Northern Michigan is known for its great skiing and boarding at Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands and Nub’s Nob, but there are plenty of things to do in the Petoskey Area even when you aren’t going downhill. When snow covers the area in a carpet of white, outdoor activities abound.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

If you are a lover of nature’s beauty and winter’s peaceful serenity, you might want to try wandering through the woods on skis or snowshoes. There are a number of groomed trails throughout the area, and equipment is available for rent. Check out our video for a sneak peek.

Ice Skating

Ice skating is a popular pastime here, and you can choose whether you want to glide on the ice inside or out. Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Walloon Village all offer outdoor rinks for those willing to brave the elements. Prefer to stay indoors? Griffin Ice Arena is the place for you. Check the website for public skating times.

Sleigh Rides (weather permitting)

For those who love the romantic ambience of the season, a sleigh ride is the perfect activity. Stafford’s Bay View Inn and the Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant both offer sleigh rides on select Saturday evenings in the winter. This is a terrific way to surprise your sweetie, and a unique way to enjoy the season.

For even more romance, try the Aonoch Mor Moonlight Dinner at Boyne Highlands. Take a horse-drawn sleigh to the North Peak and enjoy an elegant meal by candlelight. Call ahead for schedule, 231.526.3021.

Fat Tire Biking

If you love to bike ride, the fun doesn’t end when the snow hits the trails. Bring your bike or rent one from Latitude 45 and explore the area on two wheels.

Winter Rafting

For a truly unusual adventure, try river rafting this winter. Guided winter rafting down the Sturgeon River is incredibly beautiful and a great trip with friends.  Experience the breathtaking beauty and solitude of winter, while floating beneath a canopy of cedars and pines covered with freshly fallen snow. Visit Big Bear Adventures for details.


Ziplines are a popular way to view the season’s natural wonders. Zipline Adventures at Boyne Highlands offers a series of seven lines reaching as high as 3,250 feet, giving you a bird’s eye view of your surroundings.  At Boyne Mountain Zipline Adventures, you can take a 2.5- to 3-hour tour through the sky at elevations up to 4,300 feet. What a great way to get a new perspective on winter.

Headlands Dark Sky Park

Looking for a more unique experience? Visit the Dark Sky Park. Here you can view the night sky without interference from surrounding city lights. The cosmos are visible on clear nights, and definitely a sight to behold. An ongoing series of programs offer entertaining ways to learn more about the stars and their mythology.

Michigan is a winter wonderland, and there are a bunch of ways to enjoy it, even when you aren’t zipping down the slopes. For more information on these and other ways to have fun this winter, be sure to get your free Winter Guide.


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.