1. See an ice-covered lighthouse – Nothing is quite as breathtaking as a lighthouse that’s been encased in ice by blowing winds and rolling waves. The harsh winter conditions turn our 124 Great Lakes lighthouses into beautiful ice sculptures.
2. See a frozen Tahquamenon Falls – Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi. When the temperature falls low enough, the falls freeze, giving visitors a whole new view of this amazing natural wonder.
3. Take a ride down the luge track at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex – One of only four in the United States, the track was designed by a former Olympian to be safe for use by the general public. Even if you have no prior experience, you can race down the slick track at 30 miles an hour.
4. Dog Sledding – There aren’t a lot of places outside of Alaska where you can experience the unique thrill of riding through the snow behind a dog team. Nature’s Kennel in McMillian will take you on an overnight dog sled adventure you’ll never forget. You can even learn to drive your own team.
5. Sample Ice Wine – Visit a Michigan winery for a sip of sweet ice wine, a rare treat, because it’s hard to produce. Michigan is one of the few places where it’s even possible to make it. Ice wine is made from grapes that were partially frozen on the vine. Freezing concentrates the sugars, then the grapes are immediately pressed before they thaw.
6. Grand Rapids Winter Beer Fest – Grand Rapids was awarded the title of Beer City U.S.A., and each February over 100 craft breweries and brew-pubs gather at Fifth Third Ballpark, where you can enjoy 3 oz. samples of over 1000 different kinds of beer.
7. Ski Boyne Highlands – Come to Northern Michigan and ski at the Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs. With 55 runs and a 552 ft. vertical drop, it’s one of the best ski locations in the country.
8. Snowshoe the trails in a state park – Some of Michigan’s most beautiful scenery is preserved inside our 101 state parks. It takes on a whole new beauty in winter when snow blankets everything. See the sights by hitting the trails in snowshoes. Many state parks even offer guided snowshoe outings.
9. Go for a polar bear swim – Every February brave souls earn bragging rights jumping into icy Michigan waters for a seconds-long polar bear swim. One of the longest running events is in East Tawas, where swimmers jump in Lake Huron at the Perchville USA Polar Bear Swim, now in its 66th year. A hole is cut in the ice, and the Coast Guard is standing by making sure everyone gets in and out of the water safely. Warming tents ensure participants don’t suffer from hypothermia afterward.