Awesome ski resorts in and near New Jersey might just give your kids a lifelong love of winter sports–and the ones listed below will maximize your family's time on the mountain while minimizing time in the car.
If you're looking for winter fun that's a bit less strenuous, snow tubing might be just the thing, and for even more outdoor options, check out our Ski & Snow Guide for New Jersey Families.
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Where to Snowboard and Ski in New Jersey
This place is great for the whole family, from first-timers to seasoned skiers. Campgaw offers five beginner/intermediate trails, a terrain park, two double chair lifts, and three “magic carpet” lifts (a lift in the middle of a small hill that resembles an escalator to move kids up a mini-mountain). It also offers group and private ski lessons for kids, including a group lesson for ages 4-6.
Mountain amenities include night skiing, tubing, a freestyle terrain park, children's programs, and racing programs for competitive-level skiers and boarders. Kids' tubing parties are also available and Bergen County residents receive a 20% discount on day passes and rentals with a resident card.
Mountain Creek is home to eight lifts, four mountain peaks, and 46 trails—as well as a large snow tubing park. All ski equipment can be rented from the on-site rental center, located on the Red Tail Lodge's first floor. This ski resort is quite popular with tweens and teens, but there is also plenty for younger kids. Children as young as 4 can take private or group ski lessons from experienced, patient instructors, and budding snowboarders can take lessons at the on-site Ringlet Park.
If you want to make a weekend of it and stay at the resort, other on-site amenities include a seasonal water park, zip lining, an outdoor heated pool, a fire pit, a hot tub, and a bike park. Read our full review of Mountain Creek for more information. Children 6 and under and adults over 80 receive a free ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket. Advanced ticket purchase is required online and lockers are only open to those renting equipment.
RELATED: Top Snow Tubing Spots for New Jersey Families
Shawnee Mountain offers mommy-and-me ski lessons and other family-friendly perks.
Where to go Skiing and Snowboarding in Pennsylvania
This Poconos ski resort, located right on NJ's border, is known for being very family-friendly and packed with child-approved amenities. Shawnee has 23 slopes, many of them green, and offers many types of kids' lessons, including morning, afternoon, and full-day programs led by specially trained staff. There are even mommy-and-me ski lessons and a snow tubing park.
The Crossings Premium Outlets are nearby if you want to get some shopping done after a long morning of skiing, too. (If you have the energy, of course!) On-site lodging is available for families. Check Shawnee's website for seasonal discounts and read our full review for more details. Shawnee Mountain is now a cashless facility. Check out its 4th Grade Snow Pass, which allows kids in 4th grade from any school and state to get three free visits and rentals with the purchase of an adult ticket!
Located about 45 minutes from the Pennsylvania border, Blue Mountain is worth the drive. This smaller, more intimate mountain allows you to bypass the crowds at larger venues and offers a gentle introduction to skiing for young kids and beginners of all ages. There is no on-site lodging—though there are plans for it in the future—but, there are many family-friendly places to stay nearby, such as the Hampton Inn Lehighton-Jim Thorpe and The Lodge at Woodstone Country Club.
Blue Mountain offers skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing, which is extremely popular here. In fact, Blue Mountain is the only mountain in the Poconos with double-size tubes. This is a fantastic activity for those who want some winter family fun without skiing. In total, there are 40 trails, including many green (beginner), as well as 16 ski lifts, plus 34 tubing lanes. The latest trail, the newly opened Free Fall, offers night skiing for experts. All lift tickets, rentals, and lessons must be purchased online.
RELATED: NJ Winter Fun List: Top Things To Do With Kids
Hunter has miles of trails for all levels of skiers.
Where to go Skiing and Snowboarding in New York
With four separate faces, this Catskills mountain has terrain for all levels and abilities. Already a favorite winter destination for skiers and snowboarders, Hunter was recently renovated to include high-speed lifts and more intermediate and advanced trails.
The 320-acre resort is the second-most visited ski spot in New York, so it can get crowded on weekends, but lines should be shorter with the new lifts. Families with young children can choose from a variety of lesson packages. Reserve times for lessons and dining in advance.
Beloved by beginners, this Hudson Valley destination offers FREE beginner lessons on the half-hour every weekend from 10am-2:30pm for those age 6 and older. Family lessons are also available, and a KinderLand lesson for 3-5-year-olds is new this season. Known as "the friendly one," Mount Peter also has racing teams for seasoned ski kids and two small lodges to warm up with hot chocolate.
With 14 trails total, this family favorite is a great place to start kids on skis. It is recommended tickets be purchased online in advance. Check out Tiny Tots tickets that are less than 50% the cost of junior tickets on weekends and FREE if you go midweek and available for kids 4 and under with the purchase of an adult ticket. The Tiny Tots tickets must be purchased in person with proof of age.
Unless noted, photos courtesy of the resorts. This post is updated annually.