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The East Coast ski resorts have rolling hills and gentler slopes which is great for beginners. Snow dumps are less frequent but reliable snowmachines help fill in the gap. If you time it right your family ski vacations can be some of the best.
From Vermont to North Carolina – look no further than the resorts we’ve listed below to plan your next family ski adventure. Packed with amenities, unique landscape, and quality skiing.
Our Top Picks
Camelback Resort has been voted #1 for the best skiing in the state of Pennsylvania for a reason. With so much to do and fun for the whole family, it’s well worth the visit.
Fun for Kids
From a childcare perspective, Camelback offers an $8 an hour nursery on the property at The Camel Care Center. If you have children who are new to skiing in your family, you can get a bargain by bundling rentals, ski lessons, and even lunch for them.
There are a variety of runs that are great for beginners and for the younger skiers in your family, while also keeping quite a few trails that the more experienced skiers will enjoy as well. For the pros, the park features a couple of terrain parks and two half-pipes if they want to try out their tricks.
While the mountain has a vertical of just 800 feet, they make up for it in other ways. There is plenty of space between trails and the resort feels quite roomy once you begin your day.
Across the park’s 160 acres — you’ll find a whopping 34 trails. Whether you’re staying for a weekend or a week, your family is sure to stay entertained the entire time.
Off the Slopes
This resort and lodge is nestled in the breathtaking and picturesque Pocono Mountains and isn’t short on stunning views. Whether you’re looking to ski, snowboard, or even take the little kids snow tubing — Camelback has something for everybody to enjoy.
If you’re going to ski in just one place in the Poconos — make Camelback your destination as you’re sure to make memories that will last the year until you can make it back to the resort next winter.
What We Love About Camelback:
- On property childcare
- Bundled ski lessons for kids
- Great for beginners and families
- Trails are well spread out
|Summit Elevation:||2100 ft / 640.08 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||166 acres|
See also: Best Pennsylvania Ski Resorts for Families.
6. Hunter Mountain
Hunter Mountain is one of the most popular ski resorts in the Catskills region and for great reason — as it boasts of the “Most Powerful Snowmaking System in the World” that has the ability to cover 100% of the trails within the park.
There are four separate and distinct mountain faces on Hunter Mountain, which allows guests a wide variety of terrain that spans from beginner-friendly to more advanced trails. No matter your ability level, you’ll be able to find trails perfect for you at the resort.
Fun for Kids
If your kiddos are new to skiing, Hunter Mountain provides in-depth lessons taught by experienced and qualified instructors. A quarter of the trails located on the mountain are beginner-friendly, so there will be plenty for your children to practice on once they learn the basics.
Families can take on Hunter One for some great beginner to intermediate level terrain — while the more daring and experienced members of your group can head on over to Hunter West, which has steep double black diamond trails (some of the steepest in the Catskills!).
Off the Slopes
After a long day of skiing, families can hit the snow tubing lanes for a couple of hours or head to the lodge to relax and unwind. The resort also offers to snowmobile and snowshoeing if you’re looking to switch out your skis for a new experience.
There is limited shopping on the mountain but there are plenty of dining options ranging from pizza, burgers, BBQ, and even sushi! Once the kids are tucked in for the evening, parents can enjoy a nightcap at the lodge.
What We Love About Hunter Mountain:
- Less than 3 hours from New York City
- Wide variety of terrain (beginner slopes to double black diamond trails)
- Spa treatments available
- Top of the line rental equipment available
Hunter Mountain Stats
|Summit Elevation:||3200 ft / 975.36 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||320 acres|
See also: Best New York Ski Resorts for Families.
5. Bretton Woods
Nestling in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Bretton Woods, is a slick operation offering quality accommodation, well-organized skiing, and a welcome for families. The resort wins numerous annual awards, proving its popularity.
Fun for Kids
Lessons for skiers at Bretton Woods are aimed to be adaptable. There are private one-on-one lessons, where the instructor can concentrate on goals, or the lesson can be opened out to include family and friends who want to learn together.
For nippers, aged 4-6 years, the Snow Play private lesson introduces youngsters to equipment and movement. The instructors understand all students are different, enabling them to guide kids at their pace. The lessons last for 60 min and then parents are updated on progress.
As New Hampshire’s largest ski area Bretton Woods trails across three mountains and 464 acres. Widely wooded there are 63 trails and 35 glades to choose from. The resort has 23% of runs for beginners, 28% for intermediate, and 49% for advanced.
With the highest elevation of 3100 ft (944 m), the vertical drop of 1500 ft (457 m) provides plenty of variety on the trails. Average snowfall is around 200 inches, while extensive snowmaking covers 92% of trails.
Considerable investment means Bretton Woods has New Hampshire’s only eight-passenger gondola, as well as four high-speed quads. During vacations, the resort can get busy, but this extra uphill capacity will keep queues down.
Bretton Woods has extensive Nordic skiing, for classic or skate skiing across varied terrain. Ski rental and repair are located on-site.
Getting a bite to eat on the mountain can be as leisurely or quick as you like. The newly opened Rosebrook Lodge at the top of the Skyway Gondola gives some great views across to Mount Washington.
Larger appetites can follow with salads, soups, and gourmet burgers. There are two additional cafes, Peaks Café, and Crystal Hills, for meals on the go.
Off the Slopes
Bretton Woods offers plenty of on-site upmarket lodging. This can be in the grandeur of the Mount Washington Hotel, the Bretton Arms Inn, or The Lodge and Townhomes. Outside of the resort are hotels and inns, as well as numerous condos and homes for rental.
What we love about Bretton Woods
- A well thought out and managed ski and snowboard resort
- Great food variety on the slopes but a bit pricey
- Busy during the vacations but fast lifts keep skiers moving
Bretton Woods Stats
|Summit Elevation:||3100 ft / 944 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||464 acres|
See also: Best New Hampshire Ski Resorts for Families.
4. Sunday River
Sunday River has a vast array of trails — totaling over 130! There is plenty for your family to do on their winter vacation and no one will get bored too quickly. There is a range of lesson options for adults and children who want to boost their skiing skills this season.
Fun for Kids
For the kiddos, there is ice skating at the Grand Summit Hotel if they get tired from being outdoors all day. There is a SnowSports School that offers lessons for children in skiing and snowboarding — and even snow biking! Families can choose between day lessons and season-long programs if their local to the area.
Sunday River has the ability to make snow and they ensure that it’s groomed to perfection for their guests to enjoy. There are eight peaks that are interconnected through the trail system and with 15 lifts, guests have spread apart from each other so even on busy days the mountain doesn’t feel too crowded.
Off the Slopes
Sunday River is known for being one of the higher-quality resorts but it still ensures that it keeps the ambiance of a smaller family-friendly area. Families can check out the small town of Bethel to grab a bite to eat off of the mountain and do some shopping.
What We Love About Sunday River:
- Great snowmaking capabilities to ensure good snow coverage
- Night skiing available on the weekends and on holidays
- A vast array of trails interconnected together
- The nearby village of Bethel for dining options and other activities
Sunday River Stats
|Summit Elevation:||3140 ft / 957 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||878 acres|
See also: Best Maine Ski Resorts for Families.
3. Sugar Mountain
Set in the rural hills of North Carolina, Sugar Mountain is 120 miles northwest of Charlotte with its international airport and nearby Nashville in Tennessee. The resort recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and has become a firm favorite for locals and tourists looking for a more traditional ski resort.
Fun for Kids
Sugar Mountain prides itself on being a family-friendly resort. They demonstrate this with their policy where all kids, four and younger can ski for free.
There are two ski schools for kids, the Sugar Bear Ski School is aimed at children from 5-10 and introduces them to the equipment and skiing. For older kids aged 7-14 the Polar Bear Snowboard School introduces kids to snowboarding techniques.
Ski and snowboard group lessons are available for all levels and abilities. Groups are created by ability level. Group lessons last for 1.5 hours. Group lessons are for skiers and snowboarders 8 years old and older.
Sugar Mountain also offers childcare. Bookings are taken on a first-come-first-served basis and children must be at least one year old.
Sugar Mountain offers plenty of tree cover with the runs running down through the tree line, creating plenty of interest and glades. The 21 runs fan down over one face of the hillside. In terms of difficulty, the runs are evenly split between green and blue, making Sugar Mountain ideal for beginners and those wanting to move on to intermediate runs.
For the more advanced there are three black diamond runs and one double diamond black. There are five main lifts with the Summit Express taking skiers and snowboarders straight to the top.
Snowmaking and grooming are well-established features at Sugar Mountain and 100% of the runs are covered for snowmaking. Some of the runs are additionally floodlit for night skiing.
The resort offers equipment rental and ski clothing too. This is ideal for a beginner family, where you can try it before you decide to spend money on expensive ski equipment and clothing.
Sugar Mountain has plenty to offer away from the slopes as well. The tubing park has chutes that are 700 ft long and which are serviced by a conveyor lift. Tubing sessions last for two hours and run from 10 AM until 10 PM under floodlights.
Sugar Mountain also has a 10,000 ft.² outdoor ice-skating rink located next door to the tubing park.
If you’ve ever wanted to try snowshoeing, Sugar Mountain will give you a guided tour around the resort. The intensity of the tour is guided by the participants, lasts one hour, and includes snowshoe rental.
Off the Slopes
While there is no accommodation at the resort there is a good selection of family-friendly hotels and inns in the nearby village of Banner Elk and the surrounding towns.
Private condos and homes are also available to rent nearby.
What We Love About Sugar Mountain
- Sugar Mountain is a compact resort ideally set up for first-time family skiing
- The snowmaking is comprehensive, covering 100% of the runs
- There is plenty to do with a tubing run, an outdoor skating rink, and guided snowshoe tours
Sugar Mountain Stats
|Summit Elevation:||5300 ft / 1615.44 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||125 acres|
See also: Best North Carolina Ski Resorts for Families.
Located on the highest mountain in Southern Vermont, Stratton has excellent snow, rapid lifts, a great variation of runs, and a high percentage of beginner trails. Plus, beautiful surroundings and a fantastic collection of non-ski activities.
Fun for Kids
The high-quality, resort-run childcare accepts kids from six weeks old, and they can begin private ski and snowboard lessons in three years. Groups are kept small – only three per instructor – to maximize individual attention.
Older kids can join group lessons with their peers or tear it up in one of five terrain parks. Start in the Progression Park, designed to get beginners to grips with the snow park features and move up from there.
Off the Slopes
Adults will love the slope-side, European-style village with its range of accommodation styles, spas, fitness center, shops, bars, and family-friendly restaurants. And the proximity to Manchester – only 20 minutes away – means a change of scene or a whole host of other amenities is on hand if necessary.
What We Love About Stratton:
- Kids as young as three can take private or small group ski or snowboarding lessons.
- The European-style alpine village.
- The tube park, ice rink, and other kid-friendly activities.
- Snow parks for all levels, from beginners up to extreme athletes.
|Summit Elevation:||3875 ft / 1181 metres|
See also: Best Vermont Ski Resorts for Families.
1. Mt. Bachelor
Boasting a vast lift-accessible area that spans 4.300 acres, Mt. Bachelor offers a diverse terrain with light, dry snow. The mountain is also well-known for its long seasons as well as family-friendly zones that allow even younger skiers to have a blast on the slope making it our top pick for families.
Fun for Kids
Located in the West Village Lodge, Mt. Bachelor Daycare Center holds a qualification as a state-licensed daycare facility intended for children within the age range of 6 weeks to 10 years old. The facility is operated by friendly, highly-qualified staff that have passed strict background checks, as well as completion of a first-aid, food handler, and early childhood training classes.
The programs offered at Mt. Bachelor Daycare Center include half or full-day ski and snowboard courses for kids aged 3 ½ to 5, a Snow Explorer package for kids aged 2 ½ and older, and two rooms dedicated for toddlers with a small group of 1 staff for 4 children for extra attentive care. Lunch is also included in the full-day program and can be added optionally for half-day program attendees.
For older kids who want to experience the joy of skiing, Progression Park and The Lava Tube trails are intended for beginner skiers who want to familiarize themselves with the basics of skiing. First-time skiers can start from the Start Park to get the feel of sliding on snow. Volcano Adventure Zone offers a bit more adventure for the whole family, with natural rolls, dips, and twists through open glades on volcanically-shaped terrain.
Off the Slopes
Adults are also pampered with choices. From full-service bars, cafes, and mobile kitchens, all the way to Demo Center to try out new gears and many exciting events all year round, there’s no shortage of good time for the whole family.
What We Love About Mt. Bachelor:
- Wide range of activities for all ages
- Ski trails that accommodate both beginners and experienced skiers
- Well-equipped gear shop, with tuning and repair services
- Rich culinary selections, ranging from light bites, and comfort foods, to local brews
Mt. Bachelor Stats
|Summit Elevation:||9065 ft / 2763.012 metres|
|Skiable terrain:||4323 acres|
See also: Best Oregon Ski Resorts for Families
Best Ski Resorts On The East Coast For Families (USA)
|3||Sugar Mountain||North Carolina|
|5||Bretton Woods||New Hampshire|
|6||Hunter Mountain||New York|
P.S If you’re thinking of heading West, then check out our Best West Coast Ski Resorts for Families
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