Winter Activities in Northern Michigan: Create Your Own Scavenger Hunt

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Are you running out of family-friendly activities to keep everyone entertained during the winter? Well, hereʼs a fun one: try a winter scavenger hunt! These Northern Michigan scavenger hunt ideas will get everyone up and out of the house and making memories. Hereʼs a full day of fun laid out for your family.

Turn each of these ideas into smaller individual scavenger hunts or combine several into a big one!

Find: A Favorite Book // Location: A Local Public Library

Get your legs moving and brains working by hunting down beloved books. Sharing your former-faves from when you were a child—and having your littles do the same—will introduce everyone to some new quality reads. We recommend swinging into Petoskey District Library for a wide variety of books within the two-story building. For the perfect wrap up to your library visit, find a book the whole family will enjoy and check it out for a bedtime story.

Find: Lingering Fall Foliage // Location: Your Favorite Park OR A New One!

Bundle up and brace for the snow—itʼs time to play in the park! The swings and slides and merry-go-rounds are much more fun with snow flying off them. Although the park may get boring after so many habitual trips during the summer, itʼll be a refreshing visit during the snowy winter months. The remaining leaves on the trees are the subject for your next search—see who can gather the most. Consider visiting a park youʼve never gone to before and perhaps youʼll find a new favorite. The options are endless in Northern Michigan.

Read Next: How to Find the Right Balance of Screen Time for Your Family

Find: Winter Birds // Location: Northern Michigan Hiking Trails

After enjoying the playground, embark on a walk along one of Northern Michigan’s many trails. See who can spot the most cardinals, blue jays and chickadees. The Manistee River Trail offers 11 miles of open hiking, so simply pick a section and enjoy the views. With suspension bridges, river views and waterfalls to visit, this is the perfect location for the whole family (including your pups, as pets on leashes are welcome). If there’s lots of snow on the ground, strap on snowshoes for this portion of your scavenger hunt.

Find: Decorations for a Snowman // Location: Anywhere Thereʼs Snow!

While youʼre outside, build a snowman! Put a twist on this classic activity and make finding the snowman’s facial features the scavenger hunt. Put your kiddos’ creativity to the test and see who can come up with the most inventive eyes, mouth and nose. Or split up into two teams and start a friendly competition. The winner is whoever builds the most creative or the biggest snowman!

Find: Christmas Lights // Location: Downtown or Your Neighborhood

Walk or bike around your neighborhood and admire the Christmas lights. Work together as a family to find all the colors of the rainbow in the lights, count candy canes and see how many Santas you can spot!

If youʼre looking for a low-maintenance scavenger hunt thatʼs fun for the whole family, Pond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs has a year-round Gnome Scavenger Hunt. Find the gnome houses, and the letters tucked inside, and spell out a secret code to win. Bonus: Thereʼs a winery and brewery on-site for adults to enjoy.

Happy (scavenger) hunting!


Shape Up North is a community collaboration dedicated to helping northern Michigan residents benefit from healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. Living a healthier lifestyle can and should be an enjoyable adventure. Small changes in habits at school, work, and home can have long-lasting, positive effects on your health. With an abundance of great local foods and a four-season playground right outside your door, you and your family can lead a healthy, fit, and fun life.

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