Whether you’re visiting Michigan or looking for something new and interesting to do, there are lots to explore in Michigan in the winter. Indoor and outdoor experiences can certainly provide a way to fill even the coldest of days. Here are our recommendations for the best things to do in January.
Go on a Candlelight Hike at Mt. McSauba
Located in Charlevoix Michigan, the Candlelight Hike at Mt. McSauba is an excellent experience to have in the middle of winter. It runs from early January to late February, every Friday evening. The candlelit trails take you through the beautiful wooded area, often with a snow-covered path to follow.
The hike starts at the sledding hill parking lot. The entire experience is a self-guided tour, which allows you to take as much time as you want and need to explore the area. Those who are interested should bundle up and dress for the weather.
Aside from hiking, you can go snowshoeing and cross country skiing here.
Gear Up for Ice Fishing in Fletcher Pond
A trip to Hillman Michigan allows anglers to do some ice fishing in the heart of winter. Fletcher Pond is located east of Alpena Michigan is well stocked each year. It’s common to find bass, panfish, and pike. It’s a good idea to dress for the winter weather and take a small shanty to stay warm in.
The pond is generally frozen over and ready to use for ice fishing by January, but you can always contact the city’s wildlife division to make sure that it is accessible. This is just one of numerous lakes across the state where you can ice fish during the winter months.
Play at Petoskey & Harbor Springs Ski Resorts
Getting away for a few days can be one of the best ways to experience all that Michigan has to offer during the winter season. Visit the cities of Petoskey and Harbor Springs, both of which are large resort towns that put you in the heart of the area’s best skiing opportunities.
They tend to be quiet and welcoming places to visit with lots to do and see, including skiing, hiking, relaxing by the fire, and enjoying some great food. This is an excellent location to visit if you enjoy snowboarding, which is a popular draw.
There are fun things for the entire family, including skiing down Boyne Mountain, taking the Enchanted Trail to visit the Highlands at Harbor Springs, checking out Petoskey Brewing Company for drinks to warm up, skiing on Nub’s Nob, and visiting the Kilwins Chocolate Kitchen.
Super fun to do with the whole family, a winter trip here can be something that you love so much that you plan to do it every year with your favorite people.
Related: Petoskey Winter Sports Park
Attend the World of Winter Festival
The World of Winter is the largest festival in the Midwest. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, the festival offers more than 100 free events to participate in. It runs from early January through early March.
The entire area becomes something fun to see and explore, including the various outdoor art exhibits, such as the House of Cards, the Roaming Gnome, and the Angeles of Freedom displays.
There is much more to do as well — compete in the Human Hungry Hippos tournament, watch the Ice Piano performance, go to the silent disco, check out the Circus Wonderland, and join the Snow Moon Snow Snake competition.
In addition to that, you can enjoy more than 150 restaurants, cocktail bars, and breweries. There are even opportunities for ice skating, listening to music, and taking walking tours.
Related: Grand Rapids Winter Outdoor Dining
Explore the Whole of Detroit
A visit to Detroit could be one of the best ways to spend your time this winter. While many people know of Motor City and its numerous museums and historic areas, there are a lot of fun indoor things to do around the city with the entire family when it is too cold to be outside.
You can visit the Detroit Historical Museum, check out the Temptations and Eminem displays at the Motown Museum, and visit the Eastern Market for its culture and incredible vibe. Also, you can tour Campus Martius Park, watch a show at the GM Renaissance Center, and visit the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
There are numerous restaurants, shops, and outstanding amenities throughout the city that are worth exploring too.
Plan a Getaway to Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo is an excellent place to visit for those who love a city full of history. Yet, there’s another reason to explore it — the beer. For those who love the region’s class and charm, it may be well worth exploring just to learn about the Kalamazoo craft breweries.
Some of the breweries offer tours, which can provide a cool behind-the-scene experience for those looking for something interesting to do. There are several downtown locations that you should check out.
In addition, you can check out tobogganing at Echo Valley Winter Sports Park. You can reach speeds of up to 60 mph if you are daring. Book a stay at one of the bed and breakfasts here and plan to spend a couple of hours touring the local colleges.
Check Out Zehnder’s Snowfest in Frankenmuth
Although many people go to Frankenmuth for its year-round Christmas theme, there are a lot of reasons to visit during January, including Zehnder’s Snowfest. The festival is held during the last week of the month.
In the heart of the city, guests can take in a wide range of activities, including snow sculpting and ice carving competitions that attract thousands of eyes.
In addition to this, the event features lots of artists and craftsmen, and you can check out the local shops. There is a children’s area that is perfect for those who are under the age of 10. Get some hot chocolate and warm up while playing a few games too. There is even a fireworks display.
Plan a Traverse City Beach Getaway
You don’t have to wait until the weather warms up to take in all that the beach has to offer. Traverse City Michigan is close to several of the state’s best beaches. It is a smaller city and often packed during the summer months.
During the winter, though, you can spend time enjoying the more frozen activities here, such as having dinner in an igloo and taking in one of the many Traverse City wineries.
Also, there are places nearby for skiing and snowshoeing. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of the best places to explore during the winter, especially if you want a true winter wonderland. There are some great places to warm up here too, including a few breweries and restaurants.
Head “UP” North to Marquette
For those who truly love the outdoors, check out Marquette Michigan during winter. It is located in the Upper Peninsula and is well worth exploring when it is cold outside. Book a place to stay here for a few days, and then check out the best amenities surrounding the region.
With its location on Lake Superior, it is quite easy to find outdoor activities to explore, even when it is the coldest part of the year. For instance, you can visit the Eben Ice Caves on a snowshoe experience, where the caves (which could be covered in ice) are accessible.
Additionally, you can go cross-country skiing (or use a fat tire bike) to explore the Noquemanon Trail Network, which offers more than 35 miles of track to follow.
You have the chance to explore the Huron Mountains, visit the Blackrocks Brewery for the latest beers on tap, and make the trek up Sugarloaf Mountain to see the sunrise as well.
Related: Best Upper Peninsula Breweries
Enjoy More Michigan Winter Things to Do in January
Whether you are interested in exploring Michigan inside or outside, there are lots of activities worthy of your time. There are even family-friendly winter indoor activities in Flint and Genesee County to explore.
You do not have to stay locked inside this winter. Get out there to explore the state!