7 Great Winter Activities to Do in Pennsylvania

7 Great Winter Activities to Do in Pennsylvania

Covered Bridge in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Image source: Mickey Robb.

When you think of winter and the holidays it’s hard not to think of Pennsylvania with its traditions and history from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and everywhere in between. It offers so many winter activities and events that almost anyone can find something to enjoy. There are so many events happening throughout the winter and holidays in Pennsylvania that it is difficult to mention them all. However, here is a list of seven events that anyone should check out if they have the chance. What’s even better is that some of these places offer free admission!

#7 Christmas Village in Kozyr

Cozier’s Christmas Village, Bernville, Pennsylvania. Image source: Kozyr Christmas Village

Who doesn’t love taking the family on a drive and seeing all the homes decorated for the holiday season? If you are looking for an entire village decorated for the holiday season, this is the place you should check out. Christmas Village in Kozyr It is located in central Pennsylvania and is nestled in a valley with over a million Christmas lights strung on buildings and barns and many decorations throughout the tour. It has become a tradition for locals to take their families every holiday season to tour the village and check out all the amazing lights and displays. The Cozyre Christmas Village celebrated its 75th season in 2022 and the season officially began on November 4 of this year.

Koziar’s Christmas Village is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from the first Saturday in November through Thanksgiving. After that, it is open every night and holidays until January 1. Prices: Children ages 3 and under are free, children ages 4-10 are $11.00, ages 11-64 are $13.00, and seniors are $12.00.

#6 Dog sledding

Arctic dog sled tour. Photo Source: Arctic Dog Sled Tours
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go on a dog sledding tour, but thought the winter activity only happened in places like Alaska? Pennsylvania has you covered and you can enjoy the experience of pulling a team of huskies through snow-covered trails and trails. Arctic dog sled tours It offers tours on Saturdays and Sundays from December 16, 2023 through February 25, 2024. This is a great opportunity to learn how to team up huskies on a groomed trail and participate in the whole adventure. Arctic Paws operates out of the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort located in the Pocono Mountains. Tours run from 10am to 4pm every Saturday and Sunday and the minimum age to participate is 10 years. Reservations are required, are made online only and cost $75 per person.

#5 Longwood Gardens

If you like botanical gardens and Christmas decorations Longwood Gardens A must have for anyone this winter. The massive facility is located in Kennett Square, about an hour west of Philadelphia. Longwood Gardens is open year-round and features indoor and outdoor displays, but turns into a winter wonderland in November when it is transformed into holiday decorations. The Very Old Christmas Show will bring all the memories and nostalgia of winters past to the adults and the children will be dazzled by the amazing displays throughout the facility. The Christmas display can be viewed from November 17 to January 7, 2024, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission prices range from $5 to $30 depending on age, and children 4 and under are free.

#4 Macy’s Christmas light show

– Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

If being outside in the cold isn’t for you, but you still want to check out something for the winter, then Christmas light display Macy’s Center City in Philadelphia is where you want to go. It’s a tradition that dates back more than half a century and brings back a sense of nostalgia for holidays of the past. Even better, entry is free, making it great for families on a budget. It takes place in the Grand Court at Macy’s and features a light show of sparkling snowflakes, dancing snowmen and more, with classic songs backed by the famous Wanamaker Organ. The Macy’s Christmas Light Show runs from November 24 to December 31, 2023. Mondays through Saturdays from 10:30am, noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm and Sundays from 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.

#3 Festival of Fire and Ice

The small town of Lititz is located in rural Pennsylvania, about 15 minutes north of Lancaster. Here’s where you’ll find it Lititz Festival of Fire and Ice Which is usually held during the last two weeks of February. The festival features ice sculptures, food trucks, live entertainment, a scavenger hunt and a fire and ice-themed pub crawl. For children, the festival includes the Winter FUNDerland event, which offers bouncy attractions. Lititz is filled with great shops, restaurants and bars, and the festival has enough events that the whole family will enjoy.

#2 Groundhog Day

hard day It is something that is celebrated across the country as we all wait to see whether or not Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow. This festival is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2 every year and attracts crowds of more than 30,000 people to see the world’s most famous groundhog. It all started when a group of groundhog hunters formed a group and called themselves the “Punxsutawney Groundhog Club” in 1886. A member of the group who was working in a local newspaper announced that Punxsutawney Phil was the only groundhog who predicted the weather.

This event is free admission and takes place at Gobbler’s Knob just outside of Punxsutawney and doors open at 3am. This may seem too early for many, but the time for this famous groundhog show is 7:30 a.m. and you would be very smart not to wait until 6 or 7 a.m. to attend this event. Crowds in the thousands typically start gathering as early as 5 a.m. for a chance to see an elephant.

It’s a big “party” and even though no alcohol is allowed or sold at the event, people still have a good time and the event has a very fun and positive atmosphere. There are plenty of other places you can visit while you are there such as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Headquarters, Punxsutawney Historical Society MuseumAnd attractions around Punxsutawney Phil.

A tip for anyone planning to attend this event is to dress appropriately for the cold weather in Western Pennsylvania which often has lake-influenced weather conditions rolling off of Lake Erie in February.

#1 Skiing

Map of ski resorts in Pennsylvania. Image source: bestmapsever.com

Pennsylvania’s ski culture is rich in history and has deep roots in the early days of skiing in the United States. Ski resorts extend from the northeastern part of the state to the Pocono Mountains where the resorts are located Camelback Resort, Mount MontageAnd Mount Elk Located. The western part of the state where the Allegheny Mountains are located is a place favored by resorts Seven springs, Hidden valleyAnd Mount Laurel Call home. Throughout the central part of Pennsylvania, you’ll see Mount Liberty Resort, Whitetail ResortAnd Mount Tusi. Pennsylvania is home to 25 ski resorts, ranking it eighth on the list of states with the most ski resorts in the country according to National Ski Areas Association (The National Security Agency).

Winter in Pennsylvania has become a struggle over the past few seasons as Mother Nature has not been so kind to the Keystone State. Warmer, milder temperatures have prompted ski resorts to develop their snowmaking capabilities and provide off-season attractions on the mountain to survive. This is nothing new for resorts, which are used to constantly rising above freezing during the day and falling below freezing at night during the winter. The state’s ski resorts have already become mega-resorts with indoor and outdoor water parks, zipline courses, mountain biking, massive snow tubing courses, and much more. The term “winter cruise ships” has recently been popping up all over Pennsylvania when describing these resorts because you never have to leave the resort to find everything you need.

The state is known for its smaller, independently owned ski resorts. Vail Resorts It has acquired eight ski resorts in Pennsylvania over the past few years. KSL Properties It also acquired Camelback Resort in 2018 and Blue Mountain Resort In 2021. Although some resorts have been taken over by larger conglomerates, the charm and feel of Pennsylvania’s traditional ski atmosphere remains.

If you’re looking for skiing for the whole family, you won’t have to look far when choosing a ski resort in Pennsylvania. Most resorts are geared toward beginner to intermediate level skiers/boarders and few have the verticality or terrain to place a double diamond rating on any of the resort’s trail maps. However, some resorts have a steep run that is approximately 500-1,000 feet long and covered in ice from top to bottom, which will scare almost anyone. If you’re looking for some great East Coast ski areas that have a great local ski vibe compared to Pennsylvania, this is the state you should check out.

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