Woman looking up at the unique wooden pod structure along the Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens Canopy Walk

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @yagirljodes

 


 

When winter turns Pure Michigan into a snowcapped scene from a glossy postcard, there’s natural beauty all around here (and it's all worth bundling up for).

 

Whether you’ll take in never-ending, winter-white views on a canopy walk through a frozen forest or watch the flakes fly while you sip coffee (or tea) in a toasty outdoor igloo — get ready for the coziest winter vibes.

 


 

Red architectural bridges, trees, and a stream peeking out through a fresh blanket of fluffy white snow at Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Dow Gardens 📷 @chrisparfeniuk

 

Wander in Winter Gardens

Midland’s Dow Gardens wears a fresh coat of snow so beautifully, you'll barely miss the 22,000+ flowering bulbs that bloom here every spring. (Okay, maybe a little.) But, walk its groves of giant, snowy pines, stop for photos by iconic red bridges and tranquil waterfalls, and see these gardens in a whole new light — glistening in snow and ice.

 

Softly lit pathways for the Christmas Walk at Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Dow Gardens 📷 @dowgardens

 

Explore a Frozen Forest

Within Dow Gardens’ 110 acres, you’ll also find its Whiting Forest — and a 1,400-foot Canopy Walk that stands the longest in the country. See icy branches and snow-covered spruces right within the treetops, and take it all in from a glass-floored overlook, four stories high above ground. After, warm up by a roaring fire with a cup of locally-sourced coffee (and take a few bags of the signature House Blend back home).

 

Canopy Walk soaring high over the snow-covered grounds at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens in Midland

📍Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens 📷 @bnadventuretogether

 

Snuggle In for a Sleigh Ride

The only thing better than seeing one of the “Most Magical Christmas Towns and Villages Across the World”? Dashing through it on a horse-drawn carriage! Find Fantasy Carriage Company (just south of Zehnder’s) or Frankenmuth Carriage Company (by the Bavarian Inn Glockenspiel) and take in all the holiday lights on your tour of Little Bavaria.

 

A white horse-drawn carriage headed down Main Street in Frankenmuth, with the streetscape all aglow in holiday lights and decorations

📍Downtown Frankenmuth 📷 @metro.detroiter

 

Hit the Trails

On snowshoes or skis, on foot or fat tires — a trek through the snow promises pretty unbeatable views here. Cross-country ski through the early-morning powder at Bay City State Park, snowshoe 19 miles of Chippewa Nature Center trails, fat bike a few loops within Midland City Forest, or lay fresh tracks at any of these pristine spots (and find who'll rent you gear if you don’t feel like bringing your own).

 

Man snowshoeing on winter-white trails at Midland City Forest

📍Midland City Forest 📷 @midlandparks

 


 

Find 100 miles more powder-coated paths along the Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail, and 142 miles of winter birding — with sightings from Bald Eagles to Long-Eared Owls — along the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail.

 


 

Blue Jay perched on a pine tree branch covered in snow

📷 @jeffcaverlyphoto

 

Take the Ice

On top of its toboggan runs, Nordic skiing trails, and sled hill, Midland City Forest Winter Sports Park has an ice rink (with a fire pit and Chalet you can warm up at after your skate). In Bay City, the Nickless Family Community Pavilion comes with waterfront views of Wenonah Park — and a 36-foot holiday tree — while the Hoyt Park rink in Saginaw has a warming house, plus sledding and snowboarding slopes.

 

Views from beneath the colorfully lit Nickless Family Community Pavilion ice-skating rink in Bay City's Wenonah Park, with gorgeous views of the waterfront at dusk

📍Wenonah Park 📷 @jeffcaverlyphoto

 

Shanty Up

Whether you’re seasoned enough to brave the ice alone or you’d rather have some help navigating these frozen waters, Saginaw Bay promises some of the best ice fishing for walleye around. Get tips from our local anglers for targeting winter catch, or sign up for one of Mark Martin's Ice Fishing Vacation Schools.

 

Two men ice fishing on the Saginaw River in Downtown Bay City

📍Saginaw River 📷 @jeffcaverlyphoto

 

Drink Coffee (or Tea) in a Cozy Igloo

Head to Harless + Hugh in Bay City for the chance to sip your coffee in cozy outdoor digs. Order the Hansel + Gretel — a gingerbread caramel latte with house-made syrups — and drink in all the free smells from a wood-burning fireplace crackling in the courtyard. Or, beeline to Grove Tea Lounge in Midland for a Cinnamon Plum Tea or Matcha Latte in a heated, lighted bubble tent.

 

Outdoor igloo at night under the bistro lights in winter at Harless + Hugh Coffee in Bay City

📍Harless + Hugh Coffee 📷 @kristi.kozub

 


 

Need a few more ideas on where to grab a great cup of coffee? These dozen-or-so have you covered — including a roaster dubbed Michigan’s best by Food & Wine.

 


 

Heart-shaped latte art in a beautiful latte sitting on hexagon tile at Harless + Hugh Coffee in Bay City

📍Harless + Hugh Coffee 📷 @harlessandhughcoffee

 

Wind Down at a Winter Beer Garden

Drydock Beer Garden in Bay City has its own fleet of outdoor igloos — and they only pop up on special winter beer garden weekends. Time your trip just right to sip craft beer under the stars — with heat lamps, fire pits, and brews that'll warm your bones.

 

Woman posing in-between the heated, outdoor igloos at Drydock Beer Garden in Bay City

📍Drydock Beer Garden 📷 @jaclynjeane

 

Find Your Winter Comfort Food

From spots serving up heavenly carbonara and hearty Bolognese to laid-back joints known for their wood-fired pies or smoky, fall-off-the-bone barbecue — there’s no shortage of winter comfort food around these parts. Grab takeout and cozy in at your hotel!

 

Gorgeous plate of jambalaya at Real Seafood Company Bay City

📍Real Seafood Company 📷 @kay.sasithorn

 

Uncover Unique Finds

The world’s largest year-round Christmas store. Michigan’s largest antique center, and a 100-plus-store outlet mall. A European shopping district with 40+ specialty boutiques, and a charming village of shops stretched out over six old farm buildings. These shopping excursions (and so many more) are all here to enjoy; wear your comfiest kicks so you can cover lots of ground!

 

A view from the ground looking up toward the ceiling at Christmas decorations covering the world's largest Christmas store, Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth

📍Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland 📷 @smog_71