Baby it's cold outside, so bundle up and get out there before you miss all the fun. Get moving and stay active to keep warm during the winter months in and around Philadelphia. That chill in the air is a key ingredient to winter fun. From your local park to the Poconos, the Philadelphia area offers endless options for snowy sport and leisure. Check out some of these top locations and destinations for frosty winter fun.
Bear Creek Mountain Resort
101 Doe Mountain Lane
Macungie, PA 18062
Bear Creek Mountain Resort offers more than 86 acres of terrain parks, slopes and trails with something for every level of skier and snowboarder. All trails are lighted for night skiing, and no need to worry if that white stuff isn't falling from the sky because this resort can make 100 percent of its own snow. If snow tubing is what you prefer, Bear Creek Mountain Resort also offers a 1,000-foot-long, five-lane tubing park. Monday, unless it falls on a holiday, is college day at this park. Show your school ID to get an extended day lift ticket for only $20. Families enjoy a special discount on non-holiday Wednesdays, and police, fire, emergency and military personal with ID will get $10 off extended day lift tickets any non-holiday weekday.
1660 Blue Mountain Drive
Palmerton, PA 18071
Blue Mountain's 39 trails are designed for all levels and provide everything you need for skiing, snowboarding and tubing. Ski and snowboard lessons are available for any level, from beginner to precompetitive, with a competitive program led by USASA- and AASI-qualified coaches. First time ski/snowboard students learn from qualified instructors and may take the entire day if needed to learn to turn and stop in Blue Mountain's station teaching environment, which includes unlimited use of three ski school hills. Blue Mountain rents ski and snowboard equipment by the day or by the season, and you have the option to buy your rental equipment at the end of the season at a 10-percent discount.
Tip: All winter long on Sundays (excluding holidays), it's "learn to ski and snowboard" at most Pennsylvania resorts. Beginning skiers and snowboarders may take advantage of low-cost packages that include lessons, lift tickets and rental equipment.
Jack Frost/Big Boulder
Jack Frost Mountain
Blakeslee, PA 18610
Jack Frost/Big Boulder claims to be the heart and soul of the Pocono Mountains ski industry. Between the two parks, winter sports lovers will find 36 slopes with something for everyone, as well as tubing and lessons. This park also offers developmental teams for kids as young as four, and competitive teams for kids 10 to 18. Parents don't have to watch from the sidelines while their kids have all the fun skiing and boarding, because this park offers adult classes for moms and dads who want to learn as well.
500 Bethlehem Pike
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Located in Montgomery County, this park offers a 400-foot slope for sledding near Lot 5 in the Militia Hill Day Use area as well as the nearby loop trail, perfect for beginner and expert cross-country skiing. If you like trails, dig out that pair of snowshoes you've got tucked away in the attic to explore the many trails this park has to offer. A haven for bird watching, novice or experienced bird lovers alike enjoy the view from the top of the tower in the Militia Hill Day Use area.
Marsh Creek State Park
675 Park Road
Downingtown, PA 19335-1898
This park in north central Chester County offers seven acres of slopes near the picnic area in the East Launch. When the ice on 535-acre Marsh Creek Lake is at least four inches thick, ice skating is allowed, so break out the skates and enjoy the winter sport as it was meant to be experienced -- outside in the fresh winter air. Ice fishing and ice boating are also allowed in this park as long as you have the proper permits. Don't forget to bring along a thermos of hot chocolate to keep you warm as you enjoy all this park has to offer.
Nockamixon State Park
1542 Mountain View Drive
Quakertown, PA 18951-5732
Nockamixon State Park in Bucks County allows sledding and tobogganing in the area above the marina. Cross-country skiing is permitted on the bicycle trail and roads in the closed day use area, and the steeper hiking trails in the Sterner Mill Area promise a challenge this time of year. You may ice skate and ice fish on the lake as long as the ice is four inches thick. If you have any questions about the ice safety, make sure to check with park officials before venturing out.
Ridley Creek State Park
1023 Sycamore Mills Road
Media, PA 19063-4398
This Delaware County park offers a sledding area on the large grassy slope by the park office, perfect for an afternoon of family fun. As long as there is enough snow, cross-country skiing is allowed on the hiking and multi-use trails. Get the kids off of the sofa and outside for some traditional winter fun building a snowman or a snow fort. If there's no snow, don't stress, take the kids on a winter nature hike. Make sure to bundle up and bring along plenty of hot cocoa or cider.
Tyler State Park
101 Swamp Road
Newtown, PA 18940-1151
Tyler State Park in Bucks County offers sledding slopes below the parking lot at the Upper Plantation picnic area and additional sledding west of the covered bridge. Cross-country skiers may enjoy the unplowed equestrian, hiking and cycling trails. Skating is allowed near the boathouse warming area, and both skating and ice fishing are are allowed if Neshaminy Creek freezes to at least four inches. You don't need skis or snowshoes to enjoy a hike in the winter. Explore the park with the kids, looking for animal (and people) tracks in the snow or even on the frozen ground.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
It's not an official museum attraction, but when the famous "Rocky" steps and the hill to the side of the steps are covered in snow, the spot is a favorite sledding destination for the young and young at heart. Pack a thermos of your favorite hot beverage and make it an experience to remember. Don't forget to make a snow angel or two. Warm up after sledding with a tour of all the museum has to offer.
Blue Cross RiverRink
Columbus Boulevard at Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19019
Price: $3 admission/$10 skate rental (Toddler 8 to Adult 14); Parking: Monday -- Thursday $12, Friday -- Saturday $15
The area's only outdoor Olympic-sized skating rink has something for everyone from open skate times to lessons and birthday parties. The rink is open seven days a week, including holidays, for the entire skating season. Whether you are a seasoned skater or never laced up a pair of skates in your life, you won't want to miss this opportunity to enjoy skating in the shadow of the City of Brotherly Love. Remember to dress in layers, bring an extra pair of gloves, and don't forget your camera.
Related: Top Spots For a Winter First Date
Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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