‘Tis the season for thinking of others—finding the perfect holiday gifts for family, baking treats for festive gatherings and giving back to your community. In the midst of it all, we say taking time for yourself should also top your Northern Michigan Winter to-do list. Here are a few ways to enjoy a little relaxation during this busy holiday season Up North.

Stay (Kind of) Close to Home

A weekend staycation provides that just-enough-time-away feeling. Head to Crystal Mountain in Benzie County for a peaceful getaway. Ski the slopes or hike the trails at nearby Michigan Legacy Art Park for some heart-pumping self-care, or opt for rest and rejuvenation by visiting the on-site spa for a variety of pampering services. Or, you just might want to stay in and cozy up with a good book. Reserve the resort’s bed and breakfast package, which includes nightly lodging and daily breakfast. Package available through Dec. 31.

Related Read: Searching for more winter activities Up North? Visit our Northern Michigan Winter page. 

Experience Northern Michigan Small-Town Charm

If perusing local shops and enjoying good food and drink at downtown restaurants is your idea of recharging, make a weekend of it in one of the quaint towns dotting the Lake Michigan shoreline along US-31 north as you head toward the tip of the Mitten. Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Bay View are home to historic inns and hotels dating back to 1886 (check out Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant in Bay View for “quiet season” package pricing). Visit Petoskey’s Gaslight District and shop its numerous boutiques and galleries.

Related Read: A Holiday Story Without End + 3 Traverse City Holiday Events.

Break a Sweat in the Cold Up North

If a solid Northern Michigan outdoor adventure is on your mind, sign up for the Farmland 5K and Free for All Bike race on Saturday, Dec. 4 in Traverse City. This locals-favorite east side event features a 5K run, seven-lap bike ride (about 12.75 miles total, on any bike you choose) and—for the especially adventurous—Farmland run and bike combo. Breathe in the cold, fresh air as you tackle a few rolling hills, navigate wooded trails and wide-open spaces, and enjoy plenty of post-race fun (think bonfires and hot chili with friends). Note: this event has passed, follow the Farmland website for 2022 event dates.

Slow Your Roll While Embracing Wintry Weather

Reconnect with yourself and with nature by strapping on your snowshoes and taking a nice-and-easy stroll at a Michigan state park, many of which host guided snowy walks this time of year. At Ludington State Park, 1.5-hour guided programs take you past some of the most gorgeous park scenery, including snow-covered sand dunes. The park loans out 40 pairs of snowshoes on a first-come, first-serve basis and all walks are free. The park also offers classes for those interested in making top-of-the-line traditional wooden snowshoes they promise will last for generations. Learn more at visitludington.com.

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner