9 Family-Friendly Ski Areas Near NYC For Your Next Winter Getaway
Now that winter has arrived, it's time to embrace the chill by getting out and hitting the slopes at one of these family-friendly ski areas near NYC. We've rounded up nine nearby options sure to entertain any family, whether you're bringing along beginners, looking for an all-inclusive weekend away, or want entertaining perks beyond the slopes.
A winter sport like skiing is a great way to get outdoors as a family, and it makes the warm weather seem to come much sooner. Read on to find out which of these family-friendly ski areas near NYC matches your skill level and interest. Want more family-friendly ski spots or picks for other snow sports? Check out our Skiing and Snow Sports Guide, which offers more options in the tri-state area, New England, and even California. We've also got picks for the best snowboarding parks and snow tubing spots nearby.
1. Best via Public Transportation: Thunder Ridge, New York
If you thought not having a car would limit your wintertime recreation to exploring the city's best sledding hills, think again. Thunder Ridge is accessible via Metro-North's Harlem Line. The shuttle will be waiting on weekends and holidays, but midweek skiers can call the resort upon arrival at the station for an on-demand ride; the resort is only a mile away.
You can also avoid driving (and schlepping gear) with these Ski Bus Deals in NYC, which pick up in NYC and deposit you at several area resorts.
Snowboarders love the expansive terrain park at Mountain Creek in New Jersey, but there's plenty for beginners here, too.
2. Best All-Around: Mountain Creek, New Jersey
Mountain Creek is a great all-around option for a family ski trip with 46 runs, the largest terrain park in the area, snow tubing, and a vertical drop of about 1,000 feet. Plus, it's just over an hour away and one of the closest resorts to the city. We visited and had a great time. Ski and snowboarding lessons for kids and adults start throughout the day in a substantial ski-school area.
A beginner tests out the slope in the Cruisers class at nearby Campgaw Mountain.
3. Closest to NYC: Campgaw Mountain, New Jersey
Jump in the car and be on the slopes in less than an hour. Campgaw Mountain is a tiny slip of a slope about 20 miles north of the George Washington Bridge, so it's perfect for a day trip. Campgaw is an excellent destination if your kids are young or just learning to ski. There's a designated beginner area with magic carpets for transporting little (or big) kids back up the hill. Individual and group lessons are available, and there's a children's program for ages 4-6. Campgaw can get busy, but it's not as crowded as some of the larger resorts.
Windham Mountain is known for its top-notch ski school.
4. Best Ski School: Windham Mountain, New York
Your kids will be in good hands at Windham's Children's Learning Center, which provides lessons for ages 3-14. Children ages 2-6 can be dropped off at the center for half- or full-day supervision, too, while you freely explore the 54 trails. Windham is a family-friendly resort with exceptional amenities, including an adventure park, full-service ski shop, multiple dining facilities, and nearby lodging. It's a welcoming choice for a weekend getaway.
RELATED: Best Snow Tubing Spots Near NYC
Free lessons and a small mountain make Mount Peter popular among novices.
5. Best for Beginners: Mount Peter, New York
If you're a newbie and want to dip your toes without laying out a large sum for rentals and lessons, Mount Peter offers FREE beginner lessons (with the purchase of a lift ticket) multiple times a day on the weekends for skiers ages 5 and older. Customizable mommy or daddy and me or family lessons are also available. If you've got a toddler or preschooler dying to be on the slopes, check out the Pete's Pals lesson program for potty-trained kids ages 3-4. With all the little kid programs, it's no wonder we consider it one of the "friendliest" mountains we've visited. If your kid is a seasoned skier and interested in joining a team, Mount Peter offers five different racing teams for a variety of ages and experience levels.
6. Best Bargain: Belleayre, New York
State-run Belleayre Mountain is economical—a midweek lift ticket is just $36—and there are loads of other money-saving deals for those who want to make multiple trips throughout the season. Another perk? It's just the right size to give tweens freedom to ski on their own.
7. Best All-Inclusive: Rocking Horse Ranch, New York
Looking to escape and indulge in some wintertime pampering? Rocking Horse Ranch, just 90 minutes from NYC, has plenty to keep your family busy, including skiing, tubing, ice skating, sleigh rides, and even an indoor water park. We loved this all-inclusive resort when we visited. Lodging, meals, activities, and entertainment are all covered in the price. Rocking Horse also offers a nursery for ages 0–5 and a day camp for ages 6–12 if parents want to visit the spa or simply take a nap.
Can't decide between the ski resort and water park? Camelback Mountain offers both.
8. Best for Non-Skiers: Camelback Mountain, Pennsylvania
Recommending a ski resort for non-skiers is a puzzler, but if your family can't agree on one snow sport, why not head to a resort where you can experience a variety of winter fun? Camelback Mountain in the Poconos offers trails for skiers of every level. It's also home to the largest snow tubing park in the country, with night-time "Galactic Tubing." For more thrills, try the mountain coaster and zip line. When you're tired of winter sports altogether, head inside to Aquatopia Waterpark at the Camelback Lodge and Resort.
9. Best for a Weekend Escape: Split Rock Resort, Pennsylvania
We enjoyed an incredible family getaway at this resort and the neighboring Jack Frost/Big Boulder ski areas. Between the daytime skiing and snow sports and the family-friendly amenities, there is plenty of entertainment for all. Combo packages can be purchased to save money on lift tickets and the Split Rock water park.
All photos courtesy of the resorts
This article, originally published in December 2008, is updated annually. Suzanne Cort contributed additional reporting.