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Get Outside for Winter Fun: Hot Chocolate Comes Later

The author winter rafting on the Indian River courtesy of Big Bear Adventures.

Like to be outside but don’t want to peddle a fat bike up a snow-covered hill? Treetops offers horse-driven sleigh rides, and for serious foodies, there’s their Wilderness Sleigh Ride Dinners.

Treetops Sleigh Ride

Garland Lodge and Golf Resort in Lewiston, Michigan, features 30-minute sleigh rides.

Thunder Bay Resort Elk Preserve

The sleigh rides at Thunder Bay Resort in Hillman, Michigan, includes elk-viewing at its Northern Elk preserve. The sleigh ride and five-course gourmet dinner option was named by both USA Today and Fox News Online as a “Top 10” event.

Thunder Bay Horse and Sleigh Ride

You’ll have to get up early, but it’s worth setting the alarm for the Sunrise Groomer Rides offered by several resorts including Treetops, Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands.

“The slopes don’t just magically appear each morning with fresh corduroy,” says Kevin McKinley, of Treetops Resort in Grayling, Michigan, noting there’s a lot of work that goes into well-groomed ski trails, and watching the experienced groomers go about their job is a great behind-the-scenes activity.

Really, all you have to do is bundle up and climb into a raft at Big Bear Adventures in Indian River, Michigan, for a trip down the fast-moving Sturgis River (a must for winter rafting as the rapidly flowing water keeps it from freezing and, thus, navigable).

“Chris Prysok, our guide, is very experienced; he’s a rafting guide in West Virginia and in the Apostle Islands,” says Patti Anderson, co-owner of Big Bear with her husband, Scott.

Boyne Highlands

“It’s a beautiful trip, and there’s lots of wildlife to see — deer, eagles, turkeys, muskrats and lots of birds.”

The winter rafting trip lasts 90 minutes. If you decide to add the 90-minute snow shoe or cross country package (with a break for hot chocolate) it’s no longer an armchair adventure but still lots of fun.

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