There are copious amounts of things to do outside in the winter, sometimes you just need a little creativity. Snow and ice has the enchanting effect of making everyone feel like a kid again! Put on your best layers and take full advantage of all the fun winter activities that can only be done when there’s snow on the ground. After all, it’s meant to be enjoyed! The best part might just be the steaming cup of hot cocoa that comes after, though (more marshmallows, please!).
1. Ice Skate
Ice skating is one of my personal favorite things to do outside in winter, mostly because it’s usually in a beautiful location, like a frozen lake or the middle of downtown surrounded by beautiful buildings. I also love that you can find ice rinks in most cities around the holidays, so it’s a fun activity to do if you’re traveling in the colder months. Ice skating usually doesn’t require a lot of gear, either, which is nice. Most rinks rent skates, so you’ll just need your typical winter layers and a thick pair of socks.
2. Ski or Snowboard
I know this isn’t accessible for everyone, if you don’t know how to ski or snowboard. But if you do, or if you’ve always wanted to learn, take full advantage of this sport while the season is in session! I highly recommend taking a lesson with a ski instructor, even if you’ve known how to ski for years. It’s all about having confidence on the slopes. Grab a buddy or a family member to hit the slopes with, and make a day out of it!
Not many people have tried snowshoeing, so it’s definitely an underrated outdoor activity. It makes going on a walk more interesting, and more fun! It’s especially great when the snow is high, because the snowshoes make walking on top of it so much easier than in shoes, when you might sink into it. A great option if you’re near the woods or going off the path.
If the snowshoes really aren’t your thing, put on your best pair of hiking boots and take a hike instead. Hiking might not be the first outdoor activity on your list of things to do outside in winter, but I like it just as much as hiking in the summer. It’s definitely a different experience, but can be equally as beautiful (and more of a workout thanks to all the layers required). Just remember the sun sets earlier, but wow are winter sunsets beautiful when they’re viewed from a trail in nature!
Sledding will bring you right back to your childhood, I can guarantee it! It’s a staple on the list of things to do outside in winter. Let’s be honest, it’s also a great workout because for every time you go down the hill, you’ll have to climb back up it. Chances are there’s a hill in your neighborhood with fresh powder, just waiting to be sledded on.
6. Cross Country Ski
If you’re aren’t quite ready to try downhill skiing, then cross country skiing might be the next best thing for you. It’s one of those winter activities that will definitely get your heart rate up, but you’ll have fun while you’re doing it. Find some trails at a nearby park or golf course and give it a try! Cross country skiing actually has some similarities to skating, and to downhill skiing, but overall the form is pretty easy to get the hang of. It’s best after a fresh snow. I would definitely avoid going if conditions are icy (I’ve tried it and do not recommend!).
7. Snow Tube
Snow tubing is like sledding but on steroids! And you don’t have to climb up the hill, because usually there’s a magic carpet to ride up, or they’ll hook your tube to a tow line and you can go up in a very relaxed style. Depending on where you go, snow tubing can be an adrenaline rush because you have almost no control over how fast your tube goes, or where it goes. It’s for the adventure junkie in all of us! Snow tubing is a great idea for a weekend night with a group of friends, just be sure to wear a lot of layers so you stay warm while barreling down the hillside.
8. Dog Sled Ride
Out of all the things to do outside in winter, this might be the most adventurous! Taking a dog sled ride could be a super fun activity for a day where you’d rather let the dogs do the physical exertion. Find out if there’s a place near you that offers them, or bookmark this experience next time you travel on an arctic adventure. It’s my dream to do this in Scandinavia one day!
9. Build a Snowperson
If you’re more into making something than doing an activity, then get back to your childhood by making a snow person! Get creative with it. If the snow is right, maybe try for some sort of snow sculpture. It doesn’t have to be a person. You could create a snow bunny or turtle…or whatever else you set your mind to! Put on your best pair of gloves and get building.
10. Hot tub
This might not be the most active out of all the things to do outside in winter, but it’s certainly one of my favorites. If warming up with a cocoa isn’t your thing, then warm up in a hot tub after one of these winter activities. I know you might be thinking, a hot tub outside in the winter? Are you crazy? But once you’ll try it you’ll understand why it’s one of my favorite things. The contrast between the freezing air and the scalding hot water is the best feeling! Just try not to get your hair wet, or you’ll risk it freezing as the rest of your body stays warm underwater.
I hope these ideas get you excited about all the things to do outside in winter! Share this article with your friends and family so you can do these activities together.
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Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.