  • It's also a great place to go biking!  You can rent bikes right at the Tridge.

The Chippewa Nature trail also begins at the Tridge (head toward the left leg of the bridge from the entrance) Perfect winter weekend getaways Michigan!

Explore Midland City Forest: Hike, Ski, Toboggan, or Sled 

Midland City Forest: 2840 E Monroe Rd, Midland, MI 48640

If you love cross country skiing, fat bike trails or wooded walking trails, you really need to check out Midland Michigan's City Forest! 

Bring your sled or tube and zip down the designated sledding hill. It's close to the parking lot so you won't need to walk far! And it's free!

If you get chilly, grab a cup of hot chocolate at the chalet below the hill. 

If you love sledding, check out our Top Places to Go Snow Tubing in Michigan!

Stay Warm! I highly recommend a warm neck gaiter like the one I'm wearing in the video above. It's soft, very warm and won't slip off like scarf. 

Grab some skis and get some winter exercise!  I love cross country skiing at Midland City Forest! Perfect for weekend romantic Michigan winter getaways! 

Visit Chippewa Nature Center: Great Winter Photography, Hiking and Skiing

Chippewa Nature Center Address: 400 S Badour Rd, Midland, Michigan

Midland also offers fantastic trails and outside adventures at the Chippewa Nature Center

Try your skills at snowshoeing during a clinic or visit the Homestead Farm featuring an 1870's style farmstead complete with a log cabin, timber frame barn, root cellar, wagon barn and chicken coop. Awesome Michigan winter getaways, right?

I love wandering along the path flanking the river for incredible views and a peaceful walk!  Add Chippewa Nature Center to your winter interesting places in Michigan!

Chippewa Nature Center, Midland, MichiganChippewa Nature Center, Midland, Michigan

Maple syrup season in March is also a fantastic time to visit the Chippewa Nature Center. 

Take a wagon ride to the Sugarhouse to see the process of making maple syrup, try iced maple syrup on a stick (my favorite) and watch an 1870's sap boiling demonstration!

Chippewa Nature Center in Michigan is at the top of our exciting Michigan winter attractions and activities this year! Perfect place for couples and families with children. 

Visit Dow Gardens - It's a Great Romantic Getaway for Couples!

Dow Gardens in Winter - Midland, MichiganDow Gardens in Winter - Midland, Michigan

Dow Gardens Address: 1809 Eastman Ave, Midland, MI 48640

Is Dow Gardens Open in the Winter?

Absolutely!  Wander the cleared trails, get some exercise and photograph the incredible beauty at Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan. Dow Gardens is striking in the winter with it's ponds, bright red bridges and beautiful vistas.

Dow Gardens in Winter - Midland, MichiganDow Gardens in Winter - Midland, Michigan

Explore the Longest Canopy Walk in America at Whiting Forest

Whiting Forest/Dow Gardens - Longest Canopy Walk in AmericaWhiting Forest/Dow Gardens - Longest Canopy Walk in America

Be sure to stop at Whiting Forest (Part of Dow Gardens) to explore the Longest Canopy Walk in America!! It's a great place to visit in the winter for fun things to do!

  • There are a couple miles of wooded, paved hiking trails, a cafe with snacks and incredible pond views!

Where to Eat in Midland Michigan

Cafe Zinc, Midland MichiganCafe Zinc, Midland Michigan

Below are our regular restaurants, we have eaten at them many times so we feel confident recommending them to you:

  • Cafe Zinc (Located inside the H Hotel) Great Saturday/Sunday brunch.
  • Fuji Sushi - super casual, great sushi (I've had the Spicy Hawaii Roll at least 30 times, I love it)
  • Lucky's Steakhouse - Great atmosphere, fantastic lobster and steaks. Great beer menu.

Midland Michigan Restaurants Guide

Midland Michigan Coffee Shops

Where to Stay in Midland, Michigan (Best Midland Hotels) for Your Michigan Winter Getaway

Midland Michigan Hotel MapMidland Michigan Hotel Map
H Hotel, Midland MichiganH Hotel, Midland Michigan

We highly recommend the H Hotel (see location above) as we have stayed here several nights and the rooms, hospitality and quality of the hotel are incredible.  

And the best part?

The H Hotel is located right downtown in the heart of shopping and restaurants. It's about a mile to Dow Gardens and Whiting Forest.  You can see the Tridge from the hotel. 

The Fairfield Inn and Suites is also in a fantastic location near shopping, restaurants, Dow Gardens and Whiting Forest.

2. Explore Michigan's National Forest Scenic Byway in Northern Michigan

If you are looking for romantic winter getaways in Michigan for couples or a northern Michigan winter vacation for the whole family (with great places to take pictures), THIS IS IT. Seriously. And you'll get some exercise!

Discover the River Road National Forest Scenic Byway

Isn't this snowy road gorgeous?!

Interactive Map of Michigan's National Forest Scenic Byway

We created this Michigan National Forest Scenic Byway Interactive Map to help you find your specific stops and aid in planning your Michigan winter getaways. 

Helpful Map Tips:

  • Click on the plus and minus in the left corner to zoom in or out of the map.
  • Click on the icons for more info, addresses and photos of the stops.
  • Click on the map to drag and move it to view surrounding areas.
  • In the Header, click on the rectangle in the upper left of the map to see a menu of all of our stops. Click on anything that looks interesting to see where it is on the map. To hide the menu, click the rectangle in the header. 
  • In the Header, click on the "square" icon in the upper right side to expand the map for better viewing. 

Are you ready to embark on your Michigan winter getaways?  Let's GO!  Be sure to use the map above to reference all our stops!

  • Pack a lunch and drinks as there are no restaurants along the scenic byway
  • Restrooms are all portajohn's, located at each stop. Bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
  • Nearest town is East Tawas for gas, food, hotels and shopping

Westgate Scenic Overlook

Westgate Scenic OverlookWestgate Scenic Overlook

Be sure to stop at the Westgate Scenic Overlook, it's definitely worth it! 

Want to HEAR SOMETHING WEIRD?  Turn the sound up on your device and LISTEN to the video above.  You can actually hear water turning into ice!  (At least that is what a fisherman told me.  It's an odd bubbling/underwater sound).  

Largo Springs Is Breathing from the Top and Bottom!

Largo Springs, Oscoda MichiganLargo Springs, Oscoda Michigan

Largo Springs is a huge surprise!  It's stunning from the top and also from the bottom! 

From this viewpoint, you will be climbing 300 stairs down to be level with the water below. Oh yeah, it's a hike. So even if you can't climb stairs, you can enjoy this view that is level with the parking area.  This is one of our favorite Michigan winter getaways!

Michigan Winter Getways - Largo Springs, Oscoda, MichiganMichigan Winter Getways - Largo Springs, Oscoda, Michigan

And this is the view from the bottom!  Largo Springs is absolutely stunning during the winter. 

It's perfect for:

  • Hiking
  • Photography
  • Sketching
  • Relaxation and Stress Relief (I mean, look at this view!)
  • Exercise

There are two springs, see if you can find them!  I feel like I'm in a fairy world as you can hear trickling and flowing water all around you.  There are about 10 boardwalks to explore with three leading to breathtaking lookouts.  

  • There are two portajohns located near the stairs and parking area. Bring tissue with you just in case. 
  • There isn't any food/drinks in the area so be sure to pack any necessary items.
  • Visiting is free

Lumberman's Monument-Perfect For Winter Weekend Getaways in Michigan

Lumberman's Monument is a fantastic spot for hiking, sightseeing, learning about history, photography and enjoying nature. It's also perfect for winter weekend getaways in Michigan.

The monument you see above (per the sign at the base) was "erected to perpetuate the memory of the pioneer lumberman of Michigan through whose labors was made possible the development of the prairie states."

You can see why this is one of the best winter getaways in Michigan so far?

This is the incredible view from the parking level of Lumberman's Monument. 

Things to do at Lumberman's Monument:

  • Photography
  • Hiking
  • Visit the Visitor Center and Shop
  • Camping
  • Exploring
  • Learning about history

There are restrooms in the Visitor Center but in the winter there are portajohns to use.

You can also climb down (and back up!) about 300 stairs to the water level below via a series of boardwalks.  It's a lovely view from both the top and bottom!

Highbanks Hiking and Ski Trail is also available to explore right from Lumberman's Monument.

Also check out the:

  • Cooke Dam (See map above)
  • Foote Pond Overlook (See map above)

Where to Stay 

Oscoda and Tawas Michigan are close to this incredible Michigan scenic byway.

AmericaInn by Wyndham Oscoda -This hotel has an indoor pool and is near the Ausable River. We love that they offer a full hot breakfast!

Huron House Bed and Breakfast - Quaint, modernly appointed rooms, some with fireplaces, is a very romantic getaway for couples. Enjoy walking along the beach if the weather permits or cozy up by the fire place.

3. So Many Fun Things To Do Rochester in December!

Big Bright Light Show in Rochester, MiBig Bright Light Show in Rochester, Mi

Are you looking for romantic winter getaways in Michigan? How about visiting Rochester Hills!  We are planning this trip in early December.

1. Stay at the very romantic Royal Park Hotel located at 600 E. University Drive, Rochester, Michigan with luxurious, spacious rooms.  My friend Lori and her husband love staying at this hotel all year round to bike their trails and explore the area.

2. Walk hand in hand through the Kris Kringle Market in Rochester Hills. This two day event is usually held the first weekend in December. See updated dates on our December Events page.  The lovely market is located on West Fourth St. between Main & Walnut. The market was inspired by the 700-year old tradition of the open-air Christmas markets throughout Europe. Lots of great shopping, specialty foods, fresh greens & wreaths and handcrafted gifts for the holiday!  See more Fantastic Michigan Christmas Markets

3. Wander the Glen Lore Trails Aurora, a lovely one mile outdoor path through an illuminated forest.  How romantic is that!  Located at 3860 Newton Road, Commerce Township, MI.  Get your tickets online and the lighted path begins around the last week of November and goes through early January.

It's 23 miles from the Royal Park hotel but if you put on some Christmas music, bask in your seat heat and sing the entire way, you will enjoy the drive!

4. See the Big Bright Light Show in Rochester, Mi!  This show is spectacular! Starts at 5:00 p.m. 308 1/2 Main Street, Rochester, Michigan and is on display throughout December. The buildings of Main Street are aglow with over 1 million “big, bright” lights.  You will love it!

5. Tour Michigan's Largest Historic Home, the incredible Meadow Brook Hall, previously owned by Matilda Dodge Wilson (you know, like the vehicle!).  Each winter, Chris and I love attending their Winter Wonder Lights and Holiday Walk.  Plus, just wait until you read the fascinating history of Meadow Brook Hall!

6. Grab our Christmas in Rochester Guide! It includes a map and several fun things to do, all in one day! 

We love winter weekend getaways in Michigan!

4. Visit Frankenmuth in Winter! (It's Fun All Year Round!!)

Explore Frankenmuth, Michigan in Winter!

There are so many things to see and do during the winter in Frankenmuth.  Check out our list of winter fun in Frankenmuth!

Don't leave Frankenmuth off your list for winter interesting places in Michigan.

Frankenmuth in Winter by Travel-Mi.comFrankenmuth in Winter by Travel-Mi.com

The views of the covered bridge are incredible!

Want to stay warm?  Stay at Zehnder's Splash Village to enjoy a fantastic waterpark!

The Frankenmuth Visitors Center has lots of ideas too!

5. Michigan Ski Resort are Incredible Michigan Winter Getaways

Seriously guys, I never thought of Michigan Ski Resorts as fun Michigan winter getaways until researching the Best Michigan Ski Resorts for an upcoming trip. It wasn't until then that I realized just how incredible they are! 

Depending on the Michigan ski resort, you can go:

  • Downhill skiing (Don't know how? Take classes together!)
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Tubing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Enjoy a winter sleigh ride
  • Sit in the hot tub and relax
  • Get pampered at their spa
  • Go swimming
  • Work out
  • Enjoy incredible dinners at in-house restaurants
  • Book a romantic cottage, chalet, or other fun accommodations

So check out the Best Ski Resorts in Michigan! You will have a great time!

Oh, and if you love skiing, you will have a BLAST snow tubing too! Check out the Best Places To Go Snow Tubing in Michigan!

6. See the Incredible Eben Ice Caves and Stay in a Cozy Hotel in Munising Michigan!

So guys, you just HAVE to see the incredible Eben Ice Caves near Munising Michigan. We just went up to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for 3 days to hike, photograph, eat and relax. It was freakin' awesome.

--->Read All About Our Eben Ice Cave Adventure! (Maps, trailhead, where to stay...)

7. Looking for Romantic Michigan Winter Getaways? The Hotel Walloon is Perfect for Weekend Getaways

Where: 4127 N M-75 | Walloon Lake, MI 49796

Check out the Hotel Walloon's Romantic Getaway Packages! They were named the the 2022 Best Romantic Weekend Getaway in Michigan by Thrillist!

Hotel Walloon is a perfect romantic winter weekend getaway! Enjoy chilled sparkling wine, a decadent chocolate assortment, flameless tealight candles, a bouquet of fresh flowers, and scattered rose petals in your room. You can also book a romantic and intimate dinner at the historic Walloon Lake Inn and order breakfast in bed! 

Hotel Walloon is also very close to Petoskey's wineries and downtown Petoskey for activities and restaurants.  So perfect for romantic winter getaways in Michigan!


8. Book Weekend Michigan Getaways At the Luxurious Delamare Hotel In Traverse City! 

Where: 615 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49686 : Hotels Traverse City MI

If you are looking for a lovely warm hotel getaway, Chris and I love the Delamar Hotel in Traverse City. We have personally stayed there twice and love it.  The Delamar Hotel is situated RIGHT ON the West Arm of the Grand Traverse Bay, so you can enjoy a glass of wine while watching the crashing waves just steps from your room!  Seriously, how perfect is this for romantic Michigan winter getaways?

There is an indoor pool, coffee shop, outstanding restaurant, gym and lounge areas for a perfect warm indoor Michigan winter getaway. Plus, there are so many things to do in Traverse City!

I'm not kidding when I say my meals at the Artisan Waterfront Restaurant located inside the Delamar hotel were some of the best I have ever had. 

Read my overall review on our Best Traverse City Michigan Hotels page.

More Michigan Winter Getaway Ideas

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Ever had a Poofy Pop? I love wandering through old timey candy stores like St. Laurent's in Bay City. They have tons of candy, nuts and ice cream! I used to work in downtown Bay City and we would walk to the candy shop to get gifts and treats on our breaks.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Since the weather is pretty unattractive right now (misty gray sky and barely any snow), I thought a happy candy pic would cheer you up!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #candyshop #baycity #candy #candytopia #poofypop #marshmallowtreats #candytopia #nastalgic #nastalgia #baycitymichigan #Michigan #puremichigan #michigantravel #greatlakesstate #michiganstate #travelingmichigan #greatlakesstateofmind #puremittenpride #lovemichigan #michiganders #exploremichigan #puremittigan #northernmichigan #greatlakesstate #greatlakeslocals

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "Travel-mi.com." A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of Travel-MI.com. This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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