Even though the temps outside are dipping faster than your kid's oreo in a glass of milk, there's still plenty of fresh-air excitement happening to keep families safe and entertained as you look for fun on the weekends. In addition to being a safer option for COVID reasons, outdoor activities can help boost your energy and mental focus, improve your mood, help your lungs and so much more. So bundle up and head to one of these family-friendly outdoor activities.
The Rink at Van Saun County Park Winter Wonderland may be gone, but public ice skating is staying through February 20th. Open skate tickets are available now, and give you an hour and a half session on the ice. Plus, it's the perfect option for introducing beginners to the sport, with the use of friendly penguins to help provide balance.
Bear Mountain Ice Rink Looking for a scenic skate? Bear Mountain offers all-day public skating Fridays-Sundays through March 6. Take a whirl around the rink and take in the scenic views of Anthony's Nose (the Hudson's Highlands 900 foot peak) and the mountainous Hudson Valley.
Winter Village at Bryant Park In addition to FREE open skating at this popular rink in NYC, Bryant Park offers plenty of entertainment for the family, including frequent skate performances, carousel rides, Bumper Cars on Ice, cafés to keep warm, Igloo rentals and so much more.
Charlie Heger Ice Skating Rink Also known as Pershing Field, this rink located in Jersey City is a covered outdoor rink so you can safely skate during any type of weather. Beginners can take advantage of their Learn to Skate programs for ages 8 and up, and figure skates or hockey skates are available for rental.
Newport Skates Also located in Jersey City, this quiet outdoor rink typically doesn't get too crowded, so you can safely space out and let your little ones go slow while enjoying your skate sesh.
Wollman Rink Another outdoor NYC skating spot, Wollman Rink sits inside Central Park and is open daily with timed entry through April. Enjoy beautiful views of Manhattan while you skate, then warm up at the Wollman Café, which serves coffee, hot chocolate and small bites. Look out for the terrace cafe overlooking the rink, set to open next month.
Tubing and Skiing
Campgaw The ultimate beginner's mountain which sits right in the neighborhood has tubing, skiing and snowboarding so everyone can enjoy. Classes and lessons are available to help beginners feel more comfortable on the mountain, while anyone over 42 inches can enjoy the thrills -- and ice cold chills -- of tubing.
Mount Peter The 600-foot tubing hill at Mount Peter opens after Martin Luther King weekend this year due to the warm temps, but skiing on eight of their 13 trails is up and running at this Warwick resort, just a short drive away. Open trails range in difficulty, so all abilities can enjoy hitting the slopes.
Winter Hikes and Snowshoeing
Lamont Reserve This Bergen County spot holds a ton of history along the 134 wooded acres, which were transformed to 4.5 miles of trails. Trails range from an easy walk around Sneden Ice Pond to a difficult climb on Lamont Rock, making Lamont Reserve perfect for hiking, exploring, sightseeing and snoeshowing (think: hiking but with snowshoes that strap over winter hiking boots).
Tenafly Nature Center You may have visited TNC for one of their seasonal programs, but did you know you can go to simply explore their trails and wildlife? Trails are open daily, and are short and easy enough for even the littlest explorers to conquer. Plus, you may encounter animals along the way.
Ramapo Valley County Reservation Winter is the perfect time to visit Bergen's largest park area and take a hike, as the crowds typically are much smaller than during warmer weather. Take a walk around Scarlet Oak Pond (dogs are welcome too!), or try out some cross-country skiing which is available in the winter, so you can get in a good workout while you explore.
Thielke Arboretum Sign up and visit the Thielke Arboretum in Glen Rock on January 18 or January 25 for a Nature Sprouts Winter Sessions for kids ages 2 to 4. Parents and children will enjoy easy winter walks while exploring nature and spending time in the fresh air.
Outdoor Museums and Gardens
Storm King Art Center Storm King's Winter Weekends provide an outdoor walking experience through their large-scale sculptures and outdoor galleries, happening now through March 27. Stay warm at their warming station during your walk, or get in some added exercise by taking advantage of their bike rentals, available weather permitting.
New Jersey Botanical Gardens Part of the Ringwood State Park, NJBG in the winter lets you hike across rocks and through wooded areas, but is easy enough for all ages to enjoy. Be sure to check out their Family Winter Woodland Hike happening Sunday, January 16, where you'll learn about the plants and animals surrounding you as you walk. Visit again in the spring when the gorgeous gardens come to life.
Grounds for Sculpture During the winter, Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township offers a number of invigorating exhibits, including the new Night Forms: dreamloop by Klip Collective through February. Video projection, light, sound and a illuminated tree-lined path make it an immersive experience for all ages.