For some of the best cold-weather sports, indulgent winter spa retreats, winter festivals and fresh-from-the-farm fare, check out our guide to winter getaways from NYC. If you’re planning to hit the slopes this season, look no further than these destinations for skiing and snowboarding, including everything from gentle, beginner-friendly terrain to Olympic-class facilities. Or take a day trip to chill out in a luxury spa, spend a weekend sampling local brews, go ice skating or just warm by the fire this January and February.
RECOMMENDED: Find more weekend getaways
Best winter getaways from NYC
2hrs by car or Martz Trailways Bus
Don’t scoff at the Pocono Mountains. The area’s become an underrated getaway for New Yorkers, who typically flock to the snowcapped Catskills or Adirondacks come wintertime. This modest mountain range is home to a bevy of nature activities and lodges that’ll make your Instagram followers drool with jealousy.
What to do: Explore a snowy forest during a winter hike or on the back of a dog-drawn sled. Through Skytop Lodge (1 Skytop Lodge Rd; 855-345-7759, skytop.com; $89–$339/night), you can sign up for hikes or a session with Arctic Paws Dog Sled Tours, during which you’ll settle in behind a team of energetic huskies. (Please leave the “mush” yelling to your tour guide.) If you want to go full-on winter outdoorsperson, cast away from Skytop’s private Poconos stream, which is stocked with trout, for some ice-fishing.
Where to stay: Why not just settle into Skytop Lodge’s historic digs, which sit on more than 5,000 acres of nature preserve? The stately stone Main Lodge has 124 guest rooms and suites, all of which are decidedly regal, with dark wooden headboards and end tables, pops of royal blue in the bedspreads and decorative accent walls. After a day of hiking, tuck into the Windsor Room for hearty, stick-to-your-ribs winter fare, like French beef stew or the red-wine–braised chicken, and white-bean and duck casserole.
Photograph: Gaby Shearer
2hrs by car
Fun fact: Washington Depot—one of the five smaller villages within the area—inspired Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow. And while you probably won’t stumble into Luke’s Diner or grab international cuisine at Al’s Pancake World, there’s still plenty of New England cuteness to be found in the historic town, which dates back to 1779 and was named in honor of—you guessed it—George Washington, who passed through the area many times during the Revolutionary War. Enjoy sweet views of the Shepaug and Aspetuck Rivers, high-steepled churches, stone Colonial homes and a provincial town square, and you’ll be relaxed in no time.
What to do: Speaking of R&R, the Mayflower Grace (118 Woodbury Rd, Rte 47; 860-868-9466, gracehotels.com; $525–$1,600/night), a country retreat on 58 acres of gardens and woods, has an on-site 20,000-square-foot spa. Get loose during its Japan ritual, which starts with an exfoliation using ginger grass and bamboo and is polished off with a shiatsu massage with wild lime silk oil and plum blossom cream. Then further pamper yourself during the Hamman Red Flower, which begins with a scrub of coffee beans, olive stones and lemon, followed by a wrap in rhassoul clay. You’ll feel like butter in no time.
Where to stay: Your spa destination, the Mayflower Grace, touts 30 rooms and a Relais & Châteaux designation and is surrounded by 3,000 acres of nature preserve. Its interior is understatedly elegant, with floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the public spaces with sunlight. Rooms are decked out with white and beige tones, with overstuffed couches, four-poster beds, window seats and in-room fireplaces. Unwind with a soak in the marble bathroom before slipping into your robe and sinking into plump, oversize pillows. Meanwhile, the airy dining room, complete with white linen tablecloths, is where you tuck into signature dishes like East Coast oysters and Maine lobster.
The Mayflower Grace
Photograph: Courtesy Mayflower Grace
Hudson Valley, NY
2hrs by car or Metro-North Railroad
The towns that dot the Hudson River kill it in the historically charming department, with snow-topped roofs, cute coffeeshops, small art galleries and a general coziness that’s intoxicating. And at just about two hours outside the city, the region is incredibly convenient, too. From the bohemian art scene of Beacon to the hipster haven that is Hudson to the more rural towns farther north, like Kingston and Poughkeepsie, the Hudson Valley offers enough to bring us back year after year.
What to do: You might only dust off your skates once a year to do a test run at Wollman Rink, but this year, change the scenery and head to Bear Mountain State Park. The off-the-Hudson favorite has a sprawling outdoor ice rink that overlooks its namesake ridge (3006 Seven Lakes Dr, Tomkins Cove, NY; 845-786-2701, nysparks.com), not to mention cross-country skiing through back woods, if you’re looking to work up a sweat.
Where to stay: More than a century old, the Bear Mountain Inn (3020 Seven Lakes Dr, Bear Mountain, NY; 845-786-2731, visitbearmountain.com; $99–$219/night) is nestled directly within the state park. Steeped in NYC history, this is where the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants and the New York Knicks made the grounds and its athletic facilities the official training headquarters in the 1930s. Today the newly renovated inn has 15 guest rooms, a separate lodge with 24 more and four standalone stone cottages—all surrounded by hiking trails that vary in levels of difficulty. It also features a restaurant (which serves an epic Sunday brunch boasting a seafood display, a carving station and an omelette station) and a spa with treatments such as the Men’s Beer Retreat therapy, a beer enzyme facial mask to exfoliate and moisturize.
2hrs 30mins by car, 3hrs 30mins by Adirondack Trailways
Located in the Catskill Mountains on the border of Ulster and Delaware Counties, Highmount is best known for upstate ski gem Belleayre Mountain (181 Galli Curci Rd; 845-254-5600, belleayre.com; lift passes $30–$66/day), which attracts about 175,000 slope seekers each year. So yeah, if you’re not a downhill chaser, this might not be your bag, baby.
What to do: Belleayre Mountain boasts 50 trails, the longest of which, Roaring Brook, runs a whopping two miles. Pay special attention to the terrain park, which is packed with jumps, half-pipes, rails and other obstacles to put your skills to the test and to get your heart racing.
Where to stay: Alpine Osteria (32 Galli Curci Rd; 845-254-9851, alpineosteria.com; $159/night) is a cozy B&B on the road that leads directly to Belleayre Mountain. The guesthouse has an eclectic mix of rooms, with white headboards, matching end tables, and white and red couches, but amenities like Jacuzzi tubs and in-room fireplaces really up its cozy game. Come morning, stock up on a hearty breakfast prepared and served by a staff trained at the nearby Culinary Institute of America.
Photograph: Courtesy Alpine Osteria
3hrs by car or Adirondack Trailways
You already know Phoenicia as a summer favorite for Brooklynites jonesing to explore the great outdoors and catch some rays. But with fresh snow piled high on the surrounding mountains and the smell of burning fireplaces wafting out of stone chimneys, it’s also an ace winter destination packed with small-town charm. You can’t really miss its main drag—a short stretch of just a few blocks—but with decidedly friendly restaurants, antique shops and no-nonsense cafés, the area is a must.
What to do: The best skiing in the Phoenicia area has to be Hunter Mountain (64 Klein Ave, Hunter, NY; 518-263-4223; huntermtn.com; lift passes $70–$80/day), home to a 1,600-foot vertical drop and miles upon miles of ski trails. If you don’t want to commit to a full day of skiing, consider snowshoeing along Wittenberg Trail, a five-hour excursion that traverses nearly eight miles and leads to a scenic summit overlooking the valley underneath Wittenberg Mountain.
Where to stay: The Graham & Co. Hotel (80 Rte 214; 845-688-7871, thegrahamandco.com; $99–$185/night) is a 20-room boutique hotel located at the base of Hunter Mountain and just a couple blocks from Phoenicia’s downtown. Graham favors a rustic/reclaimed-chic aesthetic with unfinished wood, beamed ceilings, antique touches and muted earth tones. All you need to do is pack your flannel shirt and a beanie, and you’ll fit right in.
The Graham & Co. Hotel
Photograph: Poul Ober
4hrs by car
Looking for a one-stop, er, stop? Johnsburg’s Camp Orenda (90 Armstrong Rd; 518-251-5001, camporenda.com; $200/person/night), an all-inclusive retreat set on 40 acres of Adirondacks backcountry, has you covered. It’s basically glamping central, with plenty to do—yoga for the indoor kids, snowy excursions for the outdoor adventurers—so you can stick to one location and still get your kicks.
What to do: Fancy a hike? Camp Orenda offers a slew of ’em, catering to those who want leisurely day strolls as well as those thirsting for difficult terrain. Challenge seekers will love Snowy Mountain Trail, a six-hour hike that summits to a view overlooking the campsite. After your easy or heart-racing jaunt, luxuriate in Orenda’s heated, outdoor showers—a true alpine experience—or indulge indoors with a Swedish massage in the privacy of your own cabin.
Where to stay: The camp’s custom-made Canvas Cabins don’t sacrifice comfort, coming furnished with down comforters, fleece blankets and electric wood-burning stoves. Escape your room and feast at the Backcountry Kitchen, a log-cabin-style open-air dining room with a long, communal wooden table. Gorge on goodies that are sourced from local farmers and cooked over an open flame. Be warned: Dinners are hearty affairs featuring the likes of pork chops with rosemary, whole BBQ chicken and Blue Mountain Burgers topped with applewood-smoked bacon.
Photograph: Dana Romanoff
4hrs 30mins by car or OvRride bus
Killington is, without a doubt, the reigning master of East Coast winter sports, with seven mountain areas making up Killington Resort (4763 Killington Rd; 802-422-6201, killington.com; $223–$872/night) and its sister site, Pico Mountain. The beast to beat is the formidable Killington Peak, which has a summit of 4,241 feet. Otherwise, opt for Skye Peak, reaching 3,800 feet, for something a little more modest or Sunrise Mountain Peak, which is just shy of 2,500 feet.
What to do: This Vermont staple has skiing, snow tubing, snowshoeing and gondola rides aplenty, all along 212 trails that cover 92 miles of terrain. Start the day at Peak Lodge atop Killington Peak, and test your moves while cruising down the double black diamond route Cascade. Or get quirky on a Snowcat-drawn sleigh ride (step aside, horses). These 30-minute journeys are ideal for nonskiers, since the rides offer the chance to view the mountain’s splendor without having to strap on a snowboard or skis.
Where to stay: The Killington Grand Resort is the only full-service mountainside hotel here with a ski bridge that connects to the slopes. Standard rooms start at 335 square feet, or you can spring for a suite to host you and up to five of your pals. Rooms are simple yet comfortably designed, and they feature the necessities for hosting, like fully equipped kitchens with an oven and a stove, a dishwasher, a microwave and essential cookware. After all that skiing (and cooking), relax at the spa for treatments such as the signature Maple Sugar Scrub, which includes a full-body exfoliation followed by a body-cream massage. Preston’s Restaurant, the newest eatery at the resort, serves fare to warm you after a day on mountain—think ribs slathered in Jack Daniel’s, complemented by maple-bourbon-glazed sweet potatoes.
Killington Grand Resort
Photograph: Courtesy Killington Grand Resort
Lake Placid, NY
5hrs by car
A drive up the New York State Thruway takes you into the heart of the Adirondacks-set winter wonderland Lake Placid. Outdoor enthusiasts have their pick of activities: cross-country skiing, ice-skating, touring historic sites of the 1980 Olympic games. Test your skills during the Lake Placid Loppet, an annual 25K or 50K cross-country skiing race held at the Olympic Sports Complex (Feb 24 to 26). Or strap on skates and hit the frozen Mirror Lake, or gear up for a luge or bobsled ride.
What to do: Snag a bird’s-eye view of the highest vertical drop east of the Rocky Mountains when you take a ride on the Cloudsplitter Gondola (5021 Rte 86, Wilmington, NY; 518-946-2223, whiteface.com). The eight-person chariot transports you from the Main Base Lodge of Whiteface Mountain to the top of Little Whiteface in about 15 minutes. Between Instagram snaps along the way, bask in the mountain views, ski trails, forests and Lake Placid itself.
Where to stay: Whiteface Lodge (7 Whiteface Inn Ln; 518-523-0505, thewhitefacelodge.com; $300–$1,200/night) puts you right in the action, since it’s just a few minutes from the ski slopes of Whiteface Mountain and mere blocks from Lake Placid. That said, given the spot’s one-bedroom suites, on-site restaurants and spa, you might not even want to leave. High rollers should settle in a Superior Suite, which has a separate living room and a Jacuzzi. But everyone can take comfort in the fact that each suite is decked out in Adirondack-style furnishings (think wooden wall panels, exposed beam ceilings and homey rugs). There are six dining establishments to choose from: Start at KANU Dining Room for the day boat scallops with sweet potato puree, and finish your evening with a nightcap at KANU Lounge, which specializes in martinis and Scotches.
Photograph: Courtesy Whiteface Lodge
5hrs by car
Barnard might not be the first town you think of when you picture a New England getaway; it flies well under the tourist radar with a population of less than 1,000. But if you’re looking for a regional escape without lots of other people to bother you, this should be high on your list. It’s a respite that offers the nearby picturesque Silver Lake State Park and rolling hills, that Vermont maple syrup you’ve been lusting after and farmhouses to remind you that you’re certainly not in Manhattan anymore.
What to do: Warm yourself with stiff whiskey and a hot bowl of soup at Skunk Hollow Tavern (12 Brownsville Rd, Hartland Four Corners, VT; 802-436-2139, skunkhollowtavern.com). Built in the late 1700s, the watering hole is a Vermont institution, with low ceilings and exposed beams, a center fireplace with a wood-burning stove and a bar strewn with twinkle lights. There’s also live music on Wednesday and Friday nights by rotating live jazz and funk bands. Or you can indulge your sweet tooth at Sugarbush Cheese & Maple Farm (591 Sugarbush Farm Rd, Woodstock. VT; 802-457-1757, sugarbushfarm.com), where you can sample 94-month-aged extra-sharp cheddar cheese and pure maple syrup that comes from the 7,000 tapped trees on-site, among other goodies.
Where to stay: Check into the sumptuous Twin Farms (452 Royalton Tpke; 802-234-9999, twinfarms.com; $1,500–$3,600/night), a resort that has cottages and suites spread across 300 acres of bucolic countryside. An assortment of activities come with your booking, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and downhill skiing on six groomed trails. Bonus: The six trails are closed to the public, and Twin Farms’ high-powered snowmobile can transport nine guests at a time to the top of each run. Those hankering for some eats that aren’t of the maple-syrup variety can feast on the resort’s porcini-poached Vermont turkey and mushroom lentil ragout, or cold-poached Maine lobster with lemons.
Mad River Valley, VT
5hrs by car or Amtrak
Each winter, throngs flock to Vermont’s Mad River Valley for its mountainous ski terrain, namely Sugarbush Mountain. But the valley itself and the ski town around the peaks have plenty of local eats and scenery to offer, whether you’re interested in hitting the slopes or not.
What to do: Warren Country Store (284 Main St, Warren, VT; 802-496-3865, warrenstore.com) dates back to 1839, when it was used as a stagecoach stop, inn and boarding house. Since then, the building has worn many hats, from the town library to the post office to a hardware store to today’s iteration as a cheese pit stop. Travelers should pick up a fresh deli sandwich (go for the Turkey Tumble with Green Mountain Smoke House turkey breast, Cabot Creamery mild cheddar, tomato and lettuce) and peruse provisions like penny candy, local syrup and an assortment of pickles. Leave room for dessert at the on-site bakery, which whips up cookies, tarts, brownies, éclairs and whoopie pies—and polish your gorgefest off with craft beer to give you a boozy buzz.
Where to stay: For that classic New England B&B vibe, relax at the Inn at Round Barn Farm (1661 E Warren Rd, Waitsfield, VT; 802-496-2276, theroundbarn.com; $175–$355). Located on 245 acres of mountains, its rooms are decorated in Colonial classic decor, with four-poster beds, exposed wood and rich colors. And the not-too-shabbily-priced luxury rooms come with warm-up essentials: gas fireplaces, steam-room showers and whirlpool tubs.
Inn at Round Barn Farm
Photograph: Courtesy the Round Barn