When it comes to winter activities, snow tubing is one of our favorites. Of course, we love ice skating and all manner of frosty sports, but snow tubing is something the whole family can enjoy—regardless of skill. No experience is necessary, and you can tube alone or in groups. In fact, tubing is a lot like sledding, but a whole lot easier. You can barrel down the snowy slope at thrilling speeds without having to hike back up the hill. It’s done for you! Now that's the kind of winter sport we can get behind.
Many local ski areas offer snow tubing, but hours of operation and height/weight/age requirements vary. Check the resort’s website for details and waiver forms that can be downloaded and filled out before you tube. Often, ticket sales are capped at maximum amounts. Many resorts sell tickets online, so buy ahead to avoid missing out, then pack up the family and hit the tube parks! Remember to wear warm, waterproof clothes and snow boots. All tubing parks prohibit wearing ski or snowboard boots.
The following local ski resorts offer snow tubing close to Central NJ, weather permitting.
Mountain Creek – Vernon
Mountain Creek boasts one of the largest tubing parks in the region—and the country, for that matter—with 30 lanes spread across more than five acres, all of them open to kids ages 5 and older (and at least 42 inches tall). Open Wednesday through Friday, from 4 to 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 9pm. Off-hours tubing is also available for groups of 30 or more.
There's a tubing option for everyone at Campgaw Mountain. Photo courtesy of Campgaw Mountain
Campgaw – Mahwah
Campgaw offers tubing in a more intimate setting. And, not only can you ride your tube down the slopes, you can ride it up as well! There are different levels of rollers and pitch, which means the older kids can flex their courage a bit. And there's no age requirement, but tubers need to be at least 42 inches tall. Open Monday through Thursday, from 3 to 8pm; Friday, 2 to 10pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 10pm. Tickets are sold by sessions, which run two hours each.
Jack Frost/ Big Boulder – Blakeslee, PA
Jack Frost/Big Boulder is, in fact, two resorts in one—and snow tubing is available at both. At Jack Frost, there are six lanes, or “chutes” as they call them, and two tows to pull tubers back up the hill. Big Boulder has 20 chutes and two 600-foot conveyor carpets. Again, no age requirement, but tubers must be at least 42 inches tall. Jack Frost is open Friday through Sunday, from 10am to 4pm. Big Boulder is open Monday through Thursday, 3 to 9pm; Friday, 3 to 10pm; Saturday, 10am to 10pm; and Sunday, 10am to 8pm. Tickets are sold by three-hour session, though day passes are available at both parks. And there's a special Sunday-night discount (4 to 8pm).
RELATED: Where To Go Ice Skating Indoors with Kids in NJ
Go Galactic Snowtubing at Camelback.
Camelback Mountain Resort – Tannersville, PA
If the prospect of floating down a snow-packed slope at a fast (but totally safe) speed is exhilarating, picture doing it at night amid an LED light show. That's Camelback's Galactic Snowtubing, which launched last year. Camelback boasts the largest snow tubing park in the country, with 42 slopes. Most parks require a single rider per tube, but here, tubers under 44 inches tall (but at least 33 inches tall) can ride with a parent. Also unlike most parks, tickets are only sold in person on the day of your visit. And everyone under 14 needs to be accompanied by a parent into the park. Tickets are sold by three-hour session.
Shawnee Mountain Ski Area – East Stroudsburg, PA
Shawnee’s the closest of any of the Pennsylvania parks to New Jersey. It's also one of the smallest parks at seven lanes—in case you're harboring a fear of humiliating yourself in front of large crowds. Kids under 46 inches can ride with a parent, but they need to be at least 4 years old. And like Camelback, tickets, sold by two- and four-hour sessions, are available only in person. Open Monday through Thursday, 1 to 9:30pm; Friday, 1 to 11:30pm; Saturday, 9am to 11:30pm; and Sunday, 9am to 9:30pm.
Blue Mountain – Palmerton, PA
Thirty-nine slopes. Three lifts. An even more impressive number? All. As in, all of your family can descend together in a single tube. Blue Mountain's the only park in the Poconos that offers that. There's no age requirement, but kids need to be at least 36 inches tall to tube, alone, with a parent, or with everyone. Tickets are sold by three-hour session Friday and on the weekends. Monday through Thursday, it's a flat rate regardless of how long you hang around. Open Monday through Thursday, 5 to 9pm; Friday, 10am to 10pm; Saturday, 8am to 10pm; and Sunday, 8am to 9pm.
White Lightning at Fernwood – East Stroudsburg, PA
White Lightning sets itself apart by offering a designated area for the tiniest tubers. There's still a height requirement: 33 inches (40 inches for the main hill). Tickets are sold by two-hour session. Open Monday, Thursday, and Friday, from 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 11am to 10pm; and Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
Hunter Mountain – Hunter, NY
Hunter is New York's largest tubing park, with 20 lanes that run nearly a thousand feet long, plus a mini park for the littlest kids. Not to mention the snack bar and fire pit, ever so critical for those necessary recovery periods. (Plan on taking many.) Tubers need to be at least 42 inches tall to ride and 33 inches to ride with a parent. Tickets are sold by two-hour session on the hour. Open Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Top photo: Snow tubing at Hunter Mountain. Photo courtesy of Hunter Mountain Resort
Originally published 2012; updated 2017