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Great Wolf Lodge
Photograph: Courtesy Great Wolf ResortsGreat Wolf Lodge

The best winter weekend getaways from NYC

From skiing to indoor water parks, the best winter weekend getaways from NYC are great when the weather dips.

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Update: New rules and regulations are likely in place. Some locations might require advanced reservations. Always call ahead before making a trip. 

These amazing winter getaways from NYC are perfect for families—and will force you out of hibernation. Whether you're looking for snowy fun or the best splashy indoor water park in NY, there's something for everyone. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best family vacations

The local mountains have some terrific family-friendly ski resorts in NYC; when it's time for your little to learn to ski, these ski schools that are great for first-timers, and offer inexpensive beginner's packages.

Maybe you'd rather sit it out? Then take a look at the best snow tubing in NY. No matter what route you decide to take when the cold weather strikes, hot chocolate is always in order. 

Winter getaways from NYC

  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

Travel time: 2 hours and 45 minutes by car from NYC

With a 1600-foot vertical drop and 12 miles of trails, Windham Mountain is one of the biggest and best-run ski areas close to NYC. The ski school program for ages 4-9 includes lift ticket, rental and 2-hours and 30-minutes of instruction ($117). Skiing's not your thing? Try the tubing park, or nurse a warm cup of cocoa in the lodge. A free shuttle connects the ski area to the picturesque village of Windham, where you will find comfy hotels and cozy restaurants. Who needs the Alps when you have the Catskills? 19 Resort Drive, Windham (windhammountain.com).

Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark at Camelback Resort, Tannersville, Pennsylvania
Photograph: Camelback Resort

2. Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark at Camelback Resort, Tannersville, Pennsylvania

Travel time: 2 hours and 20 minutes by car

Camelback Resort is the ultimate winter wonderland twofer: you can hit the slopes and tubing park for snowy fun outdoors, or splash around in the massive indoor waterpark for some tropical fun. The water park is complete with tube slides, the adventurous Venus Slydetrap, the gnarly Bombora Flowrider—it's worth the hype, and a nice change of pace from chillier activities. Soak up the 84-degree temperature as kids choose which one of the 13 slides suits their needs. There's also a lazy river for those who want to take things slow. If you have tots in tow, not to worry—kiddie slides are at the ready. Good news for moms and dads: In the off-chance the youngsters allow for a bit of alone time, grab a cocktail at the swim-up bar. 301 Resort Dr, Tannersville, PA (camelbackresort.com).

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Rocking Horse Ranch, Highland, New York
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

3. Rocking Horse Ranch, Highland, New York

Travel time: 1 hour and 40 minutes by car

You visit Rocking Horse Ranch in the winter for the indoor water park, horse-drawn sleigh rides and a bunny slope perfect for first-time skiers. But that's not all: The Winter Fun Park has skiing, snowboarding and tubing, while the Fun Barn is an indoor playspace complete with climbing walls, giant Nerf cannons and bouncing structures. Don’t forget the scavenger hunts and bingo. Day camp and nursery programs are also available for when you want a little grown-up time to attend wine tastings or try a spa treatment. 600 State Rte 44/55, Highland (rhranch.com).

  • Travel

The Great Wolf Lodge is jam-packed with family fun, including an arcade, bowling alley, storytimes and so much more. But the real reason to go to the hotel in the winter is for the water park—admission is included in the price of your room. Enjoy 79,000 square-feet of swimming, splashing and sliding. The Hydro Plunge will give you rollercoaster-like thrills, while Coyote Canyon includes a water slide with a four-story-tall drop. The Raccoon Lagoon activity is for those who would rather embrace a leisurely pace. Grownups will enjoy a pitstop at the adults-only North Hot Springs and South Hot Springs. 1 Great Wolf Drive, Scotrun, PA (greatwolf.com).

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

Travel time: 2 hours by car from NYC

Butternut has been the bunny slope of choice for generations of New Yorkers and New Englanders. One of the best family mountains in the East, it has a terrific ski school for the kids, plus adult lessons if you need them—it's never too late to learn the basics. The First Timer Package includes a beginner lift ticket, rentals and a 90-minute lesson for just $85. The package is for skiers ages 4 and up—start 'em young, and your little skier will always be a natural on the slopes. 380 State Road, Great Barrington, MA (skibutternut.com).

More travel ideas

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  • Games and hobbies

Snow is beginning to fall across the country, which means we're already planning this year's trip to the best ski resorts and ski towns in the U.S. From California to Vermont, we've rounded up the best ski destinations in the nation for any type of getaway: Thinking about a family vacation? Or a girls' weekend with the most luxe après ski amentities? We have a ski resort with your name on it. All you have to do is pack.

  • Things to do

If you're planning a winter vacation, you want to spend as much time outside as possible, right? That part is made easy, when you head to one of the best snowboarding resorts in the USA. From California to Maine, the best places to go snowboarding in the U.S. include plenty of runs for all skill sets (bring along the kiddies and make it a family vacation) and gorgeous views of mountains, lakes and forests to boot.

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  • Travel

When it comes to planning a vacation in 2021, we want two things: affordable, safe and to be out of the house with our kids. (Ok, maybe that's three things.) So when it comes to booking a cheap family vacation in the U.S., we're looking at under-the-radar destinations from coast to coast, where you can get more bang for your buck, enjoy the great outdoors and stay socially distanced (assuming that's still a thing). On this list you'll find scenic national parks, outdoor adventures, less popular beach towns and camping as well as other fascinating destinations that won’t blow your budget. Be safe and have a great time! 

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