6 Fun Winter Activities in New England

When it’s time to bundle up for a Massachusetts winter, it’s time to have some fun. There are plenty of winter activities to enjoy during winter in New England, and each year is another chance to try something new.

This is no time for hibernation. From snowball fights and ice skating to building snowmen and snow forts, traditional winter activities are plentiful here in Massachusetts. Of course, there are lots of other exciting winter activities to partake in if you live in (or are traveling to) New England.

Discover New England highlights six fun winter activities that you can enjoy in Massachusetts and nearby New England states. Get prepared to take your family, friends or special someone out for some good old fashioned Massachusetts winter fun!

NEW ENGLAND WINTER ADVENTURES

The New England region of the USA inspires visitors with fabulous snowscapes in the wintertime — often marked by bright blue skies. In addition to dozens of top-notch skiing and snowboarding centers, New England offers the following winter adventure activities.   Get ready for some real fun — and don’t forget to bundle up!

SNOW TUBING: A GIGANTIC SLIDE

With snow tubing, hop aboard a circular air-filled tube and slide downhill at top speeds on specially-groomed slopes. You can enjoy this fun alone or together with family and friends. You need no previous knowledge or special equipment.  Some facilities offer snow tubing at night — a magical experience under starry skies — and special short snow tubing runs for small children.

You’ll find snow tubing at many ski resorts including Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine and King Pine Ski Area in the state of New Hampshire.  In Massachusetts, Amesbury Sport Park is a stand-alone snow tubing park off I-95 just an hour north of Boston, or head to Western Massachusetts to Ski Butternut.

For more snow tubing locations: MaineNew Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island

SNOWMOBILING: WHIZZING THROUGH SNOWSCAPES

Tens of thousands of snowmobilers explore Maine’s trails every winter. Maine offers 14,500 miles of groomed and marked snowmobiling trails maintained by almost 300 clubs – the most trails of any state in the eastern US. Touring Maine on a snowmobile will allow you to go places and see sights that few people access at any time of the year. Snowmobile rentals are available at sporting camps, four-season resorts, recreational outfitters and snowmobile shops. Snowmobile outfitters offer guided tours catered to novice or advanced riders. Travel around lakes, and through fields and forest, or try the more challenging terrain of back country woods trails and mountains with elevations near 4,000 feet. Outfitters can also make lodge to lodge arrangements for overnight trips. Maine resorts that offer snowmobiling adventures include Northern Outdoors and New England Outdoor Center. In Vermont, Stowe Snowmobile Tours offers experiences in several locations, including a two-hour back country tour through Mount Mansfield State Forest for both the beginner and advanced rider.  Special tours are also offered for children.

Snowmobile tours and rentals are available throughout New England. For more information:

SNOW SAFARI: CLIMB WHILE YOU RIDE

For another unique New England winter adventure, head to the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. The Safari Tour of Alpine Adventures in Lincoln, New Hampshire, attracts great attention from New England television stations. In an Austrian army transport vehicle called a “Pinzgauer” your vehicle will bump and grind through the roughest of snowy terrain. A highlight — in the truest sense of the word – will be to scale Barron Mountain, where you will have a spectacular view of winter scenery.

SNOWSHOEING & EXTREME SLEDDING

Snowshoeing is offered at many ski resorts throughout the New England region, and at ski centers such as Craftsbury Nordic Center in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Many inns and bed & breakfasts also offer guests complimentary use of equipment so they can head for adventure right out the back door!  In Western Massachusetts, try snowshoeing atCanterbury FarmsMaple Corner Farm Cross-Country Ski Center, or Hilltop Orchards adjacent to a winery.  In New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley, you can snowshoe (or nordic ski) trails on a 65 km network of trails.  Come in February for their popular Chocolate Festival with trailside chocolate treat stops. In Connecticut, there’s Woodbury Ski & Skate Park in Woodbury and Winding Trails Cross Country Ski Center in Farmington.

In Vermont, Clearwater Sports offers special tours that combine snowshoeing with sledding, using a special Vermont-crafted, high-performance sled:  the Mad River Rocket.  This sled allows you to carve (and rocket) down the mountains and through the wooded terrain of Vermont with a high degree of control. With Clearwater Sports, you will snowshoe up the Green Mountains along the Lincoln Gap road, which is closed during the winter due to the many curves and steep terrain, and then “rocket sled” down the whole length down. Choose your speed by the way you carve your route. This fun adventure will make you feel like an Olympic champion! The company also offers snowshoe tours, including a Full Moon Log Cabin trip — where travelers end up by a warm fire to enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres followed by a down-home Vermont dinner.

For more information:

DOG SLEDDING

Mush! And we’re not describing the snow! Dog sledding is another increasingly popular activity offered at several New England locations.  In Maine and New Hampshire, New England Dogsledding offers fun and educational dog sledding, mushing and sled dog tours in the Bethel, Maine/Sunday River Ski Area, in the North Conway, New Hampshire region, and the  “Wild” Grafton Notch Umbagog Lake Wildlife Refuge area in Dixville Notch, home of  The Balsams Resort.

In Vermont, you’ll find dog sledding among the many winter offerings at the Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden, Vermont.  Go for an incredible half-hour ride through many of the resort’s trails on 350 acres.  Eden Dog Sledding is another facility located 45-minutes north of Stowe, Vermont and an easy, scenic  drive from Smuggler’s Notch, Burlington and Jay Peak areas. They have built an access road into their 75-acre center in the midst of 3000 acres of protected Vermont wilderness.  Or try Umiakwith dog sledding tours out of Waterbury and Stowe.

More information: MaineNew HampshireVermont

SLEIGH RIDES

Sit back and relax as beautiful horses take you through sparkling snowy landscapes, often with the joyous ring of sleigh bells.  Horse drawn sleigh rides are offered at many resorts, inns, and farms throughout New England such at The Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont, and Allegra Farm in East Haddam, Connecticut.  Some places even offer magical nighttime rides in which the only noise is the whoosh of the runners through the snow.  Sleigh rides are a perfect way to enjoy the New England scenery and to get the holiday spirit!

Have you ever been the Frog Fond in Boston? It’s a great outdoor rink where tourists and locals alike love to visit, offering rentals and ice skating lessons.

Come February, check out Winterfest in Lowell, Massachusetts. If you’re looking for a fun-filled weekend packed with lots of winter activities, this is it. Not only does Winterfest offer ice skating, face painting, music, sleigh rides, a magic show and a winter fireworks display, but it is also home to the National Human Dogsled Competition.

Whatever winter activities you wish to enjoy this year, make sure you have a warm and comfortable place to stay while you visit. A hearty meal and a seasonal drink is the perfect way to wind down after a long day of winter fun.  And here’s another winter activity to add to the list: your favorite Massachusetts restaurant might be hosting some special events and dinners that you’d love to check out!