6 Great Winter Activities in New Jersey for Retirees


New Jersey winter weather can certainly be unpredictable. In 2017, there were 17 winter storms with North Jersey having the highest total snow total, at 37.5 inches. In the 2013-2014 season, snow totals were much higher at 53.4 inches. Usually, the coldest months are December, January, and February, but it has been known to snow in October and April. On the other hand, 2017 boasted NJ’s warmest February on record, averaging around 40 degrees.

Why all the statistics? We are just letting you know that even the most carefully planned adventures are subject to the wills of Mother Nature. That being said, the Garden State has plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for active adults to enjoy during the long winter months. Here is a sampling.

Hit the Slopes

Just minutes from the New York state border, Mountain Creek Ski Resort offers 167 acres of day and nighttime skiing. There are expert paths as well as terrain parks for intermediate to advanced skiers. Ski lessons are also available for newcomers. For those who don’t enjoy skiing, snow tubing requires less equipment and can be much easier.

Non-skiers and non-snow tubers can relax at The Appalachian, a rustic resort nestled at the base of the mountain. Its units have kitchens and fireplaces, while guests can spend time at its heated outdoor pool, relaxing hot tub, and a fitness center. Mountain Creek also offers a nice variety of dining options, including the gourmet Shuss restaurant and other eateries. Libations and entertainment included.

Visit New Brunswick

Home to Rutgers University, downtown New Brunswick is a hub for culture and dining, you may even see a few college students roaming around. It has several theaters, including the nationally recognized George Street Playhouse and the State Theatre. The Mason Gross Performing Arts Center on Rutgers’ Douglass Campus puts on over 500 shows a year, including festivals, student performances, and recitals. Also located at Rutgers, the Zimmerli Art Museum features 60,000 works of American, French, and Russian art, plus Japanese, Greek, and Roman pieces.

There are many options for expensive and cheap dining since this is, after all, a college town. If you’re feeling trendy, stop at Veganized an organic vegan restaurant with hot delicacies like raw beet ravioli, lentil mushroom burgers, and grilled seitan skewers. Traditional pub fare can be found all over town at eateries like Old Man Rafferty’s, while foodies can check out The Frog and The Peach.

Go Ice Fishing

Yes, you can do this in New Jersey, weather permitting. Hopatcong State Park in Landing has two lakes that are suitable for ice fishing: Lake Hopatcong and Lake Musconetcong. Fishing fans can catch pickerel and perch during the winter months. They even have ice fishing classes, although they are on a waitlist at this point. Wawayanda Lake in Hewitt offers trout, landlocked salmon and other species; Spruce Run Reservoir in Clinton and Assunpink Lake in Allentown are also well stocked.

Visit An Outdoor Museum

The Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton is a 42-acre park that showcases well over 250 works of art. Founder J. Seward Johnson opened the park, located on the site of NJ’s former state fairgrounds, to the public in 1992. Visitors can stroll along the grounds and see incredible, contemporary sculptures of all sizes that are artfully placed for their viewing pleasure.

Pieces by artists including Clement Meadmore, Kiki Smith, and George Segal are highlighted. There are four dining options available, including the legendary Rat’s, a gourmet French restaurant that even offers cooking classes (another great winter activity). Admission ticket prices are discounted during the winter; group tours, special events, and memberships are also featured.

Spend the Day at Duke Farms

Duke Farms in Hillsborough consists of 2,000 acres of farmland, woods, manmade lakes, roads, and buildings that was developed by the Duke family. It was opened to the public in 2012, and outdoor lovers visit it year round. There are miles of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, you can also be on the lookout for ice formations on the property’s waterfalls.

There needs to be around four inches of snow for the winter sports and guests will need to bring their own equipment. Duke Farms is also an excellent place to observe wildlife, so also plan to bring your camera.

Roll the Dice on Atlantic City

Yet another city that never sleeps. With nine world-class casinos, exciting nightlife, unbelievable restaurants, major concerts, and shopping venues, Atlantic City is one of the East Coast’s major resort destinations. The newest casinos, The Hard Rock and the Ocean Resort, both opened in 2018. Along with their competitors, they have plush accommodations, VIP programs, and plenty of gaming entertainment.

Active adults who enjoy the games and machines also appreciate the concerts, conventions, and festivals that take place year-round at these casinos and at Boardwalk Hall and other area venues. Upscale casino resorts like Borgata offer some of the city’s finest spas, plus incredible dining experiences at restaurants like the famous Old Homestead Steakhouse and the modern Japanese eatery Izakaya. Strolling down the boardwalk and hitting the beaches may not be doable in the cold weather, but the perk of discounted winter hotel rates kinda makes up for that.

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