Winter | Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council
Fresh snowfall at Tiscornia Park.

Nature loves winter in Southwest Michigan and you will, too. Whether you are coming for a romantic getaway, to play with your children or grandchildren, meet up with your best friends or just enjoy a peaceful solo retreat, this is a top Michigan winter destination from December through February. We are a car ride from Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Amtrak also makes daily stops at a depot that’s within minutes of most of our winter activities and hotels.

The same Lake Michigan that makes warm weather months so popular here also creates a winter wonderland when the temperature dips below freezing. Thanks to our lake effect snow, Berrien and Van Buren Counties average 80 inches of snowfall annually, and Cass County sees an average snowfall of 60 inches. Our snowiest time is late January through February, but there’s typically piles of flakes to play in from mid-December to mid-March. Worried about driving our roads in the winter? We budget for snow removal, and our crews work hard to keep highways and county roads clear while you are visiting.

Another reason we are a top Michigan winter destination is that the Big Lake also moderates our temperatures so they range from the low to mid-30 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s rare that you won’t be comfortable playing outside from rosy sunrise to star-studded nightfall.

Average snowfall: 60 to 80 inches

Average winter temperatures: 30 to 36 degrees F

Mileage: Chicago - 72 miles; Detroit - 192 miles; Grand Rapids - 82 miles and Indianapolis - 183 miles

Light Up The Bluff in St. Joseph, MI

Winter activities in Southwest Michigan

Special holiday events and winter festivals

As our events calendar shows, celebrating winter in Southwest Michigan is as natural as snowflakes sticking to your gloves and eyelashes. It is always more fun if you can join us. Here are some favorite annual winter events:

Fun-for-everyone outdoor activities

Hop off the couch, and feel the exhilaration of spending time outside in Southwest Michigan’s refreshing air and beautiful settings. Here’s a sampling of the good times that await you:

Time on the water is peaceful in the winter. It is very ethereal paddling in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard when the chilled waters of Lake Michigan become mirror-smooth. Wear a wetsuit or drysuit, layers for warmth and a flotation device. Use extreme caution; rescues on Lake Michigan, inland lakes and rivers can be very difficult this time of year.

Toasty-warm indoor activities 

You can find plenty of fun things to do inside on winter days, too. Here are places to start:

Ice covered outer lighthouse in St. Joseph, MI.

How to plan your winter vacation in Southwest Michigan

Planning your stay in Southwest Michigan is quite simple. Bring boots, a hat, gloves and a warm coat. Dress in layers. Most places take credit or debit cards, but bring cash for the few that don’t. Before you venture out, check our itineraries for ideas of how to plan your route. And, contact us to get answers to your questions. We want this to be one of your favorite vacations ever!

Book your Southwest Michigan winter getaway now

Our Benton Harbor, St. Joseph and Stevensville hoteliers and their staff look forward to warmly welcoming you through their doors. You will find the amenities you want including views of Lake Michigan, pools for the kids to play Marco Polo in, fitness and spa facilities, romantic packages and tail-wagging accommodations for your pet. 

You also have our assurances that our lodgings follow cleaning protocols to keep rooms and public areas safe. Many offer contactless check-outs and provide guest temperature checks if you request them. You will feel comfortable every minute you are here.

So, come make happy memories in Southwest Michigan. The simple joys of winter are some of our best.

Book your stay today

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