10 Best Ski Resorts for Families in Pennsylvania
Ready to hit the slopes? Here's where to go for a kid-friendly trip.
For most Philly families, the need to get out of the cold city and into a winter wonderland beyond the Schuylkill is paramount. We suggest taking the family skiing — the sport that combines the love of snow with the love of sitting indoors with cocoa (because really, can you do one without the other?).
We know time is of the essence. Listed below — closest to farthest — are the best family ski resorts around here. (And don’t forget! Fourth and fifth graders can ski for free with their snowpass!)
36 miles from Center City
“So much fun, so close to home!” is more than just a slogan. Just west of Lansdale, Spring Mountain Adventures is an affordable way to spend a day or weekend snowboarding, skiing, snow tubing, and taking private or group lessons. They also offer specials depending on the day of the week, so be on the lookout for Family Night on Sundays.
57 miles from Center City
Bear Creek is rated high on most people’s favorite ski resort list — and with good reason. Bear Creek has all the amenities you’d want in a ski resort: plenty of slopes for all levels, snow tubing, boarding, skiing, onsite hotel and lodging, dining options, spa, and slope-tracking webcams to check on conditions before heading out.
76 miles from Center City
While the highest vertical in Pennsylvania (1,082 feet) might be too high for your snow bunnies, that’s not the only exciting element at Blue Mountain. Amid the 39 ski slopes, there are four on-site dining locations, several area hotels that offer “ski and stay” packages with perks (among which are no lines — a big bonus when skiing with children), live slope webcams, and of course, plenty of ski and snowboard rentals.
93 miles from Center City
This place has all the amenities necessary for your family — especially if you’re planning to be a repeat visitor throughout the season. Choose from two vacation rental companies and plenty of housing options boasting lake views and living room spaces with cuddle-friendly fireplaces for post-ski down-time.
100 miles from Center City
Camelback is one of the premier skiing and winter sports destinations in the Poconos. The resort has packages to fit every budget, and instructors pride themselves on their “learn here, learn right” principle. There is onsite lodging at Camelback Lodge or vacation rentals just off-site. The resort just added a fun new “galactic snow tubing” course, too, for nighttime fun.
118 miles from Center City
If you’re a bit on the nervous side, give Roundtop Mountain Resort a try. Just past Lancaster and York, this 1,355-foot elevation mountain was voted Best Children’s Ski School in 2015 and 29 percent of slopes are rated easy. Roundtop offers Play Care for little ones between 18 months to 12 years. Kids are kept busy with activities, crafts, and snacks.
123 miles from Center City
With 35 percent of trails designated beginner, Montage Mountain delivers for the kids. Rent skis, snowboards, snow tubes, and or take lessons at the ski school on-site. There are two options onsite for food: their restaurant and bar for a sit-down, or a food court for a more casual setting.
151 miles from Center City
One of Pennsylvania’s first commercial ski areas (it opened in 1959), Elk Mountain is worth the drive. In the past decade, they’ve invested almost $10 million in renovations and upgrades, like the Winter Garden Restaurant for après-ski drinks and food, including a kids’ menu. With over 1,000 feet of vertical trails, there’s a trail for all skiing abilities. They offer lessons, rentals, and while there is no on-site lodging, there are plenty of bed-and-breakfasts, hotels, and inns nearby.
187 miles from Center City
Located near State College and home to Penn State’s ski team, Tussey Mountain may be farther out, but it’s worth the journey. They have 50 acres, three ski and snowboard lifts, one snow tube lift, and a snowmaking system that covers 90 percent of their skiable terrain. If your family is more skilled, Tussey might be for you, with more trails in the intermediate range.
108 miles from Center City
Featuring 23 trails and slopes, 2 terrain parks, and a snow tubing park, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area in East Stroudsburg has something for the whole family. Kids’ learn to ski programs offer classes for ages 4 and older. Reservations for classes are accepted online starting November 1st. For children who are too young to ski, Shawnee also offers babysitting services for kids over 18 months old. Save money on accommodations by booking through one of the ski area’s lodging partners.
Photo courtesy of Camelback Resort.