New To Ski

12 Best Pennsylvania Ski Resorts For Families

by Alaina Johnson | Updated: October 27th, 2022
pennsylvania family

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Planning your next winter vacation? Struggling to pick a resort where you know everyone will be looked after and have fun, regardless of their age or ski ability? Well, we’ve got you covered with our list of the best Pennsylvania ski resorts for families.

Pennsylvania ski resorts come in all different shapes and sizes to fit any skill level. Camelback offers some of the best skiing in the state and Seven Springs offers a wide variety of activities. Many of the resorts are family-friendly and well suited for beginners and intermediate skiers.

If you’re looking to tear up some terrain parks, Big Boulder has you covered. Which resort is right for you?

Our Top Picks

    12. Big Boulder

    big-boulder-poconos-mt

    Big Boulder ski resort is the smaller mountain in the two-for-one deal that you get when you purchase a ski lift ticket to either Jack Frost or Big Boulder. The ski areas are located near Blakeslee, Pennsylvania, and are a short 1.5-hour drive from Philadelphia.

    Big Boulder has an impressive 15 slopes, though they aren’t all as beginner-friendly as the ones over at Jack Frost. The ski area at Big Boulder is considered to be more geared towards snowboarders and adventure skiers, as they have a large swath of the mountain covered in terrain parks.

    Fun for Kids

    With over half the mountain covered in obstacle parks, Big Boulder tends to draw a younger and more intense crowd — though there are still trails fit for beginners or those with younger kiddos.

    Family Skiing

    The mountain has 100% snowmaking capabilities, though there is often plenty of natural snow cover during the winter months. Night skiing is popular on the mountain and it’s often enjoyed by young adults who are looking to stay out later.

    Big Boulder was the first commercial ski resort in Pennsylvania, so they’re backed by many years of experience and offer great value to guests every season.

    Off the Slopes

    There are several restaurants on the property, making it convenient for guests to grab a bite to eat in order to refuel for more fun in the snow. Big Boulder’s T Bar is a popular spot, along with the nearby snack bar for an on-the-go treat.

    What We Love About Big Boulder:

    • Large area for practicing obstacles
    • A quick drive from the city
    • Powerful snowmaking capabilities
    • Great value with two mountains on the same ticket

    Big Boulder Stats

    Summit Elevation:2175 ft / 662.94 metres
    Skiable terrain: 55 acres
    Lifts:8
    Runs:8

    11. Whitetail

    whitetail
    Photo by Dion Hinchcliffe licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Whitetail Ski Resort is a great destination for families looking to take advantage of the wintertime and ski down some exciting (and steep!) slopes. They boast a 935-foot vertical drop, which is sure to get even the adrenaline junkie’s heart racing.

    About 2 hours outside of Washington DC, visitors will often make the trek to enjoy some of the best skiing in Pennsylvania. There is a good mix of beginner, intermediate, and expert trails — so everybody has the chance to participate.

    Fun for Kids

    For the younger kids or those who aren’t interested in going down a ski slope, there is a tubing park located by the hill.

    Family Skiing

    What’s unique about Whitetail, is that it was specifically designed to separate skiers based on ability levels. This ensures that unsteady beginners don’t get in the way of those who are focused on speed and ensures that beginners aren’t being bullied off the slopes by skiers who are impatient.

    Whitetail also offers a halfpipe and two terrain parks, for those who want to show off their skills and work on making it into the next extreme skiing competition.

    Off the Slopes

    The resort has 100% snowmaking abilities, which help to keep the resort open during times when the snow just isn’t falling.

    Due to the close proximity to several cities, expect crowds during weekends or on holidays. The resort offers free parking for guests on a first come first serve basis. The earlier you arrive, the more likely you are to find a spot near the lodge.

    What We Love About Whitetail:

    • A unique layout that prioritizes the safety of skiers
    • Close enough to Washington DC for a day trip
    • State of the art snowmaking capability
    • Large vertical drop for advanced skiers

    Whitetail Stats

    Summit Elevation:1800 ft / 548.64 metres
    Skiable terrain: 120 acres
    Lifts:8
    Runs:23

    10. Laurel Mountain

    The Laurel Mountain Ski Resort is one of the most popular resorts for skiing in the state of Pennsylvania. At a whopping 761 feet, it boasts the highest vertical drop on Laurel Ridge.

    The mountain is well known for its double diamond Lower Wildcat Slope, which is the steepest slope in the entire state (nearly 60%!).

    The resort makes for a beautiful and exciting winter playground for skiers to flock to and enjoy during the snowy season. Though Lauren Mountain isn’t the largest in terms of acreage, with only 70 acres of skiable terrain — it makes up for it in unique slopes.

    Family Skiing

    This hidden gem of a resort has been popular for decades and it’s a must-do for many families who ski during the wintertime. The lodge is positioned at the top of the mountain, offering guests breathtaking views of the slopes and surrounding areas.

    While beginners can take lessons and try out a few easier slopes, Lauren Mountain is most popular with intermediate to advanced skiers. The longest run is over a mile, giving skiers plenty of time to test their chops.

    Off the Slopes

    There are several dining options, such as the Lauren House Cafe and The Wildcat Lounge, where guests can partake in food and beverage while they’re warming up by the fireplace.

    Lauren Mountain Ski Resort was one of the first resorts to implement large commercial grade snowmaking machines back in the 50s, with many other ski resorts following suit in later years. This allows them to open the resort earlier in the season, even if there hasn’t been heavy snowfall yet.

    What We Love About Laurel Mountain:

    • The highest vertical drop in Pennsylvania
    • A range of trails for different abilities and comfort levels
    • Many years of history — dating back to World War II
    • A cozy lodge with an intimate vibe for relaxation in the evenings

    Laurel Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:2000 ft / 610 metres
    Skiable terrain: 70 acres
    Lifts:2
    Runs:20

    9. Mystic Mountain — Farmington

    mystic
    Photo by Yellowstone National Park licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

    Mystic Mountain is a private ski hill as part of the Nemacolin Resort. It’s available only to overnight guests and is one of the many amenities that this luxurious resort provides.

    Fun for Kids

    While people don’t often visit for the skiing alone, as there are only 25 skiable acres with 6 trails — it can be a nice addition to the hotel stay, especially if you have younger children. It makes for a low-key environment to learn how to ski and there are experienced instructors waiting to guide you along the way.

    Family Skiing

    You can purchase private lessons at Mystic Mountain and they max out at three people per lesson. This is a great deal if you have several young skiers who are chomping at the bit to learn how to ski.

    With the majority of the runs being classified as “easy” for beginners, you can send your kids on their way without worrying about them going down a path that’s too steep for them.

    Off the Slopes

    Because of the limited availability to guests of the resort, there are frequently very short lines and you won’t be spending hours waiting to ski down a run. There is a small terrain park, ideal for learning easy tricks, and a tubing park with a surface lift.

    Nemacolin Resort offers 10 restaurants on property and 2 PGA golf courses. For an evening nightcap, you can visit the Hitchin’ Post Saloon to warm yourself up after a day spent outside in the cold.

    If you would like to ensure Mystic Mountain is open during your stay at the resort, it’s best to check in ahead of time. Sometimes, activities are only offered on certain days.

    What We Love About Mystic Mountain — Farmington:

    • Short wait times
    • Relaxed environment for beginner skiers
    • No steep drops to worry about
    • The Sno-Go ski bike offers extra stability for skiers

    Mystic Mountain — Farmington Stats

    Summit Elevation:2030 ft / 618.744 metres
    Skiable terrain: 25
    Lifts:2
    Runs:n/a

    8. Blue Knob

    Ski Resort 6
    Photo by Rudi Riet At licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Blue Knob is the highest skiable mountain located in the state of Pennsylvania and it offers visitors some of the most challenging slopes. The all-season resort offers some of everything and located in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains, there is a beautiful view to be enjoyed at all times.

    The resort offers rentals with top-of-the-line gear so that guests can start shredding on the slopes within no time. Though this mountain is often considered popular within the advanced skiing community, there are still options for other abilities.

    Family Skiing

    The resort has an “inverted” design — meaning that lodging and restaurants are found at the top of the mountain as opposed to at the base of it. For your first run down the mountain, you won’t need to fuss with the lifts.

    With nearly 85% of the runs being intermediate to advanced levels, beginners may find themselves stuck to a few trails and the tubing lanes. However, as you work your way up — you’ll have more options available to you and you can continuously challenge yourself.

    There is night skiing available as well, with a good percentage of the runs being lit up after sunset. This can be an exciting way to ski if you’ve never tried it before.

    Off the Slopes

    Cross country skiers will appreciate the 10km of trails set aside for them where they can explore the wooded space.

    Nearly three-quarters of the resort’s trails are covered by snow-making guns, so the resort can stay open even when nature doesn’t feel like cooperating with those plans. The mountain has a terrain park and a tubing area for those who want to do something a little bit different.

    What We Love About Blue Knob:

    • Steep slopes to keep advanced skiers happy
    • Mountain-top lodging option for overnight guests
    • Heavy-duty snowmaking power
    • Over 30 trails to keep visitors busy

    Blue Knob Stats

    Summit Elevation:3146 ft / 958.90 metres
    Skiable terrain: 400 acres
    Lifts:6
    Runs:34

    7. Mount Pleasant

    Mount Pleasant is one of the smaller Pennsylvania ski resorts but families can still enjoy a full day of activities — from skiing to hiking and fat biking. There are around 40 skiable acres and an 8-lane tubing section that can entertain the kids for hours.

    Fun for Kids

    Most of the runs are beginner and intermediate friendly, with a smaller percentage being suitable for advanced to expert skiers.

    While Mount Pleasant may not have the gnarliest terrain or the most hardcore parks, they do offer something for everyone. The close proximity to surrounding towns and cities makes for a popular attraction during the winter season.

    Family Skiing

    The resort is family owned and it shows in the attention to detail and to the safety of all guests. The employees want everyone to have an enjoyable experience and create family memories that will last a lifetime.

    Off the Slopes

    The majority of the trails are lit up, meaning you can stay later and ski once the sun has set. The resort also has snowmaking capabilities, making sure winter lasts for as long as possible.

    Mount Pleasant is proud to offer ski and snowboarding lessons for beginners, who can then take on any of the slopes within the park. Though you may find that your family outgrows Mount Pleasant after a year or two — it’s a great place to find your legs and to begin your winter skiing adventure.

    What We Love About Mount Pleasant:

    • Cross country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities
    • Snyder Ski School with 35 qualified instructors
    • Family-oriented atmosphere
    • Great value for a day of skiing

    Mount Pleasant Stats

    Summit Elevation:1540 ft / 469.39 metres
    Skiable terrain: 40 acres
    Lifts:2
    Runs:10

    6. Shawnee Mountain

    Shawnee Mountain ski resort is a place that families find themselves returning to year after year. Being a family-friendly mountain, there are plenty of things to do with the little ones while still keeping the teenagers and adults entertained during their stay.

    Fun for Kids

    There is snow tubing available, which offers both single and tandem snow tubes. While the older kids are skiing, the younger ones can enjoy going down one of the six tubing lanes for a couple of hours.

    The resort offers a few black diamond slopes, though they’re not comparable to those at other parks. Many intermediate-level skiers can make it down them without much of a challenge.

    Family Skiing

    Families can purchase a locker rental for the day to safely store their belongings while they’re hitting the slopes.

    Shawnee offers night skiing until 9 pm on select days, giving guests the opportunity to stay later and get their money’s worth on the mountain. On other days, the runs close at 5 pm which gives guests plenty of time to make it back home by dinner.

    Off the Slopes

    Shawnee is the closest Pennsylvania ski resort to New York City, so it makes a quaint getaway from people trying to escape the grind for an afternoon. When compared to the neighboring Camelback, the Shawnee ski area is quiet and offers a more low-key environment for visitors to enjoy.

    Due to the smaller size of the resort, there is no lodging available for overnight guests. However, it makes for a great day ski area and guests can explore the whole area within that timeframe.

    What We Love About Shawnee Mountain:

    • The Tomahawk Express lift which cuts down on ride time
    • A relaxed atmosphere which is perfect for young families
    • Slopes perfectly suited to beginners and intermediate level skiers
    • Six lanes of snow tubing, with both single and tandem options

    Shawnee Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:1350 ft / 411.48 metres
    Skiable terrain: 125 acres
    Lifts:9
    Runs:23

    5. Seven Springs

    skiresort5

    If you’re looking for a great all-in-one option, Seven Springs Mountain Resort has you covered. With over 30 trails and 7 terrain parks, there’s truly something for everyone regardless of skill and experience level.

    Fun for Kids

    The resort offers a wide variety of lessons including private and public lessons for adults and children. There are even classes dedicated to managing the ski lift. The programs are intended to take your skills to the next level while on the mountain.

    Family Skiing

    The Main Lodge Hotel offers pet-friendly accommodation for its guests, so you can even bring your furry family member along. At the end of a long and cold day on the mountain, you can head on over to the Trillium spa facility to relax and recharge for the next day.

    Nearly a third of the trails are beginner runs, so members of the family can test out their skills before taking on the more challenging routes.

    Off the Slopes

    With over 285 skiable acres available, there is plenty of room to explore and take on new challenges and adventures. Spend a weekend or a week at Seven Springs and you’ll likely find something new every day.

    Only an hour’s drive away from Pittsburgh, many city residents can make a day trip up to Seven Springs and go home at the end of the day exhausted from fun. Due to the proximity to cities, the resort draws in quite the crowd on holiday weekends.

    What We Love About Seven Springs:

    • The Foggy Goggle bar with axe throwing
    • The Main Lodge Hotel with its spa and fitness facilities
    • Great weekend getaway from Pittsburgh
    • A wide variety of trails that fit a range of skill levels

    Seven Springs Stats

    Summit Elevation:2994 ft / 912.57 metres
    Skiable terrain: 285 acres
    Lifts:14
    Runs:33

    4. Jack Frost Mountain

    skiresort3

    Jack Frost Mountain is a Pennsylvania ski resort nestled into the striking Pocono Mountains — only a few hours away from New York City and one hour outside of Philadelphia. This is a popular resort, especially as they boast of being the first to open and the last to close.

    Fun for Kids

    The Split Rock Resort is the perfect lodge and it’s conveniently located between both mountains. Boasting an indoor waterpark, a bowling alley, and an arcade, the lodge has plenty of activities for people of all ages.

    Snow tubing is offered on the mountain, though it requires a separate ticket. Other activities include night skiing and enjoying the bars and restaurants nearby.

    Family Skiing

    Due to the unique nature and proximity of Jack Frost and Big Boulder, guests get a great value for their ticket price. If you have a mix of age groups in your party, some may choose to go to the more adventurous Big Boulder while the rest of the group stays back at Jack Frost. This can be a major selling point for many groups and families.

    Off the Slopes

    While the ski facilities are only open during the winter, there is year-round fun to be had at Jack Frost. When visitors purchase lift tickets to this park, they also get into Big Boulder, which is affiliated with Jack Frost and is only 5 miles away.

    The resort offers ski and snowboard private lessons taught by experienced instructors. Jack Frost is more geared towards beginners, though there are many options for those with some experience under their belt.

    The resort offers guests the ability to purchase their rental equipment for the day and instead of schlepping your gear to Big Boulder, you can return it and get a new set once you’re there.

    What We Love About Jack Frost Mountain:

    • Free parking at the top of the mountain
    • Several black diamond slopes
    • Purchase one lift ticket to ski two mountains
    • The Split Rock Resort with all of its amenities

    Jack Frost Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:2000 ft / 609.6 metres
    Skiable terrain: 100 acres
    Lifts:9
    Runs:18

    3. Spring Mountain

    spring-mountain
    Photo by Montgomery County Planning Commission licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Spring Mountain ski area has over 45 acres of skiable terrain, making it a full day of fun for families. There is a smaller ski area that is designated for beginners, making it easy to fall down and practice getting back up without being in the way of those with more experience.

    Fun for Kids

    Spring Mountain is geared more towards beginner and intermediate levels but there are a few expert trail options for those who have been skiing for years. There are multiple tubing runs for those with young children who may not be up to taking the slopes quite yet.

    Family Skiing

    The park offers equipment rentals — including helmets, boots, skis, and poles. If you’re not ready to make the investment into your own gear, this makes for a convenient and budget-friendly option.

    Though Spring Mountain offers a small ski area, it’s packed full of snow activities and it’s the perfect place to learn to ski or to enjoy the weekend with family.

    Off the Slopes

    There is a cafe and a pub to enjoy a meal and a drink after hours spent skiing and snowboarding or to just relax before your next round.

    Only 28 miles outside of the city of Philadelphia, it’s a quick trip for many looking to get away for the weekend. If you don’t want to make the long trek to the Poconos, Spring Mountain has you covered.

    The best time to go is in January, as that’s when the most natural snowfall is to be expected. Always check weather conditions before driving to the park, as you’ll have the most up-to-date information on what’s open and running.

    What We Love About Spring Mountain:

    • Family-friendly ski trails
    • Close proximity to Philadelphia
    • Ice skating rink on the property
    • Instruction for all skill levels

    Spring Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:528 ft / 160.93 metres
    Skiable terrain: 45 acres
    Lifts:6
    Runs:9

    2. Blue Mountain

    Blue Mountain Resort has quite a few wonderful amenities to offer to those traveling with their families. They offer a vast array of trails, perfect for any skill and experience level. They also boast of having one of the largest snowmaking systems to be found on the East Coast — so even during years with less snowfall, they’ve got you covered.

    Fun for Kids

    For families with younger children, Blue Mountain offers 46 lanes for snow tubing, with each being over 1,000 feet long. Tubing sessions are sold in blocks of 3 hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to wear the little ones out.

    Family Skiing

    This resort is home to Pennsylvania’s highest vertical, coming in at a whopping 1,082 feet tall. The longest run found at the park is 6,400 feet and offers a worthwhile experience.

    With over 40 ski trails, you’re sure to find something for everybody. There are 14 beginner trails, allowing you to find your rhythm on different terrains before graduating to the intermediate and expert courses.

    If you’re coming to the resort with several years of experience, you may be ready to immediately hop on the expert trails — of which there are 11. Blue Mountain also boasts 5 terrain parks, where skiers and snowboarders alike can practice their trick moves such as twists and flips.

    Off the Slopes

    Blue Mountain Resort has both the Valley and Summit Lodges for skiers to lounge and relax after a long day on the slopes. If you’re looking to go tubing, Valley Lodge will be the best choice for you and your family. Nearby lodging options for guests looking to stay overnight can be booked through Airbnb and local hotels.

    Also found at Valley Lodge are lessons for the whole family, starting at 3 years old. Lessons can be private or in a group setting and are a great way to introduce the sport of skiing to newcomers.

    What We Love About Blue Mountain:

    • Equipment rentals (by day or by an entire season)
    • Lessons starting at 3-years-old
    • Varied terrain for all skill levels

    Blue Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:1600 ft / 487.68 metres
    Skiable terrain: 171 acres
    Lifts:16
    Runs:40

    1. Camelback

    Camel back
    Image courtesy of Camelback Resort

    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.

    Family Skiing

    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

    Camelback Stats

    Summit Elevation:2100 ft / 640.08 metres
    Skiable terrain: 166 acres
    Lifts:16
    Runs:39

    Why Choose Pennsylvania for Skiing

    Pennsylvania offers quite a variety of ski resorts and draws in thousands of visitors every year from surrounding cities and states. Most resorts have lessons for purchase and equipment for rental which makes it easy for beginners to find their way within this popular wintertime activity.

    The resorts above offer children and adults alike the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh mountain air. Whether you’re looking to ski, snowboard, or tube — they’ve got you covered.

    Our pick for the best ski resort in Pennsylvania is Camelback. It’s a popular option year in and year out for guests and many people are anxious to return next season. Our hope is that this list helps you to plan your next winter ski vacation at a resort that best suits you and your family.


    How Did We Order This List?

    To help rank our top selection of ski resorts for this list we compared the following ranking factors:

    👨‍👩‍👦 Ranking Factor📈 Power to affect Rank
    Amount of Beginner Trails (Mi) 4x
    Amount of Skiing Area (Mi) 3x
    Cost of two adult tickets + child ticket1x
    How many magic carpet lifts1x

    We gave each factor its own weighting depending on how important we feel it is for family fun across all ages. For example, a resort with more beginner trails is higher ranked than a resort with a lower-priced family ticket – with all else being equal. That’s because while cost is a factor, it’s not a primary one. We may also use our editorial judgment to remove or add resorts that we believe should make a list.

    When taking all of this into account, it gives us our awesome list above. We hope it was helpful in planning your next family ski vacation.


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    Best Ski Resorts for Families In Pennsylvania

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