articles

Outdoor Winter Fun Spots in Erie, Pa.

Looking for winter fun in Erie? Here's our list of can't-miss family fun.

By Kara Murphy December 22, 2020

It seems everyone in Erie is looking for ways to get out of the house this winter! Fresh air is good for the soul -- not to mention it helps to get the wiggles out of the kids. 

So here is a list of seven fun things to do outdoors with kids in Erie (or just a short drive away!) during these next few winter months: 

1. Take a snowshoe or cross country ski lesson at Asbury Woods

Every Saturday, if there's at least six inches of snow, Asbury Woods offers cross country lessons and snowshoe lessons for beginners. Skis and snowshoes provided. No sign up required. Ages 10-plus. $12 for Asbury Woods members, $15 for nonmembers.

2. Go tubing at Peek'n Peak

The Peak's fourteen tubing lanes are open! Go after dark to experience the lunar lights tubing experience, when thousands of LED and projector lights turn the hill into a light show. Kids must be ages 3 and up to tube.(Check state guidelines on COVID restrictions for the latest details on visiting New York state.) $20 for a two-hour snow tubing pass. Mondays and Thursdays buy-one-get-one-free. 

Here's a video of my family's visit to the Peak's tubing hills in 2019:


3. Go sledding

There's a lot of great sledding hills in Erie County but our favorite is at Frontier Park in the city of Erie. We asked readers for their favorite hills in the region. Here's where they told us they love to go! Free.

4. Take a Flat Naturalist Self-Guided Walk at Presque Isle or Erie Bluffs

Visit Presque Isle and Erie Bluffs State Parks throughout January for self-guided nature walks along designated trails. Four naturalist-designed, self-guided walks complete with directions, suggested resting stops and nature information will have you discovering the wonderful winter season!  Register by emailing smarendt@pa.gov to be emailed details about each trail, including your very own Flat Naturalist to lead the way! These self-guided trail discoveries are fun for all ages. Free.

5. Go ice fishing

If the weather allows, ice fishing is a memorable wintertime activity in Erie, Pa. The head of Presque Isle Bay and in Misery Bay and Horseshoe Pond fills with little fishing huts for those who are really committed to the sport. But you can also just drop a line through the ice to try your luck. Even if fishing isn't your family's thing, it's fun to walk out on the ice on the bay -- where it's safe, of course!

6. See the ice dunes on Presque Isle

The ice dunes on Presque Isle in the winter are a surreal site, making it look like you might be on the moon. Some reach as high as 15 feet. They form when waves freeze mid-air. Dunes form only on a few lakeshores and in the Arctic, so it's worth seeing this unusual phenomenon. Though be careful! Climbing on the dunes is not allowed as many of them are hollow and can be easily broken through. Free.

7. Join the sledding club at WLD Ranch

Bring your own sled or use the sleds and tubes provided by WLD for sledding club at WLD Ranch! Each sledding day includes up to 3 hours at the sledding hill and pavilion campfire, and hot chocolate and 2 cookies. WLD staff will supervise, so families can attend together, or kids 11 and older can be dropped off without an adult. Select dates in January and February. $5

❄️❄️❄️

Looking for more winter family fun in Erie, Pa.? 

Sign up now for Macaroni Kid Erie's free weekly newsletter to make sure you don't miss a thing!