While we are the Michigan Beachtowns and we are most famous for our summers, there is still plenty to do and discover in the winter months along Lake Michigan!
Silver Lake Sand Dunes + Hart
This area is best known for their towering sand dunes that keep watch over Silver Lake and Lake Michigan. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes ORV area is open April 1st through October 31st but there are still many winter activities to enjoy! Pentwater Patherways and The Hart-Montague Bike Trail are each excellent areas to cross-country ski or snowshoe. When the snow is at least 4 inches or more, snowmobiles are permitted on the Hart-Montague Trail which is 22-miles long! The Little Sable Point Lighthouse Beach is accessible in the winter months even though it is not open for tours. Take a quiet walk along the frozen lakeshore and don’t forget a selfie with Little Sable. Learn more about the Silver Lake Area here!
The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex luge track is one of only four luge tracks in existence here in the United States. And you can give it a try! Public participants receive equipment and training before shooting down the luge upwards of 30mph. If this is a little too adventurous for your taste, the Winter Sports Complex also offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and sledding. Pere Marquette Beach is home to two lighthouses and gorgeous views of Lake Michigan. Warm up after a day full of winter fun by visiting one of the many breweries and coffee shops downtown Muskegon. Catch a Muskegon Lumberjacks hockey game while eating gourmet tacos from Rad Dads Taco & Tequila Bar. Learn more about the Muskegon area here!
Good news! You don’t have to drive 2 hours further up north to be able to go skiing! Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl is just minutes from downtown shops & restaurants and offers downhill skiing and snowboarding on lighted paths, including tow ropes, eight downhill runs, and snowmaking. Warm up on cold days at Mulligan’s Lodge inside next to the fireplace or sit outside in the Adirondack chairs that circle the outdoor firepit. Grand Haven State Park is home the the Grand Haven Lighthouses and Pier whose catwalk looks otherworldly when covered in snow and ice. Pigeon Creek Park has lighted cross-country ski and snowshoe trails as well as a lighted sledding hill. The Nature Education Center at Hemlock Crossing Park offers snowshoe rentals and cross-country ski trails. Downtown Grand Haven has heated sidewalks for slush free shopping and many breweries, coffee shops, and restaurants to warm up. Learn more about the Grand Haven area here!
Starting in late November, the Holland area embraces the season by celebrating with their Dutch Winterfest and with their open-air European Kerstmarkt with unique gifts for all. Downtown Holland has heated sidewalks and outside fireplaces so that shoppers can make their way to over 100 locally owned shops and restaurants. Even though Holland is home to many wonderful breweries, New Holland Brewing Company was born here in 1997 and has grown to be one of the leading innovators in craft brewing and distilling. Riley Trails is a multi-use trail that has a 4-5 mile mountain bike loop is a favorite of fat tire bike riders in the snowy months. Don’t forget to stop at Holland State Park to watch a winter sunset or get a photo with Big Red! Learn more about the Holland area here!
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can be a lot of work but with views of Lake Michigan, the 13 miles of trails at Saugatuck Dunes State Park are worth the effort. If you more of a quiet winter hike kind of person, the Tallmadge Woods Loop has views of the Kalamazoo River, Lake Michigan, and Ox-Bow Lagoon. The charming downtowns of Douglas and Saugatuck have unique gift shops, cozy coffee cafes, and farm-to-table cuisine. The area is home to many vineyards, tasting rooms, breweries, and cider mills including Virtue Cider. Located on a working farm, you can sip a variety of hard ciders while visiting the local pigs, sheep, and chickens. Learn more about the Saugatuck-Douglas area here!
A great way to start a winter’s day in the South Haven area is with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate from a local cafe and then to head down to South Beach to see the frozen lighthouse and lakeshore. The 34-mile Kal-Haven Trail is open to cross-country skiers, snowshoeing, and snowmobiles when the conditions are right. For downhill skiing, Timber Ridge Ski Area and Bittersweet Ski Area are located nearby. Bitter-Sweet Acres has horse drawn wagon, sleigh, trolley, or carriage rides. The South Haven Ice Rink is an outdoor, covered ice rink located in downtown near many restaurants and cafes. Not only do they offer skate rentals, but they also host curling lessons and leagues! Learn more about the South Haven area here!
Being one of the most southern towns along Lake Michigan, the St. Joe area can experience some of the largest waves on Lake Michigan. Watch the waves crash against the mighty St. Joseph Lighthouse creating an unforgettable formation of ice along the pier. Lake Bluff Park overlooks Lake Michigan, Silver Beach, and the Silver Lake Carousel. From the first Friday of December through Valentine’s Day Lake Bluff is covered in over 1 million lights. The Saint Joseph area is filled with locally owned shops, restaurants, breweries, and more. Follow the Makers Trail and visit local brewers, wine makers, and distillers. Grab a Makers Trail Flight Crew Passport for your trip to collect stamps and free gear. Learn more about the Saint Joseph area here!
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