Here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we’re fortunate to experience all four seasons (sometimes all of those in one day!). So along with those fresh springs, dreamy summers, and beautiful falls, we have some wonderful winters. Sure, it’s easy to say they’re too cold and too snowy, but there are plenty of reasons to say that it’s the most wonderful time of the year—especially right here at home.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to stay inside! If you’re looking for some winter recreation, you’ve got plenty of options. These are some of our favorite things to do during winter in NEPA:
One of the most popular activities for wintertime fun, you won’t have too much trouble making your way up a ski lift and down a mountain. In or within close distance to NEPA, you can hit up any of these local resorts:
Additionally, this area is a great place to go cross-country skiing! Pennsylvania state parks and forests are great places to ski and are generally very accessible year-round. You can find additional information on cross-country skiing in state parks and forests on DCNR’s website here.
If neither skiing nor snowboarding is your thing but you still want to hit the slopes, or are looking to entertain your kids, these resorts also offer snowtubing:
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a perfect sledding hill in your own backyard. However, even if you don’t, there are plenty of places where you can hit the hills with your trusty toboggan.
If you’re in the Wilkes-Barre or Kingston areas, Kirby Park has been a popular spot for winter activities like sledding and snowball fights. As of fall 2017, however, there are signs along the crest of the levee stating, “Warning—objects near bottom of levee—no sledding.” These signs were erected to warn the public that there are hazards (relief wells) along the base of the levee. Despite these signs, there are no immediate plans to enforce the “no sledding” directive, according to this article from the Citizens’ Voice.
Nesbitt Park in Kingston is another option for wintertime sledding in the Wilkes-Barre/Kingston area!
If you’re in the Back Mountain area, Frances Slocum State Park is a popular public spot for sledding, as well as a number of other winter activities.
If you’re near the Poconos, Hickory Run State Park has a small day use area near the swimming beach that has been used for sledding.
If indoor rinks are not your first choice, you can also enjoy outdoor ice skating in PA state parks so long as the ice is thick enough! You can find additional tips for ice skating in state parks here.
We all know that we live in a very beautiful area and that there are plenty of places to hike in northeastern Pennsylvania. But if you’re looking for a new way to appreciate the local scenic beauty, try out snowshoeing!
Like many of the area’s outdoor activities, you can enjoy snowshoeing in several of the Pennsylvania state parks. Promised Land State Park, for example, permits snowshoeing on all trails. The Delaware State Forest also offers trails that are not groomed that all snowshoe enthusiasts can enjoy.
“Gone fishing” doesn’t have to be a warm weather state of mind. If you’re looking for something different to try, this might just be it. If you don’t know where to start, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission offers seasonal ice fishing programs. You can find a nearby program by viewing their calendar here. Looking for the perfect ice fishing spot? You can also check out their Interactive Map of Ice Fishing Destinations.
No matter what winter activities you decide to partake in, remember to dress warmly and know the risks, especially if any of your activities involve ice. Any ice under 3 inches thick is unsafe. For a better understanding of ice safety thickness, check out the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission’s ice thickness chart here.
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.