Thumbcoast Articles

10 Ways to Embrace the Joy of Michigan Winters

It’s winter time, now what?

Embrace the crisp chill and let the snow-kissed landscapes be your canvas for joy. Find delight in cozy moments, frosty adventures, and the beauty only this season can unveil! Here are our top suggestions to help you embrace winter and give you a sense of serenity when Michigan’s Thumbcoast transforms into a glistening wonderland.

1. Stay Fresh Air Active

Michigan is an outdoor winter wonderland. You will not have to travel far to find fun outdoor experiences. Check out our Free Winter Activities List of communities offering outdoor ice skating rinks and sledding hills, or locate snowmobile trails for winter 2023/2024. If the list of winter activities isn’t your cup of tea, take a walk outside for a few minutes every day to help you re-energize and curb any ill feelings of being cooped up.

2. Pamper Yourself

Indulging in winter bliss at the spa—because self-care knows no season! Let the soothing warmth of spa treatments melt away the chill, leaving you refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to glow in the enchanting ambiance of winter. Make plans for a day at a Spa in the Thumbcoast.

Photo | House of Blush Day Spa, St. Clair

3. Dress in Excess

“Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær!” which translates to “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes!” ~Norwegian saying taken from Nature Play

Dressing for the cold isn’t just practical; it’s the key to unlocking a more enjoyable outdoor winter experience. Shop local for cold weather gear at a local boutique. When planning outdoor activities, get warmers to help keep your hands and feet warm for up to 10 hours for a more enjoyable time for the entire family.

4. Wanderlust

Planning a future trip can provide a sense of anticipation and excitement, so make a plan to go somewhere. I suggest using our Plan Your Trip tool from our website to create a bucket list of adventures in our region. Arrange something to do every week, even if it’s just getting a cup of coffee with a friend.

5. Mood Boost

During winter, shorter daylight hours can disrupt your circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Reduced exposure to natural light can lead to increased melatonin production, the hormone that induces sleep. This shift, coupled with the longer nights, triggers a sense of drowsiness and can contribute to feeling sleepier in the winter. Here are some suggestions that will help combat this seasonal shift.

Laughter and mystery can enhance your overall well-being. Book a private game show night or an escape room with Hallway Entertainment in Port Huron.

Regular exercise can help regulate your circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality. Aim for a workout, even a brief one, during the day. Book a personal experience or check out local options from places like Port Huron Yoga or Afterburn Fitness. Solitude Links Golf Course has a state-of-the-art indoor golf simulator to stay help you stay loose in the off-season.

Book a body, mind, and spirit class with EarthStar Wisdom in Marine City. They offer specific essential oils, stones, and crystals for immunity protection and to help the winter blues. They can help you find the best combination suited for your mood!

Spend time outdoors during daylight hours, especially in the morning. Open curtains and blinds to let natural light into your home or workspace. Remember, longer days are coming soon, so use the Spring 2024 Countdown Clock to help remind you that warmer days are ahead.

6. Make Something

Crafting is a therapeutic journey where creativity takes the lead, turning ordinary materials into something extraordinary. The hands-on process allows self-expression and engages the mind. Local studios that can help you create with workspace are the Craft Loft in St. Clair, A Little Hobby Ceramics Studio in Marysville, and the Foundry in Port Huron. 

Photo | the Foundry, Port Huron

7. Toasting Winter

Raise your glass and discover the diverse beverage culture and the stories that each stop has to offer on our Wet Your Whistle Challenge. Make a purchase at 12 out of the 20 beer, wine, and spirits locations, and you’ll get a free hotel night. Remember to drink responsibly!

8. Museum Exhibits

From ancient artifacts to local masterpieces, experience the fascinating exploration of knowledge and creativity of our local history at a museum. Don’t miss the chance to uncover the hidden gems that make our museums extraordinary!

9. Learn Something New

Winter is often a slower, quieter season here and offers fantastic opportunities to learn something new. Did you know that our Thumbcoast is a popular destination to watch winter birds? Pick up a Birds of Michigan Field Guide as a reference and try out the St. Clair Macomb Birding Trails or the Saginaw Bay Area Birding Trails – Huron County. Another fun activity is starting an indoor garden. Growing vegetables or fruits isn’t just a hobby for the warmer months or just the outdoors. Contact MIgardener in St. Clair or any local gardening shop to find out how to get started. Whatever your interest, find something you’ve always wanted to learn about and fill your winter with the joy of knowledge. 

“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” ~ B.B. King

10. Food for the Soul…..and Warmth

The desire to eat more in the winter goes back to primitive times when shorter days meant the need to stockpile calories for insulation. Although this may not necessarily hold true nowadays, the inner desire to eat comfort food is a real thing. Find Unique Eats in the Thumbcoast and try them all; you have all winter to do it! If you’re looking for outdoor dining, here are some locations to try:

  • War Water Brewery – St. Clair, heated patio
  • Pepper Joe’s – St. Clair, waterfront heated patio
  • The Anchor Point Bistro – St. Clair, heated patio
  • Mannina’s Wine House – St. Clair, heated patio
  • Four Star Grille – Marysville, heated igloos
  • Belle River Winery – Columbus, heated patio
  • Casey’s & Casey’s on the Plaza (Beer Garden) – Port Huron, heated outdoor patios
  • Bootlegger’s – Port Huron, heated igloos
  • Sage Creek Winery – Memphis, heated patio
  • The Windjammer Bar & Grill – Lexington, waterfront heated igloos
  • Bird Creek Farms – Port Austin, heated, enclosed outdoor bar

If you want to learn more about places to visit in Michigan’s Thumbcoast during any season, contact the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 810.987.8687 or visit

Featured Photo | International Deck at the Blue Water Convention Center, Port Huron.

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Article by Katie Stepp, Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

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