It's winter, and when you're not hibernating in the cozy indoors, maybe you want to enjoy that cold, brisk air while participating in some outdoor fun? After all, one of the best things about winter in New York is the abundance of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed... and most enjoyable of all: many are accessible by train.
We rounded up some winter sports spots that can be reached via a short journey on Metro-North, the Long Island Rail Road, and even the subway.
Winter Surfing in Long Beach
Did you know that Long Island has a gnarly winter surfing scene? Dude, yes! If you Google, 'winter surfing Long Island,' you'll find loads of options all over Nassau and Suffolk Counties. If you want to catch a wave closer to NYC, look no further than Long Beach, which can be easily accessed via the Long Island Rail Road's Long Beach branch. Under an hour from Penn Station, Long Beach can help remind you that summer is only a few months away with a coastal community vibe and boardwalk only six blocks from the train station. Be advised, there are no lifeguards on duty during the winter, so you'll be surfing at your own risk. If that sounds too dangerous, hang loose on the boardwalk as you watch the more experienced surfers shred the waves.
The beach is 6 short blocks from Long Beach station
Snowshoeing in Harriman State Park
Does the thought of hurtling down a mountain on skis or a snowboard terrify you, but you’d still like to enjoy the quiet calmness of the snow? Snowshoeing might be the winter activity for you. It’s one of the most beginner friendly winter sports around and can be done all over New York.
Harriman State Park, which is located in both Rockland and Orange Counties, can be reached via Metro-North’s Port Jervis line and is home to miles of snowshoeing trails spread across 44,000 acres. Because the park is so large (New York State’s second-largest state park, to be exact!), it can be reached from multiple Metro-North stops, including Tuxedo and Harriman.
Walk or rideshare from Sloatsburg, Tuxedo or Harriman
Ice Fishing in Croton Falls Reservoir
Fishing enthusiasts know that the fishing season doesn’t end when the temperatures drop, you just head out to New York’s frozen lakes and ponds to ice fish instead. The best species to target during the winter are yellow perch, northern pike, walleye, lake trout and brown trout, and you can find some of those in Croton Falls Reservoir. Located in Carmel, you can easily reach the lake via Metro-North’s Brewster station, which is under an hour and thirty minutes from Grand Central Terminal. You’ll need to get a free NYC DEP permit to fish, to read up on some regulations for freshwater fishing and to dress warmly. Other than that, the sport is forgiving to beginners and can be easily learned.
7 minute rideshare from Brewster station
Ice Skating with Flushing Meadows Speed Skating Club
One of the most popular winter sports, ice skating can be found pretty close to home if you live in New York City (check out our guide if you don't believe us!). The cool air on your face as you glide across the ice, the music and lights at the rink, enjoying warm drinks like hot chocolate or cider: it's a feeling that can't be beat! If that sounds too much like a Hallmark Movie for you, there's an alternative! You can take a ride on the 7 or the LIRR to Mets-Willets Point to Flushing Meadows Speed Skating Club, located at the World Ice Arena. It's the only speed skating club in the city, and their 2023-2024 season runs until March 28th, 2024. The Club asks that you have some experience hockey or ice skating, but besides that, beginners are welcome to reach out and attend a few practices before joining.
Flushing Meadows Speed Skating Club is a 13 minute walk from Mets - Willets Point (7), and a 9 minute walk from Mets-Willets Point (LIRR)
Skiing/Snowboarding at Thunder Ridge Ski Area
If you’re looking to ski without getting in the car, you’re in luck! One of the closest ski slopes to NYC, Thunder Ridge Ski Area, also happens to be a shuttle ride away from Metro-North’s Patterson station, and we even have an MTA Away Thunder Ridge package to help you save. Not only do you receive a discount on your lift ticket, you also get a discount on your train ticket on top of a free shuttle that will take you to and from the station to slopes.
Thunder Ridge has 22 trails, 3 ski lifts and 4 “magic carpets,” plus a slope side lodge for your own après ski experience, making it the perfect day trip for the whole family,
Designated shuttle bus to and from Patterson station