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Things to Do - Outdoor

Winter Thrills in New York’s Great Outdoors

So much snow! So much fun! How many ways can you play outside this winter?

With 44 downhill ski centers, there’s great skiing and boarding across New York—from bunny hills to an Olympic mountain. Add in spiraling mountain coasters, bobsledding, snowtubing parks and pristine cross-country ski, snowshoe and snowmobile trails. You can tuck into a dogsled ride at Allegany State Park, go ice-climbing in the Catskills, or ice-fish in the Thousand Islands. And jingle your bells on horsedrawn sleighrides in Chautauqua’s picturesque village!

Winter’s wonderful amid frosted mountains, glistening ice-castles and scenic train rides. Family-friendly resorts, shining cities and charming villages sparkle with warm welcomes and cool events, from the Victorian Stroll in Saratoga Springs to winter carnivals at Lake George and Saranac Lake. When the snow melts, there’s whitewater rafting, mountain biking on the slopes, and Maple Weekends at farms across the state!

NEW YORK CITY

Bronx Zoo, The Bronx.
Largest metropolitan zoo in the US; 265 acres of re-created wildlife habitats. 

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn.
52 acres of gardens and trees. Special winter garden tours, events and exhibits. 

Central Park, Manhattan.
Fun events all winter. Two ice-skating rinks, cross-country skiing amid 843 acres of Olmsted-designed landscapes. Year-round zoo.

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, Manhattan.
Relaxing orientation to the island of Manhattan; splendid water views.

Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.
Stroll amid famous stores’ artistic window displays: Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf's, Tiffany's and others. The Baccarat crystal UNICEF Snowflake shines at 57th Street. 

Gray Line New York Sightseeing Tours, Cruises & Attractions, Manhattan.
Hop on, hop off, double-decker bus tours of Manhattan icons. Cruises and helicopter tours.

New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx.
The nation’s largest museum of plants. Stroll through winter woods and gardens amid towering pines or step into the Victorian-era glass conservatory. 

Prospect Park, Brooklyn.
585-acre oasis in the heart of Brooklyn. Two ice-skating rinks. Events, food trucks.

Rockefeller Center, Manhattan.
Skate, dine and window shop. Outdoor events, art and lighting exhibits. 

South Street Seaport, Lower Manhattan.
Historic harbor district; cobblestone streets and pedestrian mall with shops, restaurants, museum. Walking tours, cruises.

For more ideas and information, see New York City Regional Tourism Website 

LONG ISLAND

Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, Smithtown.
550-acre nature preserve: marked trails for winter walks, snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Bird-watching, nature programs. 

Dickens Festival, Port Jefferson.
Historic seaport transforms into a Victorian village: costumed characters, decorated streets and shops, trolley tours, horse and carriage rides and a parade (December).

Garvies Point Museum & Preserve, Glen Cove.
Five miles of marked nature trails for winter hiking; nature programs.

Harborfront Park, Port Jefferson.
Waterfront ice-skating rink; village of charming shops and cozy cafes. 

Long Island Wine Country, North and South Forks.
Wineries host tastings and events all winter. Cozy inns and waterside restaurants along the scenic route. 

Montauk Lighthouse, Montauk.
Views are spectacular from the windswept bluff, high above the Atlantic Ocean. Winter events. 

Montauk Point State Park, Montauk.
Nature trails for cross-country skiing. Seal watching. Shoreline fishing with permit.

Seal Cruises, Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation, Riverhead.
Marine mammal/sea turtle rescue center leads seal-watching cruises, January to mid-April. 

Winter Fishing Charters, Freeport to Montauk.
Private fishing charters for novice to serious fishermen, party-boat fishing, or “rent your own” boating. 

Winter Fishing, Region-wide.
Some of the best fishing in the US, by boat or off-shore.

For more ideas and information, see Long Island’s Regional Tourism Website

HUDSON VALLEY

Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain.
Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, trailside zoo, carousel, and hiking on the scenic Appalachian Trail, which begins here. Near the Bear Mountain Inn.

Catamount, Hillsdale.
Downhill skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports. 

Clermont State Historic Site, Germantown.
Historic estate of the Livingston Family; gardens and grounds are open for winter walks and cross-country skiing. 

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Kerhonkson.
Mountain trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing; breathtaking lake views. 

Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz.
Lakeside Victorian castle with miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing and a covered ice-skating rink. Named America’s #1 Resort Spa by Conde Nast Traveler! 

Museum Village, Monroe.
Enjoy “Christmas in the Village” each December. Costumed guides invite you to join 19th-century style fun, with holiday songs and other festivities. 

Thunder Ridge Ski Area, Patterson.
Just 60 miles from NYC, 30 scenic trails offer variety and challenge for expert skiers, snowboarders and novices. Lessons available. 

Tuxedo Ridge, Sterling Forest, Tuxedo.
Downhill skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing, an hour’s drive from Manhattan.

US Military Academy at West Point, West Point.
Tours highlight sweeping views and the sweep of American history. Historic figures such as George Washington, Robert E. Lee and U.S. Grant have walked the grounds.

Winter Walk on Warren Street, Hudson.
In early December, Hudson‘s main street is a festive wonderland animated by dancers, musicians and giant puppets. 

For more ideas and information, see Hudson Valley’s Regional Tourism Website

THE CATSKILLS

Belleayre Mountain, Highmount.
State-of-the-art equipment, new terrain parks and extensive glades: downhill and cross-country skiing, boarding, snowshoeing. Mountain biking in spring. Events. 

Catskill Mountain Railroad, Mt. Tremper.
Decorated holiday trains traverse magical winter landscapes on December weekends.

Catskill Scenic Trail, parking at Stamford/Bloomville.
26-mile rails-to-trails path with mountain vistas: cross-country skiing, winter hiking, horseback riding, biking. 

Hunter Mountain New York Zipline, Hunter.
Year-round zips for the whole family on the longest and highest canopy tour in North America. 

Hunter Mountain, Hunter.
Six-passenger ski lift, the Kaatskill Flyer, gets you to the top fast; some of the best ski conditions in the East. Snowtubing park. Slopeside resort with heated indoor-outdoor pool. 

Ice Harvest Festival, Hanford Mills Museum, East Meredith.
Event recreates regional tradition: cutting blocks of ice from the frozen pond. Kids’ activities, horsedrawn sleighrides, vendors and a bonfire. February. 

Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area, Mongaup Valley.
Watch for eagles in their natural habitat, December to March, when eagles migrate to this area. 

Mountain Trails Cross Country Ski Center, Tannersville.
Ski or snowshoe on groomed trails in the scenic woods. Lodge, snack bar, lessons, sales and rental shop open weekends and holiday weeks conditions permitting. 

New Age Health Spa, Neversink.
Along with spa treatments, 280 acres with groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. 

Plattekill Mountain Resort, Roxbury.
Skiing, boarding, snowtubing and snowshoeing. Big mountain terrain; family-friendly atmosphere. Torchlight Parade on New Year’s Eve!

Tannersville Ice Sculpting Festival, Tannersville.
Bring your tools and carve an ice sculpture or just check out the glistening artwork all around you (February). 

Villa Roma Resort, Callicoon.
The resort’s outdoor fun ranges from ice-skating to skiing and boarding on 2 slopes; chairlift and snowmaking. 

Windham Mountain Adventure Park, Windham (1/4 mile west of the ski area).
Family fun, day and night: 8 snowtubing lanes, 2 ziplines, kids' snowmobiles, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating; comfy lodge. 

Windham Mountain Resort, Windham.
1600 vertical feet of skiing and boarding. Big mountain ski experience within an easy drive from Northeast cities. Family-friendly.

For more ideas and information, see The Catskills Regional Tourism Website

CAPITAL-SARATOGA

Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center, Vorheesville.
Voted #1 of the Capital District’s top 20 places for kids. Follow woodland trails for winter hiking, skiing, wildlife watching and ice-fishing at Thompson's Lake. Hands-on exhibits.

Great Sacandaga Lake, Broadalbin, Mayfield and beyond.
29-mile-long lake: events include family-friendly ice-fishing contests, winter fireworks shows, Snowmobile Fun Runs on Saturdays, January to March.

Huyck Preserve, Rensselaerville.
Pine forest trails wind along lakes and waterfalls: hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. 

Maple Ski Ridge, Mariaville Rd, Schenectady.
Skiing and riding; terrain ideal for family fun and beginners of all ages. Lessons, rentals and events.

Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area, East Postenkill.
Miles of groomed wooded trails in the foothills of the Taconic and Berkshire Mountains. Unique skating trails and lighted trails for night-skiing and moonlight snowshoeing.

Polar Express, Saratoga Springs.
Families cozy-up in decorated vintage cars aboard the Saratoga & North Creek Railway’s holiday season train that rolls out of Saratoga station bound for the “North Pole!”

Royal Mountain, Caroga Lake.
Family-friendly ski area in the Adirondack foothills, about an hour from Albany. Lessons, rental shop. 

Saratoga Battlefield Frost Faire, Rte 32, Stillwater.
American history and the great outdoors: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowtubing, nature hikes, horsedrawn carriage rides. Museum.

Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs.
Winter activities in the historic park include cross-country skiing on 12 miles of trails, ice-skating and ice-hockey. 

Tree Haven Trails, West Gallway.
Cross-country ski center in beautiful natural setting of snow-laden evergreens and hardwoods: groomed and track-set trails, 3.7 miles of snowshoe trails. lodge. Wildlife watching. 

Victorian Stroll, Saratoga Springs.
Celebrate the season in old-fashioned holiday style; the Spa City becomes a Victorian wonderland in early December. Great entertainment.

Willard Mountain, Greenwich.
Trails range from the Bunny Hop to the challenging Cutoff. Terrain Park with bumps, jumps, rails and funboxes. Snowtubing park with a cozy lodge. 

For more ideas and information, see the Capital-Saratoga Regional Tourism website

THE ADIRONDACKS

Adirondack Visitor Interpretive Center, Paul Smiths.
Free and fee-based sports and nature programs include snowshoe bird walks and a winter trail network for skiing and snowshoeing. 

Ausable Chasm, Ausable Chasm.
Spectacular views on 30-minute waterfall walks. Reserve a 1- or 2-hour guided snowshoe (or cleats) adventure to see remote parts of the gorge, 150-foot icicles and unique rock formations. Gear provided. 

Gore Mountain, North Creek.
Premier family ski resort: wide-open terrain, 2,537 feet of vertical; cruisers, steeps and glades for every level of skier or boarder. 

High Falls Gorge, Wilmington.
Follow groomed paths and bridges along a half-mile trek to breathtaking ice formations on seven-hundred feet of frozen waterfalls (ice cleats provided). Warm campfire after trek.

Lake George Winter Carnival, Lake George.
Every weekend in February: snowmobile races, skating, ice-fishing and ice-sculpting. 

Lake Placid Olympic Center Sports Complex, Lake Placid.
World's winter sports capital hosted the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games. Skate at the Olympic Oval, snowtube, snowshoe, cross-country ski, ride a bobsled and watch international races. 

Lake Placid Winter Sports, Lake Placid.
Voted # 1 of Top 10 Coolest Winter Places in America by Budget Travel readers. Snowshoe, snowmobile, cross-country ski, guided ice-climb in the High Peaks. 

Santa's Workshop, North Pole.
Jolly theme park for children and the young at heart. Step into a storybook village where the traditional story of Santa lives! Family events, lights, carousel, Nativity pageant under the stars.

Thunder Mountain Dog Sled Tours, Mirror Lake, Lake Placid.
Experience the thrill of gliding across a frozen lake behind a team of frisky dogs. Family-friendly mushes.

Tubby Tubes, Lake Luzerne.
Ten snowtubing lanes, from straight and fast to curvy and twisty, offer cool fun for the whole family! Lodge with a fireplace and snack bar. 

Tutus Mountain, Malone.
Family-friendly ski resort. 3 mountain peaks; 2,025 feet to the summit. Ski, snowboard or tube, day and night.

Up Yonda Farm Environmental Education Center, Bolton Landing.
Year-round hiking and nature programs on 73 acres overlooking Lake George. Woodland trails, natural history museum. 

Whiteface Lake Placid, Lake Placid.
Two-time host of the Winter Olympics boasts the greatest vertical drop in the East! Gondola, 86 trails, terrain parks and glades; novices to world-class athletes. 

The Wild Center, Tupper Lake.
Explore the 31-acre campus on marked trails. When there's snow on the ground, borrow free snowshoes in all sizes. Naturalist-guided wildlife walks. 

For more ideas and information, see The Adirondacks Regional Tourism Website. 

THOUSAND ISLANDS-SEAWAY

Battle Island State Park, Rte 48, Fulton.
Historic site with trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Dry Hill Ski Area, Watertown.
Family-friendly ski mountain on the edge of the Tug Hill Plateau. Skiing and boarding trails; tubing park. Learn-to-ski and snowboard programs, cozy restaurant, full-service ski shop.

Grass Point State Park, St. Lawrence channel, Alexandria Bay.
Known for some of the nation’s best winter fishing. 

Great Bear Springs Recreational Area, Rte 57, Fulton.
Over six miles of marked trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. 

Keewaydin State Park, Alexandria Bay, on the St. Lawrence River.
Cross-country skiing and some of the best fishing, including winter ice-fishing. Great views of ocean-going vessels. 

Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, Wellesley Island.
Museum and varied wildlife habitats. Programs for all ages include watching for bald eagles, late November to early January and late March.

Rice Creek Field Station, State University of New York at Oswego, Thompson Rd, Oswego.
Ski and snowshoe trails. Wildlife watching.

Robert Moses State Park, Massena.
Cross-country ski and snowmobile trails with spectacular views. Wooded cabins; some of the best fishing in the Northeast. Year-round nature center hosts events.

Salmon Hills, 100 Noble Shores Drive, Redfield.
Resort for snowmobile and cross-country ski enthusiasts, fishermen and nature lovers. Log-style lodge and cabins.

Salmon River Falls Unique Area, Falls Rd, Orwell (near Rte 22).
110-foot waterfall. Ice-climbing allowed only with daily registration prior to entering the gorge. 

Sandy Pond Steak House, Pulaski.
Wilderness gem on eastern tip of Lake Ontario. Arrive by car, boat, seaplane or snowmobile. Dining inside, weekly ice-fishing derbies outside! Sandy Pond Ice Fishing Team Perch Derby in February. Registration required. 

Thompson Park, Watertown.
Historic Olmsted-designed gem with big hills for sledding, ice-skating, and cross-country ski trails amid picturesque winter scenery. 

Wellesley Island State Park, Wellesley Island.
Miles of shoreline cross-country ski trails and pristine snowshoe paths, plus a year-round nature center. Heated cabins offer the comforts of home.

Winona Forest Recreation Area, access at intersection of Center and Wart Roads, Boylston.
Over 70 miles of trails: snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, bird watching and horseback riding; edge of the Tug Hill Plateau.

Zoo at Thompson Park, Watertown.
Specializes in species native to New York. Visitors can cross-country ski to see wolverines, black bears, eagles, mountain lions, lynx, grey wolves, and other critters at this 32-acre zoo.

For more ideas and information, see Thousand Islands-Seaway’s Regional Tourism Website

FINGER LAKES

Beaver Lake Nature Center, Baldwinsville.
About 15 minutes from Syracuse. Cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Guided winter walks. Moonlight skiing and snowshoeing events. 

Bristol Harbour Resort, Canandaigua.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing amid the resort’s snow-covered pines.

Bristol Mountain Winter Resort, Canandaigua.
Skiing and boarding, beginner to expert. 1,200-foot vertical, 34 slopes, downhill and cross-country trails with nightlighting. 

Dickens Christmas, Skaneateles.
Old-fashioned festival in picturesque lakeside village. Costumed characters, carolers, horsedrawn carriage rides, lively music and festive fun fill the streets from late November to Christmas Eve. 

Finger Lakes National Forest, On a ridge between Cayuga and Seneca lakes, Hector.
16,000 acres: 30 miles of interconnecting trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Take a scenic drive to see deer, turkeys and free-ranging cattle. 

Greek Peak Mountain Resort, Cortland.
First-rate downhill skiing, boarding, tubing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing. Outdoor Adventure Center thrills with ziplines, ropes courses and an Alpine Mountain Coaster! In the Snow Belt. 

Highland Forest Park, Fabius.
20 miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails (11 groomed daily). Sleighrides on weekends and Monday holidays, mid-December to mid-March. Tobogganing and sledding on 500-foot hill. Wildlife and bird watching.

Labrador Mountain, Truxton.
Large family ski area about 30 minutes south of Syracuse: 22 varied slopes and trails for skiers and boarders of all levels. Six lifts with panoramic views. Glades, wood park and terrain park. 

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Rte 20 & 5, near Seneca Falls.
Cross-country ski or snowshoe on nature trails; see white-tailed deer, foxes, other small mammals and birds, including bald eagles.

Toggenburg Mountain Winter Sports Center, Fabius.
Downhill skiing and boarding on 21 trails, including two terrain parks, serviced by five lifts. Snowmobiling. Events, ski shop, equipment rentals.

For more ideas and information, see Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Website and Finger Lakes Alliance.

CENTRAL NEW YORK

Alder Creek Country Inn, Alder Creek.
Stay and play in New York’s Snow Belt. Cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. Snowmobilers can zip from the Inn to Old Forge and some of the best trails of the Tug Hill Plateau. 

Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center, North Blenheim.
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on trail between the Visitors Center and Mine Kill State Park.

Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad, Milford.
Christmas Lights Train, Santa Express and Christmas Special on November and December weekends. The Easter Bunny Express runs in March! 

Cooperstown Winter Carnival, Cooperstown (February).
Seasonal events, activities, grand parade and fireworks. 

Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown.
Ideal for winter sports: snowtubing, ice-skating and ice-fishing; cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling on picturesque woodland trails. 

Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim.
Picturesque falls cascade 80 feet through a narrow gorge. Winter hiking, snowshoe, cross-country ski and snowmobile trails. 

Old Erie Canal State Park, Chittenango.
Hiking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding along the canal. 

Osceola Tug Hill, Camden.
Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the Snowbelt. Over 200 inches of lake-effect snow covers the Tug Hill Plateau each year! 

Oxbow Falls County Park, Canastota.
Hike and cross-country ski: 125 acres with a beautiful 100 foot waterfall, panoramic views across Oneida Lake to Lake Ontario.

Utica Zoo, Utica.
Bears, sea lions, gibbons, snow leopards, tigers and many other species. Rent snowshoes and follow groomed trails to explore the zoo in winter. 

Val Bialas, Utica.
City-owned ski center offers a unique opportunity to ski and snowboard within city limits. Five downhill trails, night skiing, new ski chalet. 

Woods Valley Ski Area, Westernville.
Skiing and riding on three terrain parks and 14 trails ranging from easy to black diamond. New Snowtubing Park, state-of-the-art snowmaking; lighted night skiing, riding and tubing. Warm up in the cozy lodge!

For more ideas and information, see Central New York Regional Tourism Website

GREATER NIAGARA

Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo.
Meet polar bears, sea lions, anteaters, giraffes, gorillas, meerkats and more! Year-round.

Byrncliff Resort & Conference Center, Varysburg.
Winter activities at this year-round resort includes cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on groomed trails. Cozy lodge. 

Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park.
Cross-country ski, snowshoe, or fly down restored toboggan chutes on wooden toboggans. Snowmobile trails.

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama and Shelby.
Fishing and hunting. Overlooks and trails for observing wildlife and cross-country skiing. 

Kissing Bridge Ski Resort, Glenwood.
Just south of Buffalo. Wide-open trails, super-size terrain parks, and an average annual snowfall of 180 inches. Giant tubing park’s lift gets you up the hill fast for a 10-story slide down! 

Letchworth State Park, Castile.
Winter activities include snowtubing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Historic Glen Iris Inn offers overnight accommodations and restaurant open to the public.

Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls.
Frosted wonderland with sparkling layers of ice. Warm up in the Niagara Adventure Theater. At dusk, the Falls are illuminated in a rainbow of colors. Open 365 days a year.

Old Fort Niagara State Historic Site, Youngstown.
18th and 19th-century history comes to life with tours, events and programs amid original architecture. 

Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, Youngstown.
100 life-size marble statues represent Saints from around the world. Glass dome Basilica offers glorious views. Festival of Lights begins in November. Café and gift shop.

Riverside Sportfishing, Lewiston.
Niagara River fishing through mid-April; excellent trout fishing. Charter/guide captain featured in sports magazines and on ESPN. 

For more ideas and information, see Greater Niagara’s Regional Tourism Website

CHAUTAUQUA- ALLEGHENY

Allegany State Park, Salamanca.
Ice-skating, ice-fishing, snowshoeing, and miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling; 150 winterized cabins. 

Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua.
Horse-drawn bobsled rides on weekends from the first Saturday after Christmas through February. Bundle up and enjoy the ringing of bells as beautiful draft horses carry you through the picturesque Victorian village.

Currier & Ives Sleigh Rally, Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua.
Victorian-style sleighs and costumed drivers parade through the historic grounds with sleighbells jingling. Every January.

Gunny’s Gorge Tube Park, Swain.
750-foot-high snowtubing hill with a lift. 

Holiday Valley Resort, Ellicottville.
Top-ranked; boasts new Mountain Coaster, 58 slopes and trails, two hotels, specializes in fun for the whole family. Winter Carnival in March!

Lake Erie State Park, Brocton.
Nature trails open to cross-country skiers in winter. Excellent place for viewing rare migratory birds along the lake’s edge. High bluffs overlooking Lake Erie provide breathtaking views.

Peek’n Peak Resort & Spa, Findley Lake.
Top ski center challenges beginners to experts: 27 slopes, three terrain parks, cross-country ski trails and a tubing park. Resort borders a 400-mile groomed snowmobile trail.

President’s Day Weekend Winter Festival, Mayville.
Music, fireworks, flare parade, bonfire and horse-drawn wagon rides. Glistening castle made from blocks of ice harvested from Chautauqua Lake. Every February. 

Sprague’s Maple Farms, Portville. Family-fun events.
Maple in the Mountains, on March weekends, celebrates syrup season with tree-tapping demonstrations, sugar-on-snow parties and wagon rides to the sugarhouse. Sample their signature maple syrup. 

Swain Resort, Swain.
Wide-open trails for downhill skiing and boarding, plus five terrain parks; about 50 miles from Rochester.

For more ideas and information, see Chautauqua-Allegheny’s Regional Tourism Website. 

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