Northern Michigan Winter Activities

Dull, gray, and boring doesn’t begin to describe winter in Northern Michigan. The winter days here are crisp with blue skies and freshly fallen snow. Northern Michiganders embrace winter days with fun from outdoor sports to festivals. Don’t forget about snowmobiling, sleigh rides, and dog sledding. The area has it all when it comes to winter fun.

Northern Michigan Ski Resorts


You’ll find three of the Midwest’s top ski resorts right in Northern Michigan’s backyard. There are two between Harbor Springs and Petoskey and another in Boyne Falls south of Petoskey. Nub’s Nob outside Harbor Springs has 53 slopes and trails, and an award-winning lodge with homecooked food. Boyne Highlands, just across the valley from Nub’s Nob, spreads winter fun over 270 acres. There’s lodging you can find through Freshwater Vacation Rentals, mountaintop restaurants, and more than just great skiing. They also offer tubing, snowboarding, ice skating, and dog sledding. Boyne Mountain has been a favorite winter getaway for six decades. They offer skiing and boarding on 415 acres. For something a little different, try a horse-drawn wagon ride. If you’re looking for cross country skiing, you’ll find it at all three ski resorts.

Northern Michigan Winter Parks


The parks in Northern Michigan are winter wonderlands for the season. Sledding down a snowy hill, gliding across a frozen pond, and sipping hot chocolate in a warming hut are activities to look forward to for winter fun. Winter parks are also great places to learn skiing and snowboarding, and many of them offer free ice skating lessons. The area has around a half-dozen fantastic winter parks. A favorite of the locals is the Winter Sports Park in Petoskey in operation for over 80 years. The park features a sledding hill, ice rink, and a beginning ski and snowboard hill. You can also sled and skate at Harbor Springs’ Kiwanis Park, Boyne City’s Avalanche Park, and Charlevoix’s Mount McSauba. You’ll find cozy warming huts at all Northern Michigan sledding and ice skating parks.

Northern Michigan Winter Festivals

Northern Michiganders don’t let the cold bother them. They plan their town festivals
with all the gusto of a summer one. Tip-Up Town, Houghton Lake’s two-weekend-long festival at the end of January is proof. It includes carnival rides, a petting zoo, and outdoor concerts along with winter-only fun like an ice fishing competition and the famous Polar Bear Dip. One of the nation’s largest festivals is the Michigan Tech Winter Carnival in February. This glorious festival features huge, elaborate snow sculptures, a winter queen pageant, sleigh rides, and more.