Fun Things to Do in West Michigan in the Winter

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 the best things to do for your next winter getaway for a terrific vacation.

the luge at Muskegon Luge

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.

kid on ice skating trail at Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park

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.

kid on ice skating trail at Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park

Thrill seekers will definitely want to sign up for a “Learn to Luge” clinic where you can ride down the luge track.

cross country skiing at Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park

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.

ice skating trail at Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park

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.

snowshoe trails near Muskegon Luge Adventure Park

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.

Nedra McDaniel wearing Michigan map mittens

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.

icy pier Grand Haven Michigan

Our family loves to visit the pier at Grand Haven when we come to town in the winter.

icy pier Grand Haven Michigan

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.

craft beer at City Built Brewery in Grand Rapids MI

Visit a Local Craft Brewery in Grand Rapids

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 its Beer City Ale Trail that stretches beyond the boundaries of Grand Rapids in every direction.

Make sure that you download the Beer City Brewsader app on Google Play or the App Store.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company
Cedar Springs Brewing Company

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.

Tacos and Brussels and Belly appetizer at City Built Brewery

If you visit City Built Brewery, make sure that you also try the tacos and the “Brussels & Belly” appetizer!

If beer isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of local cideries, distilleries, and meaderies in the Grand Rapids area to choose from.

World of Winter Festival Grand Rapids MI

Attend the World of Winter Festival in Grand Rapids

January 12 – March 10, 2024

Downtown Grand Rapids

Bundle up and discover interactive outdoor art installations all over downtown Grand Rapids.

World of Winter Festival in Grand Rapids Image Credit Bryan Esler
2024 World of Winter FestivalImage courtesy of Experience GR – photo credit Bryan Esler

The event is the largest winter festival in the United States and features 150+ free events, activities, and art installations over two months.

World of Winter Festival in Grand Rapids Image Credit Bryan Esler
2024 World of Winter Festival – Image courtesy Experience GR – Image Credit Bryan Esler

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 before your visit.

art installation at the World of Winter Festival in Grand Rapids

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.

art installation at the World of Winter Festival in Grand Rapids

Make sure that you check the event map for the locations of the installations throughout the downtown.

World of Winter Festival installations can be found in the following locations:

  • Ah-Nab-Awen Park
  • 555 Monroe
  • Canal Park
  • Sixth Street Park
Save When You Book Your Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan Here

ice skating Rosa Parks Circle Grand Rapids Michigan

Ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids

The ice skating season at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids runs from November 30 through February 24.

snow tubing at Cannonsburg Ski Area
Image courtesy of Cannonsburg Ski Area

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.

Borealis Fat Bikes at Cannonsburg Ski Area
Image courtesy of Cannonsburg Ski Area

Guests can also rent Borealis Fat Bikes and Dion Snowshoes available to use on 4 miles of trails that are groomed in the winter.

Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

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.

Crystal Mountain ski slope

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.

Fat Tire biking at Crystal Mountain

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, and 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.

Save on your stay at Crystal Mountain Resort Here
indoor waterpark at Avalanche Bay

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 horseback riding.

If you are feeling extra adventurous you may want to try sno-go biking or zipling.

Save When You Book Your Stay at Boyne Mountain Resort Here
indoor waterpark at Avalanche Bay

In addition to the winter activities, you can swim year-round at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark with 88,000 square feet of slides and rides.

Which Winter Adventure in West Michigan Do You Want to Try Next?

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