Winter Outdoor Play Guide for Michigan Families

Embrace Fun in Michigan this Winter with Kids

You’ve got kids and you live in Michigan in the wintertime.

Chances are they love the snow and you, not so much. For me, snow means shoveling, cursing my hilly driveway and cleaning up snow-melt from the kids coming back in. But winter also means cozy family times by the fireplace, sledding with neighbors, lots and lots of hot cocoa, and venturing outside to try new things.


It wasn’t long ago that we discovered the Ice Skating Trail Through the Woods in Muskegon. And just last year, we found out that our family LOVES snow tubing. (We tried it out at Mt. Holiday in Traverse City, but lots of places offer snow tubing.)

MT Holiday Tubing Traverse City

RELATED: Gigantic Grand Rapids Holiday Fun Guide



I grew up in Traverse City and spent some time on the cross-country ski team, but I never got into downhill skiing. This year is the year I want that to change for my kids. I’ve heard about a lot of local places that have terrific learn to ski programs and there’s even a program that lets 4th and 5th graders ski free in Michigan. You pay $20 for a passport and that gives you access to three free lift tickets at 30 participating ski areas.

Winter Outdoor Play for Families in Michigan

Learn to Ski & Snowboard


  • Boyne Mountain | Offers kids ski lessons and camps for kids. (231) 549-6056
  • Caberfae Peaks | Children’s programs for ages 4-10. Private lessons for all ages. SPECIAL: Family Fun Days offered every Sunday in January, February (except Feb 19th) & March for families to spend time learning to ski and snowboard together. (231) 862-3000
  • Holiday Hills | Private lessons, ski school and snowboard group lessons available. (231) 938-2500
  • Mount Holiday Ski Area | Group lessons start at age eight. Private lessons available. (231) 938-2500
  • Nubs Nob Ski Resort | Free beginner’s area with Free Chairlift and free terrain park. Lessons also offered. (231) 526-2131
  • Shanty Creek | Children’s Programs for ages three and up. Private lessons available for all ages. SPECIAL: Kids eight and under that take a ski school super lesson will receive a free season pass for the remainder of the 2016/2017 ski season. (231) 533-8621
  • Snow Snake Ski and Golf | Private lessons offered for all ages and abilities. SPECIAL: In January, free one hour beginner lessons at 1 PM on Sundays for ages over seven years old. Separate class for skiers and snowboarders. (989) 539-6583
  • Treetops Resort | Children’s programs for ages three and up. Private lessons for all ages. (866) 348-5249


  • Bittersweet | Children’s programs for ages four and up. Private lessons for all ages. (269) 694-2820
  • Cannonsburg Ski Area | Weekend learn to ski and ride program for kids ages 5-12 at any ability level, running on both days of the weekend. Specifically designed to help those aged 5-12 years old learn, progress and feel more confident on the hill. (616) 874-6711
  • L.E. Kaufman Cross Country Course at Linus Palmer Park – 4807 Clyde Park SW, Wyoming, MI 49509. Once there is a minimum of 4 inches of snow on the ground, the golf course and Palmer Park open up for cross country skiing. At the clubhouse you can rent skis, boots and poles and buy snacks. A $2.00 trail fee helps maintain the course. Phone:  616.538.5050
  • Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl  | Mulligan’s Hollow offers lift pass scholarships, ski and snowboard lessons, rental equipment in cooperation with Reliable Sports, school programs, freestyle clubs and exciting events throughout the season. Children’s programs for ages four and up. (616) 842-0634
  • Muskgeon Winter Sports Complex – 462 Scenic Drive, N. Muskegon, MI  49445.You can purchase a season family pass and enjoy the outdoor rink all season! Skate rentals also available. This rink is weather dependent so make sure you check conditions before going. They have hockey rinks, a family skating rink and a 700 ft skating trail. Open skate ($5 per person). Phone:  877.879.584
  • Pigeon Creek Park   Located in Olive Township on Stanton Road between 128th and 120th Avenues.  This park is a popular cross country ski destination with groomed trails for both classic and ski skating. The Pigeon Creek Lodge provides ski rental, a food and beverage concession and serves as a warming house (open limited hours).
  • Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboarding Area | Eleven runs, three chairlifts and learning area with surface tows. Various specials for students, homeschool students, and scouts, including a special learn to ski/snowboard program on Sundays from 2 PM – 7 PM. (269) 244-5635
  • Timber Ridge | Weekend Children’s Programs organized by age and ability (ages 5-12 for ski lessons and 9 -12 for snowboard lessons). Lifts, rental, lesson, lunch and hot chocolate break, Saturdays and /or Sundays, all season long. (800) 746-1092
  • Rosa Parks Circle – Monroe Ave/ Pearl St at Rosa Parks Circle, downtown GRA great outdoor rink for budget friendly family fun. Warm up afterward with a warm cappuccino from one of the coffee shops within walking distance from the park. Free skate rentals. Open skate ($1 for children and $2 for adults). Phone:  616.456.3699
  • Walker Ice Arena –  4151 Remembrance Rd. NW, Walker, MI 49534. Public Open Skate, skate rentals, hockey, skating programs, and party packages available. Phone:  616.735.6286


  • Alpine Valley | Children’s programs for kids starting at age six. Private lessons starting at age three. (248) 887-2180
  • Mount Brighton | Children’s programs for kids starting at age three. (810) 229-9581
  • Mount Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort | Children’s programs start at age five. Private lessons for all ages. (248) 634-8269
  • Pine Knob Ski & Snowboard Resort | Children’s programs for ski and snowboard start at age seven. (248) 625-0800


  • Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort | Private and group lessons. Private lessons starting at age four. (800) 501-7669
  • Big Snow Resort Indianhead / Blackjack Mountain | Children’s programs for ages 2.5 – 8 years old. Group lessons for ages 12 and up. (800) 346-3426
  • Marquette Mountain | Private ski and snowboard lessons for all ages and abilities. Camp programs for ages 1 – 10. (906) 225-1155
  • Mont Ripley Ski Area | Group lessons for ages five and up. Private lessons for ages two to four. (906) 487-2340
  • Pine Mountain Resort | Group and private lessons. Children five and under must be in a private lesson. (906) 774-2747.
  • Ski Brule | Children are introduced to skiing through fun and games with the emphasis on FUN! For ages four years and up. SPECIALS: Kids will ski free, stay free, tube free, enjoy a free lunch and receive $7 equipment rentals on Sundays. (906) 265-9346


RELATED: Hey Michigan, Toronto is Closer and Cooler Than you Think!

Indoor & Outdoor Ice Skating Experiences


  • Petoskey Winter Sports Park: The park features a warming house with fireplace, concession stand, drinking fountain, free wireless Internet access, a large HDTV, and restrooms. Ice skating lessons available. (231) 347-1252


  • Cedar Rock Sports Plex 4758 Cornfield Drive, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. A year-round sports complex in Cedar Springs. Offering hockey, drop-in hockey, open skate, and ice rentals. Phone:  616.696.8393.
  • Eagles Ice Center 2600 Village Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506. Whether you are a beginning skater looking to play on a team in an instructional league or an experienced ice hockey player looking to get out and play with others of a similar caliber, Eagle Ice Center is the place to play. Phone:  616.452.7516
  • Edge Ice Arena GR 4444 Holland Ave, Holland, MI 49424. Learn to skate programs, open skate and drop-in hockey for ages 16 and over. Phone:  616.796.6927
  • Georgetown Ice Center – 8500 48th Ave, Hudsonville, MI 49426. A year-round facility offering open skate ($3 for children and $5 for adults), hockey instruction and learn-to-skate programs. Group outings and party packages available. Phone:  616.662.2800
  • Griff’s Icehouse – 30 Coldbrook St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503   Official practice facility of the Grand Rapids Griffins. Griff’s offers learn-to-skate classes for all ages, youth & adult hockey lessons, drop-in hockey for ages 16 and over and open skate. Phone:  616.235.0303 / 616.235.0058
  • Kentwood Ice Arena – 6230 Kalamazoo Avenue SE, Kentwood, MI 49508. Ice skating & hockey lessons, open skate ($3 children and $4 adults) and drop-in hockey. Skate rentals are available. Phone: 616.698.0100 Ext 5
  • Lakeshore Sports Centre 4470 Airline Rd, Muskegon, MI 49444 Hockey, skate lessons, open skate ($5 per person). Phone:  231.739.9423
  • Lakeview Park Ice Rink – 563 Blackbass Ave, Holland, MI 49423. Free outdoor skating and hockey. Skating time is 7am – 11pm daily (hockey hours are 7am – noon). Bring your own skates and check rink conditions before going.
  • Echo Valley | A 43,000 square foot rink, groomed and resurfaced regularly. Skate rentals available. (269) 349-3017
  • Leonard Field in Ada | Open to the public for general skating. Children need to be supervised by a guardian. (616) 676-0520
  • Millennium Park | Home to the first refrigerated outdoor ice rink in southwest Michigan. Check their website for special events held each year, such as the Valentine’s Skate Date and Twilight Skate. (269) 324-9200
  • Muskegon Winter Sports Complex | With two acres of outdoor ice skating, there is enough ice for everyone. Park includes a skating rink, hockey rink and lighted, 1/4 mile skating trail. Skate rentals available. (877) 879-5843
  • Patterson Ice Center – 2550 Patterson, Grand Rapids, MI 49546Learn basic skating skills, hone your hockey skills, or perfect your figure eights on this NHL & Olympic size rink.  Open skate ($4 for children, $5 for adults) broomball, and skate rentals are available. Phone: 616.940.1423
  • Riverview Park Ice Rink – off 6th Street in Holland, MI, 49423 Free outdoor skating and hockey. Skating time is 7am – 11pm daily (hockey hours are 7am – noon). Bring your own skates and check rink conditions before going. This is an unsupervised rink.
  • Rosa Parks Circle | Skate rental is free with paid admission. Skate sizes start at size toddler 8. (616) 456.3699
  • South Haven Ice Rink | A pavilion-covered rink and coils under the ice to keep it frozen, result in the rink being operable in many weather conditions. Skate rentals available. (269) 639-1113
  • Walker Ice Arena – 4151 Remembrance Rd. NW, Walker, MI 49534.  Public Open Skate, skate rentals, hockey & skating programs available. Phone:  616.735.6286


  • City Square Ice Rink in Warren | Skating offered during the months of November – March. (586) 268-8400
  • Kensington Metropark | At frozen Kent Lake, families and hockey players can skate on separate, natural rinks, which are well-lit in the evenings. Afterwards, warm up in the nearby heated Boat Rental Building. No skate rentals available. (810) 227-8910.
  • Lake St. Clair Metropark | A rink, a comfort station, a warming room and picnic tables for resting are conveniently located close to the parking area. (586) 463-4581
  • Lower Huron Metropark | Enjoy a winter wonderland as you skate on two natural frozen ponds. (734) 697-9181
  • Stony Creek Metropark | An ice skating rink is located on Stony Creek Lake near the boat launch area. A warming room has a heated lobby, vending machines and restrooms. No skate rentals. (586) 781-4242
  • The Rink at Campus Martius Park in Detroit | Ice skating in the heart of Downtown Detroit. Skate rental available. (313) 963-9393
Muskegon Winter Sports Complex - Ice Skating Trail

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex – Ice Skating Trail

Tobbogan, Snow Tubing & Luge


  • Cannonsburg  | Tubing lanes are fast and fun and serviced by a state-of-the-art magic carpet, ensuring your group gets maximum laps. Tubing tickets are good for three hours. (616) 874-6711
  • Echo Valley | Offering both tubing and tobogganingA tow rope is available to assist you and your tube back up to the top. Tobogganers will reach speeds up to 60 MPH before coming to a stop at the end of the quarter mile long runs. (269) 349-3017
  • Muskegon Winter Sports Complex | Luge participants will slide down an 850′ track designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley. It consists of six curves and two starting areas. Public participants slide from the 3/4 mark at speeds up to 30 MPH. The track is designed specifically for general public use and those who have never tried luge before. (877) 879-5843
  • Timber Ridge  Tubing available for those at least five years old and 42″ tall. One person per tube. (269) 694-9449

Sledding Hills in West Michigan

1. Ada Vista Elemntary – 7192 Bradfield SE, Ada, MI
2. Belknap Park – near Division and Coldbrook on NE side (hill is behind Griff’s Ice House)
3. Byron Center Christian School – 8840 Byron Center Ave, Byron Center, MI 49315
4. Caledonia Lakeside Park – 370 Lake St, Caledonia, MI 49316
5. Cascade Township Park – 3810 Thornapple River Dr. SE, Cascade Township
6. Charlie’s Dump (also known as the Soccer Bowl) – 1856 Rosewood, Jenison, MI
7. Christ Community Church – 2400 Forest Hills Ave, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 (corner of Burton and Forest Hills)
8. East Leonard Elementary School – 410 Barnett St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI  49503
9. East Oakview Elementary School – 3940 Suburban Shores NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
10. Grand Valley Armory – 1200 44th St. SW Wyoming, MI
11. Johnson Park – 2600 Wilson Ave, Walker, MI 49534
12. Manhattan Park- 3180 Cascade Rd (right off the East Beltline), East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
13. Mulick Park Elementary School – 1761 Rosewood Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
14. Pando – 8076 Belding Rd, Rockford, MI 49341 for tubing
15. Pine Ridge Elementary – 3250 Redford Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
16. Pinery Park – 2401 DeHoop St. SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
17. Provin Trails – 2900 4 MIle Rd, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
18. Richmond Hills Park – 1637 Tamarack Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
19. St. Isodore Church – 628 Diamond Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
20. Union High School – 1800 Treemont Blvd. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
21. Wabasis Lake Park – 11220 Springhill Dr, Greenville, MI 48838
22. Zion Christian – 7555 Byron Center Ave. SW, Byron Center, MI 49315.
23. Orchard View Elementary School – 2770 Leffingwell Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Check with property owners before sledding and follow all local laws and regulations. is not liable for how you may choose to use this information.

Snowshoe – Cross Country Ski Rentals and Trails


  • Forbush Corner | Enjoy miles of rolling, wooded trails designed for all levels of ability. (989) 889-1644
  • Ludington State Park | The park remains open year-round for hiking and snowshoeing, plus there are scheduled activities and events, such as guided snowshoe walks. (231) 843-2423


  • Blandford Nature Center | Trails are not specifically groomed for winter recreation, but can be used for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Snowshoe rentals available. (616) 735-6240
  • Gillette Nature Center | The park’s 3.5 mile cross country ski trail is a must for immediate to advance skiers. Snowshoeing is available when the snow is deep enough. (231) 798-3573
  • Hemlock Crossing | Hiking trails and cross country ski trails and snowshoe rentals. (616) 786-4847
  • Outdoor Discovery Center | The ODC Nature Preserve is open 365 days a year during daylight hours and offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. (616) 393 9453
  • Pierce Cedar Creek Institute | Beginning December 1st, the trails south of Cloverdale Road will be open for hiking, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing through the remainder of the year.  (269) 721-4190
  • Pigeon Creek Park | Ski trails are groomed, tracked and reset as needed throughout the day and illuminated for evening use. The Pigeon Creek Lodge provides ski rental, a food and beverage concession. (616) 786-4847
  • Wittenbach-Wege Environmental Center | Trails are open 365 days a year, dawn till dusk. (616) 987-1002
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area | Snowshoeing available and cross county skiing offered on more than 10 acres of Nordic ski trails. (269) 795-9081



  • Alpine Snowmobile Rentals | Just feet from snowmobile trails, so you can rent your sled and go. (989) 731-1276.
  • Blue Sky Rentals |  Single passenger and double passenger snowmobiles are available for rent in four hour, eight hour, daily, weekend (48 hours) and weekly rentals. (231) 633-2583 or (231) 645-2628.
  • Snowblitz Snowmobile Rental | Renting Ski Doo Snowmobiles at Ranch Rudolf Resort, offering helmets, guides, four hour, eight hour, 24 hour and 48 hour rentals. (231) 932-1800
  • Wolf Lake Motel & Resort Snowmobile Rentals | Direct trail access from the Resort. You can take the rentals anywhere in the state of Michigan, even the Upper Peninsula. (231) 745-4101 

Dog Sledding


  • S & L Arctic K9’s Sled Dog Adventures | Options to ride or drive. Children ages four and up with accompanied adults.  Morning and afternoon tours that range in duration from one hour to four hours. (231) 775-0997
  • Shemhadar Dog Sled Adventures | In the midst of 80+ acres, rides are 2-3 miles long. Each tour package will include cookies and cocoa. (231) 779-9976


  • Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Racing and Adventures | You can choose to learn to drive your own team or take a ride in the sled. Children must 10 years old to drive their own team. (906) 748-0513
  • Husky Haven Kennels | Offering traditional dog sled tours which allow you to drive the sled with an instructor or to instead sit back and just enjoy the ride. Dryland tours available when there is no snow. (516) 790-9183
  • Snowy Plains Kennels Dog Sled Rides | Specializing in sled dog rides of two to five miles. Sharing the magic of dog sledding with reasonable rates and a location just minutes from the city of Marquette. (906) 249-1011
  • Triple Creek Kennels & Buck Sporting Lodge | In Munising, offering many dog sledding packages options. (906) 439-5242


Winter Festivals


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By | 2017-06-15T06:21:29+00:00 November 29th, 2016|Categories: Guides, Guides- travel, Winter|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

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Melody V
INFJ. Mom of three. Idea chaser. People believer. Inspiration seeker. Together, we make this city amazing. Let's go!

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