Admit it: now that the snow is flying, you’re tempted to just tuck up under a blanket and wait it out until spring, right?
But there’s no need to stay inside just because the temperatures are dropping. This is Michigan, after all, and our beautiful winters are one of our best features! Berrien County parks, facilities, and outfitters provide everything you need to get outside and stay active, no matter the weather.
Try A Fat-Tire Bike
If you thought cycling was only for the warm-weather months, think again! Fat-tire bikes, or “fat bikes”, feature a wider, flatter tire that can handle soft surfaces like snow – and they also work well in sandy conditions, which is a boon for bikers along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
If you want to give fat biking a try before you commit, Love Creek County Park in Berrien Springs offers fat bike rentals in the winter to try out on their 3.5 mile mountain-biking trail. Warning: many riders quickly get hooked on the joys of winter cycling.
St. Joseph Bicycle Co. sells fat bikes, as does Bedlam Bicycle Co. in Benton Harbor – though owner Kevin Haddox warns that they sell pretty much the minute they come in the door. But you don’t necessarily need a fat bike to keep cycling all winter long, especially with the right cold-weather gear says Haddox, who invites those who are winter-biking curious to stop by the store to chat. “We are a shop that really needs to be experienced to get the complete concept.”
Strap On Snowshoes or Cross-Country Skis
Both snowshoes and cross-country skis allow you to “float” on top of soft snow, instead of trudging through inches of powder and sinking with each step. Berrien County offers a variety of trails friendly to both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, including Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer and Fernwood Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve in Buchanan, and Love Creek County Park and Madeline Bertrand County Park offer both snowshoe and cross-country ski rental for use on their trails.
Wanderlust Outfitters, downtown St. Joseph, offers snowshoes for sale, as well as everything you’ll need to stay warm on the trail: check out their winter layering guide or head into the store for personalized advice on what to wear and where to go on your next adventure.
Head To The Ice Arena
Okay, technically an ice arena isn’t “outdoors” activity, but playing at one is a great way to challenge yourself physically while experiencing a wintry climate! The John & Dede Howard Ice Arena in St. Joseph boasts a warming shelter with a wood-burning fireplace, a party room for events, and plenty of open skate times in their winter schedule. The Garden Ice Arena offers open skate times and lessons for kids and adults, plus ice bumper cars for a fun new way to glide over the ice!