Guide to the Best Family-Friendly Ski Areas near NYC for Your Next Winter Getaway

Mount Peter, in the heart of the Hudson Valley, is a great place for beginning skiers.
Mount Peter, in the heart of the Hudson Valley, is a great place for beginning skiers.
1/11/24 - By Anna Fader

It's easy to embrace winter at these family-friendly ski areas near NYC. We've rounded up 10 local ski areas 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. 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 areas or picks for other snow sports? Check out our Guide to Skiing and Snow Sports, 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 near NYC.


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Ski resorts near NYC: Mountain Creek
Experts love the expansive Mountain Creek ski area in New Jersey, but there's plenty for beginners here, too.

1. Best All-Around Ski Area: Mountain Creek – Vernon, 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 from Manhattan. We visited and had a great time. Ski and snowboarding lessons for kids and adults are offered in a substantial ski school area. Tickets are only available online, so be sure to book before you visit.

2. Best Ski Area for Beginners: Mount Peter – Warwick, New York

If you're a newbie and want to dip your toes in the sport without laying out a large sum for rentals and lessons, Mount Peter offers FREE beginner lessons (with the purchase of an all-day lift ticket or area pass) multiple times a day on the weekends and holidays for skiers ages 5 and older. Customizable family lessons are also available. If you've got a toddler or preschooler dying to get on the slopes, check out KinderLand School lessons for potty-trained kids ages 3-5. 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 different racing teams for various ages and experience levels.

RELATED: Family Ski Resorts Close to Connecticut

Family-friendly ski areas near NYC: Campgaw
Nearby Campgaw ski area is great for the littlest skiers.

3. Closest Ski Area to NYC: Campgaw Mountain – Mahwah, New Jersey

Jump in the car and be on the slopes in less than an hour from NYC. 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.

4. Best Bargain Ski Resort: Belleayre – Highmount, New York

The state-run Belleayre Mountain is economical—midweek lift tickets can be had for as low as $52 for adults (and $32-40 for kids ages 7-19) who have a frequent skier card—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. There are many options for lessons no matter your age or experience level.

RELATED: Family-Friendly Skiing and Snowboarding Spots Around NJ

Family-friendly ski areas near NYC: Windham Mountan
Windham Mountain Club's ski area is known for its top-notch ski school.

5. Best Ski School: Windham Mountain Club – Windham, New York

Your kids will be in good hands at Windham Mountain Club Kids, which provides group lessons for ages 3-12. Children age 3 can be dropped off at the center for half- or full-day supervision, and ages 4-12 enjoy full-day-only programs. Meanwhile, you can freely explore the 54 trails on the mountain. Windham is a family-friendly resort with exceptional amenities, including a tubing park, full-service ski shop, multiple dining facilities, and nearby lodging. It's a welcoming choice for a weekend getaway.

6. Best All-Inclusive Ski Area: Rocking Horse Ranch – Highland, 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 laser tag, an arcade, and an archery range to add to your winter fun.

RELATED: Best Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in NYC for Kids and Families

Family-friendly ski areas near NYC: Camelback Mountain
Can't decide between the ski resort and water park? Camelback Mountain offers both.

7. Best Ski Area for Non-Skiers: Camelback Mountain – Tannersville, 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, which offers night-time "galactic tubing." When you're tired of winter sports altogether, head inside to Aquatopia Waterpark at the Camelback Lodge and Resort.

8. Best Ski Area for a Weekend Escape: Split Rock Resort – Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania

We enjoyed an incredible family getaway at this resort and the neighboring Jack Frost/Big Boulder ski areas. Between the daytime skiing, snow sports, and family-friendly amenities, there is plenty of entertainment for all. Lift tickets for the Jack Frost/Big Boulder ski resort can be booked in advance online.

RELATED: Best Snow Tubing Spots for Kids near NYC

Family-friendly ski areas near NYC: Shawnee Mountain
Shawnee Mountain offers a wide range of trails, plus plenty of fun on the tubing hill, too.

9. Closest Poconos Ski Resort: Shawnee Mountain – Poconos, Pennsylvania

Nestled in the family-friendly Pocono Mountains, Shawnee Mountain offers great skiing for skiers of all skill levels. There's a wide range of programming for kids, from group classes to private lessons. There's also a large snow tubing park that offers adult and child tandem tubes. Its location, near the Delaware Water Gap, makes it an easy, family-friendly day trip from the New York City metro area, New Jersey, and even Philadelphia.

10. Best Ski Area via Public Transportation: Thunder Ridge – Patterson, 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 is waiting on weekends and holidays, but midweek skiers can call the resort from the train for an on-demand ride; the resort is only a mile away. Purchase the Thunder Ski Package to get a discounted round-trip train ticket and lift ticket.

All photos courtesy of the resorts. This article, originally published in December 2008, is updated annually.

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