Winter at the Straits of Mackinac

Our weekend roof slide-there was a bit of shoveling involved…or, that’s what “he” said.:)

Chief Wawatam Park and Lighthouse in downtown St. Ignace

Winter at the Straits of Mackinac and in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula..…it is truly a wonderland of adventures….too many to list.   If you are a winter enthusiast and ready to get out and explore, the rewards are big. Even if you stay in your car and drive around, you’ll find plenty of great scenery.     I am lucky enough to be able to enjoy all the elements of this 4-season wonderland.  This year’s snowfall is one that we have not seen in many years.   You truly need a good shovel (s)  or know someone with a shovel and/or plow to allow you in and out of your residence or place of business…..more days than I can count this year. But what is here for you to enjoy, is amazing.  Many communities celebrate with winter festivals and activities.  Pond Hockey on the Great Lakes is the biggest event for the St. Ignace area and the Mackinac Island Ice Bridge when intact, will attract thousands of snowmobile passages between St. Ignace (only) and Mackinac Island.  We’re seeing a few x-country skiers, fat tire bikers and a few regular bikes when the “Ice Bridge” is hard and flat.  Snowshoeing is big as well as x-country skiing at the Sand Dunes Trails.  Lots of ice-fishing events on area inland lakes, if the Blue Ice appears in Mackinaw City and other areas now, that will bring people from across the country to witness.  

If your interest is staying downtown in the winter so you can access the trail systems and travel or watch the travelers navigate the Ice Bridge when and if it’s there and solid.  Staying in a local home is a great option, a popular being the Pier Harbor condos, right on main street overlooking the Ice Bridge, harbor and on the trail, they even come with a stone fireplace.     If a hotel better suits you, there are several options in the area as well.  

Mackinac Properties rental company handles this Visitors get a cool winter experience at The Pier Harbor Condos in downtown St. Ignace-overlooking the harbor and Mackinac Island Ice Bridge.

A really cool running winter fountain with the Big Mac in the background.

If you’re run out of trails in the U.P. (that will never happen) but are looking to head south of the bridge on a machine to Mackinaw City, there is a trailer that will shuttle you across for a day of trail riding south of the bridge and a few newer brew pubs as well as popular in-town spots.  

A popular winter snowmobile lunch spot in Mackinaw City

There are so many winter options in Northern Michigan, you just need to make a plan to come north.  There are tons of areas to snowshoe in and the North Country Trail system is HUGE and you’ll never run out of new trails….One segment just approved Fat Tire use as well, that’s pretty new for the trails up here but it will make a lot of people happy.

Snowshoeing at the Straits State Park on the North Country Trail


Bring your hockey sticks, there’s always a place to play up north.   Each year almost 200 teams, men and women, some from other countries arrive in town for 3 days of fun on the ice.  The town rolls out the red carpet and these teams come back year after year.   It’s like the car show was for summer, but on icy bay.  

Twas the night before Pond Hockey. Labatt Blue U.P. Pond Hockey on the bay in downtown St. Ignace, Michigan

While you’re up here, you can head up to Tahquamenon Falls for some awesome views, Munising for some ice climbing and check out the frozen Eben caves…..Travel along the newest scenic byway, U.S. 2 Scenic byway that is just as awesome in the winter as the summer.   

Just do it!  you’ll be glad you did. The St. Ignace and surrounding areas are full of great eateries, pasties, smoked fish, fudge, Stormy Kromers and all the things you expect “Up North”   You also get the friendliest people in the world, and they are glad to have you visit their community, for a day, a weekend or forever.



Love the evergreens with a fresh snow fall

Tahquamenon Falls