Wait! Before you say you don’t like the cold and you don’t like the snow, consider this – winter comes around every year. If you live in Michigan – or any of our neighboring states – you may as well make the most of it. You can spend 4-5 months hating the snow or 4-5 months choosing to have fun in the snow, so please – keep reading!

Here are 6 of my suggestions for things to get you out and moving this winter in the Petoskey Area:

1. Downhill skiing/boarding

Harbor Springs and Boyne Falls offer the best skiing and snowboarding in this part of the country. Boyne Mountain, Nub’s Nob, and The Highlands are awesome places to get your turns in. With 176 ski runs, 32 lifts, and a total of 1,098 acres of skiing/riding between them, these resorts are all within 30 minutes of each other, so your options are plenty. Don’t know how to ski or snowboard? You’re never too old to learn and all three resorts have just the folks to teach you.Nubs Nob

2. Fat Tire Biking

Most people have ridden a bike at one time or another in their lives. If you can ride a street bike, you can ride a fat tire bike and there are plenty of places to do this in Boyne City, Petoskey, and Harbor Springs. No bike – no hassle. Rent one and try it out.

Fat biking on winter singletrack trails at Avalanche Mountain recreation area in Boyne City, Michigan.

3. Sledding

The Winter Sports Park in Petoskey is conveniently located close to town for sledding and ice skating in the winter months. Check conditions prior to arriving as this facility is very weather dependent.

Bring your sled or saucer and take advantage of places to slide downhill, laughing all the way. The Winter Sports Park in Petoskey, Kiwanis Park in Harbor Springs, Pond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs, and Avalanche Mountain Preserve provide the perfect places for kids – and kids at heart – to have a blast.

4. Ice Skating

This one takes pretty good knees and ankles, but I’m not suggesting that you try to work up to Olympic status – just takes some spins around the rink. Lace up the skates, take a deep breath, and push off. Go slowly if you need to do so. Wear a helmet and knee and elbow pads if they will make you feel more comfortable. Keep moving and remember you can wrap your hands around a great cup of coffee or hot chocolate when you call it a day.

Winter Sports Park ice skating

The Petoskey Winter Sports Park has an outdoor ice rink that is weather dependent so please check conditions ahead of time. For indoor skating visit the Petoskey Ice Arena.

5. Cross-Country Skiing/Snowshoeing

Whether you’re strapping on skis or snowshoes, you can be happy getting out and about in scenic areas where the whisper of the wind or the gurgle of a stream may be the loudest noises. The areas where you can do these two things are somewhat interchangeable. But if you go somewhere and see cross-country tracks and you want to snowshoe, be respectful and snowshoe to the side of the tracks. There are even separate trails for the different activities at Boyne Mountain and The Highlands to provide the best experience.

6. Winter Rafting

The first time I did this I was terrified. What if we dump? I’m not the greatest swimmer in the best of times but in a freezing cold river? Okay, deep breath – I did not tip over and neither will you. These are guided trips with professionals leading you on an amazingly peaceful experience. It took me all of about fifteen minutes before I realized I was over being scared and instead wondered why I waited so long to try this. You only go around once!

Jordan Valley Outfitter Winter Rafting

Don’t have the gear for something you would like to experience? Here are some places you can rent winter gear and equipment.

The more you keep busy, the more fun you will have, no matter what season it is. But like you probably want shorts and flip-flops in the summer, the right clothes are important in the winter. Don’t try to tough it out – hats, gloves, boots, and layers will make all the difference in how much fun you can have. Even if all you want to do is build a snowman, get out and enjoy Mother Nature’s gift of seasons.

Check the website for even more ways to have a good time this season. There are also a variety of lodging options for your visit. We hope to see you soon.

About the Author: Diane Dakins is passionate about all the lakeside communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor, and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. Her blogs give potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.