Dynamic Variation:

Winter in Traverse City, MI

What’s the recipe for having the best winter ever? Snow + outdoors + an adventurous spirit. We have the first two ingredients -- do you have the third?

Why wait to come and explore Traverse City? View our places to stay today and start planning your winter trip to build lasting memories with family and friends.

When the snow covers the region, the fun is just beginning. Race a sled down the Dune Climb at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park or take your time on a quiet snowshoe hike in the woods. Challenge the family to a friendly skiing competition and see who can do the most runs or glide your way across the miles of cross-country groomed trails. You’ll get exercise, make memories and have awesome pictures to share with your friends.  

Wait, there’s more! Have you tried fat biking? These specially-adapted mountain bikes, with large tires capable of cycling on snow and sand -- have become a normal part of the local winter landscape. In this bicycle-obsessed town, where our winters are long, and our bike trails are even longer, they’re turning cycling into a four-season sport. And if man-powered sports aren’t for you, rev up that motor and blaze a trail on the 200+ miles of snowmobile routes around the region. 

Download our winter guide HERE to start planning your trip!

Top Activities

Skiing & Snowboarding

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If you’re a downhill skier or a snowboarder you’ll find areas here to meet every taste and skill level. From hometown ski slopes to a resort destination there’s no shortage of hills for adventure seekers.

Take a Wine, Beer or Spirits Tour

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Home to thriving wine, beer and spirits industries Traverse City has ample choices for finding northern Michigan craft beverages. Experience a libations tour  at one of these establishments offering outdoor seation options inside tents, yurts or igloos

Cross Country Skiing 

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The countless miles of groomed trails around northern Michigan are a draw for all levels of cross country ski enthusiasts. For advanced athletes who come to compete in the North American Vasa Festival of Races to beginners that just want to get outside, there's no shortage of land to glide across. Suggested locations include the Betsie River Pathway, the Leelanau Trail, and trails within VASA

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park 

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Just because it's winter it doesn't mean you can't explore the park. Snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, hiking, and sledding at the Dune Climb are some of the popular activities. Be sure to plan ahead and check to make sure the section or trails you want to explore are open.


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The vast acreage of forest and parkland in the region offers plenty of snowshoeing opportunities. A few of our favorite locations include the Pelizzari Natural Area off Center Road, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area, and the Empire Bluff Trail (inside the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park).

Winter Shopping

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When you find that perfect vacation treasure, you know the shopping must be good. Suggested retail therapy areas include Downtown Traverse City and The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. If you're up for a little road trip, the surrounding port towns are always quaint and cozy with imaginative shops and art galleries.

Fat Tire Biking

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Fat bikes make cycling a four season sport, especially on the Vasa Pathway at Timber Ridge Resort which offers bike rentals and miles of trails to explore. Other multi-use trails include the well-packed hills at the Grand Traverse Commons and the Leelanau Trail between Traverse City and Suttons Bay. 

Visit a Lighthouse

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Step back in time and visit one of the Traverse City area lighthouses. Most have limited hours in the winter, but the grounds are almost always open for exploration. Some of our favorites include the Mission Point Lighthouse on Old Mission Peninsula, the Grand Traverse Lighthouse on the Leelanau Peninsula and Point Betsie Lighthouse in Benzie County.

Plan your best winter ever and enjoy some savings while you're at it! Take a look at these seasonal packages

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