Alright Buckeyes, I saw that eye-roll you just did when reading the word Michigan. BUT. I am not joking, nor exaggerating, when I say that Michigan is a hidden gem of beauty, especially in the winter. I am blessed to have lived and explored the beautiful state for 9 years, and I am excited to share with you my top winter destinations!
5 Places to Visit in Michigan this Winter
Seriously, everyone needs to visit Frankenmuth, home of the world’s largest Christmas store! Bronner’s spans 320,000 square feet and has more ornament options, gift ideas, and Christmas decor than you can possibly imagine. The grounds alone are a sight to see. Frankenmuth is Michigan’s little Bavaria. It is filled with adorable shops with great gift options and the most delicious fudge shops. It is also home to several breweries (including Michigan’s oldest), so when your husband questions your eagerness to travel here, be sure to tell him about Frankenmuth Brewery’s delicious brews! A fried chicken dinner is a must when visiting, as is a horse-drawn carriage ride over the historical covered bridge.
Petoskey/Boyne Mountain Area:
There are some fantastic skiing areas all throughout northern Michigan, and honestly, you can’t go wrong with whichever one you choose. That being said, the Petoskey area is a family favorite given its picturesque location along Lake Michigan and its quaint downtown area. After skiing all day at the gorgeous Boyne Areas (Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands are close in proximity), the quaint restaurants in Petoskey do not disappoint. Petoskey Brewing was our favorite! Don’t forget to drive around the city to check out the fascinating architecture of the homes in the area, as well. My favorite part about visiting this city in the winter is looking at the frozen Lake Michigan. The waves will be frozen in mid-air, and it is certainly a sight to behold.
This area of Michigan is worth a visit in every season. The Cherry tree blooms in the Spring get all the hype, but Winter is also a beautiful time to visit Traverse City. This city can lend itself nicely to being a quiet getaway or a busy adventure. There are countless VRBO/Airbnb options in the area that would allow you to quietly unwind from the busyness of the holidays. There are also countless shopping options and restaurant options. Check out Trattoria Stella for the most amazing Italian fare, or the Little Fleet for a more local, hipster experience. Traverse City also has a bit of a nightlife and the buildings are adorned with beautiful lights in the winter!
While you will need to keep the weather in mind when you plan your trip to this UP getaway, it is so worth the drive. The Island is only accessible May through November so this is an “Early Winter Getaway”. No cars are allowed on the island, so some prefer to stay inland and travel to the island by ferry daily. You’re also welcome (dare I say, encouraged) to enjoy the incredible Grand Hotel on the island that bodes incredible views, adorable rooms (no two rooms are the same!), and delicious meal options. The Grand Hotel is a National Historic Landmark and is worth a visit even if not staying there. Mackinac Island is home to the most amazing fudge and candies you’ll ever enjoy, and the best carriage rides in the state. The views of the Great Lakes are seriously breathtaking. If you’re wanting to check the views out in the winter, consider a winter trip to Mackinaw City!
Not only is this city name fun to say, but it also is home to multiple downhill and cross-country skiing options. Situated not too far south from Petoskey, along Lake Michigan, a visit to Charlevoix will be filled with picturesque scenes. Charlevoix is known for their “Earl Young Homes” which look like gnome houses. These homes are a fascinating attraction with the winter snowfall. And for the wine lovers, check out Spare Key Winery, for a tasting before dinner! Or, if you’d rather a wine tour of the northern Michigan area, check this guide out!
Some Honorable Mentions
Some other stops to make while you’re in Michigan include Crystal Mountain, Spicer’s Orchard, and Grand Haven. Crystal Mountain is a fantastic skiing destination that even has fun activities for those less than thrilled about skiing down a mountain! Spicer’s is near to my heart, as it is where my husband proposed to me! The store and winery inside are year-long attractions that make it more than worth a stop! Grand Haven is known for its summer Coast Guard festival, but its shopping and VRBO/Airbnb options make it worth mentioning as a weekend getaway! Be sure to check out our sister city, Detroit Moms Blog, for additional Michigan vacation ideas!