Best Places For Outdoor Winter Activities In The DC Area

December 1, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

sledding Best Places For Outdoor Winter Activities In The DC Area

(credit: Thinkstock)

If this is the most wonderful time of the year, don’t spend it indoors. There are plenty of places to go and things to do in the D.C. area during the winter. Bundle up and visit one of these best places for outdoor winter activities in the D.C. area today. Besides, hibernating is for the birds.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink

7th Street and Constitution Avenue
Washington, DC 20565
(202) 737-4215

Price: $8 adults/$7 seniors age 50 and up, children ages 12 and younger and students with a valid student ID/$3 skate rental/$0.50 locker rental plus $5 deposit

Lace up your skates and go for a spin around D.C.’s most picturesque ice skating rink. Located in the heart of the District, and among majestic museums and canopy trees, the open-air National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink is surrounded by a collection of world-renowned art pieces, including Claes Oldenburg’s Typewriter Eraser. Go for a walk among the garden grounds, or enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at the Pavilion Cafe. The rink also features plenty of benches to relax and enjoy the view. Private and group skating lessons are also available.

Mount Vernon by Candlelight
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, VA 22309
(703) 780-2000

Price: $22 adults/$15 children age 11 and under

See first hand how George and Martha Washington celebrated Christmas at the historic Mount Vernon estate. The candlelight tour takes visitors around the first and second floors of the estate, providing a glimpse into many of the original 18th-century paintings, furnishings and other artifacts of the first president and his wife. The tour also features music and dancing by a warm fire, hot apple cider and cookies, and historical accounts by many of Washington’s trusted colleagues and allies. Be sure to visit Mount Vernon estate’s bookstore and souvenir shop as well as the food court and the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.

Related: Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip to Mount Vernon

Rock Creek Park
5200 Glover Road NW
Washington, DC 20015
(202) 895-6070

Price: free

Escape from the hustle and bustle of crowded shopping malls and head into the peaceful sanctuary known as Rock Creek Park. Go on a guided nature walk, visit the planetarium, or take a hike among the beautiful trees, creeks and streams. The park also features a 1.5-mile fitness hiking trail, a variety of bicycling paths, playgrounds and bridle trails. Use your cell phone to discover points of interest such as statues and monuments, throughout the park. Rock Creek Park also offers a variety of family friendly interactive and educational programs including Creature Feature where children of all ages will learn about the animals living in the park.

Massanutten Resort
1822 Resort Drive
McGaheysville, VA 22840
(540) 289-9441

Price: $34 8-hour adult slope use/$24 4-hour adult slope use/$28 8-hour children and seniors slope use/$20 4-hour children and seniors slope use

Located just a 2.5-hour drive away, Massanutten Resort is the perfect place to be to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor winter activities. Go skiing, snowtubing, snowboarding, ice skating, mountain biking or hiking, or simply relax in the ski lodge. The resort also offers dining and nightlife activities, an indoor water park, luxurious spa, a fitness center as well as classes and activities throughout the week including arts and crafts, bingo, trivia night, Texas Hold ‘Em poker, karaoke and live music. Also enjoy private skiing and snowboarding lessons as well as beginner/intermediate clinics.

Related: The Best Scenic Drives Within 60 Miles of DC

Herring Run Park
3800 Bel Air Road
Baltimore, MD 21205
(410) 254-1577

Price: free

This 300-acre park is the perfect place to do some winter sightseeing as well as sledding. Travel along the many hiking and bicycle paths and search for great blue herons, foxes and other native park creatures. Named the friendliest dog park in the city by the Baltimore Fun Guide, Herring Run Park is also the perfect place to let your pooch loose to explore the open fields and mingle with other dogs. Don’t forget to grab your sled or toboggan as Herring Run Park is also known as the place to be for sledding and snowtubing, thanks to a ton of hills and valleys of all depths and sizes.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at

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