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Petoskey Area Blog

Where Non-Skiers Go for Winter Fun in Michigan

Posted on January 16th, 2020

Non-skier? Don’t stay home this winter.

So, your {Fill in blank} husband, wife, kids love to ski or board. That’s great! The Petoskey Area is definitely the place to bring them this winter. Boyne Highlands and Nub’s Nob in Harbor Springs and Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls have a combined 160 runs that cater to the newest skier on up to those tackling the black diamonds. Perfect, right? But maybe you’re not so keen on the whole going downhill thing. What are you supposed to do while everyone else is having a blast on the slopes? Well, you shouldn’t stay home – that’s for sure! Here are some ideas for you:

  • Ice skate – There are a number of opportunities to glide gracefully across the ice within the area. There are three outdoor rinks if the weather cooperates (Boyne City, Petoskey and Harbor Springs) and one indoor, some with skate rental available, too. Don’t forget your mittens (or knee pads if you skate like I do.) 
  • Hit the trail – Bring your boots, cross-country skis or snowshoes and get back to nature on one of the many Little Traverse Conservancy trails. All three downhill ski areas also have trails that are groomed and well maintained.
  • Get trivial — Find a seat, get your favorite beverage and maybe something to munch on – then prepare to find out how smart (or not) you are. Frosty evenings are good times for some hot competition so pick a night and chances are you’ll find one of our local pubs or restaurants hosting trivia.
  • Make a splash – Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, Avalanche Bay™ is at Boyne Mountain. You don’t need to be a houseguest at the Mountain to enjoy hours of balmy indoor water fun from the gentle Lazy River Adventure to the thrilling Vertigo Cannonbowl.
  • Sip and Sample – Trendy distilleries, fun breweries and intimate wineries dot the area. Tuck into an igloo and taste the flavors that are making the Petoskey Wine Region famous. Don’t want to drive? Take a tour.
  • Spa-il yourself – From mani-pedis to massages and beyond, an awesome treatment at area spas can help make you feel like a million bucks. And you deserve to be pampered, right?
  • Chow Down or Eat it Up – Great dining options exist virtually all over the area. Whether you want comfort food, French pastries, a great burger or Thai cuisine, you’ll find it in the Petoskey Area.
  • Shop – Unique stores and cute shops to poke through can be found in Boyne City, Petoskey, Bay Harbor and Harbor Springs. Hit the sensational independent bookstore in Harbor Springs or Petoskey and pick up the latest best-seller so you can curl up and enjoy it later in the day.
  • Get a clue – Head to the Petoskey Area and take on the challenge of an escape room. Know Way Out is a super fun activity that lets you put on your Sherlock Holmes hat.
  • Go rafting – Rafting?! In the winter?! Yep. There’s nothing like the peacefulness of a river surrounded by a blanket of snow. Dress in layers and extra socks and prepare to be dazzled by paddling on a winter’s day. Check with Big Bear Adventures or Jordan Valley Outfitters for more information on this cool experience. 

Don’t stay home or let yourself be left behind by your family or friends just because you don’t think downhill skiing is “your thing.” Come enjoy the beauty of this northern Michigan winter wonderland. Maybe you’ll decide to give that whole downhill thing a try. If you do, keep in mind January is Learn to Ski and Board Month in Michigan. And all three ski areas offer terrific instructors all season long. You may even surprise yourself and like it if you give it a whirl.

To find a great place to stay in the Petoskey Area, click STAY in the menu.

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About the author

Diane Dakins is passionate about all the lakeside communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. Her blogs give potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.

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