Embrace Fun in Michigan this Winter with Kids
At the sight of the first falling snowflake my kids begin shouting for joy and digging out their snow-pants, winter hats, boots… all that dreaded gear! Meanwhile my brain goes another direction. How am I going to keep my kids busy now that the weather is cold and wet? 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.
Kids Ski Free
I have been skiing since I was three years old and last year I was able to introduce all three of my kids to the sport. We signed them up for ski lessons at Crystal Mountain and we were shocked by the improvements they made over two days! This year we purchased them each their first set of skis and we can’t wait to hit the slopes! In Michigan we have so many choices when it comes to terrific learn to ski programs. 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 25 participating ski areas. The entire month of January is learn to ski month in Michigan and most ski hills offer great deals throughout the month.
Get Outside and Play this Winter in West Michigan
I’m convinced no one is ever ready for the frigid, snowy tundra that is a Michigan winter. Overnight fall leaves turn into snowy drifts and you’re outside every hour shoveling the driveway.
You may opt for some hot chocolate (or coffee) and a warm blanket when it feels impossible to get out of the house. However, I think you should take a look at the list below, throw off that blanket and have some fun! This list boasts tons of activities to get you and your family out of the house and ready to brave, and dare I say enjoy, the winter again!
Jump to find…
Learn to Ski & Snowboard
- Crystal Mountain | Kid and adult ski/snowboard lessons. Private or group lessons available. Kids 6 and under ski free.
- Boyne Mountain | Offers kids ski lessons and camps for kids.
- Caberfae Peaks | Children’s programs for ages 4-10. Private lessons for all ages. SPECIAL: Family Fun Days offered most Sundays in January, February & March for families to spend time learning to ski and snowboard together.
- Mount Holiday Ski Area | Group ski and snowboard lessons for grades K-8. Private lessons available.
- Nubs Nob Ski Resort | Free beginner’s area with Free Chairlift and free terrain park. Lessons also offered. Junior Ski Academy for kids ages 5-7.
- 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 ski season.
- 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.
- Treetops Resort | Children’s programs for ages three and up. Private lessons for all ages.
- The Homestead | Individual, semi-private, group ski and snowboard lessons for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and ability levels.
- Bittersweet | Children’s programs for ages four and up. Private lessons for all ages.
- 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.
- 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 trail fee or $25 season pass.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Alpine Valley | Children’s programs for kids starting at age six. Private lessons starting at age three.
- Mount Brighton | Children’s programs for kids starting at age three.
- Mount Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort | Children’s programs start at age five. Private lessons for all ages.
- Pine Knob Ski & Snowboard Resort | Children’s programs for ski and snowboard start at age five.
- Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort | Private and group lessons. Private lessons starting at age four.
- Big Snow Resort Indianhead / Blackjack Mountain | Children’s programs for ages 2.5 – 8 years old. Group lessons for ages 12 and up.
- Marquette Mountain | Private ski and snowboard lessons for all ages and abilities. Camp programs for ages 1 – 10.
- Mont Ripley Ski Area | Group lessons for ages five and up. Private lessons for ages two to four.
- Pine Mountain Resort | Group and private lessons.
- Ski Brule | Children are introduced to skiing through fun and games with the emphasis on FUN! For ages four years and up. SPECIAL: Kids will ski free, stay free, tube free, enjoy a free lunch and receive $7 equipment rentals on Sundays.
Ice Skating – Indoor and Outdoor
- 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. $5 Skate rental fee.
- Crystal Mountain | Outdoor ice skating rink is open at night, too. Rentals available.
- Centre Ice | Indoor ice skating, drop in hockey and skate rental.
- Cedar Rock Sports Plex | A year-round sports complex in Cedar Springs. Offering hockey, drop-in hockey, open skate, and ice rentals.
- Eagles Ice Center | 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.
- Edge Ice Arena GR | Learn to skate programs, open skate and drop-in hockey for ages 14 and over.
- Griff’s Georgetown | 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.
- Griff’s Icehouse | 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.
- Kentwood Ice Arena | Ice skating & hockey lessons, open skate ($5 per person, 5 and under are free) and drop-in hockey. Skate rentals are available.
- Lakeshore Sports Centre | Hockey, skate lessons, open skate ($5 per person).
- 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.
- 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 | Learn 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) broom-ball, and skate rentals are available.
- Rosa Parks Circle | Skate rental is free with paid admission. Skate sizes start at size toddler 8.
- 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.
- Walker Ice Arena | Public Open Skate, skate rentals, hockey & skating programs available.
- City Square Ice Rink in Warren | Skating offered during the months of December – March.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lower Huron Metropark | Enjoy a winter wonderland as you skate on two natural frozen ponds.
- 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.
- The Rink at Campus Martius Park in Detroit | Ice skating in the heart of Downtown Detroit. Skate rental available.
Toboggan, 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 ext. 218
- Echo Valley | Offering both tubing and tobogganing. A 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.
- Timber Ridge | Tubing available for those at least five years old and 42″ tall. One person per tube. (269) 694-9158
Sledding Hills in West Michigan
- Belknap Park – near Division and Coldbrook on NE side (hill is behind Griff’s Ice House)
- East Leonard Elementary School – 410 Barnett St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
- East Oakview Elementary School – 3940 Suburban Shores NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
- Pando – 8076 Belding Rd, Rockford, MI 49341 for tubing
- Provin Trails – 2900 4 MIle Rd, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
- St. Isodore Church – 628 Diamond Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
- Wabasis Lake Park – 11220 Springhill Dr, Greenville, MI 48838
- Orchard View Elementary School – 2770 Leffingwell Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
- Johnson Park – 2600 Wilson Ave, Walker, MI 49534
- Richmond Hills Park – 1637 Tamarack Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
- Union High School – 1800 Treemont Blvd NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
- Ada Vista Elementary – 7192 Bradfield SE, Ada, MI
- Caledonia Lakeside Park – 370 Lake St, Caledonia, MI 49316
- Cascade Township Park – 3810 Thornapple River Dr. SE, Cascade Township
- Christ Community Church – 2400 Forest Hills Ave, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 (corner of Burton and Forest Hills)
- Manhattan Park- 3180 Cascade Rd (right off the East Beltline), East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
- Mulick Park Elementary School – 1761 Rosewood Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
- Pine Ridge Elementary – 3250 Redford Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
- Forest Hills Presbyterian Church – 7495 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
- Byron Center Christian School – 8840 Byron Center Ave, Byron Center, MI 49315
- Charlie’s Dump (also known as the Soccer Bowl) – 1856 Rosewood, Jenison, MI
- Grand Valley Armory – 1200 44th St. SW Wyoming, MI
- Pinery Park – 2401 DeHoop St SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
- Zion Christian – 7555 Byron Center Ave SW, Byron Center, MI 49315
Check with property owners before sledding and follow all local laws and regulations. Grand Rapids Kids 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.
- 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.
- Crystal Mountain | Miles of groomed trails for traditional cross-country skiing or skate skiing. Snowshoe trails and rentals also available.
- Blandford Nature Center | Trails are not specifically groomed for winter recreation, but can be used for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Snowshoe rentals available.
- 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.
- Hemlock Crossing | Hiking trails and cross country ski trails and snowshoe rentals.
- Outdoor Discovery Center | The ODC Nature Preserve is open 365 days a year during daylight hours and offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wittenbach-Wege Environmental Center | Trails are open 365 days a year, dawn till dusk. (616) 987-2565
- 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.
- Snowblitz Snowmobile Rental | Renting Ski Doo Snowmobiles at Ranch Rudolf Resort, offering helmets, guides, four hour, eight hour, 24 hour and 48 hour rentals.
- 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
- 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.
- Shemhadar Dog Sled Adventures | In the midst of 80+ acres, rides are 2-3 miles long. Each tour package will include cookies and cocoa.
- 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.
- 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
Build your own sled in Grand Haven, throw some frozen fish in St Joseph – these are only a few of the unique and fun outdoor events in the area this winter.
Michigan knows how to celebrate all that winter has to offer.
Check out a full list of events below and always let us know if we’ve missed any good ones!