Philly offers a lot in the winter. There are the holiday markets, light shows, cozy and dimly lit bars serving hot toddies, and even an ice rink next to City Hall. But, if you travel a bit outside of the city, there’s another version of the season to explore — and it’s packed with ways to enjoy the weather that you just can’t get within city limits. Most can be found in Montgomery County for a day or overnight trip.
Fort Washington State Park
Before headquartering for months at Valley Forge, George Washington had a temporary fort at what’s now called Fort Washington State Park. Visitors can head to its most famous route, the Green Ribbon Trail, for cross-country skiing and hiking. The views of Wissahickon Creek also make this hike one of the more enjoyable treks in the area. The Park also features a 400-foot sledding slope in the Militia Day Use Area, plus a nine-hole disc golf course.
500 S. Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, dcnr.pa.gov
Wings of Freedom State Aviation Museum
While here, visitors can check out three-dimensional history with this aviation museum, maintaining aircraft from World War I all the way up to the War in Afghanistan. Located on a former airbase, the museum offers group tours and welcomes walk-in visitors to view the military medals, ejection seats and helmets.
1155 Easton Road, Horsham, wingsoffreedommuseum.org
Elsewhere: In the town of Ambler, there are a few restaurants to check out while in the Southeastern part of the county. Highlights include grabbing a cup of something warm at Backyard Beans, where all the beans are roasted in-house, and to round off the night, a live comedy show at The Lab, where improv skills make each performance unique. There are also about 18 hotels in the area, with one — Best Western Fort Washington — being only about five minutes from Fort Washington State Park.
Valley Forge State Park
Valley Forge is a well-known site of Washington’s during the Revolutionary War, and it’s most famous for the harsh winter endured by the soldiers by his side. Considered as the place where “Washington and his men grew their strength” visitors can reenact legendary feats on the trails and hills, which offer opportunities for sledding, cross country skiing, and trolley tours with expert guides.
1400 N. Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, nps.gov
Oaks Center Ice
Hockey fans, skaters and those just looking to try something new can lace up at Oaks. The NHL-sized rinks regularly host hockey and ice-skating lessons, and a snack bar along with spectator seating are available for those who like to cheer from the side.
100 Pennco Road, Phoenixville, oakscenterice.com
Valley Forge Casino Resort
Why not find some time to play? The historic casino houses 850 slot machines, plus virtually every table game. Plus there’s food, and ample spots for dinner, with the Revolution Steak House and Valley Tavern being some of the most popular options. The casino also has 442 guest rooms for any overnight trips, but if you want something different, you can also find 16 other hotel options in the area.
1160 1st Ave., King of Prussia, vfcasino.com
Central/ Northwest Montco
Evansburg State Park
Cleverly titled the “countryside that never sleeps,” Evansburg offers year-round camping, hiking, golfing at the 18-hole Skippack Golf Course, and wildlife watching near Skippack Creek. Cross country skiers can also enjoy most trails and should contact the park office for details.
851 Mayhall Road, Collegeville, dcnr.pa.gov
Red Buffalo Ranch
For this adventure, visitors can set out on a guided horseback trek through Evansburg State Park with Red Buffalo Ranch. Trail rides are offered year-round and are tailored to the least experienced rider. Riding lessons and camps are also offered.
1106 Anders Road, Collegeville, redbuffaloranch.com
Accommodations: Evansburg State Park is nestled between the central and northwest regions of Montco, so there are numerous hotel options in either direction for an overnight excursion. The closest place to lay your head would be the Courtyard by Philadelphia Marriott Philadelphia Lansdale, which features two restaurants and an indoor pool.
Green Lane Park
Those who head to Green Lane in the winter can check out ice skating, a sledding hill and cross country skiing trails. What might be the most unique activity however happens at Deep Creek Lake, which provides plenty of sport for ice fishing. Unlike the other state-managed gems on this list, Green Lane is overseen by Montgomery County, whose parks department offers a variety of historical and natural programs throughout the year, a release states.
2144 Snyder Road, Green Lane, montcopa.org
Splitting Edge Axe Throwing and Manatawny Still Works
Axe throwing has become increasingly more popular in the area, and it pairs well to grab a drink after (although Splitting Edge is BYOB) at Manatawny Still Works, both in Pottstown. The latter spot offer tours and tastings both public and private, and a rotating menu of seasonal cocktails.
Accommodations: There are many hotels to choose from in the area, but the The Double Eagle Bed and Breakfast in East Greenville is by far the most popular with with their country-style breakfast and farm views.
For more information on Montgomery County, visit montcopa.org