Photo by MJCdetroit Photo by MJCdetroit

Ever wanted to learn winter rafting, ice skating, or curling? Try a new winter activity with these day trips.

MICHIGAN—When the weather outside is frightful, Michiganders don’t usually want to risk the potential overnight snowfall of a vacation. Luckily, we have the day trip.

Though most of Michigan’s attractions may seem to be in the warmer months, there are still plenty of things to do in the winter—we just have to look a little harder. In a state where it can be snowy for half the year, Michiganders have definitely adapted things to do even when Mother Nature isn’t the kindest. And a lot of those things can still be done while enjoying the benefits of the outdoors and sunshine.

Here are eight of our favorite winter activities and day trip ideas.

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Ice Skating at the Rink at Campus Martius Park (Detroit)

800 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Phone Number: (313) 963-9393

Admission Price: General admission is $11. Child admission is $9 and senior admission (age 59+) is $9. Active military and first responder admission is $8. Skate rental is $5.

If you’re looking to try ice skating on an outdoor rink, Campus Martius is your best bet. Located directly on Woodward Avenue in Downtown Detroit, the Campus Martius Rink. During the holidays, Detroit’s impressive Christmas tree and other lit trees form a picturesque backdrop. And with its premier location, a trip here easily transitions to other attractions such as the DIA, the Michigan Science Center, or any variety of Downtown Detroit’s businesses.

Visit the Downtown Detroit Partnership website for hours and more information.

Shopping in Downtown Holland (Ottawa and Alleghan Counties)

8th Street, Holland, MI 49423

Thanks to Holland’s innovative Snowmelt system providing heated streets and sidewalks, you’ll never have to worry about slipping on ice exploring one of “America’s Prettiest Towns” as voted by Forbes Magazine. Holland’s downtown offers the perfect opportunity for a relaxing winter afternoon of shopping. The Holland Museum offers local history and the Spark!Lab Smithsonian for hands-on learning. For connoisseurs of beer and other adult beverages, Holland also offers local breweries such as the popular New Holland Brewing Co. Michigan’s most photographed lighthouse, the Big Red Lighthouse is also nearby.

Visit Holland’s website for more information.

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Winter Rafting at Big Bear Adventures (Indian River)

4271 S Straits Hwy, Indian River, MI 49749

Phone Number: (231) 238-8181

Admission Price: $37 to $44 per person

In northern Michigan, navigate a landscape of snowy pines, cedar trees, and ice floes along the Sturgeon River on an inflatable raft. Rates include all equipment. The guided trips last 90 minutes, with departure times of 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Reservations are required.

Visit the Big Bear Adventures website or Facebook page for more information and availability.

Curling at South Haven Ice Rink (South Haven)

546 Phoenix St, South Haven, MI 49090

Phone Number: (269) 639-1113

Admission Price: $20/person

This covered outdoor ice rink in southwest Michigan is a great place to try out ice skating, but especially so if you’d like to learn curling. Curling is a winter sport that involves sliding stones on a sheet of ice into a target area. For the 2021-2022 season, Learn to Curl days will be 9 a.m. to noon on Jan. 9, Feb. 5, and Feb. 26. The rink can also be reserved for curling for groups any night that’s not open skate. Skating lessons are also offered in the 2021-2022 season at $15/person 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Dec. 4, Dec. 11, and Dec. 18.

Visit the South Haven Ice Rink website or Facebook page for more information and availability.

Ice Climbing at Peabody Ice Climbing (Fenton)

12326 Foley Rd, Fenton, MI 48430

Phone Number: (810) 433-3304

Admission Price: Day passes are $20. Gear rental is $20 or $5 per item. Beginner instruction is $10.

This retired apple orchard south of Flint provides a controlled environment to learn ice climbing. The Peabody Ice Climbing Club is the only permanent mixed climbing/dry tooling training facility in the United States. Peabody has two towers iced over in the winter, one standing at 45 feet, and the other at 72 feet. However, the facility’s technology allows altitude training in a simulated environment of up to 19,000 feet. Skilled instructors are available to ensure that usage is safe. After braving the towers, enjoy the heated clubhouse and 10-person sauna.

Visit the Peabody Ice Climbing website or Facebook page for more information and availability.

Snowshoeing in Michigan Legacy Art Park (Thompsonville)

12500 Crystal Mountain Dr, Thompsonville, MI 49683

Phone Number: (231) 378-4963

Admission Price: General admission is $5. Children ages 17 and under are free. Snowshoe rentals from Crystal Mountain are $15/hour.

Although Crystal Mountain Resort is a great ski resort attraction as-is, one particularly interesting attraction on its grounds is the Michigan Legacy Art Park. This 30-acre wooded preserve has winding trails with a total of 40 outdoor sculptures, which bring Michigan’s cultural and natural history to life. The art contains references to things such as Michigan’s heritage as a fishing community, a logging destination, and a mining hub. The park is open year-round, but it possesses a beautiful tranquility in the winter months and offers an opportunity to snowshoe when the snow is heavier.

For more information, visit the Michigan Legacy Art Park website or Crystal Mountain website.

Tobogganing at Midland City Forest Park (Midland)

2840 E Monroe Rd, Midland, MI 48640

Phone Number: (989) 399-0506

Admission Price: Toboggans are rented at $8/hour

Michigan’s only hand-packed toboggan runs are found in central Michigan in Midland. The City Forest Park is 520 acres of pine and hardwood forest, and the toboggan runs cut beautifully through the forest. The toboggan is different from a regular sled because it doesn’t have runners. The Midland City Forest Park’s runs are about one-tenth of a mile long. In addition to the toboggans, the park also offers opportunities for hiking, cross country skiing, ice skating, and sledding. Relax at the end of the day at the City Forest Fire Pit.

For more information and availability, visit the Midland City Forest website or Facebook page.

Skiing at Boyne Highlands Resort (Harbor Springs)

600 Highland Rd, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Phone Number: (844) 783-3175

Admission Price: Lift tickets start at $18

The Boyne Mountain Resort and Boyne Highlands Resort in northern Michigan are ski resorts offering a variety of slopes for all skill levels of skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts. If you want to learn how to ski, though, the Camelot Beginner Area at Boyne Highlands Resort is your best bet. The resort also offers equipment rentals. If you find yourself missing the water, Boyne also offers Avalanche Bay, Michigan’s largest indoor water park.

For more information, visit the Boyne Highlands website.

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