Winter Wonders in Vernon, NJAs the locals know, Vernon, New Jersey is a true four-season town. Nestled in the northeast corner of Sussex County in the northwestern part of the state, it’s home to 20 miles of the Appalachian Trail and 40 percent preserved open space. Visitors make the most of that open space by hiking, boating, or horseback riding in the warmer months, and apple picking, leaf peeping, and hiking some more in the fall. But with skiing, snow tubing, snowboarding, and ice-skating opportunities, there’s no better time to visit Vernon than the winter!

Winter Sport Heaven

The big ski resort here is Mountain Creek, which offers 167 skiable acres on four mountain peaks. If you’ve got kids 8 years or older, check out the Experience Snowboarding and Go Skiing packages. For younger kids (4–7), there’s a Kids Camp, which includes lift tickets, lessons, and lunch. And every Friday is Family Tubing Night. Minutes away in Stockholm is Skylands Ice World, where public skating and rentals are available daily.

Family Overnights

Minerals Resort and Spa offers family-friendly accommodations, and you can get a Ski & Stay package that includes ski lift tickets and a complimentary shuttle to Mountain Creek. The place also boasts an indoor pool, kids’ crafts every Saturday night, and a kids’ club that includes dinner and planned activities (like bringing in exciting animals—even a baby kangaroo!).

If a bed and breakfast is more your style, there’s Alpine Haus, which is next to Mountain Creek and offers special packages with lift tickets; families with children ages 3 and up (provided they’re reasonably well behaved) are welcome. Glenwood Mill Bed and Breakfast Inn (school-age children and up) is located in a historic 200-year-old grist mill; many of the workings of the mill are still there (plus there’s a waterfall in the backyard that looks awesome when frozen!). And Apple Valley Inn is home to the Candy Apple Shoppe—the perfect destination after a long day of skiing.

Bird’s Eye View

The area is beautiful on the ground, and it’s breathtaking from above. Half-hour airplane and helicopter tours are available for families with children through Eagles Arie. Tickets are pricey ($99/person for an airplane and about twice that for a helicopter; mention New Jersey Family for $10 off a flight), but, hey, they cost less than tickets to Cancun. Reward yourself for staying local!


More by NJ Family's Real Moms of NJ Blogger, Renée Sagiv Riebling: