1. Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Why go: Michigan’s rugged northern section is home to some of the most extreme adventures in the U.S. January through March is prime winter surfing season, and you can actually catch 10- to 12-foot waves on Lake Superior, the largest and coldest of the Great Lakes. Or, try ice climbing frozen waterfalls. They range from 20- to 210-feet tall at the Grotto in Marquette or Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Grand Island. Water seeps from, and freezes on, the 190-foot sandstone cliffs above Lake Superior, forming a winter wonderland of ice curtains and pillars. The nation’s oldest ice climbing festival, the Michigan Ice Fest, is held in Munising in February each year.
Where to stay: The Upper Peninsula isn’t the most hospitable place, but you’ll feel right at home at the Landmark Inn, a 1930s-era hotel that overlooks Lake Superior in Marquette (with a population of approximately 21,000, this is the largest town in the U.P.). If you’re craving a little more seclusion, grab a room at Big Bay Point Lighthouse B&B, a lighthouse-turned-inn that sits on 40 acres of trail-filled woods.Back to top