5 Wonderful Winter Activities To Do Outside (Yes, Really)

The weather outside is frightful, but these outdoor winter activities are so delightful.

Illustration by Katy Dockrill

Campgaw Mountain
200 Campgaw Road, Mahwah
Each winter, eager snow tubers head to Campgaw Mountain for the thrill of sliding down the 800-foot lanes. Each of the 10 tubing lanes has a unique design, with varying pitches and bumps. Campgaw has two surface lifts to carry tubers back up the hill, so it’s easy to get in lots of runs. Open daily through March, weather permitting. Daily tubing $21-$26. —AE

Duke Farms
1112 Dukes Parkway West, Hillsborough
When it snows more than four inches, Duke Farms opens its trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Visitors are invited to bring their own equipment—snow boots will work just fine for snowshoeing—and explore the property’s isolated and wild areas during its most peaceful and serene time of year. Start at the orientation center just off Route 206, then head out to appreciate the stunning ice formations on the waterfalls and work to identify the animal tracks in the fresh snow. —SV

Frozen in Ice
Skylands Stadium Event Center, Augusta
Chill out in this winter wonderland with 100 tons of ice sculptures. This year’s theme is Wild West. Take a seat at the saloon, get lost in the ice maze, slither down the ice slide, and watch ice-carving demonstrations and competitions. Warm up at the s’mores fire pit or glide around the outdoor ice-skating pavilion. Open January 27-February 25; admission $12-$20.—JK

Grounds for Sculpture
126 Sculptors Way, Hamilton

Photo courtesy of Grounds for Sculpture

It’s hardly hidden, but for first-time visitors, this extraordinary outdoor sculpture garden is quite a great find. The 42 acres of gardens and parkland provide the backdrop for more than 240 sculptural pieces. The principal artist is park founder Seward Johnson, whose life-size creations mimic the style of Renoir, Manet and other Impressionists. Go ahead, touch his whimsical works and mingle with the familiar characters. Part of the experience is a meal at Rat’s, the excellent French-country restaurant set in a stunning replica of Monet’s iconic Giverny gardens. In winter, fire pits roar and hot chocolate is served at the Gazebo Café. Open year-round, Tuesday-Sunday; $15 adult admission; check website for free tours. —KS

High Point Cross Country Ski Center
1480 State Route 23, Sussex
In the shadow of High Point Monument, hardy souls quietly traverse High Point State Park’s 15 kilometers of cross-country ski trails and 8 kilometers of snowshoeing trails. It’s an invigorating way to fend off cabin fever—and the views are sensational. Full- and half-day rentals are available. Trails are open daily, weather permitting; tickets $8-$19.—AE

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