Winter Activities for the Whole Family

Winter is a great time to spend with your family, indoors and outdoors, with snow or without snow. People think of summer as being the perfect time to enjoy family since the kids are out of school and you can do more outside, but there is plenty to do when the air is chilly and the fire is warm. Try some of these suggestions this year, and enjoy what our area has to offer.

Lace Up the Skates

An old favorite, but nonetheless still a favorite. Ice skating brings out the child in all of us and is a perfect activity for kids too. Grab some skates, throw on your coat and scarf, and test your balance. The kids will love gliding and sliding around with their parents; they’ll have a great time outside and seeing everyone together.  Need some suggestions? Try Pentagon Row in Arlington, Fairfax Ice Arena in Fairfax, or Mount Vernon Rec Center in Alexandria. There are many others too!

Roll the Dice

Too cold outside? Maybe it’s snowing and you want to stay in. Well then, turn that TV off and break out the games! There are so many varieties these days that you can get the whole family involved, even the dog or goldfish. Games are a fun way to test your trivia, acting, artistic, and even strategic skills. There are also games that are educational for kids, and adults too. Don’t have any games? Visit Child’s Play in McLean, or go to the many shops in the Tysons Corner Center that have a plethora to choose from.

Drama vs. Comedy

Nothing works better for interaction than acting. With all of the local theatres and schools in our area, there is a never-ending stream of fabulous plays and shows. You can go out and watch these productions but don’t forget that you can also get involved. Check with your local schools and get you and your kids involved, or visit places like 1st Stage Theater in McLean, or Jammin’ Java and Wolf Trap in Vienna, and enjoy their performances all year long.

Sports with a Roof

Does your family love to play sports during the summer? It doesn’t have to stop with the season, continue that fun during the winter. Many local places offer indoor activities such as tennis, swimming, soccer, rock climbing, basketball, you name it! Splash around in the pool with your kids, teach them how to play tennis, climb up a rock wall with them, they’ll love being able to get out and be active with their parents! Visit one of the many gyms in the area, or the Spring Hill Rec Center in McLean, they even have a Wallyball court!

Hit the Slopes

Grab your gear and head to the mountains! Skiing and snowboarding is a great all-around activity that everyone in the family will enjoy, even the little ones. Many mountains also offer tubing, which will bring the adrenalin junkie out of you. Not a fan of skiing? You and the kids can still enjoy the slopes by hiking, snowshoeing, sledding, or savoring a hot cup of cocoa by the fire. With several options around Virginia, you’ll have an impressive list to choose from for a fun getaway.

Take in Nature

Even though we live in a metropolitan area, there is still plenty of open space to enjoy. Great effort has been made to preserve our forests and land so get out there and go for a nature walk, breathe in the crisp air, listen to the wildlife hustle and bustle, and enjoy the quiet. The forests are a very different ecosystem during the winter, and are just as wonderful as the summertime. Teach your kids about our forests and how important they really are to us; they’ll appreciate every minute.

Learn Something

Enhance your nature walks by enjoying time at the many nature centers and conservancies around us. The kids will be fascinated by the animals they can interact with, and they will love the exhibits that have been painstakingly put together by the centers. You may also pick up a few little tidbits that you never knew before; the interaction and education will be enjoyed by all in the family. Stop by the Jerome Buddie Ford Nature Center in Alexandria and Gulf Branch Nature Center in Arlington and see what they have to offer.

Skiing Options

Liberty Mountain Resort

ith sixteen trails and slopes placed along two sides of the mountain, Liberty Mountain has a very diverse layout that offers a wide variety of terrain for each guest. There are beginner slopes which are gentle and easy to learn on, as well as many groomed and challenging intermediate slopes. They actually have the most expert terrain in the area.  Liberty Mountain Resort also offers several levels of terrain parks ranging from beginner to expert for skiers and boarders. Enjoy a stay  at the Liberty Mountain Hotel with 99 comfortable guest rooms or stay in one of the nearby inns or hotels. Located only 60 miles from the DC area, Liberty Mountain will be a great place to stay this winter.

Carroll Valley, PA

  • Season: Dec-March
  • Summit Elevation: 1190 ft
  • Annual Snowfall: 45 inches
  • Skiable Area: 100 Acres
  • Number of Lifts: 8
  • Number of Trails: 16
  • Longest Run: 5200 ft
  • Easiest: 35%
  • More Difficult: 40%
  • Most Difficult: 25%
  • Expert Only: 0%
  • Terrain Park: Yes
  • Tubing: Yes

Whitetail Resort

Their goal at Whitetail Resort is to provide a total recreational experience so enjoyable that their guests choose to return again and again. With improvements coming each year, the resort now offers more trails, more lifts, two terrain parks and plenty of amenities for recreation and relaxing – 2 dining areas, snack shop, Starbucks café, and sport shop. Night skiing and snowboarding is offered every evening until 10 PM. From skiing and snowboarding to snow tubing you’ll have a blast with the whole family. Places to stay around Whitetail include everything from a cozy bed and breakfast to roomy hotel suites, and all are located in close proximity to the slopes. Whitetail is located just 90 minutes from DC.

Mercersburg, PA

  • Season: Dec-March
  • Summit Elevation: 1800 ft
  • Annual Snowfall: 40 inches
  • Skiable Area: 109 Acres
  • Number of Lifts: 7
  • Number of Trails: 21
  • Longest Run: 4500 ft
  • Easiest: 22%
  • More Difficult: 53%
  • Most Difficult: 25%
  • Expert Only: 0%
  • Terrain Park: Yes
  • Tubing: Yes

Wintergreen Ski Resort

Located less than three hours from Washington DC is the scenic and appealing Wintergreen Resort. This stunning vacation spot is applauded for their seasonal skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing activities, as well as full-service spas, luxury accommodations, and gourmet dining options. Upon deciding to book a vacation here, you can choose from various housing options including villa-style condos and rental homes that overlook the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains.  Whether you choose the simple and quaint studio suites, or one of the more elaborate seven-bedroom homes, each housing option offers a fully furnished kitchen and a comfy living room-most of which offer fireplaces, balconies, and decks.

Wintergreen, VA

  • Season: Dec-March
  • Summit Elevation: 3515 ft
  • Annual Snowfall: 40 inches
  • Skiable Area: 129 Acres
  • Number of Lifts: 7
  • Number of Trails: 26
  • Longest Run: 7392 ft
  • Easiest: 23%
  • More Difficult: 35%
  • Most Difficult: 21%
  • Expert Only: 21%
  • Terrain Park: Yes
  • Tubing: Yes
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