From outdoor mountain coasters and tubing hills to black diamond runs and half pipes, the East Coast offers a plethora of ski resorts for families. We”ve narrowed down the best ski resorts on the East Coast, with kids’ programming and lodging in mind.
Written by Amanda Geronikos and Hilarey Wojtowicz
Shawnee Peak - Maine
Kids between ages 4 and 12 can participate in one of three clinics -- SkiWee Skiers, Junior Mountaineer Skiers or MiniRider Snow Boarders -- and will be taught everything they need to know about their time on the mountain. For little ones who aren"t ready to hit the slopes, Shawnee offers programs for children between 3 months and 6 years. Fun activities for kids include movies, snow play, and arts and crafts. Parents and teens will also enjoy night rides, with 19 trails lit for evenings on the slopes, as well as the freestyle terrain park. Fuel up at Blizzard"s Pub, the Base Lodge Cafeteria or the East Lodge, the last of which offers a wine bar for parents.
Recommended Hotel: Pleasant Mountain Inn
Smugglers' Notch - Vermont
Smugglers' Notch offers highly-rated programs for new skiers and snowboarders of all ages. Children as young as 2.5 years can learn to ski, and those at least 3 years of age can try snowboarding. And little ones who aren't ready for the slopes can enjoy their days in the Treasures Child Care Center.
What we particularly love about Smugglers' Notch is that it has something for everyone in your family -- even those who have no interest in skiing at all. Families (especially kids) enjoy the FunZone Family Entertainment and Recreation Center, which features an arcade, bouncy house, obstacle course, pirate ship, giant sliding board and after-hours, teen-only activities. The resort also offers a child care center and babysitting services, indoor pool and hot tubs, Mountain Massage Center, arts and crafts workshops, ice-skating, snowmobile tours, year-round zip-lining and a plethora of food options! (Who needs skiing anyway?!)
Recommended Hotel: Smugglers' Notch
Camelback Mountain - Pennsylvania
Recommended Hotel: Camelback Lodge & Indoor Waterpark
Okemo - Vermont
When it's time for a break, head back to your hotel or vacation rental for lunch, or check out one of four restaurants open in the winter months.
Recommended Hotel: Okemo Jackson Gore Inn
Gore Mountain - New York
Recommended Hotel: Clarion Inn & Suites Lake George
Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods - New Hampshire
First, there are the programs offered at Hobbits Ski and Snowboard School, where kids ages 4 to 12 learn to ski, and those ages 6 to 12 learn to snowboard. Then there are the Kids' Club day and evening programs, offered on Fridays and Saturdays in the winter. There's also an outdoor fire pit, playground, skating, evening movies, daily activities (arts and crafts, storytelling and games) and indoor and outdoor heated pools at the Omni Mount Washington Resort. As if that's not enough, the resort also has a Kids Snowmobile Park! Other activities include zip-lining, sleigh rides, dogsledding, snowshoeing, guided tours and a slope-side climbing wall. Phew, we need a break at the onsite spa after this!
Recommended Hotel: Omni Mount Washington Resort
Attitash Mountain - New Hampshire
Recommended Hotel: Attitash Mountain Village
Saddleback Mountain - Maine
Recommended Hotel: Nestlewood Inn
Hunter Mountain - New York
The mountain, located in the Northern Catskills, has 58 trails, 10 lifts and a 1,600-foot drop. Rookies utilize several specialized programs and camps at the Learning Center, housed in its very own building. Kids between 4 and 12 can learn to ski and ride before hitting the slopes while little ones, ages 6 months to 6 years, spend time in PlayCare, located beneath the Learning Center.
Other activities at Hunter Mountain include snowtubing and zip-lining. Hungry families have several dining options, including Family Vacation Critic favorite, Van Winkle's Restaurant.
Recommended Hotel: Kaatskill Mountain Club
Windham Mountain - New York
The mountain keeps eight trails, five lifts and three parks open at night, when skiers and boarders enjoy a unique experience on the slopes, which provide breathtaking views of the Northern Catskills region. Altogether, Windham Mountain provides 49 trails on 269 skiable acres, with five terrain parks and 10 lifts.
Windham Mountain provides ski lessons for everyone in your family, from your toddler to your grandpa; for those over 50, Windham Mountain has a program that focuses on improving skiing skills and enjoyment. Children ages 2 to 7 hang out at The Children's Learning Center, where they play indoor games, make crafts and more.
That's not all. Windham Mountain also offers an Adventure Park, where families find a slew of four-season activities, including a Kids Snowmobile Park, snowtubing, ice-skating rink, Euro Bungy and a Big Air Bag, which allows skiers and riders to practice their jumps.
Recommended Hotel: The Thompson House