February brings cold temps to Michigan, but there are still plenty of fun indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy across the state. Here are my top recommendations for making the most of Michigan’s beauty in February.
1. Snowshoeing Trail Options at Wilderness State Park
February is a prime month to take advantage of winter activities across Michigan’s snow-covered landscapes before the snow starts to melt in March.
This gorgeous state park near Mackinaw City in the northern Lower Peninsula has over 26 miles of wilderness trails winding through pristine forested areas.
I’ve snowshoed multiple routes here, but recommend the Ridge Trail for its incredibly scenic sweeping views over the frigid blue waters of Lake Michigan. For an easier, more relaxed pace, opt for the peaceful Headlands trail that meanders through the woods.
A recreation passport grants you access to the park’s winter trails. Snowshoe rentals are available at a small warming hut near the trailhead parking lots. Call ahead for updates on snow coverage.
2. Glide Through Pigeon River Country State Forest
Located near Gaylord, this huge tract of preserved forest known as “the Big Wild” contains over 102 miles of groomed pathways for cross-country skiing amid its pine-cloaked hills and valleys.
I’m still a beginner skier, so I stuck to the gentle 3-mile Songbird Trail that winds alongside the Pigeon River and offers periodic rest stops. More advanced skiers can take on longer loops like the 10.5-mile Elk Hill Trail.
A daily or annual recreation passport allows access to the trail system. Two rental shops right on the property offer ski rentals and guidance. Stop by the DNR Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center beforehand for helpful trail maps based on your ability level.
3. Family-Friendly Sledding at Mt. Holly Ski Area
This small ski resort near Holly converts its slopes into an open sledding hill for families when not operating for skiing on weekdays. I rode the tow rope up to the top of the 700 foot run, then zoomed down together on inner tubes.
You must have gone a dozen times before finally deciding on hot cocoa breaks. The lodge at the bottom had a fireplace perfect for warming up afterwards.
4. Scenic Chateau Chantal on the Old Mission Peninsula
Address: 15900 Rue de Vin, Traverse City, MI 49686
Since February is Michigan Wine Month, it’s the ideal time to visit local wineries and sample vintages from around the state. Tasting rooms provide a cozy escape from winter’s chill.
Overlooking the icy blue waters of Grand Traverse Bay, I adored the vineyard snowshoe tour experience at Chateau Chantal. An expert guide led us between the rows of dormant vines, discussing how the wines are produced. Afterwards, we headed indoors to sample the stellar Rieslings and sparkling wines the winery is known for.
5. Cozy Up by the Fireplace at Fenn Valley Vineyards
Address: 6130 122nd Ave, Fennville, MI 49408
This winery off Lake Michigan in Southwest Michigan has a wonderful tasting room with a flickering fireplace that creates a perfect wintry ambiance.
I enjoyed sampling Fenn Valley’s signature ice wines and bold cabernet francs. Don’t miss their reserve flights showcasing limited production estate vintages.
When the weather gets fierce, head indoors to explore some of Michigan’s fascinating museums, conservatories and family-friendly destinations:
6. Immerse Yourself in History at The Henry Ford Museum
Address: 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124
This museum in Dearborn is a must-visit for history buffs, containing an unparalleled collection of American artifacts and exhibits spanning centuries.
I could have spent hours in the aircraft and president vehicles collections alone. From furniture to Downton Abbey costumes, every display offers insights into periods of innovation and change.
Due to the vast amount of content, I recommend planning to spend a full day exploring to see everything. On busy weekends, go early to avoid crowds.
7. See Plants at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids
Address: 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
This sprawling 132-acre botanical garden and sculpture park provides a beautiful indoor oasis during winter. Walk through the tropical conservatory’s humidity-filled rainforest environment, then admire elegant sculptures dusted with snow outdoors.
Don’t miss the surrendered greenhouse Victorian Garden area and arid Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory, open year-round.
8. Interactive Aviation Exhibits at the Air Zoo Museum
Address: 6151 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49002
Aviation enthusiasts of all ages will love this museum in Portage filled with historic aircraft and hands-on exhibits explaining the science behind flight. My nieces had a blast taking turns in the flight simulator pods while I explored the extensive collection of WWII warplanes.
The Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum is open daily from 9am-5pm, aside from major holidays. General admission is $16.95 for adults. Schedule at least 3-4 hours minimum to experience all of the interactive exhibits.
9. Indoor Water Park Fun at Great Wolf Lodge
Address: 3575 N US Highway 31 S, Traverse City, MI 49684
This popular year-round indoor water park resort provides families with a warm winter escape. My kids could have spent all day playing in the sprawling indoor park, splashing down massive slides, floating the lazy river, and testing their bravery on obstacle ropes courses.
Great Wolf Lodge’s Traverse City offers suite-style rooms surrounded by the water park. Given its popularity, book well in advance for busy weekends. The indoor water park is open daily to overnight guests.
10. Fat Tire Biking the Leelanau Trail
Riding a fat tire bike makes it possible to pedal through snowy landscapes that would be difficult on a normal bicycle. I tried this fun winter activity by biking along the scenic Leelanau Trail, a former railroad corridor that runs between Traverse City and Suttons Bay.
The trail was groomed and smoothly packed, which let my wide 3” tires glide easily over the snow. Though I did have to dress in layers and waterproof gear to stay warm at 20 degrees! Pedaling under the towering snow-frosted pines felt like traversing through a winter wonderland.
I booked my fat tire bike rental from The Bicycle Company in Traverse City near the trailhead. They set me up with a sturdy Specialized Fatboy model and provided helmet, locks, and advice on the best sections to ride.
The Leelanau Trail stretches for 15 miles as paved path in summer, but about 10 miles are groomed for winter biking. I did an out-and-back ride from Cherry Bend to Suttons Bay, stopping in the charming village for hot cider and a snack break.
11. Marveling at Elegant Ice Sculptures
One of my favorite February events in Michigan is the Plymouth Ice Festival held annually in downtown Plymouth. This lively festival features enormous ice carvings crafted by professional sculptors using chainsaws and chisels.
The blocks of ice weigh over 10,000 pounds each and get transformed into intricate frozen shapes like mythical creatures, movie characters, and architectural wonders. In 2022 I saw massive carvings of animals like a roaring grizzly bear as well as recognizable icons like Buzz Lightyear.
The ice sculptures make for incredible photo backdrops as you wander amongst them. During the day you can observe the artists still chipping away at the rough blocks to refine their creations. But I recommend visiting at night when the finished ice sculptures are illuminated by colorful lights, creating a magical glow throughout Kellogg Park.
Entry is free, with beer tents, food trucks, music and activities making it an exciting winter street fair. The illuminated ice sculptures stick around through February, so don’t miss taking a nighttime stroll to marvel at the hand-carved glowing frozen artworks. Just be sure to bundle up as temperatures dip!
While February in Michigan might be cold, there’s still plenty of natural beauty to admire and activities to enjoy from Detroit museums to U.P. dogsledding. Bundle up and head outdoors to go sledding, skiing or fat tire biking, then warm up by a fireplace at a winery or cozy museum.
The state also shines with frozen waterfalls, snow festivals and more unique attractions this time of year. Don’t hibernate – embrace Michigan’s charms in February!