Nearby frozen waterfalls. Hundreds of miles of snowmobile, snowshoe and ski trails in the Hiawatha National Forest and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Numerous indoor activities and events. While the Munising area is a popular destination in the summertime, the little city along pristine Lake Superior shoreline has plenty of family-friendly recreational options for anyone visiting the area in the winter as well.
The following is a list of what we feel is the top 5 winter activities families can enjoy during a trip to Munising:
1 Spectacular Frozen Waterfalls
When you think about waterfalls, typically a rushing stream of water with a thunderous echo comes to mind. As cooler temperatures take hold in the winter, the season provides a beautiful and unique advantage for waterfall seekers in Munising as the waterways mostly freeze over. Sometimes a faint trickle can be heard, but nevertheless it’s a scene that makes any adventure seeker at peace with their surroundings.
While Alger County is home to over 15 waterfalls, several of them are around Munising and relatively easy to get to.
Munising Falls is one of the easiest waterfalls to visit in the area and is encompassed by the Pictured Rocks park. Winter guests can find beautiful ice formations here after walking the paved ¼ mile trail to the cool, shaded sandstone canyon along Munising Creek to the falls. Two sets of stairs lead to elevated platforms enabling views of the 50-foot waterfall which drops over sandstone cliff.
Directions: Follow H-58 out of town to the Washington Street Junction, Munising Falls is off Washington Street, also known as Sand Point Road, across from the hospital.
Another popular waterfall to visit in the area is Wagner Falls – a beautiful and easily accessible waterfall with a height of 20 feet. The water source for the falls is Wagner Creek and is stunning for those who enjoy photography or those looking for a peaceful spot to enjoy.
Directions: Located south of Munising on M-94, just past the junction of M-94 and M-28. You’ll see a sign on the east side of the road.
Other gorgeous waterfalls include Alger Falls, which is right along M-28 east of Munising, and Memorial and Tannery Falls – parking is available off Washington Street with the trailhead across the street off H-58. For a complete list of waterfalls, visit munising.org/attractions/waterfalls.
2 Looking for something to do indoors? Go Ice Skating, Bowling or Visit an Indoor Playground
Looking to keep warm on a chilly winter day? Several establishments in the Munising area offer fun family-friendly activities for those looking to do something indoors.
Home to the Munising Hockey Association, the Alger Centennial Ice Arena offers free open skating throughout the winter months. The arena is open from Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and on Friday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Skate rentals and a concession booth are available on site. The arena is located at 120 E. Varnum St., Munising.
There’s also an indoor playground located at the Alger Parks and Recreation Department close to downtown Munising at 413 Maple St. The department’s “Superior Playland” is a great place for play dates for ages 0-12 and is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the weekends. Costs range around $2 per child.
Known for being a “shared community space” where events and activities are held for all ages – including bingo and cards for senior citizens, Zumba classes, and so on, the Alger Parks and Recreation building even has its own gym – The Fuzzy Fitness Center – where memberships or day-use passes are available. There’s something in the building for everyone in the family.
Another indoor option for families is to visit the local bowling alley. Munising Bowl, located off the main drag in downtown Munising, offers open bowling, shoe rentals and has regularly scheduled live entertainment. The bowling alley also has a restaurant and bar for those looking for a bite to eat or refreshment. Munising Bowl is located at 124 E. Munising Ave., Munising.
3 Snowshoe and Ski the Beautiful Terrain
Anyone visiting the area is encouraged to get outdoors and ski or snowshoe Valley Spur during the winter. It’s a great place for families to enjoy the snow and the tranquil terrain of Alger County.
Valley Spur is located along M-94 around 5 miles west of Munising in the Hiawatha National Forest. The 27-mile cross country ski trail system is groomed daily or as needed from December through March so that the trails are always ready. All trails are groomed for both skate and classic ski. There’s a volunteer-operated lodge at the trailhead where hot water is readily available for hot cocoa and tea during open hours.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore also offers two groomed and tracked cross-country ski trails with multiple loops; one is located near Munising and the other is near Grand Marais. According to the park service, the trails wind more than 20 miles through a magical landscape of varied habitats and topography, including beech, maple, hemlock, and conifer forests, old gently rolling farm fields, and rugged hills created in the park’s glacial past. Trail loops range from easy to difficult. Maps are found at nps.gov/piro.
4 Enjoy Fresh Powder on a Snowmobile
With a whopping 232.9 inches as the 13-year average, one reason Alger County is one of the country’s premium snowmobiling areas is the amount of snowfall it receives.
There are now over 300 miles of well-groomed trails in the area that allow riders to travel through some of the most pristine and beautiful areas nature has to offer anywhere in the world. There are 10 trails which are groomed seven days a week, depending on the prevailing conditions. On these trails, a rider can travel to all parts of the county, visiting lakes, streams, waterfalls, forest and any number of other scenic sites.
The local trails connect with trails from the surrounding counties, which allows riders the option of choosing trips of various lengths.
5 Build a Snowman and Go Sledding
Don’t feel like overexerting yourself? No problem. Go sledding or build a snowman with your loved ones – because, let’s face it; nothing says winter activities without thinking of either and there’s plenty of snow in Munising to do both!