Visit Escanaba Homepage Link
3 people holding cross country skis at Rapid River Ski Trail

Go on the Best Winter Vacation in Escanaba

It’s no surprise to anyone living in the Upper Peninsula that the region was nominated by USA Today for the 10 Best Destinations for Snow in America. In the Escanaba area, we can boast that we are a big reason why the U.P. made the list. Everywhere you go, this is a snow globe of picturesque trails, frozen Lake Michigan bays and inland lakes, ski hills, crackling bonfires and silent starry nights. 

Here by the Bays de Noc, we believe winter vacations are more magical where there’s snow — a place when time off is peaceful, unhurried and uncrowded. Yet, there are also opportunities to chase away the doldrums with adrenaline-gushing adventures nature creates to mock winter’s stillness. You need this type of winter vacation — so do your kids, your lover and the friends you never spend enough time with. Let us show you how wonderful you will feel after a few days with us. 

Things to do on your winter vacation

Find serenity in our outdoors

Unlike some warmer winter vacation destinations, Escanaba doesn’t narrow your choices to options that have insufferably long lines and wallet-draining. If you seek calmness, find it on our hiking, cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. The snow hushes everything except the winter songbirds, whispering pines and the crackle of whitetail deer hooves on leaf-strewn forest floors. Or drop your lines in some of the Midwest’s best ice-fishing bays and inland lakes. Make this your solo retreat or bring family and friends to reel in trophy walleye, northern pike and a mess of yellow perch.  

For a quieting walk into our past, go to Fayette Historic State Park and Townsite overlooking Snail Shell Harbor and the beautiful limestone cliffs and their millennium-old trees. Watch our events for Fayette’s lantern-lit cross-country ski and snowshoe hikes that make lasting memories. 

Find a place along the Big or Little Bay de Noc or the tips of the Garden or Stonington Peninsulas to watch a stunning sunrise or sunset, see the night sky fill with stars or, be awed by the Northern Lights. For an ethereal winter adventure, drive just about an hour east to Kitch-it-kipi in Manistique. This is Michigan’s largest, natural freshwater spring named by the Ojibwe as the “Mirror of Heaven.” It rarely freezes over, and the scenery is mesmerizing as you glide across the water on a self-steered raft, looking deep into the clear, ever-bubbling 45-degree water and around you at the snow-frosted forest.

3 people holding cross country skis at Rapid River Ski Trail

Cut loose with yee-haw fun 

Get your heart pounding riding your fat tire bike on multi-terrain trails. Feel adrenaline surges while throbbing the throttle along miles of snowmobile trail straightaways and lean-hard curves. Wildly cheer as gutsy ice racers roar on the frozen Escanaba River near Gladstone. Unleash your endorphins tubing, downhill skiing and snowboarding on Gladstone Ski Hill. Or go sledding just off South Hill Road. You will catch yourself wishing winter lasted longer. 

Motocross bikes racing on the ice

Shed the mittens and relax indoors

Enrich your creative side

One of our most culturally rich places is Escanaba’s William Bonifas Fine Arts Center where you will find inspiration in galleries showcasing inspiring regional artists and guest musicians. Housed in a handsome, historic Romanesque structure of golden Kasota stone, it is a must-stop on any U.P. cultural tour. The Players de Noc, a local theater group, will draw you into stories that make you laugh, cry and enthusiastically applaud the first-rate talent.

Military jeep and more on display at the Vet Museum

Two Escanaba museums share our area’s intriguing influence on local to international history — the Webster Marble: Inventing the Outdoors Museum and the U.P. Military Museum. At the Webster Marble Museum, you will learn about one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century who still influences outdoor adventure gear. The U.P. Military Museum, one of the newest museums in the region, is the only space dedicated to recounting the stories of veterans from across the entire Upper Peninsula. Pour over the collection of artifacts from the U.S. Civil War through modern conflicts. These exhibits, memorabilia, letters home and diaries will stir your heart. 

Comfort foods and drinks are our specialty

Cook holding out a freshly cooked pizza

You won’t have trouble building an appetite and then satiating it at our restaurants, taverns and breweries, coffee shops and bakeriesComfort foods, craft beers and cocktails make our chefs and barkeeps shine, but you will find must-try new cuisines on their menus, too. Add to your winter itinerary Hereford & Hops, Upper Hand Brewery (a sister company to the Lower Peninsula’s renowned Bell’s Brewery), The Stonehouse, Swedish Pantry and Freshwater Tavern (it has one of the best waterfront views). On Friday nights, chefs vy for the best fish fry title serving fresh-caught Great Lakes walleye and whitefish and plates piled high with sides. Warm up with pasties and delight your sweet tooth with Sayklly’s chocolates and candies. You will find so many tasty reasons to come every season.

Drop by our festive gatherings

It’s fun to plan your trip around our winter festivals and events. See our calendar for what’s happening and when. These are some favorites:

  • Christmas in the Village | Escanaba | First December Weekend
  • Christmas Parade | Downtown Escanaba | First December Saturday
  • Santa’s Workshop Craft Show | Escanaba | Second December Weekend
  • Frosty Wonderland Craft Show | Escanaba | Third December Weekend
  • Relic Ride | Rapid River | Vintage snowmobile ride/swap | Last January Weekend

Where to stay for more fun tomorrow

In the Escanaba area, you will find a wide range of lodgings with amenities and rates that make everyone comfortable. Find hotels with indoor swimming pools and hot tubs, daily breakfast, spacious suites, rooms with fireplaces, cozy spots to read, play board games and work on crafts, waterfront views and nearby restaurants, shops, trails and more comfy reasons to not hurry home.

Book your stay

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive information about upcoming events, trip planning advice and compelling stories from VisitEscanaba. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails.