Northern Michigan (not to be confused with Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) is a popular vacation destination during the summer months. With miles and miles of sandy beaches and endless acres of wilderness, there is no shortage of entertainment. Here are a few fun things you can do there when it’s cold out.
Downhill Skiing in Northern Michigan
One of the most popular wintertime activities in Northern Michigan, both for locals and visitors, is downhill skiing. The area is home to many downhill ski resorts, including Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Michigan and Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls, Michigan.
Crystal Mountain Resort has the distinction of being rated the #1 ski resort in the Midwest by SKI Magazine. The amenities include 45 downhill ski slopes and a full-service spa. There is also an extensive terrain park, perfect for snowboarding.
Boyne Mountain also offers world-class skiing opportunities. It also has the unique feature of a large, indoor water park called Avalanche Bay. The water park is a perfect cabin fever reliever for the whole family.
Cross-Country Skiing in Northern Michigan
If you’re not the daredevil type and tend to stick to less dangerous sports, there’s always cross-country skiing. Unlike its adrenaline rush downhill counterpart, cross-country skiing is a relaxing way to get in your cardio.
In addition to downhill skiing, Crystal Mountain features over 40 km of cross-country ski trails. Many Michigan State Parks, including Ludington State Park, groom extensive networks of ski trails as well, available to use at the fraction of a resort’s prices. Some cross-country ski areas, such as the Big M trails near Wellston, Michigan, can be used free of charge.
Northern Michigan Winter Festivals
Northern Michigan’s quaint towns and villages are home to some unique winter festivals. The festivities include general winter festivals, old fashioned Christmas celebrations, and winter sporting events.
The first weekend of every December, Manistee holds its annual Old Christmas Weekend. The festival celebrates the town’s Victorian logging heritage and includes many locals dressed in period costume for events throughout the weekend.
In Mackinac City in January, the annual Mackinac City Winterfest includes such kooky activities as outhouse races through the middle of town. Other events include ice sculpting and an ice fishing tournament.
East Jordan’s Sno-Blast Winter Festival is geared toward lovers of the outdoors. Events include snowshoe excursions, snowmobile rides, and guided rafting tours.
Crystal Mountain Resort – http://www.crystalmountain.com/
Boyne Mountain – http://www.boyne.com/BoyneMountain/index.html
Michigan Cross Country Ski Trails – http://www.trails.com/stateactivity.aspx?area=13715
Michigan Winter Festivals – http://www.michigan.org/News/Detail.aspx?ContentId=474F44B2-535E-4DFD-9030-29F5A5130101