Say It Ain't Snow... Winter AdventuresGreat trips for the solo traveler or couple (no snow required)
3 Adventures that are a "little less people, and a little more peaceful"
Maybe a getaway shouldn’t require syncing schedules, endless planning, and meticulous packing. Maybe it should be as easy as planting a pin on a map, grabbing a bag of the essentials, and heading out on the road. Although previously less common, today solo travel is a popular choice for individuals ready for exploration focused solely on an authentic experience that resonate with personal interests.
If you are seeking solo simplicity, or a little time away with your mate in a relaxing wintertime jaunt, Manistee has just what you are looking for. We have assembled a collection of single day itineraries that each showcase different ways to enjoy a day in #MyManistee. Choose your favorite or stack the adventures for a multi-day trip exploring all of the reasons why Manistee is the perfect destination to relieve your cabin fever.
Pick An Adventure To Get Started!
What sounds good to you? Do one, or do them all! Enjoy the season in #MyManistee!
MUST SEE STOPS – Adventure #1: Step Back in Time
Follow the Historic Tour
Manistee has a rich history radiating out from the center point of our historic downtown that spans the county. Follow the Manistee County Historic Sites Tour to learn stories of more than 100 of our historic sites throughout the county. The Origins Walk, located along the Riverwalk at First Street Beach/Douglas Park, is a unique sculptural representation of the evolution of our natural landscape and the historic foundation of our region.
TJs for Cocktails & Comfort Food
TJ’s Pub is located in the lower level of the one of the city’s greatest architectural landmarks, The Ramsdell Building. Find a cozy spot next to the fireplace of this quaint pub and enjoy a fresh take on lunch and dinner favorites. Featuring Michigan made products and a large selection of bottled beers, wine, and craft cocktails. Be sure to try their winter signature cocktail – the toasted Chocolate Martini along with their Pot Roast Bowl!
Pop Into the Shops
Next explore the streets of Historic Downtown Manistee, the Victorian Era buildings are filled with shops featuring local wares and restaurant serving regional favorites. Situated along the free-flowing waters of the Big Manistee River, Manistee’s downtown provides an eclectic mix of foodie stops and charming shops that will keep you coming back for more.
Catch a show at the Vogue or Ramsdell
Featuring community, national, and international live performances for your entertainment, the historic Ramsdell Theater in downtown Manistee is a stunning landmark you really must see. Art exhibits, dance, live music, and theater performances fill their year-round schedule.
The historic Vogue Movie Theater in downtown Manistee offers first-run movies every night of the week. Step back in time as you enjoy freshly popped popcorn, and your favorite snacks and beverages while you relax in this beautiful theater restored to its original 1930s décor. The charm of the venue and a community of friendly volunteers add to neighborhood feel of your movie going experience.
MUST SEE STOPS – Adventure #2: Scenic Exploration
M22 Scenic Route
The scenic M22 route following the Lake Michigan shoreline from Manistee north through the Leelanau Peninsula is one of the most beautiful drives in any season of the year, winter is no exception. Your route begins at US31 & M22 at the Little River Casino Resort. From there, head north and following the winding roadway through may quaint towns and leading you to breath-taking views. The perfect way to spend a winter day!
Make your way to Arcadia
For stunning views of Lake Michigan dressed in its winter best, Arcadia offers lakeshore access as well as incomparable views high above the water’s edge. Your first stop is Arcadia Marsh Nature Preserve is a 313-acre preserve, home to over 250 bird species, featuring observation decks and fishing spots along a ¾ mile universal access boardwalk spanning the Marsh. Just a few more miles north is the Arcadia Scenic Overlook where you can view the snow-covered shoreline from 370’ above the lakeshore for expansive views of the coastal winter landscape.
Check out Basecamp at Ironfish
Set in the serene countryside, Iron Fish Distillery serves up craft cocktails made from locally harvested and passionately produced sustainable spirits. Curating a unique winter adventure, Iron Fish assembled a village of individually heated, canvas tents that provide the feel of a mountaineering base camp.
Curling at Stormcloud
When the winter temperatures drop below freezing, Stormcloud Brewing Company in Frankfort transforms their outdoor space into a sheet of ice to welcome the sport of curling. Offering both lessons and league play, winter enthusiasts can either participate in this unique sport or share in cheering on the league while enjoying great local brews.
Check out Point Betsie
Don’t miss a stop at the Point Betsie Lighthouse which is a popular winter picture spot to capture the sunlight glistening off the icicles that form across the landscape of this historic lakeshore landmark.
The Overlook at Sleeping Bear
In the summer season, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of our region’s most popular family destination, attracting visitors from around the world, but did you know it is also open in the winter? A blanket of fresh snow transforms the Dune Climb into a giant sledding hill for an exciting day of family fun. And although the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is closed to motor vehicles in the winter months, it is open to snowshoers and xc skiers providing miles of winter trail exploration. This makes Sleeping Bear the perfect destination for a day trip during your winter stay in Manistee County.
Perfect way to end your day – Experience the Nectar Spa at the Little River Casino Resort
Plan ahead and reserve your spot for a relaxing spa treatment to make this day complete. The Nectar Spa at Little River Casino Resort offers a full menu of rejuvenating spa treatments designed to help you relax and revitalize mind and body.
MUST SEE STOPS – Adventure #3: Time on the Trails
Trek the Manistee River Trail
245 miles of trails attract explorers to Manistee County in all 4 seasons of the year, and winter is no exception. A hike on the Manistee River Trail delivers a unique perspective for hikers when the snow falls. Beginning at the Hodenpyl Dam, the Little Mac suspension bridge leads you as you cross the open waters of the Manistee River to the banks high above the river’s edge for a bird’s eye view of a silent winter landscape hushed by snow. Choose for one of nine well-marked trailheads for your Manistee snowshoe trail adventure. If the snow is flying, snowshoe rentals are available at Crystal Lake Adventure Sports in Frankfort.
Refuel at Northern Natural Cider House & Winery
Set in a relaxing county location in Kaleva, open Thursday through Sunday, Northern Natural Cider House & Winery specializes in premium quality organic hard ciders, wines made with organic fruit, sustainable farmed gold medal grape wines, and port wines. They feature 10 taps with rotating varieties of hard ciders made from fresh pressed apples and fermented on-site. This cider house invites you to stop in for a taste and stay to enjoy live music that pops up from time to time. In the winter months they also offer a 1-mile loop trail to give snowshoeing a try.
Fat Bike Big-M
Need some faster-paced winter trail excitement to warm you up? Cruise the Udell Hills through the winding woods on your fat tire bike for unforgettable winter fun. Big-M Recreational Area is a popular winter trail destination for cyclist, maintained with dedicated grooming throughout the winter season. This trail system, also friendly to skiers, is a collaborative effort of the Manistee Cross Country Ski Council, Shoreline Cycling Club, and the U.S. Forest Service focused on protecting and maintaining these trails for the enjoyment and benefit of the trail enthusiasts who travel from near and far to ski or bike the Big-M. Want to give it a try before you buy? Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville rents fat tire bikes by the day.
See the Sequoia at Lake Bluff
Sequoia trees in Michigan? That’s right! Lake Bluff Farms located just north of Orchard Beach State Park is a serene preserve located on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan and a perfect place for a stroll. In 1948, six sapling sequoia trees, were brought from California and planted on the Lake Bluff estate. Three of these trees have survived, the tallest is now 116 feet tall and is the largest Giant Sequoia east of the Rockies.