16 Northern Michigan Events Celebrating Our Great Outdoors

Embrace winter and explore our snowy outdoors at these Northern Michigan events in February. 

MICHIGAN TECH WINTER CARNIVAL | February 5–8

We’re not surprised one of Michigan’s northernmost cities has given rise to one of the country’s largest and longest-running winter festivals. The annual Winter Carnival in Houghton includes elaborate and massive snow sculptures, sleigh rides, a winter queen pageant, a beard-growing contest, a broom ball tournament and plenty of other antidotes to cabin fever.

HARBOR SPRINGS ICE FEST | February 8

The annual Harbor Springs Ice Fest has a chili cook-off, dueling chainsaws, winter sports demos and more the second weekend of February.

BEULAH WINTERFEST | February 8

This day is jam-packed with activities for all ages. Go bowling with frozen turkeys at Beulah Park during the chili cookout, test your snowball-throwing accuracy at the target competition, watch the Winterfest parade and wrap the day up with fireworks and a bonfire on the beach.

BIG M MOONLIGHT SKIING | February 8

Enjoy the quiet wonder of nature on a moonlight ski night on the Big M Trail, home to 18 miles of groomed, classic skiing trails east of Manistee. While the trail isn’t lit, the group will follow the light of the moon (headlamps are recommended), followed by a bonfire. Fat bikers are welcome though will use a separate trail. Big M Lodge at Big M Cross Country Ski area, Udell Hills Road.

Find more local events in the MyNorth calendar.

44TH ANNUAL NORTH AMERICAN VASA | February 8–9

The North American Vasa Festival of Races has been a Traverse City tradition since 1977. Whether you’re a newbie to the sport of cross-country skiing or a seasoned racer, young or not so young, the Vasa has something for everyone. They offer ski races from 6–50K in both classic and skate styles for all ages. This year there will also be fat bike racing and a snowshoes race. Timber Ridge Resort hosts the festivities, and events take place in the beautiful Pere Marquette Forest.

U.P. POND HOCKEY TOURNAMENT | February 13–16

The 2020 Labatt Blue UP Pond Hockey Championship tournaments are played on the frozen Moran Bay in Lake Huron. The Labatt Blue UP Pond Hockey Championship is one of the few tournaments where the “pond” is actually one of the Great Lakes. Thirty 75′ x 150′ rinks are created and more than 250 games are played during this fun-filled weekend in St. Ignace.

UP200 | February 13–17

This 230-mile contest is the state’s flagship sled-dog event, taking place over four days, with plenty of start and finish-line festivities in Marquette. The UP200 is an Iditarod qualifying race.

Read Next: Winter is Better in Marquette

PETOSKEY WINTER CARNIVAL | February 14–15

For more than 90 years, this event has had one of the most packed lineups of any Winterfest in the North. Outside, enjoy sledding, curling, figure skating, several hockey games and a broomball tournament. Then get toasty during the Chocoholic Frolic.

KALKASKA WINTERFEST | February 15–16

Kalkaska’s Winterfest features Michigan’s largest sprint sled dog race, a bustling marketplace at the craft show and a slew of family-friendly attractions throughout the weekend-long event.

LANTERN LIT SNOWSHOE HIKE | February 15

Snowshoe or cross-country ski through Ludington State Park on a lantern-lit pathway.

WINTER HIKE AT GREEN POINT DUNES NATURE PRESERVE | February 15

Join volunteer Sally Manke for a winter hike at the Green Point Dunes Nature Preserve in Benzie County. First-time visitors and nature preserve veterans alike will enjoy the iconic views that are only enhanced by the winter scenery. This is a strenuous hike on steep terrain—come prepared with your own cold-weather gear, water and a snack. Participants are encouraged to bring snowshoes. In the event of any changes or inclement weather, participants will be notified via email, so prior registration is recommended.

Read Next: 10 Winter Hikes You’ll Love at Northern Michigan Nature Preserves

BETSIE BAY FROZEN 5K | February 15

The course starts at the top of Elberta’s beautiful Lake Michigan lookout and continues down the hill through Elberta, around the bend, along Betsie Bay via M-22 and then heads into Frankfort with a downtown finish just before you reach the lighthouse. This year, proceeds from the 10th Annual Betsie Bay 5K will focus on supporting local and global community-focused projects.

GLEN LAKE WINTERFEST | February 15

This small-town festival keeps it earnest and low-key with an all-ages perch-fishing contest on Big and Little Glen Lakes, a chili cook-off and an outdoor party on the deck at Boondocks. All proceeds benefit the Glen Lake Schools Scholarship Fund.

WINTERLOCHEN | February 15

You’ll want to get here early and stay all day, as Interlochen Center for the Arts’ annual family-friendly festival celebrates all things winter with activities, performances and workshops both indoors and outdoors.

MICHIGAN SNOWMOBILE FESTIVAL | February 22

Gaylord is one of the best snowmobile destinations in Michigan. Celebrate with a day of riding during the Michigan Snowmobile Festival.

Read Next: Northern Michigan Snowmobile Trails, Lodging and Pubs

DOGMAN CHALLENGE | February 22

This two-hour endurance event is held entirely on the multi-use trails around Mt. McSauba Recreation Area and North Point Nature Preserve in Charlevoix. The course consists of a fast and challenging 2-mile loop along the lakeshore and through rolling, wooded terrain. The riders who complete the most laps are the champs.

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