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10 Ways to Find Joy in Michigan Winters

It’s winter time, now what?

If you find yourself counting down the days until summer, let us help you find the joy in winter again or maybe even find it for the first time ever! Follow our top suggestions to help you enjoy winter during the colder months in Michigan’s Thumbcoast or any winter destination.

1. Stay Fresh Air Active

Michigan is an outdoor winter wonderland. You won’t have to travel far to find a fun outdoor experience. Check out our free Winter Activities List of communities offering outdoor ice skating rinks and sledding hills, or locate snowmobile trails for winter 2022/2023. If the list of winter activities isn’t something you’re able to do, 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

Pampering is the act of indulging or gratifying a desire and a way to pamper yourself is to book a day at the spa. The indulgence of a spa isn’t just for women either; it can be for anyone to enjoy including families. Make plans for a cozy, relaxing day at one of the Spa Locations in the Thumbcoast.

Photo | Spa Blu, Port Huron

3. Dress in Excess

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” This old Scandinavian phrase is true and put simply; winter will be more enjoyable if you’re prepared with warm clothing. Shop small for cold weather gear at a local boutique. If you’re planning outdoor activities, get hand and foot warmers to help keep these sensitive areas warm for up to 10 hours for a more enjoyable experience. These wonderful warmers can be found at many local retailers, online or make your own DIY Natural Warmers. See tip #5 for a place that can help you with this fun project idea for kids.

4. Wanderlust

Everyone loves looking forward to a vacation, so make plans to go somewhere. Use the Plan Your Trip tool and organize a “Bucket List” of adventures and tour the coastal communities in Michigan’s Thumb. Exciting plans don’t necessarily mean traveling to a faraway destination. Arrange something to do every week throughout the winter, even if it’s just getting a cup of coffee locally with a friend.

5. Mood Boost

The shorter days and increased darkness will naturally produce more melatonin in your brain; this is what makes you sleepier in the winter. If you’re looking for a mood boost during this time, we have a few suggestions because the mind, body and spirit will need attention in different ways. Here’s how:

Laughter and mystery will help boost your mood and keep your mind sharp. Try booking a private game show night or an escape room with Hallway Entertainment in Port Huron.

Exercise helps release tension, feels good and is highly recommended for overall well being. 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 & spirit class with EarthStar Wisdom in Marine City. They offer essential oils specific for immunity protection to combat the winter blues, stones & crystal grids. The customization will help you find the combination best suited to boost your mood!

Remember longer days are coming soon, so use the Spring 2023 Countdown Clock to help remind you that warmer days are ahead.

6. Make Something

Making something will give you a sense of accomplishment, so take advantage of the quieter season to find your inner artist. Local studios that can help you are the Craft Loft in St. Clair, A Little Hobby Ceramics Studio in Marysville and the Foundry in Port Huron. Locations like these offer the tools to be creative and provide knowledgeable staff and a work space.

Photo | Craft Loft, St. Clair

7. Toasting Winter

Raise your glass to our fun Wet Your Whistle Challenge. Make a purchase at 12 of the 17 beer, wine and spirits locations and you’ll get a free hotel night. This is a great way to support local businesses while having fun. Remember to drink responsibly!

8. Museum Exhibits

Support museums by planning to visit soon. This is a great activity for the entire family with interactive experiences and historical artifacts. Museums are all unique in their own way because each location has displays unlike the other. This means you need to make plans to see them all! Click here to see our Thumbcoast Museums.

9. Learn Something New

Winter is often a slower, quieter season here and offers a great opportunity to learn something new. Did you know that our Thumbcoast is a popular destination for winter bird watching? Pick up a Birds of Michigan Field Guide as a reference and try out the Blue Water Birding Trails or the Saginaw Bay Area Birding Trails – Huron County. Another fun activity would be starting an indoor garden. Growing vegetables or fruits isn’t just a hobby for the warmer months or for 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 stock pile calories for insulation. This may not necessarily hold true nowadays; but the inner desire to eat comfort food is certainly there. 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
  • Sage Creek Winery – Memphis, heated patio
  • The Windjammer Bar & Grill – Lexington, waterfront heated igloos
  • Bird Creek Farms – Port Austin, heated igloos

If you follow the tips to stay fresh air active and exercise, you’ll be able to have your cake and joyfully eat it too!

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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