Hear the sleigh bells ring. A couple miles east of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, head over the snowy hills behind a grand Percheron team from Antler Ridge Farm in Williamsburg, (231-267-5795); take a renowned elk-watching carriage ride at Thunder Bay Resort in Hillman (thunderbayresort.com); or visit pickyourownchristmastree.org to find nearby farms offering old-fashioned sleigh rides.
Climb ice. Fringed for miles with hundreds of frozen waterfalls ranging up to 210 feet tall, the scenic sandstone cliffs of Lake Superior in Munising are revered as one of the nation’s top spots for ice climbing. Try it yourself through clinics offered at the Michigan Ice Fest in February, where seasoned climbers also unite on the massive ice formations of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Michiganicefest.com).
Mush! Experience first-hand the elation of four-legged athletes who only know one speed (Go!) through a short instructional outing at Boyne Highlands offered by Nature’s Kennel (natureskennel.com); two- to six-hour excursions available through Snowy Plains Kennel in Gwinn or more of the same from Wetmore-based Wilderness Trail Outfitters.
Skate beneath the stars. Take in the night sky, festive downtown warmth and fiber optic lights of Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink in Grand Rapids (grandrapidsmi.gov) or swirl among the bright lights of Detroit’s towering buildings at Camp Martius Park Rink (downtowndetroitparks.com), the Motor City’s signature downtown square.
Float away. Don a wet suit and enjoy the frosted woodlands from favorite four-season waterways including the 120-mile long Au Sable River; serene Platte and Crystal rivers near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and gentle Chippewa, with handicapped-accessible universal boat launches near Midland. Or learn more about guided “dry” raft adventures beneath a snow-powdered canopy of cedars and pines along the crystal-clear Sturgeon (bigbearadventures.com), or scenic Jordan River (jvoutfitters.com).