Whether you’re a family of outdoor enthusiasts or prefer to stay warm inside, one of these winter family adventures is sure to please. Take your pick of hikes, winter sports, family-friendly museums and more.
Winter Family Adventures
When you’re dressed for the elements, winter is a great time to explore. The VA Kids Trail is home to national and state parks as well as environmental preserves. Winter sports rule at one of America’s top family fun resorts in the Shenandoah Valley. And we’ve even come up with a few unique family adventures to take the chill off Old Man Winter.
Outdoor Winter Family Adventures
Enjoy crisp mountain air and clear winter views with a family hike. Take your pick of trails, from easy going urban walks to more strenuous climbs. Be sure to check out our blog for the best winter hikes.
National and State Parks: The Shenandoah Valley and nearby Blue Ridge are home to not only the Shenandoah National Park but four Virginia State Parks as well. In Delaplane, you’ll find Sky Meadow State Park, a favorite for families. Shenandoah River State Park, Seven Bends, and Natural Bridge are all conveniently located off I-81. Since it’s winter, you’ll want to check park websites for updates on trails and road closings (especially Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park).
And parks are for more than just hiking. The winter night skies are shining, so stick around after dark at Sky Meadow for Astronomy for Everyone. Use your local library card and “borrow” a backpack that includes a free parking pass to any Virginia State Park.
Urban Walks and Environmental Trails: If you’re in the Winchester area, you’ll find some terrific walks for family members of all ages. Head over to Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve, part of Winchester’s Green Circle Trail. Or try the free-admission art park of the Trails of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Just to the east you’ll find the Blandy Experimental Farm/Virginia State Arboretum in Boyce and the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in Hillsboro. And if you’re heading south to Harrisonburg, plan a visit to the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum on the campus of James Madison University.
More Outdoor Winter Family Fun
Massanutten Resort: Winter recreation rules! Massanutten Resort is celebrating its 50th anniversary in style with skiing, snow boarding, ice skating, and snow tubing. The resort has upped its wintertime game with improved snow making and expanded beginner trails. And Massanutten has terrific terrain-based ski and snow boarding instruction to get you over any first-time fears.
Skiing and snow boarding aren’t the only winter recreational activities. Enjoy some old-fashioned family fun with lap or two around the ice rink. The resort’s 125-ton chiller and over 34,000 feet of tubing turns the Massanutten Fitness & Rec Club tennis court into a Winter Wonderland.
If you’re not feeling too steady on your feet when it comes to ice and snow, then give tubing a try. Snow tubing is guaranteed fun for the whole family. Race each other down the 900 foot long track or link up for a laugh filled slide. You can even enjoy tubing at night, complete with a light show and music!
Family Friendly Museums
Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is rich in museums geared to families. Here are a few to add to your winter family adventures.
Younger Kids: Children’s museums are a great way for kids to learn by doing what they do best – play! You’ll find fun-filled learning at the Shenandoah Discovery Museum in Winchester and Explore More Discovery Museum in Harrisonburg.
Older Kids: While many of the exhibits at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley appeal more to adults, you can still have great family time with the museum’s Makerspace. This center engages adults and children through hands-on, innovative learning experiences.
History Lovers: If you’re a family of history buffs, be sure to add Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton to your list of museums. The two mile museum loop takes a look at frontier life and tells the stories of early American immigrants through the 1850’s.
Space Cadets: You don’t need to head into Washington, DC to get your dose of the Final Frontier. Spend the day at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center next to Dulles Airport. Part of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, this annex houses both a Concorde and the Space Shuttle Discovery.
Give One of These Adventures a Try
If you’re looking for something different, give one of these winter family adventures a try!
Skyline Paintball: Maybe you’re more into splatting paint than shredding a slope. Kids Trail partner Skyline Paintball in Strasburg is open on the weekends (weather permitting). The low impact version allows kids as young as 7 to play. You still use the same gear and the same fields for winter family adventure.
Massanutten Indoor Water: Grab your suit and towel and head to Massanutten Resort’s Indoor Water Park where it’s a balmy 84 degrees. Voted as one of America’s favorite indoor water parks, you’ll find body slides, lazy rivers and even a FlowRider Endless Wave for surfing.
Area Caverns: You would think it would be freezing this time of year in the area’s scenic caverns. But it’s actually a constant 56 degrees. The Kids Trail is home to six different caverns, each with it own unique shapes and history. Choose from Shenandoah, Grand, Luray, Skyline, Endless and Natural Bridge caverns.
A Customized Experience: If you’re really serious about outdoor winter adventure, set up a guided hike in the George Washington National Forest with Wild Guyde Adventures. The company specializes in finding hidden places with quiet beauty that rarely have a crowd. Instruction topics include stream crossing, map and compass navigation, orienteering skills, and fire-building.
Whether your family enjoys outdoor elements or prefers to stay inside, you’ll find winter family adventures on the VA Kids Trail. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and stay on top of what’s happening with Shenandoah kid friendly fun on Facebook and Instagram.