If you are looking for a “snowcation” destination during the winter months, West Michigan is a great place to visit. You can experience a winter wonderland offering both indoor and outdoor activities.
I’m sharing some of my favorite places and best things to do for your next winter getaway for a terrific vacation.
Try the Luge or the Ice Skating Trail at Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Complex
462 N Scenic Dr, Muskegon, MI
(Located in Muskegon State Park)
I’ve visited Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports park several times year-round and I can’t say enough great things about it.
I think that it’s one of the best places for the whole family to try winter sports for an affordable price.
You can try a wide variety of winter activities for the entire family at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex.
Thrill seekers will definitely want to sign up for a “Learn to Luge” clinic where you can ride down the luge track.
If you prefer a slower pace than the luge you may want to try cross-country skiing. There are both easy and advanced trails for cross country skiers. The trails are lit up every night until the park closes in case you want to ski after dark.
There is a large natural outdoor ice rink where you can both ice skate and play pond hockey. You’ll also want to go on the ice skating trail through the woods on two acres of outdoor ice that is also lit at night.
You can also take a snowshoe on the Highlands Loop for a great view of Lake Michigan after a dune climb to the top.
If you need to warm up for a bit, there is hot chocolate available for purchase onsite in addition to several fire pits for guests to enjoy during the day and at night.
If you have a large family the family season pass for Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Complex is an incredible deal. All winter season long the entire household can enjoy cross country skiing, skating, and snowshoeing.
Visit Lake Michigan in the Winter
A visit to Lake Michigan in the winter is typically very cold and windy so be prepared!
It’s also an opportunity to see scenic sand dunes and beautiful formations along miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Depending on when you visit, you may see a beautiful beach or it could be covered in several inches of snow.
Our family loves to visit the pier at Grand Haven when we come to town in the winter.
Sometimes the pier is walkable and other times it could be very dangerous, covered in solid layers of ice. If you want to try ice fishing you’ll need to do that on one of the inland lakes.
A short drive from the Grand Haven pier there is a local ski hill at Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl that you might want to check out.
Parents with kids always ski FREE for the WIN! The ski bowl has 5 rope tows to connect to 6 ski slopes with adjoining trails. Mulligan’s Hollow also hosts a Cardboard sled race in late January.
If you love craft beer, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from in Grand Rapids, which is nicknamed Beer City USA.
The city boasts 80+ breweries on their Beer City Ale Trail that stretches beyond the boundaries for Grand Rapids in every direction.
If you use the app to check in to any eight (8) of the 40+ Brewsader breweries in and around Grand Rapids you’ll earn an exclusive Brewsader t-shirt. The app is also helpful for finding breweries, beer events and beer brewery production tours.
Many of the breweries also have live music so check their website or Facebook page for upcoming events.
If you visit City Built Brewery, make sure that you also try the tacos and the “Brussels & Belly” appetizer!
Attend the World of Winter Festival in Grand Rapids
Jan 6- March 5, 2023
Downtown Grand Rapids
Bundle up and discover interactive outdoor art installations all over downtown Grand Rapids.
The free event will feature over 40 unique art installations and 50+ ice sculptures on various dates throughout the event.
It’s also important to note that the ice sculptures and some art installations are only during specific dates of the winter festival. I would also HIGHLY recommend checking out the overview of events prior to your visit.
If you plan on doing a lot of walking downtown I would recommend wearing snow pants because it can get COLD.
The World of Winter Festival gives you another excuse to brave the cold weather.
Many of the art installations are along the Grand River which is a beautiful scenic backdrop.
If you need to warm up inside in between viewing art installations there are several coffee shops in downtown Grand Rapids.
Make sure that you check the event map for the locations of the installations throughout the downtown. There are also scavenger hunts that you can participate in during the World of Winter Festival.
Ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids isn’t available during the 2022 season due to construction but it should be available for downtown visitors in 2023.
Go Snow Tubing, Snowboarding or Skiing at Cannonsburg Ski Area
6800 Cannonsburg Rd NE, Belmont, MI
You can go sled riding at one of the Grand Rapids local parks or you can take it to the next level by going downhill skiing or snow tubing at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Please note that reservations are required for snow tubing.
Cannonsburg Ski Area is the perfect place for a great time on the slopes, located only 20 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids.
Guests can also rent Borealis Fat Bikes and Dion Snowshoes available to use on 4 miles of trails that are groomed in the winter.
Visit Indoor Museums and Attractions in Grand Rapids
The local museums in Grand Rapids are a great way to enjoy the arts and learn about the local history and culture of the area if you need a break from the cold.
- Grand Rapid’s Children’s Museum
- Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
- Grand Rapids Public Museum
- The Gerald Ford Presidential Museum
- Grand Rapids Art Museum
Fun Things to Do in Northern Michigan in the Winter
If you want to venture farther up north, I’ve got more great ideas and places to visit in the winter.
Driving in lots of snow isn’t a problem with an SUV or an off road vehicle. As a southerner, I’ve noticed that Western Michigan does a great job keeping the roads plowed during lake effect snow storms.
Try One of the Winter Activities at Crystal Mountain
12500 Crystal Mountain Dr, Thompsonville, MI
(Located less than an hour from Traverse City)
Crystal Mountain offers fat tire biking, downhill skiing, and even has snowshoe trails that lead to a sculpture park.
They don’t have sleigh rides but they do have horse drawn surrey rides available by reservation through the resort if you want to relax and enjoy the ride.
If you are staying at the resort, the outdoor hot tub is a great way to end the day after doing lots of activities outdoors.
Waterpark and Winter Fun Boyne Mountain Resort
1 Boyne Mountain Rd, Boyne Falls, MI
If you are willing to venture even farther north, Boyne Mountain Resort has a lot of winter activities including downhill skiing, tubing, fat tire biking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and horse back riding.