Fun Outdoor Winter Activities


Two people snowshoeing

With many of our SCHEELS locations in the upper Midwest, we frequently get asked the question: what are some fun things to do in the winter? To help you avoid hearing the phrase, “I’m bored” over holiday break this year, check out our list of favorite outdoor winter activities the whole family can enjoy!

1. Sledding

kids sledding down a hill

One of the most popular outdoor winter activities for kids and adults is sledding. From saucer sleds to snow tubes and toboggans, sledding down a snowy hill is a fun and inexpensive way to spend the afternoon with your kids. Plus, climbing up the hill is a perfect way to get all their energy out before settling down with hot cocoa and a movie in the evening.

2. Ice Skating & Hockey

people playing hockey outdoors

Whether you prefer a leisurely cruise around the rink or a competitive game of hockey, ice skating is a fun thing to do in the winter for kids and adults. Many towns have both indoor and outdoor ice rinks depending on the weather conditions. If you’re new to ice skating, you can choose between wearing figure skates or hockey skates. The main difference between figure skates and hockey skates is the shape of the blade. Figure skates have a straighter blade to help with balance, while hockey skates have a curved blade for speed.

3. Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing

people snowshoeing in the woods

If you’re looking for an outdoor winter activity that’s easy on your joints, try classic cross-country skiing or snowshoeing! These low-impact winter activities are a perfect way to hit the trails and enjoy nature while still getting in a good workout. Whether you choose to go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, you’ll be able to spend quality time with your friends and family members. Before you go on your first outing, make sure to check out our snowshoeing for beginners tips and cross-country skiing for beginners tips on all the basics you need to know.

4. Ice Fishing

A dad and son out ice fishing

If your kids enjoy fishing off the dock during the summer months, they may enjoy a fun afternoon ice fishing. Before heading out, visit your local SCHEELS to spend time picking up some basic ice fishing essentials like an ice rod and reel combo, bait and jigs, an ice auger, and ice line. It wouldn't be a bad idea to pack plenty of yummy snacks and warm drinks too!

5. Backyard Bash

kids building a snowman

If you’re needing a few hours to keep the kids entertained, plan a fun backyard bash winter style. Kids love building snowmen and making snow angels as well as having epic snowball fights. You can even get a campfire going to make some s'mores and drink hot chocolate. Another fun thing to do in the winter is building a cool fort within the side of a snowbank! Check out our snow toys to make your winter backyard bash even more fun!

6. Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding

skiers and snowboarders on a ski lift

If you’re looking for a fast-paced outdoor activity to beat the winter blues, find the nearest slopes and try downhill skiing or snowboarding. Whether your family prefers downhill skiing or snowboarding, taking a car ride to a nearby ski resort is a great way to spend some quality time together and enjoy the thrill of riding down the mountain or slopes. 

With the right skiing or snowboarding gear, the whole family can enjoy this adventurous winter activity. If you’re just starting out and need some guidance as to what gear to invest in, check out our how to choose downhill skis or how to choose a snowboard guides.

7. Snowmobiling

people walking towards a snowmobile

Snowmobiling through the woods and trails is a fun way to spend a winter day. Whether you have your own, borrow from a friend, or rent from a nearby resort, you’ll still need to dress appropriately to have the most fun and stay safe. Before heading out, make sure you have a quality snowmobile jacket and snow pants as well as a well-fitting helmet and goggles.

With these fun outdoor winter activities, you’ll be able to keep your kids entertained throughout holiday break and beyond. If you have additional questions about other outdoor winter activities to try, reach out to your nearest SCHEELS to speak with an expert today!