📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @_tomhughes._
When a fresh coat of powder covers everything in sight and the only sound for miles is the soft crunch of snow under boots (with lots of belly laughs sprinkled in)? That's the real Pure Michigan winter magic.
Just ask the kids, if you can catch them — zooming along a canopy walk four stories high in the forest (with fireside hot cocoa waiting at the end), or zipping down an icy toboggan run. Skating, snowshoeing, skiing, sleigh-riding — and every extra-special moment in-between.
📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @bnadventuretogether
See Frozen Forest & Winter Gardens
At 1,400 feet (the longest in the U.S.) and up to four stories high, imagine how epic the Canopy Walk at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens must look to tiny eyes! Add wooden pods to play in, huge cargo net hammocks in a grove of giant spruce trees, and a glass-floored platform where they can look down over it all — and plan on little ones who'll never want to leave.
But, Whiting Forest is just one part of the entire Dow Gardens experience. Within its 110 frosty acres, there are big, red bridges for the kids to climb, groves of snowcapped trees, and a tropical conservatory you can all warm up inside. Enjoy every bit!
📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @arianlindsayperez
*Note: This Canopy Walk feature is currently closed
Take A Sleigh Ride
For a cozy carriage ride through one of the "Most Magical Christmas Towns & Villages Across the World" (that feels like stepping right inside a snow globe), bring the kids to Michigan's Little Bavaria. Find Fantasy Carriage Company or Frankenmuth Carriage Company and cuddle up on your horse-drawn tour of this German Christmas town, covered in holiday lights.
📍Downtown Frankenmuth 📷 @metro.detroiter
Visit Santa's Reindeer Farm
On special weekends in November and December, Grandpa Tiny's Farm in Frankenmuth is transformed into Santa's Reindeer Farm — with fresh, pre-cut Christmas trees & wreaths, baby reindeer meet & greets, socially-distanced visits with Santa, and reindeer barn photo ops that'll hands-down make this year's holiday cards. (Book your spot in advance; these festive farm visits are reservation-only!)
📍Grandpa Tiny's Farm 📷 @em.stop
All it takes is a little snow to turn Midland City Forest into a Winter Sports Park with all the bells & whistles. Four snow-packed & iced toboggan runs (and the only hand-packed ones in Michigan), with toboggans ready to rent. A sledding hill that stays open way past bedtime, miles of trails for snowshoeing or skiing, and a huge ice-skating rink. Rent sleds, skates, and skis here or bring your own from home — and warm up with hot cocoa at the fire pit outside the Chalet.
Lace Up Your Skates
Nothing gets the kids ready faster than the promise of old-fashioned ice-skating (and hot cocoa topped with too many marshmallows, to follow). Rent skates on-site or bring your own for a few laps around the lighted rink in Bay City's Wenonah Park — where a holiday tree topping 35 feet gives off a colorful glow. Or, take the ice at Hoyt Park in Saginaw, then stay to enjoy its sledding and snowboarding hills.
📍Wenonah Park 📷 @jeffcaverlyphoto
If the kids like to ski or snowshoe, Chippewa Nature Center in Midland has 19 miles of trails (that only get more beautiful under a blanket of snow). Make your way past the Homestead Farm, a one-room Log Schoolhouse, and Native American wigwam — and even see a Sugarhouse where sap's turned to sweet maple syrup each spring!
Shop the World's Largest Christmas Store
With more than 50,000 trims & gifts and 300 decorated trees on display, could there really be anyplace more magical than Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland? Shop a festive showroom the size of 1.7 football fields, let the kids pick out ornaments and have them hand-personalized, and pose for a family photo with a one of the 17-foot Santas as you leave.
📍Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland 📷 @katieincolors
After dark, make your way back to Bronner's for a drive down 25 Christmas Lane — lit up by 100,000+ holiday lights, every single night of the year!
📍25 Christmas Lane 📷 @the_terrcane
Find More Festive Holiday Lights
From a new, 40-foot Spectacular Musical Tree Show in Frankenmuth to a colorfully-lit, fresh-cut Christmas tree topping 36 feet in Downtown Bay City — you won't have to look far to find dazzling holiday lights this season! See a festive display in Saginaw, too, and don't head home without catching The Freeland Lights — an incredible holiday show set to music of Christmas classics, and one you can catch from the warmth of your car.
📍Frankenmuth's Spectacular Musical Tree Show 📷 @_simply_nourished
📍Christmas Tree in Downtown Bay City's Wenonah Park 📷 @baycitymilove