Winter Activities In NJ: Our NJMOM Bucket List


Sure, it’s getting colder outside, but with so many fun winter activities in NJ, there’s plenty to do to keep the whole family warm. You can spend the day hitting the slopes, sliding down a sledding hill, trying a snow tube, skating on an outdoor rink, and even visiting an outdoor winter market. Scroll down to find our NJMOM bucket list of NJ winter activities, and get ready for icy adventures and frozen thrills this season. (featured photo credit: @mountaincreek)


American Dream

Colorful and exciting rides await at American Dream. Photo Credit: American Dream

Endless Winter Fun Starts at American Dream

American Dream in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is a premier destination for attractions and entertainment that are fun for the whole family. With record-breaking rides at DreamWorks Water Park– the largest indoor water park in North America – and Nickelodeon Universe – home to cool coasters that boast the world’s steepest drop and tallest indoor drop tower – adults and kids of all ages can surf, splash, and brave the biggest thrills under one roof. Want a snow day, but there’s no snow outside? Check out Big SNOW, the first and only indoor, year-round ski resort in North America, with real snow, sledding, snowboarding, and skiing for every experience level. Families can also hit the ice and skate at The Rink, an NHL-regulation-sized ice rink. Kids and parents will also enjoy a mix of traditional family fun in unique, unmatched environments; from the Angry Birds Mini Golf Course to Sea Life Aquarium, there’s always an adventure to be had at American Dream. If you want to bring some colorful, snap-worthy memories to your Instagram grid, tons of cool photo opportunities await at the TiLT Museum, a world-renowned urban art center, where you can become part of the art. For more information, visit American Dream.
1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073

Here are 17 fun winter activities in NJ

winter activities in NJHit the slopes on boards or skis. Photo Credit: @themilleredition

Grab your skis or hop on a snowboard

Whether you’re looking for a day trip with the littles or a week-long family vacation, you don’t have to go far to get on the slopes, making skiing one of the top winter activities in NJ. Sign up for lessons, spend the day on the trails, try boarding, or cozy up to an apres-ski fire pit—you can find a trail to fit your family’s needs at Jack Frost Ski Resort or these ski resorts nearby.

Take on the thrill of snow tubing

If you’re looking for more of a thrill than a traditional sledding day but aren’t quite ready to hit the slopes of the ski mountain—this activity is for you. Snow tubing is a great way to get outside and breathe in the crisp air while laughing the whole way down. Unlike skiing and snowboarding, no experience or lessons are required to enjoy this activity (plus, it’s often at ski resorts with snow-making equipment). Not sure where to go? Take a look at these snow tubing spots in and around NJ for a day of thrills, or try out Camelback Resort.

skating rinks in NJ Newport Skates

Get gliding with family and friends this winter. Photo Credit: Newport Skates

Glide around on an ice skating rink

Bundle up and try this classic winter activity where the whole family can get in on the action, whether just learning together or having a blast sliding along to tunes. And with many outdoor rinks and indoor ones offering fun ways to slide along (Friday night DJ skate, anyone?), this is a great way to spend the day or night. Find an ice skating rink near you for a few spins around the rink.

Go on a winter hike

Grab your jacket, water bottle, and mask and hit the trails—yes, even in the winter. You’ll get some fresh air, admire the beautiful scenery, and sneak in exercise. Plus, being outside is an exhilarating way to spend the day. And if you’re looking for somewhere you’ve never been or close by, our hiking guide is organized by location and features the best hikes in the state.

Entertain the whole family

If you’ve kids spanning multiple ages, a one-stop spot for everything entertaining is a must. Hit the indoor rollercoaster at the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park at American Dream, cheer on a jousting match at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, load up your Power Card at Dave and Buster’s in Wayne, Woodbridge, Atlantic City, or Blackwood, or become a kingpin at Humdingers in Paramus.

How do they make maple syrup? It starts by tapping a tree for the sap. Photo Credit: Tenafly Nature Center.

See how maple sugar goes from tree to tap

If you’ve always wondered how the sweet stuff goes from tree to your table, you can see it up close at a maple sugaring demonstration. Check out the Great Swamp Education Center and Tenafly Nature Center. You’ll learn how to identify maple trees, all about the taps, and how they boil down the sap to make the syrup. And if you’re lucky, you can sample the tasty rewards and take some home to top a fresh batch of flapjacks. 

Slide down a hill

Let’s hope it’s a banner year for snow days, and there’s no doubt sledding is one of the best ways to take advantage of them. But where to go? From hidden hills to big drops, check out our guide to the best sledding hills in NJ. And you don’t need snow for a snow day—head to Big Snow at American Dream for their Snow Play and Tubing package, where kids can whiz down a real snowy hill, all in climate-controlled indoors. 

Take a trip under the sea

The temps may be dropping, but plenty of sea life can be seen indoors. From observing brilliant and bright fish at Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach to hanging with the hippos at the Camden Adventure Aquarium, the aquariums in NJ are perfect for your little sea explorer. Or why not visit a zoo to see the animals in the winter? Stroll through the Turtle Back Zoo or stop by the Cape May County Zoo to see lots of furry friends. And if furry, soft creatures are more your speed, pose for cozy pics at alpaca farms in NJ

Climb to new heights

Climbing as a family at an indoor rock climbing space is a fantastic way to bond. Children and parents can brainstorm ways to overcome a difficult wall or conquer unique challenges like blindfolded or three-legged climbing. Many also have zip lines or places to do bouldering, making you feel like you’ve escaped to a mountain range activity park.

winter activities in NJ Liberty Science Center

Exploring at Liberty Science Center is one of those winter activities in NJ you can do with the family. Photo taken at Liberty Science Center

Explore a museum exhibit

Now is a great excuse to get to that museum in New Jersey you’ve wanted to check out. Witness art coming to life indoors and outdoors in cool weather at the unique Grounds For Sculpture. Or head to Liberty Science Center, where kids can experiment, explore, and discover new things in interactive STEM and STEAM exhibits that appeal to the senses and mind. The New Jersey State Museum in Trenton is another excellent option, and it’s free.

Travel in space

Sit back, relax, and get lost in space while looking up at the stars and watching a special film presentation in the domes of New Jersey’s educational and entertaining planetariums. Kids (and parents) of all ages will get lost in the enchantment of the dome’s crystal clear projection – all while learning something new.

Head out for a weekend road trip

A long weekend road trip can be just what you need to recharge your family’s batteries after the holiday rush. Luckily, there are plenty of family-friendly resorts in and around NJ for all ages and budgets you can drive to in under 2 hours when you want a little getaway. Or if you want to stay closer but feel like you got away, why not explore an NJ downtown and find a new restaurant or shop?

winter activities in NJ American Dream New Jersey

Mini golfing is a great winter activity in NJ. Photo Credit: American Dream Angry Birds Mini Golf

Get your game on

Whether it’s a family challenge at indoor mini-golfbowling, testing your speed at an indoor go-kart track, or bouncing it out at a trampoline park, you can have a ball no matter the weather. Most of these places are more than just one activity—many offer arcades, laser tag, games, and gourmet cuisine to make a full day of it. Or go retro and introduce your kids to the video games you played as a kid (hello, Donkey Kong) at a vintage arcade in the Garden State.

Splash around

Think waterparks are only a summertime thing? Nope—you can plunge down a waterslide, drift in the lazy river, or get knocked down in the wave pool. There are a bunch of indoor waterparks locally and nearby, including American Dream DreamWorks Waterpark in East Rutherford and Big Kahuna’s Water Park in Berlin. Kids will have a ball getting soaked indoors, and you’ll all feel like you want on a resort vacay miles away.

Move playtime indoors

Missing the playgrounds? Head to one of the many NJ play spaces where littles can bounce around, climb the walls, or use their imaginations for creative play. Visit Livingston’s travel-themed Exceptional Explorers play space, check out the fishing zone at The Great Story in Ridgefield, or run and play at the Jellybean Jungle in Marlton. And mamas—after a few hours, you can be sure a nice nap is in their future.

Shop at a winter farmers market or mall

Many farmers’ markets have extended from the warmer months into open-air markets for the winter. Bundle up and find more than produce—most farmers’ markets offer meats, baked goods, soups, chocolates, and artisan gifts all in one place. Check out these delicious winter markets around NJ. Or if you want to stay indoors, head to a mall in NJ where kids can find fun, and you can shop ’til you drop.

See the city

Two cities—New York and Philadelphia—are close and perfect for a day trip or overnight. Explore the NYC classics like the Empire State Building and Central Park Zoo or unique attractions like the Museum of Ice Cream in NYC. Philadelphia also has many historical sights and museums, including Independence Hall and The Franklin Institute, or unique Philly spots like Once Upon a Nation Storytelling. 

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.