Top 22 Things To Do In Michigan In Winter: Indoor and Outdoor Fun Winter Activities, Fun Things To Do in the Snow, Jaw-Dropping Places To Visit, Awesome Attractions (See Ice Caves!)

Things to do in Michigan in WinterThings to do in Michigan in Winter


Top 22 Things To Do In Michigan In Winter: Indoor and Outdoor Fun Winter Activities, Jaw-Dropping Places To Visit, Awesome Attractions | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

Michigan winters rock!  There are so many fun winter activities in Michigan, places to visit in Michigan in winter and fun things to do in the snow! We even have a few romantic things to do in Michigan in the winter.

Keep reading...

Let's go on horse drawn sleigh rides, try our skills with dog sledding, attend a few fun winter ice carving festivals and explore ice caves! We can visit exciting aquariums, play with Legos and watch adventure filled movies for warm indoor winter activities! 

Ann Arbor, Detroit, Auburn Hills, Flint, Grand Rapids are geared up for winter activities in Michigan! So many things to do in Michigan in winter!


Check Out Local Michigan Winter Events and Festivals this January and February!

There are so many things to do in Michigan in winter, check out all the January and February events, ice festivals, beer festivals and fun! There's lot of fun things to do in the snow!

Have You Tried Michigan Dog Sledding?

Dog SleddingDog Sledding

Are you looking for fun things to do in the snow this Michigan winter?

Have you wondered...Where can I dog sled in Michigan? Where is the best dog sledding? We've got you!

By the way, book early (like November) to make sure you can go before they are booked for the season.  Dog sledding will be one of your favorite things to do in Michigan in winter!


We created this Michigan Dog Sledding Interactive Map to help aid in planning your trip. It's so hard to know where locations are without a map!

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. 


Shemhadar Dog Sled Adventures - 1826 Schuss Mountain Ln, Mancelona, MI. Shemhadar Kennels is a great place to learn about dog sledding and see the dog kennels!  This Michigan dog sledding adventure is located 1 1/2 hours north of Grand Rapids and about 3 hours from Detroit. Check out their "Musher Experience." Such fun things to do in the the snow with your whole family!

These Michigan dog sled adventures glide through 80 acres of beautiful woods and fields.  Your visit will be for 1 to 4 hours (depending on the package you choose) of learning, riding and sharing in the sled dog adventure.  Rides are 2-3 miles long and include cookies and cocoa!  There are Kennel Tours also.  

Sled loads accommodate the following:

  • 1 adult 
  • 1 adult and 1 child or
  • 3 small children

Nature's Kennel Sled Dog Racing and Adventures - McMillan, MI.  Great place to learn about dog sledding!! Nature's Kennel offers 10 mile, 20 mile or several day trips.  The day trips take place seven days a week and will need to call to schedule. It's one of the most fun things to do in winter!


Husky Haven Kennels - E17769 Nugent Lake Ln, Shingleton, Michigan.  The Husky Haven Kennels dog sled tours begin with a kennel tour, talk about the history of dog-sledding, an instruction on how to handle the team and sled on a run. The distance is 8-10 miles with the instructor/team.

When you get back, you will enjoy a snack, give water to the sled dogs and put them back in the yard!  Then it's time for hot chocolate and cookies while seeing the fun photos taken during the dog sledding adventure. Total time is approximately 3-4 hours. This is one of our favorite places to visit for things to do in Michigan in winter.


Treetops - (Book very early, they are usually booked by December) A separate time slot must be booked for each “sled load.” To accommodate families, it is recommended that you reserve time slots that are back to back.  Rides are up to 2 miles and are about 10 minutes in duration. Such fun things to do in the the snow with your whole family!

A “sled load” consists of the following: 

  • 1 adult under 200 lbs.
  • 1 adult and 1 child under 200 lbs.
  • 2 children under 200 lbs.

Michigan Dog Sledding in on my list for this winter. I can't wait to try it!

  • Also, be sure to check out the UP200 sled dog races held in Marquette, Michigan every winter. Generally occurring in February (updates here), the UP 200, Midnight Run and Jack Pine 30 are incredible Upper Peninsula Michigan events!

READ MORE about Michigan Dog Sledding!


Stay Warm, Try These Handwarmers! We think these Electric Portable Pocket Hand Warmers are perfect for sitting in a sled and keeping your hands warm!

See the Marquette Dog Sled Races!

  • Be sure to check out the UP200 sled dog races held in Marquette, Michigan every winter. Generally occurring in February (updates here), the UP 200, Midnight Run and Jack Pine 30 are incredible Upper Peninsula Michigan events! Be sure to add it to your list of things to do in Michigan in winter!

Where to Stay in Marquette, Michigan

We recommend:

Events, Festivals and Things to Do in Michigan in January and February

  • See our up to date January and February Michigan events calendars for fun things to do near you this weekend! 

Romantic Things To Do in Michigan in the Winter: Michigan Sleigh Rides!

Horse Drawn Sleigh RidesHorse Drawn Sleigh Rides

We created this Michigan Sleigh Rides Interactive Map to help aid in planning your trip. It's so hard to know where locations are without a map! So many fun things to do in Michigan in winter!

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. 

Michigan horse drawn sleigh rides are so popular as it's a perfect romantic thing to do in the winter and it's also a fantastic family event!  Michigan sleigh rides are not just for Christmas, they can be enjoyed through March, weather dependent, of course.

You can enjoy Michigan sleigh rides in Northern Michigan, Gaylord, Traverse City, Frankenmuth and throughout the state! See our interactive map above!  One of our favorite things to do in Michigan in winter!

Fantail Farm Wagon & Sleigh Rides - 4700 Wallaker Rd, Benzonia, MI, Sold as group rides, not by the seat.  Your group will be in a sleigh/wagon to yourself. These Michigan sleigh rides are 45-55 minutes in length, through the woods and fields of their 120 acre farm. You might see lots of winter critters along your journey so keep a look out!  Such fun things to do in the snow for the whole family!

Sleighman - Horseback & Sleigh Rides -  2115 Olmsted Ln, Ishpeming, MI,  Hop aboard a one hour private horse drawn sleigh ride with two Norwegian Fjord Horses for up to six people for a set rate.  What a fun thing to do in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in Winter! Perfect romantic sleigh rides in Michigan...hint, hint, great Valentine's Day gift!

Antler Ridge Farms-  6259 M-72, Williamsburg, MI, It's so fun to go on a sleigh ride in fresh falling snow!  Come out and enjoy an old fashioned sleigh ride through the woods for a great bonfire, hot chocolate and gooey marshmallows to roast. You will be pulled by two grand Percheron Draft Horses. Super fun activities to do in winter!

Fantasy Carriage Company and Frankenmuth Carriage Company - Frankenmuth, MI, Not a sleigh ride, but these lovely horse drawn carriages are a fun experience in the falling snow in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Frankenmuth is one of our favorite places to visit for things to do in Michigan in winter.

Black Horse Farm - 11177 S Plowman Rd, Empire, Michigan. Enjoy a sleigh ride through the wooded hilly terrain of the Black Horse Farm. Each Michigan sleigh ride is about an hour with a stop mid-way at a warming house for hot chocolate. The sleighs can carry up to 12 people so bring all of your loved ones. There are several scenic lookouts over Glen Lake and Lake Michigan. Awesome place for a Michigan horse drawn sleigh ride!  

Wild West Ranch - 1861 52nd St, Fennville, MI, Come out for a sleigh ride for a mini winter getaway in Michigan!  Bundle up and have some fun on horse drawn sleigh rides through the woods! Rides are 40 minutes long and are quite scenic.

Common Gentry Carriage Co - 3665 15 Mile Rd NW, Kent City, Michigan. Create unforgettable memories on Common Gentry Carriage Co's  classic winter sleigh rides! It's a treasure to hear the sound of German sleigh bells ringing across the countryside, while you sit cuddled up with your loved one on their 1800's horse drawn sleigh. 

Pond House Ponies - 2115 Olmsted Ln, Ishpeming, MI 49849 Horseback, Carriage, Sleigh Rides. Fun things to do in Michigan in winter!

Cook Family Farm - 4282 Hayes Tower Rd, Gaylord, MI 49735 Enjoy a gorgeous horse drawn sleigh ride through God’s country! Sleigh rides are approximately 40 minute with hot chocolate and cookies afterward.  Add these sleigh rides to your list of romantic things to do in Michigan in the winter!

Ranch Rudolf Inc - 6841 Brown Bridge Road, Traverse City, MI, Ranch Rudolf offers horse-drawn sleigh rides from December to late February! Their beautiful Belgian horses, Prince and Monte, will take you for a scenic ride through the Boardman River Valley. The ride itself takes approximately 45 minutes. Sleigh rides are popular activities to do in winter!

Fruit Ridge Hayrides - 11966 Fruit Ridge NW, Kent City, MI, Can you hear those sleigh bells jingling? Enjoy the winter wonderland on a snowy sleigh ride and later, get warmed up around a toasty campfire. Rides are approximately one hour in duration and may be combined with a one hour campfire, either before or after the ride. One of our favorite things to do in Michigan in winter!

Thunder Bay Resort27800 M 32 Hillman, Michigan. See elk from a horse drawn carriage or sleigh lead by massive draft horses!  You will be literally be whisked "over the river and through the woods" to the resorts elk preserve to see majestic Rocky Mountain elk.  Perfect winter activities for adults and kids!


Michigan Winter Rafting is Incredible! Adventurous Things to do in Michigan in Winter!

Jordan Valley Outfitters Winter Rafting in MichiganJordan Valley Outfitters Winter Rafting in Michigan

Jordan Valley Outfitters (Located in Charlevoix) is a great company that offers winter rafting! I had an absolute blast rafting down the river with them last winter. Each raft has a guide that steers the boat from the back of the raft so you don't have to worry about navigating.  

You will stop half way for delicious hot chocolate, hot apple cider and a small snack for a chance to rest and stretch your legs.

Perfect for families and couples. Plus, you can join another group if you are traveling solo...that's what I did.  Definitely one of my favorite things to do in Michigan in winter!  

I'd suggest waiting until snow is in the forecast as this rafting trip is so scenic when the banks are snow covered!  Perfect outdoor winter activities for adults and kids!


What to Wear Winter Rafting

What to Wear Winter Rafting: 


Visit Mackinac City This Winter!

Have you ever thought of visiting Mackinac City in the winter?  If you aren't a fan of crowds, visiting this iconic city in the winter may be perfect for you.  

The scenery is gorgeous and the hotels are cheaper.  This is one of our favorite things to do in Michigan in winter!

Plus...

You may get to see Mackinac City's breathtaking blue ice shown in our photo above. 



Explore Grand Rapids in Winter

1. Visit Blandford Nature Center - 1715 Hillburn Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Spend time in nature by hiking the trails or renting snow shoes. This is one of our favorite places to visit for things to do in Michigan in winter. 

2. World of Winter Festival in downtown Grand Rapids - January 7, 2021 through March 6, 2021. See art installations and performances, play games, take walking tours and more, all FREE! Check their website for performance programs and info.

3.Go ice skating at the Rosa Parks Circle Ice Skating Rink! Location: Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids. $2 ice skate rentals! Super cheap and fun family activity in winter!  All skate times must be reserved in advance, so check their website for details. Ice skating is one of Chris' favorite things to do in Michigan in winter!


Best Things to Do in Frankenmuth in Winter


We look forward Zehnder's Snowfest every year!  I think it's probably the highlight of our month as we love to dine on Frankenmuth's famous chicken dinners, explore the town and check out the insane snow sculptures!

This is one of our favorite things to do in Michigan in winter with kids! It's also perfect for a romantic winter getaway for couples! 


Discover The Eben Ice Caves! See Our Map of the Caves, Where to Stay and Directions

We created this Eben Ice Caves Interactive Map to help aid in planning your trip. It's so hard to know where locations are without a map! This is one of our favorite places to visit for things to do in Michigan in winter.

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. 

Trailhead Location: Frey Rd, Deerton, MI 49822

Directions to Eben Ice Caves. From Eben Junction, take 365 north to 388 east which turns into Frey Road and dead ends. 

Know before you go: During your first visit, pay close attention to signs as the path may be covered. Take note, please respectful of this area as it is on private property. The owners allow visitors but again, it's at their discretion so lets stay on the trail. 

It is a strenuous, slippery climb for the last .1 to .25 miles

To get to the Eben Ice Cave, you drive down a dirt road near a farm and park your vehicle. Put on some yaktrax or ice cleats over your boot bottoms for traction (strongly recommended). Follow the trail through the forest and look for the interesting tree that looks like skulls!  There will be rather steep icy climbs until you discover the incredible ice cave.

What to Wear


It's Best to Wear Ice Cleats - Crampons 

Why ice cleats?  Well...here's the deal.  If you are walking through several inches of snow along an icy shoreline or in icy caves, snow covers the ice.  You won't even know it's there until you "find it."  After slipping several times during a long winter hike in 1 foot of snow along a Lake Huron path in Tawas, I invested in a good pair.  The cheap ones fall off.  I know this because I lost one after it kept falling off. You can't find it in deep fresh falling snow. 


Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System from REI

These Kahtoola ice cleats have twelve 3/8 in. stainless-steel spikes, reinforced eyelets for durability and elastomer harnesses.  Heel tabs for easy on / off. 

What's Cool?  These ice cleats were mentioned in the Backpacker magazine Gear Hall of Fame in 2017!


Extremus 23-Spike Ice Cleats, Crampons for Men or Women - Budget Pricing

What I like about these ice cleats is the strap across the top to keep them firmly in place. A cheaper pair that I have falls off so these will stay on while ice fishing, hiking, walking and exploring.

Each foot also has 23 individual stainless-steel cleats that are positioned perfectly on the heal and fore foot. These cleats will give you incredible confidence while walking or hiking so you can avoid serious injuries from falling.


Where to Stay in Eben Junction

We highly recommend staying in Munising which is 20 miles (24 minutes) from the Eben Ice Caves. 

AmericInn by Wyndham Wetmore Munising


We have stayed at the AmericInn a couple times as it is in a good location for the falls, restaurants and beaches.  I liked that the bedrooms were separate with a closing door that blocked hall noises while sleeping. We utilized the nice pool and hot tub too.


Holiday Inn Express Munising - Lakeview

This pretty Munising Hotel has a fantastic breakfast, wonderful views of the Grand Island Harbor Bay and very nicely furnished rooms. You will definitely enjoy your stay in this Holiday Inn Express in Munising.


Superior Stay Hotel, Marquette, Michigan

We were thrilled at the prices of the Superior Stay Hotel in Marquette. It's a super clean, super updated modern hotel, too. It's a bit more of a drive to the Eben Ice Caves, but there are great restaurants and things to do in Marquette. Why not stay an extra day to explore this area?


Michigan Tubing & Tobogganing

Love tubing and tobogganing? Check out Echo Valley, located at 8495 E H Ave, Kalamazoo, Michigan. When we lived in Kalamazoo it was one of our favorite things to do in Michigan in winter.

Tubing and tobogganing is available on the weekends, no reservations needed. Echo Valley is perfect for families and groups. Food and beverages are available in their warming lodge and you can get warm around their circular fireplace while watching the tubers and tobogganers zip down the hills! Day rates, cash only.


Indoors Fun: Things to do in Michigan in Winter in Auburn Hills, Michigan

Sea Life AquariumSea Life Aquarium

Address: Great Lakes Crossing Mall, 4316 Baldwin Rd, Auburn Hills

This Michigan day itinerary is absolutely one of our favorite things to do in Michigan in Winter. We head to Auburn Hills which is not far from Detroit and park at the Great Lakes Crossing Mall.

And the best part? You only have to park once for all the fun below! Oh, and it's all indoors!  It's one of our favorite things to do in Michigan in winter!

This indoor Michigan Winter Itinerary Includes:

  • Sea Life Aquarium
  • Rainforest Cafe
  • Great Lakes Crossing Mall
  • Legoland
  • AMC Star Great Lakes 25 Theater

Skip the Line: SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium Admission Tickets

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets is such a great place to spend a couple hours.  See more than 5,000 sea creatures including seahorses, jellyfish, and the giant Pacific octopus!



We love watching the blacktip reef sharks and cownose swim above us in the underwater tunnel.  This is one of our favorite places to visit for things to do in Michigan in winter.

  • SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium Admission tickets below have free cancellation so read more about it!


WHAT'S NEXT?

Once you are parked (free parking), enjoy Sea Life Aquarium and then walk about 20 feet to the Rainforest Café! Enjoy roaring tigers, frequent overhead thunderstorms and other fun interactive characters in the Café for lunch.  They have great drinks too!


Great Lakes Crossing Mall, Auburn MichiganGreat Lakes Crossing Mall, Auburn Michigan


After lunch, wander the expansive Great Lakes Crossing Mall to get your steps in while shopping! It's a pretty mall, updated, clean and cheerful. There's a food court too if you need some snacks.  It's one of our favorite things to do on a cold day!

Then, head to Legoland, right in the mall! (Get your tickets below!)

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan Admission Ticket

Located in the Great Lakes Crossing Mall: 4240 Baldwin Rd, Auburn Hills, MI 48326

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan is a great place to spend the afternoon with your kids in Auburn Hills! 

Grab tickets with all-day admission so you can see the magic of the LEGO® Factory, explore Miniland, make a super cool LEGO race car, and enjoy LegoLand's cool 4D theater.  During the winter, definitely include Legoland for things to do on a cold day with kids.


WHAT ABOUT EVENING ACTIVITIES?

For evening fun, catch a movie at the AMC Star Great Lakes 25 Theater located inside the mall, close to Legoland!  What an awesome way to spend the day during a cold winter in Michigan!

We recommend spending the night because it might be hard to pack this much fun into one day, especially with small children!  There are so many fun things to do in Michigan in winter, take the time to enjoy it!

Where to Stay in Auburn Hills

These three hotels are right across the street from the Great Lakes Crossing Mall (can't get any closer) and are near lots of restaurants and services.


Do You Love Michigan Outlet Malls?

Michigan Outlet MallsMichigan Outlet Malls
  • Read all about the best Michigan Outlet Malls! It's a fantastic Michigan winter activity when it's snowy, blowing and miserable outside! Check it out!


See Incredible Views of Lake Huron and Photograph a Lighthouse!


I have hiked the trail from the Tawas lighthouse at the Tawas State Park out to the end viewpoint several times in both summer and winter. Snow can be above your knees in winter, so wear ski pants, high boots and crampons.  The views are incredible!  This is one of my favorite places to visit for things to do in Michigan in winter after a fresh snow.


Stay Warm This Michigan Winter: See Some Art, Watch Glassblowing and Have Coffee!


Detroit Art Institute - The Detroit Art Institute is an incredible place to visit in the winter, we absolutely love it there. The building itself is breathtaking. Stop for coffee in the café that reminds me of Harry Potter! Plan to spend about 3.5 hours exploring and learning! Add the Detroit Art Institute to your fun things to do in Michigan in winter list!

Flint Institute of Arts - You really must visit the Flint Art Center this winter! Their glassblowing demonstrations are absolutely incredible.  My favorite section of the Flint Institute of Art is the glass art, as it defies gravity! Plan to spend about 3 hours exploring and learning! (Free, close and safe parking)

Ann Arbor Art Center - For an artistic winter getaway, tour the Ann Arbor Art Center for local and national art. We spent about 2 hours exploring the multilevel facility. There are so many fun things to do in Michigan in winter!


Most Interesting and Fun Places to Visit in Michigan in Winter

So, this winter: Check out our Most Interesting and Fun Places to Visit in Michigan in Winter!


Top 3 Michigan Winter Getaways!

Fun Things to do in Michigan in Winter: Discover Flint!


Discover Flint! Get some exercise and peek into the famous tree house featured on Tree House Masters!  Learn about the stars at the Planetarium and watch incredible glass blowing at the Flint Institute of Arts!

We hope you inspired you to visit or travel Michigan this winter! There are so many fun things to do in Michigan in Winter!


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