Winter Wonderland Unveiled: Exploring Michigan's Scenic M22 Route Amidst Snowy Splendor

Winter Wonderland Unveiled: Exploring Michigan's Scenic M22 Route Amidst Snowy Splendor

Michigan winter fun

Feb 2019: Since moving to Michigan about 6 months ago, I've been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to take that well known scenic drive up north along the coast of Lake Michigan.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Michigan

Our weekends have been tied up with ‘getting settled’ in the new dwelling. Turning a stale home into a house takes time, money - if you want to buy new things for the new house – and patience… of which I seem to lack. Thankfully, our neighbors from Connecticut planned a visit for Valentines weekend!  This means I get to plan an adventure! My favorite task!
 
I googled Michigan’s route M22 and Traverse City, which seems to be one of the most visited destinations in all of the state.
 
We hit the road around 10am on a Saturday and headed for Frankfort, MI. I figured we could catch M22 there and then head to Traverse City, though we never made it that far…
Michigan row trees 

I knew there was a snow storm headed through northern Michigan but do you think I told my daytripping travel mates – not a chance! They may have cancelled my fun. That said, by the time we hit Cadillac, Michigan the snowmobilers were in full force – they outnumbered the automobiles for sure. I put this location on my bucket list for a weekend of riding – maybe next winter!
Michigan M22 

Our jaws dropped when we landed in Frankfort and saw the Lake in the distance. I have never seen waves that big in all my life. Not from the Atlantic Ocean when I lived on the Coast of Connecticut and not even when I sailed the Caribbean and out ran a hurricane. These Lake Michigan waves crashed with force! And that wasn’t even the best part!
Michigan M22 
We made it to the beach and walked in the bitter cold with the winds whipping so we could get a closer look. Before any of us knew it, we were literally standing on a frozen wave gawking at the awe inspiring beauty of the enormous body of water, the frozen shoreline and the lighthouse ahead with those intense crashing waves!
 
Many Michiganders head up north in the summer for vacations at the beach but I am SO grateful that I was able to experience this destination in mid-winter, during a snow storm – because I’m told you don’t see waves like this any other time of year!
 
We had lunch at Stormcloud Brewing and watched some peeps play a strange game where they throw around concrete circles like hockey pucks… guess it’s a pretty popular sport but what do I know… I thought ‘curling’ was for the gym.

Michigan curling   Lake Michigan

At this point, the snow is piling and the roads look rough. We headed through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and up to Empire for a view of those giant ICE BALLS. While driving through the forest area, we stopped to take a quick pic of the pretty row trees and the ranger pushed us on our way. That was a good sign that the roads might get worse and we better head home.  Guess a visit to Traverse City will happen next season.


Why should you take this trip in winter?

  • Marvel at the picturesque winter landscapes as you traverse Michigan's scenic M22 route along the captivating shores of Lake Michigan.
  • Experience the enchanting beauty of snow-covered beaches and icy dunes, creating a stunning contrast against the crystal-clear waters of Lake Michigan.
  • Admire the snow-capped trees and frosted forests that line the M22, painting a winter wonderland scene that will leave you in awe.
  • Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the frozen lake as you drive along M22, witnessing the serene expanse of ice extending to the horizon.
  • Capture Instagram-worthy moments of charming coastal towns nestled along M22, adorned with a magical winter ambiance and twinkling lights.
  • Encounter wildlife in their winter habitats, such as majestic snowy owls and deer, adding an element of natural beauty to your journey.
  • Embrace the serenity of a winter drive along M22, where the peacefulness of the season allows for introspection and a deeper connection with nature.

Why was this such a memorable trip with friends?

  • We laughed at our own silliness for all those hours in the vehicle.
  • We made memories on our adventure that we will remember forever – thanks to my memory books (lol)
  • Friends and nature are my therapy
  • I am thankful our friends came to visit. They could spend their precious time off anywhere and they chose to be with us.
  • Many firsts on this trip… did you read my post??
  • Forever friends… these two are stuck with us for life! Can’t wait for the next adventure with ya’ll!

 
Budget:
$30 - Gas in our truck – drove from 10am-8pm
$50 – Lunch for 2 at Stormcloud Brewing
$25 – Water and snacks
​Memories - priceless
 
TIPS:
When we left Lansing, Michigan – it was 20 degrees warmer and there were no wind gusts.  We headed north and hit a snow storm.  Bringing gloves and a hat would be helpful!

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