Baby, it’s fun outside! Here’s what to do in Virginia this winter

Baby, It's Fun Outside! Here's What to Do in Virginia This Winter

Photo courtesy of Massanutten Resort

By Aila Boyd

December 21, 2023

Winters in Virginia vary quite a bit. Some years, winter brings with it frigid temperatures and lots of snow, whereas other years see a much more mild winter season. Either way, there are tons of exciting winter activities to do in Virginia. If you’re looking to mark a couple off your bucket list, consider ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, tubing, or fishing at one of these commonwealth destinations.

Ice Skating

Reston Town Center

Location: Reston

Public skating is offered at the Reston Town Center from early November through mid-March, with extended hours for the holidays. If you’ve never skated before, stop by the skate shop for a pair of double-bladed, flat-edge skates that are ideal for novices.

Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating

Location: Arlington

Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating is home to the largest outdoor ice rink in northern Virginia. At 7,200 square feet, the ice rink is the second largest in the commonwealth. The rink is open daily. After enjoying the ice, rest by the dual-sided stone fireplace or grab a mug of hot chocolate at the nearby coffee shop.

Ashburn Ice House

Location: Ashburn

Ashburn Ice House is “where Loudoun County skates.” The house holds public skate sessions every Friday night. The “learn to skate” sessions are encouraged for more inexperienced skaters. Make sure you pre-register prior to skating.

Chilled Ponds

Locations: Chesapeake, Yorktown

Chilled Ponds Ice Sports Complex boasts two NHL skating rinks, one at each of its two locations, that are open for public skating sessions. “Whether it’s for public skating sessions, a special birthday party, our professional learn-to-skate programming, youth or adult hockey leagues, figure skating or private rental of a sheet of ice, we look forward to seeing you and your family taking advantage of our health athletic lifestyle at Chilled Ponds,” the complex’s website reads.

Skiing, Snowboarding & Tubing

The Omni Homestead Resort

Location: Hot Springs

No matter what kind of winter activity you like, The Omni Homestead Resort has it all, including skiing, snowboarding, tubing, ice skating and miniature snowmobiles. The resort has nine trails for skiing and snowboarding.

Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center

Location: Lynchburg

Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center is unique in that it uses Briton Engineering’s patented Snowflex surface to replicate snow, which makes year-round skiing and snowboarding possible. The center is open to the public, offering tubing, sledding, snowboarding, and skiing. Novice snowboarders and skiers can rent equipment and learn the basics from an instructor.

Massanutten Resort

Location: Massanutten

Baby, It's Fun Outside! Here's What to Do in Virginia This Winter

Photo courtesy of Massanutten Resort

Massanutten Resort allows winter sports enthusiasts to explore some of the best slopes the Shenandoah Valley has to offer. It has 80 skiable acres and 23 runs that are serviced by seven lifts. Those who love to tube should check out the tubing hill that has 16 lanes that are 900 feet long and drop 120 feet.

Bryce Resort

Location: Basye

Based in the Allegheny Mountains, Bryce Resort bills itself as a “premium Southeast destination for all things winter featuring a highly acclaimed snowsports school, snow tubing, ice skating and lively events to keep the party going after the lifts close.” The mountain offers skiing and snowboarding trails appropriate for both seasoned veterans and beginners. The latter will likely want to book a lesson from the resort’s Horst Locher Snowsports School, which helps those of all ages at every skill level improve their technique and develop new skills.

Wintergreen Resort

Location: Wintergreen

Baby, It's Fun Outside! Here's What to Do in Virginia This Winter

Photo courtesy of Wintergreen Resort

The massive 11,000-acre Wintergreen Resort on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia says that it’s “the perfect snowy playground for winter sports.” The resort has 24 slopes and trails with terrain that is appropriate for both beginners and experts. Fourteen of the slopes are illuminated for night skiing. The slope report tells you when the best time is to head to the mountain. For a fun family activity, try The Plunge, a 900-foot multi-lane snow-tubing hill. Younger children may also enjoy playing in the snow at Ridgely’s Fun Park.

Winter Fishing

Lake Anna State Park

Location: Spotsylvania

Although ice fishing is rare in Virginia, that doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing in the winter. In fact, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) said there are plenty of good fishing opportunities in the commonwealth during the winter months, with Lake Anna being one of them. A DWR fisheries biologist even said if any body of water in Virginia “was made for winter fishing, it’s Lake Anna.” One of the reasons why the lake is so good for winter fishing is that a nearby nuclear power plant sends its clean discharge into the 10,000-acre lake year-round, which keeps the fish more active during winter.

York River State Park

Location: Williamsburg

York River State Park is another good winter fishing destination. Bass, bluegill, and crappie are active year-round in the park’s Woodstock Pond. Anglers have also found the piers and shoreline to be active. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation noted, “Even a cold day is a good day to take a kid fishing.”

  • Aila Boyd

    Aila Boyd is a Virginia-based educator and journalist. She received her MFA in writing from Lindenwood University.



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