Whether you’re looking for a day trip with the littles or a week-long family vacation this winter, you don’t have to travel far: There are plenty of day and overnight ski resorts in (or close to) New Jersey. With facilities that offer bunny hills to black diamonds, there’s something for everyone at each, including lessons, rental shops, and places for hot cocoa and snack breaks. As with everything these days, COVID safety is always on the forefront, and all the ski resorts have implemented mask-wearing, extra sanitizing procedures, and social distancing. Also, keep in mind that COVID-19 quarantine guidelines vary with each state, so if you’re planning to go across the border, check out the advisories. Ready to hit the slopes? Read on to find the top spots—now, bring on the snow (and be sure to check out our Snow Tubing Spots Around NJ for more winter fun).
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Here are the 10 best ski resorts for NJ families:
Mountain Creek Resort is a full-service resort where you can plan to spend a weekend at an on-site townhome or just go for the day. This mountain has 4 peaks, and beginners and experts can spend the day crankin’ turns and feel the thrill of 5 lifts, 12 trails, and various terrain features. Little ones can snowplow with Kids Camp’s pros, while older kids can get their kicks on the 67-acre terrain parks spread over 11 parks on 3 peaks, ranging from extra small to large. For a different kind of adrenaline-fueled activity, head to the snow tubing hill for a sliding experience that’s pure snowy fun. The hill features a magic carpet lift, so you don’t have to hike back up—you can just enjoy the rides. There are no walk-up ticket sales this year—purchase tickets online only.
Mountain Creek Resort
200 Route 94, Vernon Township, NJ 07462
Campgaw Mountain is another local New Jersey ski resort, conveniently located in Mahwah, for an easy day trip. This mountain’s not-so-scary size makes it a perfect place for little ones (and adults who are new to skiing) to boot up and get acquainted with the sport. And a bonus with that mountain size: There are shorter lift lines and less crowded slopes, creating a safer and more pleasant environment for little ones. Snow bunnies ages 4 to 6 can participate in the Children’s Ski lessons, or if you’re a more advanced skiing family, check out the night skiing on Friday and Saturday evenings. Not so into skiing? Hit Campgaw’s snow tubing hill for the ultimate chill thrill. They’re checking everyone’s temperature at the gate, and you’ll have to fill out a health screening declaration document before you go in. And because they’re operating at a 25% capacity inside their lodge, they’ve set up a huge (and enclosed) awning space outside for apres-ski.
200 Campgaw Rd, Mahwah, NJ 07430
Camelback Mountain Resort just across the Delaware is known for its family-friendly mountain that’s both welcoming and challenging, with 34 trails (all are fully lit for night skiing). There are 16 total lifts, including 4 Magic Carpets for little ones. If Ski School is what you’re after, Camelback offers Kids Half-Day Programs, single session Learn to Ski/Ride packages, 90-minute beginner lessons & private lessons. There’s also plenty of non-skiing fun too: With a staggering 42 lanes of snowtubing, kids will have a blast taking on this exhilarating snowy experience.
Camelback Mountain Resort
301 Resort Dr, Tannersville, PA 18372
With both mountains boasting summits of 2,000 feet or higher, Jack Frost Mountain and Big Boulder Mountain pride themselves in being the first to open the season and the last to close in the spring. For lovers of jumps, rails, and 180s, head to Big Boulder: The mountain dedicates 50% of its terrain to park features for extreme riders looking to take their tricks to the next level. Jack Frost is open during the mornings and afternoons every day, while Big Boulder tends to operate more during the afternoons and evenings. Keep in mind that they’re limiting lift tickets to promote social distancing, so make sure to buy yours early. There’s also plenty of family-friendly take-out meal options for aprés-ski food and drink or mid-day refueling at the mountain’s cafeterias.
Jack Frost Ski Resort
434 Jack Frost Mountain Rd, White Haven, PA 18661
Big Boulder Mountain
357 Big Boulder Dr, Lake Harmony, PA 18624
Blue Mountain Resort’s impressive statistics speak for themselves: Pennsylvania’s highest vertical, the longest runs, and the most varied terrain with 39 slopes. With 16 lifts, this mountain can keep even the most experienced skier busy for a full day of turns. If your kids have run their course with the beginner ski schools, try the Explorer Lesson or Winter Adventure Camp—they’re all more in-depth and challenging than regular ski school programs. Blue Mountain features 6 different terrain parks throughout the area for every skill level and encourages families to “redefine joy-ride” by visiting the snow tubing hill—they are the only park in the Poconos with family-sized tubes. All tickets, lessons, and rentals are on sale online, and you’ll pick up your tickets at the redemption boxes outside of the lodges. Once you’ve worked up an appetite after a day of activity, grab a seat at the Slopeside Pub & Grill, and take in the terrific views while skiers whiz by—this year, they have 50% capacity for indoor seating and increased outdoor dining.
Blue Mountain Resort
1660 Blue Mountain Dr, Palmerton, PA 18071
Elk Mountain Ski Resort in Union Dale, Pennsylvania, is considered one of the “Six Unsung Heroes” by Ski Magazine. The mountain’s top elevation is 2,692 ft, the highest of any operating resort in eastern Pennsylvania, and the ski resort itself features 1,000 feet of sheer excitement. With two terrain parks—one for beginners and the other for experienced skiers and boarders—the whole family can find their groove. Elk’s ski school and children’s program is part of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and utilizes the American Teaching System. Drop your little ones off for a half-day or full-day of instruction while you head to the top of the mountain (Note: you can only sign up for lessons in person, and it’s first-come, first-served). When you want to take a break to refuel, there’s Elk Mountain Cafeteria and the newly-renovated Winter Garden Restaurant, both of which have an indoor seating capacity of 50%. They’re also restricting capacity at all the buildings and limiting time indoors so that everyone has a chance to step inside to warm up.
Elk Mountain Ski Resort
344 Elk Mountain Rd, Union Dale, PA 18470
Shawnee Mountain Ski Area is a family favorite in the Poconos with 23 slopes and trails, including the Pocono Plunge Snow Tubing Park, and two Terrain Parks that feature boxes, spines, rails, rollers, stairs, wall ride, and a sound system. The Learning Center is on its own designated beginner’s slope, so tiny skiers and adult beginners alike have a safe space to learn. While tickets are sold at the slopes, they’re encouraging you to buy online to reserve your spot and save money. And if you’d rather slide than ski, enjoy the thrill of snow tubing at their Pocono Plunge Snow Tubing Park—tickets are sold online only.
Shawnee Mountain Ski Area
401 Hollow Rd, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301
Montage Mountain Resort in Scranton, PA, challenges families to experience winter head-on with 26 trails ranging from beginner to expert, 1000 vertical feet, valley views, and full mountain night skiing. In addition to skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing, Looking for a unique apres-ski experience? With social distancing in mind, the Midland slopeside spot has private tents with firepits for rent this season, where you can take a midday break or hang after a thrilling day on the slopes. With BBQ food trucks, beer on tap, and live music every weekend, the whole family can relax before heading back home.
Montage Mountain Resort
1000 Montage Mountain Rd, Scranton, PA 18507
Mount Peter has been operating since 1936, making it the oldest ski area in New York. This resort has built a reputation as a premier family destination for snow lovers, particularly for beginners and small children. Since 30% of the mountain’s trails are for beginners, it’s a great place to gain a lifelong passion for the sport. The best part? With the purchase of a lift ticket, anyone over the age of 5 can learn to ski (or age 6 for snowboarding) for free on holidays and weekends with an hour group lesson in their Beginner Central program. It covers the basics: Kids will get an introduction to equipment, sliding movements, basic balance and stance, stopping, and direction changes. Keep in mind that all lift tickets must be purchased online and in advance, and the base lodges will be operating at a limited capacity with a 30-minute per table time limit.
51 Old Mt. Peter Rd, Warwick, NY 10990
Hunter Mountain is New York’s top four-season resort for families featuring renowned terrain, snowmaking and grooming, an award-winning Learning Center, snow tubing, slopeside condominiums, and the Kaatskill Mountain Club luxury hotel. Though Hunter is the furthest mountain from New Jersey on our list, it is the place to go if you’re looking for a big mountain in the tri-state area. Its summit hits 3,200 feet above sea level with a 1,600-foot vertical drop, and that’s not all—with 12 lifts and an impressive 58 trails spread across the 240 acres, skiers of all levels can find challenging terrain and slopes for easy runs too. They’re limiting the number of lift tickets per day to promote social distancing, so make sure you book your tickets early.
64 Klein Ave, Hunter, NY 12442