There’s no season like winter in Northern Michigan! And there’s no reason to stay inside and hibernate with all of the incredible outdoor activities at your frozen fingertips. From tubing to dog-sledding to sleigh rides to sauna experiences, there is surely an activity for everyone in your family to fall in love with! 

Roast S’mores Around a Campfire 

Enjoying s’mores around a bonfire is one of the quintessential Northern Michigan summer activities, but have you tried s’mores in the winter? These places make it easy!

  • Hop Lot in Suttons Bay offers s’more kits daily to roast around one of their fire pits. Sundays are family days where you can enjoy free hot chocolate, free s’mores and half off the kids menu (ages 10 and under). Don’t forget to book your heated igloo in advance for a warm up in between roasts!
  • The Highlands at Harbor Springs offers s’mores and bonfires on their back lawn all year long from 6pm to 9pm for lodging guests.
  • Shady Lane Cellars in Suttons Bay offers table side s’mores kits that serve 2-4 people to be roasted around a small burner and have hot chocolate for the kiddos. While you’re there check out one of their igloos and enjoy snowshoeing or cross country skiing on their 150 acres of land!

Make some winter magic with a sleigh ride

Make some Hallmark-worthy winter memories with a horse drawn sleigh ride through some of Michigan’s most beautiful terrain. Check out the list below and find more options

  • Cook Family Farms in Gaylord offers private horse drawn sleigh rides running around 40 minutes, followed by hot chocolate and cookies.
  • Fantail Farms in Benzonia approximately 45 to 55 minutes long. A hot cocoa kit will be provided for your group to enjoy in the warming sheds at the end of the ride. No snow? Not a problem – the horses pull wagons when there is no snow!
  • Antler Ridge Farms in Williamsburg provides old fashioned sleigh rides out to the woods and enjoy a bonfire along with hot chocolate and marshmallows to roast. You will be pulled by two of the grandest Percheron Draft Horses you will ever run across. Dixie and Danny are a mother and son team!
  • Ranch Rudolph in Traverse City offers horse drawn rides in their big bobsled. Belgian horses, Beau and Knox, will take you on an approximately 40 minute ride in the Boardman River Valley.  The trip will start and end at the main lodge and loops around some private property, seasonal roadways and along the Boardman River. 


If you’re looking for a winter thrill, look no further than these winter tubing runs. And with the options below, getting to the top of the hill is as simple as clipping in and sitting back to enjoy the ride. Make your reservations early as tickets often sell out. 

Visit the Enchanted Trail at the Highlands in Harbor Springs 

This unique winter experience is a magical two-mile round trip walk along a beautifully lit winter trail through the woods. At the halfway point, you’ll enjoy cozying up around a bonfire with s’mores and warm drinks. 

The Enchanted Trail experience runs through February 25, 2024 with time slots running from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.

Warm up with a sauna experience

  • Fox and Flame in Traverse City offers a sauna sanctuary nestled in the woods. Their wood-fired sauna is available for a 75 minute session for up to 6 people. Owner Crystal Mason recommends the experience for children ages 5 and up. Kids should spend less time in the sauna and completely cool down and hydrate in between rounds of hot and cold.
  • TC Sauna Rental delivers their sauna to the location of your choosing, shows you how to operate and enjoy the sauna, then leaves you to a relaxing and revitalizing time.

Dog sledding at Treetops Resort in Gaylord

Meet your sled dogs and then hop on the sled as a Musher takes you on a 1-mile adventure through the beautiful trails at Treetop Resort. One person and two person sleds are available, though each sled must be under 225 pounds total. 

Take a Turn on a Fat Tire Bike

Due to the large size and low pressure of their tires, fat tire bikes ‘float’ over the ground surface and maintain greater traction on wet and slippery terrain. This makes them the perfect options for cruisin’ your favorite “Up North” bike trails in the wintertime. Fat tire bike rental options: 

Visit a Frost Covered Lighthouse

While the insides of most lighthouses in the area are closed for the season, visiting a lighthouse in the wintertime is a unique and beautiful experience. Some of our favorites include:

  • Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort offers incredible ice formations in the right icy and snowy conditions. 
  • Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Northport offers beautiful views regardless of the season and the thin layer of ice that forms on the beach in the winter makes for fun slipping and sliding for little ones. 
  • The shallow water surrounding Mission Point Lighthouse in Traverse City (Old Mission Peninsula) means that it’s one of the first parts of Grand Traverse Bay to ice over, and the thick ice close to shore is always a hit for kids of all ages!

For more Northern Michigan kids activities and events visit and follow along on Instagram at @myupnorthkids 

Photo credit: Facebook