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Snowbound Escapes 

Top Winter Sports Destinations 

Compiled and Photographed by Sarah Einhorn of BeenThereDoneThatTrips.com

Winter sports are my favorite midwinter trips locally. There is nothing like bundling up and skiing, snow tubing, or ice skating in the fresh winter air. Best of all, there are many options nearby. Below are some places I’ve visited within a two-hour drive of Brooklyn.

Campgaw Mountain

 Mahwah, NJ

Since I was a child, Campgaw Mountain was always my favorite snow tubing place. They are well- priced and well- located. They are not very high in the mountains, so it is generally warmer than other places but just as much fun. Over the years Campgaw made many upgrades to their tubing park, including a 650-foot carpet lift which goes up the mountain at an excellent pace. Flying is the only way to describe the sensation of snow tubing. It is so much fun that you’ll want to go again and again. 

Campgaw is a great place for beginner and intermediate skiers. The mountain is not especially tall but it is lots of fun to ride down. There is a cozy indoor snack bar with a fire in the center where visitors can warm up if they need to.

Riders must be a minimum of 42” tall, and each rider must go on their own tube. During busy season, it is recommended to purchase tickets in advance online.

 Approximate distance from Marine Park: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ice Rink-Bear Mountain State Park

Highlands, NY

Invigorating mountain air coupled with the feeling of gliding on ice against a breathtaking mountainous backdrop is sublime. I dropped by the rink on a casual Tuesday, finding it pleasantly uncrowded. Despite the thermometer indicating 40 degrees, the sunshine made it feel considerably warmer. As the sun beamed down, we gradually shed layers until we were comfortably clad in just sweaters. 

Outdoor ice is so much more refreshing and enjoyable than its indoor counterpart. The open space creates an airy and unrestricted feeling. Bear Mountain offers an especially relaxed pace due to its location away from the city, nestled amidst the mountains. Adjacent to the rink, there’s an excellent sledding hill, perfect for non-skaters who prefer to sled while others enjoy the ice.


Approximate Distance from Marine Park:   1 hour, 30 minutes



Mount Peter

Warwick, NY


  “Can we please come back next week?” my kids begged as we left Mount Peter ski area after their first ski experience.

At Mount Peter, they provide complimentary ski lessons for beginners (please note, equipment rentals and ski lift tickets are not included). We all took part in these lessons and were thrilled by how much everyone, regardless of age — adults, teens, and even a six-year-old — enjoyed themselves. In just an hour, the instructors taught us the fundamentals of successful skiing, and we practiced until we felt confident enough to try an easier slope. Due to our afternoon arrival, we didn’t have the chance to take the lift to the beginner slope, but we hope to do so next time. Mount Peter also offers more advanced lessons and the delightful Pete’s Pals classes for preschoolers. Alongside the beginner slopes, there are challenging runs for seasoned skiers. The main cabin houses a restaurant and a connected pub.


Next to the skiing area lies the snow tubing park. While we didn’t partake in snow tubing on this visit, we watched as people zipped down the hill, clearly having a fantastic time.



Approximate Distance from Marine Park:   1 hour, 40 minutes

Bryant Park Ice Skating and Winter Village

Manhattan, NY

Skating in the crisp air holds a unique charm, especially when the rink stands as an oasis amidst Manhattan’s towering buildings — an incredible experience that allowed us glimpses of the Empire State Building while gliding on ice. Understandably, the rink is a popular outdoor destination.

During our visit on a busy Sunday, the rink was quite full, but skating tickets are carefully timed, and entry and exit times are staggered, to ensure it doesn’t get too crowded. Only those with skating tickets are permitted into the rink area, while family members wait outside.

Skates are available for rent at the rink, and for an extra fee, you can rent skate assistants shaped like penguins or snowmen. Bags are not permitted on the rink; however, lockers can be rented, or bags and strollers can be checked in for an additional charge.

The Bryant Park Winter Village exudes a festive atmosphere with shops and restaurants scattered across the park. Additionally, there are igloos—clear, heated domes with cozy seating – available for rent within the park premises.

Approximate Distance from Marine Park:   45 minutes

Thunder Ridge Ski Area

Patterson, NY

We were excited to fit in a trip to Thunder Ridge Ski Area right before they closed for the season. Situated conveniently in Patterson, NY, near the Connecticut border, it’s only an hour away from New York City.

Our group included both beginners and intermediate skiers. Everyone greatly benefited from the ski school available on-site. The instructor was professional and offered practical tips tailored to each individual’s skill level.

With 22 trails, three chairlifts, and four magic carpets, Thunder Ridge caters superbly to all ages and skill levels. While we didn’t tackle the advanced trails since we’re not ski pros, the intermediate runs we tried were fantastic. They provided just the right amount of challenge without overwhelming us, allowing us to avoid any mishaps on the snow. As we glided down, we watched the more advanced skiers speeding down the mountain, clearly enjoying themselves. 

The lodge is conveniently situated right by the chairlifts. Simply step out and hop onto the lift for an enjoyable ride down. 

Approximate Distance from Marine Park: 1 hour, 35 minutes


The Rink at Rockefeller Center

New York, NY


Magical. That is the word I’d use to describe the outdoor ice skating at the Rockefeller Center. During my childhood, on mid-winter vacation days, I often accompanied my father to his office near Rockefeller Center. I was captivated by the sight of skaters gracefully gliding across the ice in the outdoor rink. The colorful array of flags representing the United Nations only added to the festive atmosphere of the rink. While not especially large, the rink can get a tad crowded, but they do cap the number of skaters allowed. Private skating lessons are also available at this enchanting spot.

The rink usually opens early in the season, but it’s advisable to check online for their public skating hours. Thanks to its excellent location, skating at Rockefeller Center can easily be combined with other nearby activities. 


Approximate Distance from Marine Park: 55 minutes


Camelback Mountain Skiing

Tannersville, PA 

We had an incredible time skiing for the day at Camelback Mountain in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Camelback offers an array of trails catering to all levels, ranging from beginners to double black diamond (although we haven’t quite ventured there yet!).

After gearing up, we made our way to one of the smaller hills for beginners to warm up and practice. Surprisingly, the bunny slope was adjacent to the outdoor water park, offering a quirky contrast.  It was funny to have a view of an outdoor water park while skiing in the snow. The mountains framed in the distance added a beautiful scenic touch.

The next hill we headed to was different than what we’d seen before.  Rather than starting with a lift, we began at the top of the beginner’s slope, skiing down and then hopping onto the lift back up. Ascending to the mountain’s peak, we stuck to the easier trails but had an amazing time. The mountain’s impressive height made the lift ride up about a 15-minute adventure in itself.

We thoroughly enjoyed the trails; they offered a perfect balance — not overly challenging but not too short or easy either. Aside from the bunny slopes, Camelback boasts approximately ten different trails to choose from. For non-skiers, Camelback offers a snow tubing park just a few minutes away, adding more excitement to the overall experience.

Leaving after just a few hours was tough; there were so many more trails we were eager to explore. The ski slopes are part of Camelback Resort, which offers many amenities. While our visit was a day trip, the resort definitely felt like a place I would want to visit for a few days and have the enjoyment of skiing for longer.

Approximate Distance from Marine Park:   2 hours 




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