Take a Michi-Gander at These Winter Getaways

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 21, 2007 | Go to article overview

Take a Michi-Gander at These Winter Getaways


Byline: Jacky Runice

When we Illinoisans think about getting away for the weekend, we resemble lemmings driving due north to the Dairy State. Taking a right turn to Western Michigan presents an embarrassment of family- travel riches even in the chilliest of months. Start Mapquesting these destinations at the first feelings of family winter doldrums.

The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is the heart of active winter fun at Muskegon State Park. Home to one of only four luge tracks in the U.S., the sports complex boasts the title of "the most publicly accessible luge track in North America."

You must sign up for a lesson in order to use the luge track and each private lesson is limited to 25 participants, so be smart and make reservations before leaving home. The lesson consists of 15 minutes of instruction and 2 1/4 hours of sliding. Because size and a certain amount of strength are key factors in being able steer the sled, sliders need to be 48 inches or taller and at least 8 years old.

There's more than luge at the Sports Complex, too. There are three different ice skate rinks: one for families, another for hockey and a kiddie rink. Admission and skate rental are an easy $3 each. You also can enjoy some of Michigan's finest cross-country ski trails that were designed to showcase Muskegon State Park's natural beauty. Trails that wind through forests of white pine are groomed daily for both classical and skate skiing.

For details, call (877) 879-5843 or slide over to www.msports.org.

A great family lodging option just 20 miles north of Muskegon is the Double JJ Ranch & Golf Resort with its new 60,000-square-foot Gold Rush indoor water park.

The resort also offers winter horseback riding, sleigh rides through the scenic countryside, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing down a 500-foot run, mushing a dogsled team and snowmobiling some 40 miles of groomed trails.

Get the lowdown on winter packages by calling (800) 368-2535 or traveling to www.doublejj.com.

Winter festivals abound in the only bi-peninsular state in the country. …

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