Winter Adventure Day Trips Near Virginia, DC and Maryland

Winter cabins, cross country skiing, snow tubing, ice skating and holiday light tours are all a short drive away.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink Photo Credit: Washington Harbour
Washington Harbour Ice Rink Photo Credit: Washington Harbour

Written by Karen Graham

Bundle up and hit the road. These local winter wonderlands are full of adventure—and are less than a tank of gas away.

Savage River Lodge

1600 Mt Aetna Rd.

Frostburg, MD 21532 


Why Go? This 35-acre rustic retreat is located in the middle of 750 acres of state forest, but with all the amenities of a five-star resort. Enjoy outdoor activities such as cross country skiing, hiking trails, snowshoeing, snow sleigh rides, and more. For relaxation, there are spa services.

Insider Tip: "You don't have to stay with us to have access to our trails and services. It is only $5 to come and use our trails and we can also provide rentals and lessons," said general manager Emily Newman-Edwards.

Must Do: After a day of outdoor activities, enjoy a glass of wine by the stone fireplace in the lodge. 

The Fine Print: It's about a two hour drive from Washington, D.C. The Lodge is pet friendly.

Meadowlark's Winter Walk of Lights

9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct.

Vienna, VA 22182


Why Go? Now open for its second year, it's a magical place to walk at night. On the half mile walk through the botanical garden, visitors will see displays with a total of half a million lights. There is a lakeside show set to music, a two- story animated fountain, gingerbread house display and much more.

Insider Tip: To save money, visit during the week and buy your tickets online. "Weeknights are a lot less busy and more laid back," said Elise Pittrizzi, recreation program specialist at Meadowlark.

Must Do: At the end of the trail, there are concessions for sale, such as hot chocolate and a s'mores kit for roasting marshmallows by the bonfire. 

The Fine Print: Open until Jan. 5; hours are from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $8 for kids and $13 for adults Thurs. to Sun. and $6 for kids and $12 for adults Mon. to Wed.


Whitetail Ski Resort

13805 Blairs Valley Rd.

Mercersburg, PA  


Why Go? Just 90 minutes from the DC-area, Whitetail is a year-round destination for outdoor activities, but is particularly popular in the winter for skiing and snow tubing.

Insider Tip: If you have never skied before, start with snow tubing. "It is a nice trip for families and other youth groups," said Katrina Gayman, director of marketing and sales. "We also have fundraising opportunities where groups can get a percentage of the sales from their trip."

Must Do: Snow tubing is similar to sledding, so wear warm clothing that's water- repellant, along with gloves, hat and boots.

The Fine Print: Lifts operate daily are from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Washington Harbour Ice Skating Rink

Washington D.C.

Why Go? Now in its second year of operation, it's DC's largest outdoor skating rink. Located in the middle of Georgetown, the rink has the Potomac River as a backdrop. 

Insider Tip: "This is a great spot to book a unique birthday party or other family gathering. Rates start at $150 and provides skate rental and admission for 10 people, a party table, and host," general manager Dan Wuchenich said.

Must Do: Enjoy special skate sessions on Saturdays from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. with cartoon characters out on the rink. College students can skate Thursday nights from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. and save $2 on admission.

The Fine Print: Skating is open now through March. Adults $10, Children $8. Skate rental $5. Mon. - Thurs. 12 - 9 p.m., Fri. 12 - 10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 


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