20+ Lake Erie Winter Activities
Discover more than a dozen ways to beat the seasonal blues and take advantage of the region’s variety of indoor and outdoor activities and entertainment.
As the weather cools, things are heating up around our Great Lake. Here, the only winter blues you’ll experience are breathtaking scenes from the horizon. “The lake itself is beautiful during the winter,” says Melissa O’Connell, owner of Catherine’s Christmas in Geneva, Ohio, highlighting a variety of popular seasonal activities, including snowmobiling and sledding. “A lot of wineries are open, too, and feature some fantastic ice wines.”
Whether you prefer to get adventurous outside or cozy up indoors, we showcase several ways to explore the region and make wonderful winter memories.
Explore the Outdoors
Get a bird’s-eye view of the season at Lake Erie Bluffs, located in Perry Township, Ohio. Part of the Lake Metroparks, this nature preserve features 40-foot-tall beach bluffs, a 50-foot-tall scenic observation tower — an ideal destination to catch a spectacular sunset — and 9,000 feet of shoreline. Be on the lookout for bald eagles and a variety of other wildlife.
Also in Ohio, enjoy a magical walk under the lights at Lake Metroparks Chapin Forest Reservation in Kirtland. A mile of trail is lit from dusk until 11 p.m. at the Hobart Road entrance.
At Two Creeks Conservation Area in Wheatley, Ontario, nature trails abound, offering plenty of opportunities for birding enthusiasts and those yearning for a secluded walk through a winter wonderland. Trails range from a gentle 15-minute trek to rougher, 45-minute loop, making this destination great for outdoor adventure seekers of all ages and skill levels. Nearby, Point Pelee National Park gives visitors glistening panoramic views of Lake Erie as it freezes over and nestles under a blanket of snow. Hikers should opt for the Marsh Boardwalk Trail, a 1-kilometer loop that includes a three-story observation tower.
The wilderness is calling at Erie, Pennsylvania’s Asbury Woods, home to 5 miles of hiking trails sprinkled throughout more than 200 acres of fields, forest and wetlands. This destination embraces the season with winter programming and a beautifully lit boardwalk — an amazing backdrop for an evening stroll. The snow-packed trails also make it a popular destination for cross country skiing and snowshoeing (rentals available).
At Rondeau Provincial Park in Morpeth, Ontario, hikes range from one to four hours, providing plenty of opportunities to spend a day connecting with Canada’s great outdoors and natural habitats. The park also welcomes visitors to participate in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing (if conditions are safe).
In Huron, Ohio, Old Woman Creek is a hidden winter gem. Here, an easy 1.7-mile loop allows visitors to unwind with a variety of wildlife and natural terrain. During the week, visit the nature center to explore interactive exhibits and learn more about our magnificent Lake Erie. Looking for a way to spend the shortest day of the year? Meet up with other nature lovers at Old Woman Creek for a guided hike on Dec. 17.
Want to spend more wintertime on the waterfront? Bundle up and make your way to Jackson Street Pier in Sandusky, Ohio, home to a 4,100-square-foot ice rink. At the Ice at Canalside in Buffalo, round out a day of fun with ice bumper cars, curling or ice biking.
Hit the Slopes
One of New York’s most popular year-round destinations, Holiday Valley in Ellicottville takes full advantage of the Midwest’s plummeting temperatures. Blaze the resort’s 10 meticulously maintained trails, slide down the slope on a tube, take a thrilling ride along the Mountain Coaster, discover a hidden kids’ fort or get your children comfortable on the slopes with their first ski or snowboarding lesson. For those who prefer the warmth of the indoors, opt for a visit to Ellicottville Oasis Day Spa for a mani/pedi or massage before heading to Ellicottville Brewing Co. for a pint of local brew and elevated pub grub.
This year, Boler Mountain in London celebrates its 75th anniversary as Southwest Ontario’s most dynamic destination for outdoor adventures. The resort’s 17 trails offer many opportunities for seasoned skiers and snowboarders to test their skills, with six black diamond options. At the tube park, three runs reach 10 stories high, allowing tubers to hit speeds of nearly 70 kilometers per hour.
Mark the calendar for Dec. 9, and head to Clymer, New York, for Peek’n Peak Resort’s opening day. Here, 25 trails and four terrain parks are groomed to perfection. Spend several days mastering the slopes before heading to Serenity Spa to relax your muscles and unwind before heading home. At night, don’t miss Lunar Lights, a light show that includes thousands of LED lights and a DJ on select dates.
Escape the Cold
Head to the second largest theater district in the country in Cleveland to take in a Broadway show at Playhouse Square. From Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Christmas Carol to The Nutcracker and Hamilton, you'll find fresh takes on your favorite holiday classics.
At Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, theater goers of all ages will appreciate the variety of performances available, from All is Calm and Swan Lake to Baby Shark Live! The Christmas Show and Elf the Musical.
Meanwhile, at Palace Theatre, a community theater in London, Ontario, don’t miss Rodgers Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Roaring Girl or Disney’s Frozen Jr.
Searching for summertime vibes? Book a stay at one of the region’s many indoor waterparks, including Splash Universe (Dundee, Michigan), Adventure Bay Family Water Park (Windsor, Ontario), Great Wolf Lodge Water Park or Kalahari Resorts & Conventions (Sandusky, Ohio), Splash Lagoon (Erie, Pennsylvania) and Fallsview Indoor Waterpark (Niagara Falls, Ontario).
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