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 within (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 plenty of places for hot cocoa and burger breaks. Ready to hit the slopes? Read on to find the top spots—now, bring on the snow!
featured image via @montagemtpa
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 onsite townhome or condo, or just go for the day. This mountain’s peak stands at a tall 1,480 feet, and beginners and experts can spend the day crankin’ turns and feeling the thrill of 8 lifts, 46 trails, and a variety of terrain features. Little ones can snowplow with the pros at Ski School, while older kids can get their kicks on the 67-acre Terrain Park spread over 12 trails. The mountain features 3 Magic Carpet lifts for beginners and little skiers and boarders. For a different kind of adrenaline-fueled activity, head to the Snow Tubing hill for a sliding experience that’s pure snowy fun.
Mountain Creek Resort
200 Route 94, Vernon Township, NJ 07462
Campgaw Mountain is another local New Jersey ski resort, conveniently located in Mahwah, for easy daytrips. 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 bonus with that mountain size: There’s 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 Specialized Children’s Program, or if you’re more of advanced skiing family, check out the night skiing on Friday evenings. Not so into skiing? Hit Campgaw’s snow tubing hill which features 9 lanes for the ultimate chill thrill.
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 last to close in the spring. For lovers of jumps, rails, and 180’s, 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. Big Boulder tends to operate more at night and features a snow tubing hill. At Jack Frost, the resort’s main facility, the tubing is at the top of the mountain (unlike other resorts that have a dedicated smaller slope at the base). There’s also plenty of family-friendly dining options for aprés-ski food and drink, or mid-day refueling: Jack’s Burrito Bar, Cafe Frost, Jack’s Pizza, Java Jacks, The Frosty Toboggan Bar & Grill, The Cantina and more.
Jack Frost Big Boulder Ski Area
434 Jack Frost Mountain Rd, White Haven, PA 18661
Big Boulder Ski Area
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 Program, Pioneer Program, 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. 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.
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 vertical 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. New this year is the renovated Winter Garden Restaurant offering a cozy retreat for aprés-ski.
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. If your little ones are not ready to hit the slopes, Shawnee offers a full babysitting service for children over 18 months old, and will keep your cuties happy, entertained, comfortable, and safe while you enjoy a day of outdoor activity.
Shawnee Mountain Ski Area
401 Hollow Road, 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, Montage Mountain offers another activity that’s a little different—air boarding. Kids ages 10 and up can take lessons in this inflatable snow sliding activity. All winter long, Montage Mountain hosts a full calendar of family-friendly events and festivals to supplement your mountain experience. Be sure to check out the annual Cardboard Box Sled Derby in the spring.
Montage Mountain Resort
1000 Montage Mountain Rd, Scranton, PA 1850
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 snowboard for free on holidays and weekends, with a 1-hour group lesson. It covers the basics: Kids will get an introduction to equipment, sliding movements, basic balance and stance, stopping and direction changes.
51 Old Mt. Peter Road, 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, snowtubing, 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 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.
Main St, Hunter, NY 12442