It’s that time of year when travelers, sports enthusiasts, and many more are starting to crave winter sports. The good thing about winter sports near New York City is that there are a plethora of locations that are accessible by train, so you won’t have to worry about renting a car. We picked our favorite spots and sports that can be reached via a journey on Metro-North, the Long Island Rail Road, or New York City Transit.
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The Metro-North Ski Train is an easy way to get to one of the closest ski slopes from Manhattan, Thunder Ridge Ski Area. Simply board the train from Grand Central and it takes you to Patterson, NY in less than two hours. When you reach Patterson, a free shuttle will be waiting to take you to Thunder Ridge in the morning, and will also be waiting for you at the resort for the journey home in the evening. What makes this deal even better is that your train ticket doubles as an all-day lift pass, and you get discounts on ski or snowboard rentals.
MTA AWAY DEAL Prices: $65 for adults, $55 for seniors or people with disabilities, $55 for children aged 6-12 and $25 for children aged 5 and under.
Designated shuttle bus to and from Patterson station
Sterling Forest State Park or Harriman State Park, Orange County
Snowshoeing is a pretty underrated winter activity that anyone can enjoy, young or old, big or small, you name it. There are a plethora of locations where you can snowshoe around New York State, and two of our favorite locations are accessible via Metro-North. Sterling Forest State Park and Harriman State Park, both of Orange County, can be reached by Metro-North’s Port Jervis line. For Sterling Forest, get off at Harriman station, and you’ll reach the head of Sapphire Trail opposite the station. For Harriman, you can get off at Harriman, of course, but you can also get off at Suffern, Sloatsburg, Tuxedo, Southfields, and Arden as well. All of these stations will give you access to the western trailheads of the park.
Walk or rideshare from Harriman station to either park
Some people know about the joys of ice fishing, but for those of you who don’t, it’s pretty exhilarating. Lucky for fishing enthusiasts, New York State is chock full of places where you can fish year round. One such location accessible by train is Croton Falls Reservoir located in Brewster. Brown trout is one of the main species you can hope to catch, among others. You’ll need a free NYC DEP permit to fish, but that shouldn’t be too big an issue. There are some regulations for freshwater fishing in New York, which you can read here. Metro-North’s Harlem Line provides access to Croton Falls station, which is only a five minute rideshare away from the reservoir. The trip takes less than an hour and half.
Prices: $20.00 one way during peak, $15.00 during off peak.
5 minute rideshare from Croton Falls station
One of the most popular winter sports, ice skating can be found pretty close to home if you live in New York City. Now, if you want something slightly different from your typical ice skating, you could take the 7 train to Mets-Willets Point in Queens and join the Flushing Meadows Speed Skating Club, located at the World Ice Arena. It’s the only speedskating club in the city, so that provides a unique experience you can’t get anywhere else in the Big Apple. If you want something a bit more relaxed, you can check out some of the world-famous rinks that the city has to offer. Rockefeller Center’s rink is a splendid sight during the winter months, and it’s accessible via the B, D, F, M trains. The same lines serve Bryant Park and its rink, which may not be as famous as Rockefeller, but guess what? You can skate for free!
8 minute walk from Mets - Willets Point
3 minute walk from 47-50 Streets - Rockefeller Center
Steps from 42 Street - Bryant Park
You might say “who in their right mind surfs in the winter?,” but you’d be surprised about how popular winter surfing can be. There’s that charm of surfing in frigid waters that you just can’t get in the summer, and a lot of people apparently dig it. Long Beach is a popular surfing destination for New Yorkers, and winter is no exception. Despite the popularity of winter surfing, it doesn’t attract the crowds of the summer, of course, but that just makes a more peaceful, tranquil environment for you to surf in. Winter surfing in Long Beach is definitely something that’s worth a shot, and it’ll provide a set of lifelong memories to go with it. Long Beach is accessible via the Long Island Rail Road, and it takes just about an hour to get there from Penn Station.
6 short blocks from the beach