There is a reason it's been coined "Charlevoix the Beautiful." This charming northern Michigan town is sandwiched between Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan and has so much to offer during all seasons. A few years ago, I visited during the fall for a leaf peeping adventure so I was excited to be back in the winter. Not only are the crowds much smaller than during the peak summer months, there are so many unique adventures to be had. Keep reading to discover four outdoor adventures you must add to your Michigan winter bucket list.
Disclaimer: My trip was sponsored by Visit Charlevoix. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Some links below are affiliate links which means I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
We joined Jordan Valley Outfitters for guided winter rafting adventure down the Jordan River. Now don't worry - this isn't like your typical white water rafting and you don't have to worry about getting wet in freezing temps (but still be sure to dress warm!). You'll pass over a few smaller rapids and duck under a couple trees but otherwise this was a very peaceful float down the river. You'll be in a boat of 4-6 with a guide who will let you know when it's time to paddle together. Otherwise, you can just sit back and take in the views. On the morning of our trip, the trees were covered in a fresh blanket of snow which made it even more magical. You'll stop about halfway through the trip to get out and enjoy a hot chocolate and photo break on land. You might also luck out and see some wildlifte including beavers, river otters, white tail deer, ducks, and the occasional American Bald Eagle.
mt. mcsauba candlelight hike
Mt. McSauba is a winter recreation playground for all ages. In addition to a small ski slope you'll also have access to an ice rink, sledding hill, and cross country ski trails. Every Friday from 5-8 p.m. you can also enjoy a candlelight hike (and catch a gorgeous sunset if you arrive at the right time). The 1-mile loop trail is beautifully lit and will take you along the lakeshore, over the dunes, and through the forest. Warm up with a glass of hot chocolate at the end. The trail is self-guided so you can go at your own pace. There was only moderate elevation making it suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
Skybridge at Boyne mountain
Located about 30 minutes outside of downtown Charlevoix, this is a great stop to make on your way in or out of town. The Skybridge opened at Boyne Mountain in 2022 and holds the claim to fame as the world's longest timber-towered suspension bridge at 1,200 feet long and 118 feet high. The bridge is open in all seasons so you can come back again and again for a different adventure. It was so neat to visit in the winter and watch the skiers pass by below (be sure to look down when you pass over the glass floor if you're brave enough!) If you're not skiing, you can purchase a separate ticket for the bridge and take a ski lift to the top. After you cross the bridge warm up by the fire pits or grab a snack at the food truck.
Skiing at nubs nob
One of our favorite reasons to head north during the winter months is to hit the slopes. Charlevoix is conveniently located near three of Michigan's largest ski resorts. We ended our weekend at Nubs Nob which is our personal favorite place to ski and is great for all skill levels with 53 runs and 3 peaks. The staff do an amazing job with snow making and grooming here, and the runs are always in great condition. If you need to take a break from the slopes, both the Main Lodge and the Pintail Peak Lodge offer dining, restrooms, great views and a warm fire. Nubs is also one of the best places for new skiers to learn with a large, free beginner area which includes a chairlift and conveyor as well as free lift tickets for ages 8 and under.
Where to stay
If you're looking for the perfect home base for all your winter adventures, you have to stay at Hotel Earl in downtown Charlevoix. The Earl is a newly redesigned boutique hotel with 56 guest rooms that bring a modern twist and cosmopolitan vibe to Earl Young’s Weathervane Lodge. Location is everything here and you're within walking distance from great shopping and dining in downtown Charlevoix. We walked to breakfast at Smoke on the Water and That French Place and enjoyed dinner and drinks at Stafford's Weathervane, Bridge Street Tap Room, and Vu Wine Bar.
Our suite was absolutely stunning and so spacious it was the perfect place to come back to each night and cozy up after a chilly day of winter adventures. They also have a huge pool and outdoor hot tub which is great for soaking those sore muscles after a long day on the slopes. Order a cocktail from the lobby bar and sip it fireside or reserve an igloo.
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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