The quickly changing weather is something that most Michiganders love to hate, but there is beauty to it. Ask almost anyone that's lived here for their whole lives and they will tell you that the beautifully distinct seasons are what keep them here. Even though it may not be the most loved of the seasons, if you're looking for things to do during the winter, you could hunt for some shelf ice.
When the state hits its lowest temperatures, something really special happens at certain parts of our Great Lakes.
It's called shelf ice and it can grow to be pretty magnificent.
Ice piles up while it's floating over the surface of the ice until it gets so big that the wind blows it towards the shore where it freezes more firmly and looks like a big frozen wave about to crash onto the beach.
Since this phenomenon is frequent but depends a lot on weather conditions, there isn't a hard and fast rule for where to find these shelves.
There are a few places you can look at that have a good track record for having ice.
Please be aware that stepping onto shelf ice is extremely dangerous. It is very easy to fall through the ice and hurt yourself.
Please wear proper gear like ice cleats, or just take in the awesome view from the shore!
Grand Haven Pier
Address: 1001 S Harbor Dr., Grand Haven, MI
Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk
Address: 1000 Riverwalk Dr., Portage, IN
The ice is so interesting because it takes so many shapes and textures. If you're lucky enough to see this every year, it's always going to look different.
Au Gres Lakefront
Address: 2325 Green Dr., Au Gres, MI
The beautiful Great Lakes aren't just for beaches and sunbathing. This display of ice proves that the shorelines are worth a visit even in the dead of winter.
If you're interested in other winter activities, check out these hikes that lead to waterfalls or this ice rink that will make you feel like you've taken a trip to New York City.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.