Kalahari Resorts offers fun for the whole family. The resort...

Kalahari Resorts offers fun for the whole family. The resort features a waterpark, full-service spa, restaurants and retail shops.  Credit: Kalahari Resorts and Conventions

The kids are off from school and they're looking for something fun to do. For parents, choices abound. Venture near or not too far to experience the beauty of the winter season. Let their imaginations run wild at mountain resorts, water parks or even the home of a former president. 

Save money on airfare and explore areas not too far from Long Island that feature something for all ages and budgets. Take the train into New York City where a winter village awaits with ice skating, bumper cars and outdoor igloos. If you want more of an escape, take a road trip to a ski resort where you can go tubing, skiing and snowboarding.

Here's a mixture of day trips and overnight getaways, each destined to insert some invigorating life into the dead of winter.

Making a day of it

Bryant Park Winter Village

42nd Street between 5th and 6th avenues, New York

People ride bumper cars on ice at The Rink at...

People ride bumper cars on ice at The Rink at Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant in New York City. The winter wonderland also features ice skating, igloos, a food hall and bar.  Credit: Getty Images/Alexi Rosenfeld

There is something undeniably special and magical about winter in the big city. The Christmas Market and tree will be gone, but you can still enjoy ice skating (free admission, rentals starting at $18; register in advance); bumper cars on ice (starting at $20 per person/for ages 7 and up) or enjoy seasonal treats like s’mores, cheese cake cones and sandwiches for purchase at The Lodge food hall. Outdoor igloo sessions are 90 minutes and feature a seasonal selection of food and drinks (starting at $215 per group for up to four guests).

More info 212-768-4242, bryantpark.org

American Dream

1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, New Jersey

The American Dream's Dream Water Park in East Rutherford, New...

The American Dream's Dream Water Park in East Rutherford, New Jersey features water slides, mini golf, ropes course, museum, shopping opportunities, dining and more.  Credit: American Dream

If abundant physical activity and amusement are what the doctor is prescribing, seek no farther than American Dream, the multi-attraction, indoor megacomplex right off the New Jersey Turnpike near the Meadowlands. There you will find not only DreamWorks, North America’s largest indoor water park (complete with the world’s biggest wave pool), but also the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and Big Snow, an indoor year-round real snow “resort.” All-day passes cost $99 at DreamWorks and $79 at Nickelodeon Universe. Big Snow prices depend on activity.

More info 833-263-7326, americandream.com

Campgaw Mountain

200 Campgaw Rd., Mahwah, New Jersey

Though small (18 acres with only 270 feet vertical), Campgaw Mountain is the nearest ski resort to Long Island, and well suited for beginners, with rentals and lessons available. In addition to day and night skiing and snowboarding, there is also snow tubing. (Lift tickets: $65; 2-hour tubing session: $36.)

More info 201-327-7800, skicampgaw.com

Learn about U.S. presidents

Sagamore Hill: 20 Sagamore Hill Rd., Oyster Bay

Springwood: 4097 Albany Post Rd., Hyde Park

Theodore Roosevelt's home at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site...

Theodore Roosevelt's home at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Oyster Bay. Credit: Barry Sloan

What could be more appropriate over Presidents’ Day week than paying homage to a former chief executive? New York is home to five such “formers,” the two most famous of which share a last name. Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay was the family home of Theodore Roosevelt, while Springwood in Hyde Park was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s. (Both $10 ages 16 and up, free ages 15 and under). Also in Hyde Park is the FDR Presidential Library and Museum ($10, online tickets only).

More info 516-922-4788, nps.gov/sahi; 845-229-9115, nps.gov/springwood

Overnight stays

Camelback Resort

193 Resort Dr., Tannersville, Pennsylvania

Bombora FlowRider is a great way to learn to surf at Camelback...

Bombora FlowRider is a great way to learn to surf at Camelback Resort in the Poconos.  Credit: Camelback/Craig Orsini

Now in its 60th year, Camelback in the Poconos features Aquatopia, an indoor water park, and adjacent ski/boarding resort, with 39 trails and 800 feet of vertical drop. (Lift tickets start at $85). There's also an 100 plus game arcade and 42 snowtubing lanes ($75-85 for two hours.) Visitors can spend the night at the 453-room Camelback Lodge, which includes Aquatopia passes for guests. 

More info 570-629-1665, camelbackresort.com

Jiminy Peak

37 Corey Rd., Hancock, Massachusetts

For a pure winter sports play, head north to the Berkshires. Not only is Jiminy a significantly bigger and generally less crowded resort, but the snow is more reliable and the setting authentically New England. Lift tickets, which can be bought in three increments — 4-hour, 8-hour, and twilight (3 to 10 p.m.) — run from $64-109. Stay and ski packages at the Country Inn base lodge are ideal for weekend getaways. 

More info 413-738-5500, Jiminypeak.com

Kalahari and Great Wolf Lodge

Kalahari: 250 Kalahari Blvd., Pocono Manor, Pennsylvania

Great Wolf Lodge: 1 Great Wolf Dr., Scotrun, Pennsylvania

Kalahari Resorts offers fun for the whole family. The resort...

Kalahari Resorts offers fun for the whole family. The resort features a waterpark, full-service spa, restaurants and retail shops.  Credit: Kalahari Resorts and Conventions

Located only 7 miles apart in the Poconos are dueling franchises of America’s two premier indoor/outdoor water park theme lodges, Kalahari and Great Wolf. Each features dozens of crazy and colorful slides, chutes, tubes, lazy rivers and wave pools, enough to sate any kid’s thirst for good, clean fun. Seven new slides were added in October at Great Lodge, while Kalahari added Serengeti Splashdown. Back on dry land, numerous other activities and attractions, most notably game rooms await. While day passes (roughly $100) are available for nonresidents, most choose to stay in the respective commodious hotel to enjoy the complimentary all-day water park access.

More info kalahariresorts.com; greatwolf.com

Lake George Winter Carnival

Shepard Park, Canada Street, Lake George, New York

Lake George in the southern Adirondack Mountains qualifies as a true winter wonderland with snow and the spectacular 32-mile-long lake significantly frozen over. Devoted skiers and boarders can head over to Gore Mountain, but those looking for a cornucopia of less physically-demanding activities and oddball events like outhouse races and skillet tosses should stay put for the town’s 62nd annual winter carnival, Feb. 3-4, Feb. 10-11 and Feb. 24-25. Daytime activities include ice skating, snowmobiling, dog sledding and a polar plunge. By night, there are two new sound and light spectacles: Winter Dreams at Fort William Henry ($30 ages 13 and over, $23 ages 4-12) and Winter Realms (an immersive winter wonderland) in Charles R. Wood Park ($20 ages 12 and up; $15 ages 4-11). There are also fireworks each Saturday night.

More info lakegeorge.com/winter/carnival

Latest Videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME