Yes, it’s cold 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)
Here are 16 fun winter activities in NJ
Hit 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.
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 those no-school hours. But where to go? From hidden hills to big drops, check out our guide to the best sledding hills in NJ.
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 that have 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.
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 it’s 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 got kids who span multiple ages, a one-stop spot for all things that keep them entertained is a must. Hit the indoor rollercoaster at the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park at American Dream Cheer, cheer on a jousting match at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, load up your Power Card at Dave and Buster’s in Wayne, Woodbridge, or Blackwood, or become a kingpin at Humdingers in Paramus.
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.
Take a trip under the sea
The temps may be dropping, but there is plenty of sea life to see 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 together. Children and parents can brainstorm ways to overcome a difficult wall or conquer unique challenges like blindfolded or three-legged climbing. And many also have zip lines or places to do bouldering, as well, making you feel like you’ve escaped to a mountain range activity park.
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 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.
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 the thing 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 a NJ downtown and find a new restaurant or shop.
Get your game on
Whether it’s a family challenge at indoor mini-golf, bowling, testing your speed at an indoor go-kart track, or bouncing it out at a trampoline park, you can have a ball no matter what 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, if you want to introduce your kids to the video games, you played as a kid (hello, Donkey Kong), head to a retro arcade in the Garden State.
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 to discover all over the state, including American Dream DreamWorks Waterpark in East Rutherford or 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 the travel-themed, Exceptional Explorers play space in Livingston, check out the fishing zone at The Great Story in Ridgefield, or run and play at the Jellybean Jungle in Marlton. And mamas—you know once they’ve spend an hour or two running around, you can be sure a nice nap is in their future.
Shop at a winter farmers market
Many farmers’ markets have extended from the warmer months into open-air markets for the winter. Bundle up and find more than just 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.
What’s on your winter bucket list? We’d love to know—share with us in the comments below.
Become an NJMOM Insider! For all the best things to do with your family around New Jersey, be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox each week, and don’t forget to tag your photos #NJMOM and @njmom for a chance to be featured on our social media.