7 Things to Do In Mackinaw City In The Winter

Mackinaw City

7 Things to Do In Mackinaw City In The Winter

If you are looking for a fun-filled winter destination, look no further than Mackinaw City. Located in Michigan at the tip of the Lower Peninsula, this city is full of activities sure to keep you entertained all season long. 

From skiing and snowmobiling to shopping and shows like Jackpinelumberjackshows (where world champion lumberjacks compete head-to-head in an entertaining way), winter here has something for everyone.

Mackinaw City

7 Things to Do In Mackinaw City In The Winter

So grab your coat and mittens–let’s explore what Mackinaw has to offer this winter! Whether you are visiting with family or friends (or even solo!), You won’t be disappointed by all the amazing experiences awaiting you.

From outdoor adventures like ice fishing and sleigh riding to indoor attractions like museums and distilleries, this small town packs a punch when it comes to entertainment options come wintertime.

So let’s jump right in – read on for an exciting list of things to do in Mackinaw City during your next cold weather vacation!


Why You Should Visit Mackinaw City in Winter
1.       Skiing and Snowmobiling

2.      Shopping and Craft Beer Tasting

3.      Ice Fishing

4.      Sleigh Riding

5.      Visiting Museums

6.      Exploring Distilleries

7.      Hiking And Cross-Country Skiing


Skiing and Snowmobiling 

I love spending my winter days in Mackinaw City! Skiing and snowmobiling are some of the most popular activities here, and it is easy to see why. 

The trails offer spectacular views and a great way to get your heart racing. Plus, you can always bundle up with all the necessary gear – hats, gloves, scarves, etc. 

When I go skiing or snowmobiling in Mackinaw City, I like to take advantage of the various packages offered by local businesses. These include full-day tours that provide everything from transport to ski passes and rental equipment. 

It also gives me peace of mind knowing that I am in good hands while out on the slopes or trails. 

Shopping and Craft Beer Tasting 

The winter season in Mackinaw City is a special time of year when the town seems to become magical and its streets start twinkling with Christmas cheer. The festive spirit makes it an ideal place for shopping, whether you’re looking for something traditional or unique. 

From quaint boutiques full of locally handmade gifts to stores that offer modern items from around the world, there’s something here for everyone. And if you need a break while exploring all these shops, what better way to relax than by indulging in some craft beer tasting?

Mackinaw City abounds with breweries and taprooms offering up delicious suds from locally sourced ingredients. Whether you prefer IPAs or lagers, dark ales, or pale stouts – there is no shortage of choices on hand. 

Enjoy samples from their ever-changing selection at either one of the well-known establishments downtown or check out one of their smaller spots located just off the beaten path. It’s sure to be a great way to unwind after a day spent hitting up all the best retail locations throughout town. 

After sampling some craft beers, take your new finds and enjoy them during a stroll along Mackinaw City’s harborfront boardwalk as snowflakes drift down from above. 

With so many activities available this winter season – like shopping and craft beer tasting – it truly feels like paradise here in northern Michigan! Now onto another popular pastime: ice fishing…

Ice Fishing

Ok, so you’ve had a good time shopping and tasted some great craft beer – what’s next? How about trying something completely different while in Mackinaw City during the winter: ice fishing!

Ice fishing is an activity that requires patience and skill. You have to know when and where exactly to drop your line to catch a fish. Here are some of the things you need for a successful day of ice fishing:

Fishing gear: rod & reel, bait, tackle box, etc.

Gear for staying warm: boots, insulated clothing, thermal socks & mittens/gloves

Safety supplies:  life jackets, first-aid kit, emergency whistle

Food & Water: snacks and drinks for keeping up energy levels throughout the day

Learning how to ice fish can be quite rewarding as it offers an opportunity to connect with nature on a deeper level. Plus, there’s nothing like catching fresh fish right off the lake!

With all these benefits though comes the responsibility of being aware of local regulations regarding licensing requirements and limits on the size or number of catches per person.

Sleigh Riding

Heading out in the snow for a sleigh ride is an amazing way to explore Mackinaw City in the winter. The experience of riding through the thick blankets of powdery snow, surrounded by nature and crisp air is invigorating. 

Locals often say that it is one of their favorite activities this season as it brings them close to nature and provides plenty of opportunities for photo ops with friends or family. 

Sleigh rides can be booked on many different companies around town, all offering unique experiences depending on what you are looking for. From romantic evening rides under the stars to thrilling daytime adventures accompanied by hot chocolate; there is something for everybody here.

You may even catch glimpses of some local wildlife along your journey if you are lucky – so keep those cameras ready!

As far as outdoor activities go, taking a sleigh ride should certainly be at the top of your list if you visit MacKinaw City during wintertime. It is sure to give you a memorable experience that will stay with you long after you leave.

Visiting Museums

One of the best things to do in Mackinaw City during winter is visiting museums. For starters, there’s the Historical Society Museum where you can learn about the history and culture of this area. 

It features educational programs, interactive exhibits, and interesting artifacts from bygone eras. You should also check out The Mill Creek Discovery Park which offers fascinating insights into Michigan’s natural heritage. 

There are numerous trails for hikers and snowshoers as well as a nature center with live animal displays that amaze visitors year-round. 

If you are looking for something truly unique, don’t miss out on the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum!  This museum will give you an up-close look at one of America’s most powerful icebreakers–the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

You can explore its interior decks and compartments while learning more about Great Lakes’ maritime history. 

Exploring Distilleries

Visiting the local distilleries in Mackinaw City is a great way to spend an afternoon during winter. You can sample some of the finest whiskeys, bourbons, and other spirits from all across Michigan.

There is something for everyone here – from award-winning small-batch whiskey to ultra-premium aged bourbon that will delight even the most discerning connoisseur.

The atmosphere at each of these establishments is as warm and inviting as you would expect it to be on a cold winter day. From cozy fireplaces to friendly staff, you will find yourself right at home while exploring the unique offerings available.

Plus, many distilleries offer tours throughout the year so you can learn more about their craft and get an insider look at how they make their products.

No matter what type of spirit you are looking for, Mackinaw City has plenty of options when it comes to visiting its distilleries. Whether you are there just for sampling or planning a tour, you won’t regret spending an afternoon among the wonderful people and places this city has to offer!

Hiking and Cross-Country Skiing

Hiking and Cross-Country Skiing have become popular outdoor pursuits during the coldest time of year. The fresh powder that blankets Mackinaw City provides hikers with a stunning view as they climb up and over frozen ridges.

While trekking along icy paths, you can come across hidden gems like rustic cabins or hidden waterfalls – moments worth remembering forever! For those wanting to explore further distances, cross-country skiing offers an effortless way to glide through miles of untouched terrain.

With endless possibilities around every bend, it is easy to lose track of how far you have traveled while exploring these majestic landscapes.

There is something magical about experiencing nature at its most serene during the wintertime in Mackinaw City. Whether taking short hikes or long ski trips, these invigorating adventures will fill your soul with warmth and contentment even amidst the chilliest temperatures outside.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Time To Visit Mackinaw City In The Winter?

The best time to visit Mackinaw City in the winter is subjective. If you are looking for activities like snowmobiling, skiing, ice fishing, and other winter sports, then late December through mid-March would be ideal. 

However, if your preference is a more relaxed holiday season with plenty of opportunities for sightseeing and shopping, then consider visiting around Christmas or New Year’s Day. Either way, no matter when you choose to go it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience!

Are There Any Dog-Friendly Winter Activities In Mackinaw City?

Yes, there are! Mackinaw City is the perfect winter destination if you want to bring your pup along for the ride. There is plenty of outdoor activities, like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, that are suitable for both humans and their four-legged friends.

Plus, many restaurants offer pet-friendly patios so you can grab a bite to eat without having to leave your furry companion behind. So don’t worry about leaving Fido at home – there’s plenty for them to do in Mackinaw City during the winter months! 

Are There Any Winter Festivals Or Events In Mackinaw City?

If you are looking for something to do this winter in Mackinaw City, there are plenty of great festivals and events happening. 

With the Icebreaker Festival in January, ice sculpture demonstrations, chili cook-offs, live music, and more, as well as the Snowball Drop on Valentine’s Day, where 1,000+ snowballs are dropped from a crane into Zorn Park filled with prizes, there’s something for everyone.

Are There Any Winter Activities Suitable For Children?

Mackinaw City offers plenty of activities suitable for children. From ice skating and snow tubing to exploring nearby lighthouses or historic museums, there is no shortage of ways your family can create memories together.

Plus, some local businesses offer special discounts during off-peak seasons so you can get more bang for your buck!

What Is The Best Way To Get Around Mackinaw City In The Winter?

Getting around Mackinaw City in the winter is like navigating a maze. With winding roads and icy patches, you need to be cautious of your step. The best way to get around town during this time would be by foot or even snowshoeing if you are feeling adventurous.

There are also plenty of sledding options for families with children that offer an enjoyable experience as well as some exercise. For those looking to travel further distances, there are public transportation routes available that can take you anywhere within the city limits with ease.


Mackinaw City in the winter is a great place to explore and experience all that Michigan has to offer. With plenty of activities for people of all ages, you will never run out of things to do.

From dog-friendly activities to children’s programs, festivals, and events, Mackinaw City is well worth your time during the colder months. The best part? You don’t need to break the bank – there are lots of affordable ways to get around and enjoy this beautiful city.

So take advantage of the snowflakes sprinkled across town and head on down; it may be cold outside but inside will be cozy as can be. After all, when it comes to exploring Mackinaw City in the wintertime, why not make hay while the sun shines?

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