Bay Staters know a thing or two about making the most of the winter. In New England, we are regularly blanketed by a snowy wonderland. With the clean, crisp air in your lungs and endless outdoor activities at your disposable, it’s time to bundle up and have a true Massachusetts winter experience. These are our 14 favorites.
Skiing at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton isn’t just fun—it’s family-friendly, too. Package plans for four or more make skiing all winter affordable. The mountain even presents a comedy night at the lodge once per week.
Cross-country skiing is a winter pastime often associated with wide open snow-covered fields. And while that’s the beauty of living in rural Massachusetts, what are those who live in the city to do if they want to partake of this winter activity, too? Weston Ski Track is the answer to their dilemma. Located just 15 minutes outside of Boston, the track not only affords a place to ski, they even offer cross-country ski lessons.
If you’ve never been snow tubing, you must try it out this season. You’ll ride down snow-covered groomed slopes on inflated tubes to the sounds of laughter and screams of delight. New England Sports Park in Amesbury has long been a popular spot to try out this form of winter fun. Open Thursdays through Sundays, check the website for times of operation. The park is open more days and for longer hours during Massachusetts and New Hampshire school vacation weeks. Waivers must be signed and no one under four can ride. You may bring your own tube or rent one at the park.
Massachusetts folks on the North Shore dig out their snow shoes each year when snow covers the ground at Bradley Palmer State Park Trail in Topsfield. The main road into the park is plowed throughout the winter, and snow shoeing on a three-mile loop trail is a wealth of winter fun—not to mention it’s excellent exercise.
Weekday lift tickets at Butternut Mountain in Great Barrington are just $25, making it an excellent place for affordable downhill skiing. Kids 7-13 only pay $20, and those six and under are only charged $15. Twenty percent of the slopes are black diamond rated. This means that while it’s affordable, it isn’t merely a hill. Even the best skiers can enjoy their time on Butternut’s slopes.
Even though indoor ice skating arenas are plentiful in Massachusetts, there’s nothing quite like skating outdoors. Community Ice Skating @ Kendall Square in Cambridge is a wonderful place for skaters of all ages and abilities to give the ice a try. Featuring ice skating lessons for all ages and ice skate rentals, be sure to contact the rink for group rentals or private parties. Hot chocolate, coffee and snacks are available at an on-site snack bar.
Canterbury Farm is located high in the Berkshire hills in the town of Becket, Massachusetts. Just under 20 miles of trail systems are groomed specifically for cross-country skiing. Rentals are available. It’s a beautiful spot to spend the day.
For outdoor ice skating, north of Boston, visit Clark’s Pond. Located just off Cedar Street in Amesbury, the pond is perfect for families with kids, and has its own parking lot adjacent to its dam. Check with city hall if you’re questioning whether the ice is thick enough for safe skating. Parking is limited.
The Berkshires are home to some of the best skiing in Massachusetts. Berkshire East Mountain Resort offers some of the most popular trails in the state. There are slopes for everyone in the family regardless of what level skier they are. On Thursday nights from 5-9 the mountain offers discount lift tickets for just $17.
Hilltop Orchards in Berkshires is home to some exceptional cross-country skiing if there’s snow on the ground. Featuring both group and private lessons, as well as equipment rentals for just $20, their Barrel Room even offers a comfy place for non-skiers—or those looking to warm up—a place to enjoy some apple wine and the scenery.
Nashoba Valley in Littleton is known for its skiing, but did you know they have slopes designated for snow tubing as well? Visit the website to learn when they open for the season. Open for tubing seven days a week, check for hours once the season opens. Snow tubers must be six years old or at least 42 inches tall to take part in this outdoor fun.
You won’t want to miss ice skating at the beautiful outdoor Boston rink that is City Hall Plaza. Rentals and lessons will be available, and The Urban Lodge will sell hot chocolate, beer, wine, snacks, and a place to warm up.
Eight lanes and two lifts make snow tubing at Ski Ward in Shrewsbury exemplary. Open weekdays from 4-8 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays, holidays, and school vacations from 10-8, and Sundays from 10-5, adults and kids alike will have a ball. Over 200 tubes are available to rent. All tubers must read the Ski Ward rules and sign a consent form before tubing.
A working farm since all the way back in 1812, Maple Corner Farm in Granville is home to some fine snow-shoeing trails in the winter. Just over six miles of marked trails grace the farm, where outdoor enthusiasts can go cross-country skiing, too. A cozy wood fire and snack bar make warming up a breeze. Snow shoes are available for rent.