Michigan Mondays nature

Winter Wonderland

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Ah, January in Michigan. Settling into the snowy season, lacing up winter boots and layering up against bitter winds, heading out for adventure. Michigan is truly a winter wonderland, and a whole new playground opens up as familiar places turn magical.

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Michigan is home to a variety of trails, perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, soaking up the beauty of freshly fallen snow and the joy of setting fresh tracks. Throughout the state, there’s miles upon miles of groomed tracks for skiing and skating, places to snowbike and hike, and endless opportunities to explore nature.

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Whether you’re a native Michigander or a visitor looking to take advantage of picturesque winter playtime, my first recommendation is to acquire a Michigan State Park pass. At $11/year for residents and $32/year for out-of-staters, it’s truly a bargain to gain access to hundreds of miles of trails and recreation areas, from campgrounds and parks to boat launches and water access. You’re never more than thirty minutes from a state park, state forest campground, or state trail system in Michigan, so you’re always near opportunity for adventure.

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The parks and trails along the Great Lakes are truly stunning: windswept and snow-covered dunes, ice caves and caverns and strikingly blue skies against crisp white shores. It’s an entirely different and wild experience from visiting the beach in the summer, which is exactly why it’s worth all the bundling up to see. Just remember–ice can be dangerous and unpredictable, so take care and always be safe!

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If you’re out in the right conditions, you may even get to see the unique and beautiful pancake ice, in which slushy ice forms into circular icy discs with raised edges. Typically seen in frigid oceans (like the waters around Antartica), the Great Lakes can also serve up these mesmerizing formations.

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Winter is my favorite season, but even for the snow averse, I encourage you to venture out, even for a few minutes, to see the world anew. If you’re looking for a place to start, I recommend visiting your local state park or trail system, or even visiting your favorite summertime location for a fresh perspective. A winter beach, woodland trail, or waterfall offers an entirely new experience!

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So tell me, do you have any favorite winter adventures? Where are your favorite places to go or snowy activities to do? Comment below and continue the conversation over on Instagram @thebiglakemi. Happy exploring!

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