Add a dash of adrenaline to your holiday with an afternoon of snow tubing. You don’t have to leave the District to go sledding; the National Zoo offers a fun, affordable snow-less option for city dwellers. But if you’re willing to put some miles on the ol’ SUV, you can slip and slide in the real-deal fluffy stuff at these resorts near the DMV.
photo: Gaylord National
Gaylord National Resort
You don’t have to travel far to get your tubing on. The Gaylord at National Harbor offers indoor tubing, so you can enjoy sledding in any winter. The Reindeer Rush tubing hill is coated in ice for an extra-speedy experience. Expect to twist, turn and jet down these 2-story runs. There are four-lanes, so you can race your family members. Children under 3 are free,.but you must be 42′ to ride (this hill only allows solo riders). If your little one needs assistance, check out the Ice! exhibit where oversized sled ramps are made completely out of frozen water. The small kiddie hill is perfect for kids 5 and under (and yes, you can accompany them in this lane). You won’t need a tube for this experience; the loaner blue parkas double as sleds.
201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD
ZooTubes at Smithsonian’s National Zoo
You don’t have to wait for snowfall to go sledding. Right in the heart of the city, the National Zoo offers a snowless tubing experience. For $3.50, riders can zip down a 150-foot hill. Guests can purchase a 10-punch card for $25 (a $35 value). The ZooTube is located near the Lion Hill. ZooLights, which coincides with this experience, is free and runs now through Jan. 1.
3001 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC
photo: Cooper Le via Unsplash
Liberty Mountain Resort
Liberty Mountain is one of the closest slopes to D.C., and the lodge provides shuttle buses straight from the parking lot to the tube track so you don’t have to waste energy trekking to the mountain. The Boulder Ridge Tubing area has 15 lanes available for visitors to shoot down. Translation? Long lines are non-existent. And if you’re lucky, you and the fam will have a slide all to yourselves! Younger families can head over to the Pebble Ridge Kiddie Tubing area where minis ages 2-4 can enjoy unlimited rides for $9.
78 Country Club Trail, Carroll Valley, PA
Looking to head south of the district to get your tube on? Massanutten Resort is Virginia’s first snow tubing park and, with their 900 foot hill (that’s not a typo), they are one of the most popular tubing destinations in the area. So popular, in fact, that it’s been known to sell out on weekends and holidays. Your best bet is to go during the week and make a full day of it. The resort also offers zip lining and ice skating.
1822 Resort Dr., McGaheysville, VA
Located just over the border in Pennsylvania, Whitetail Resort is a great place for first time snow tubing adventures. Families with children over five-years-old can make the runs down the hill together, and for those with littler tubers, Whitetail’s kiddie section is smaller and less scary than the big hill. Unlimited kiddie tubing can be purchased for $8. Sessions are sold in two hour time slots: midweek mountain tubing costs $25/person and weekends cost $32/person. If you go Tues.-Thurs., you can score unlimited tubing for $25.
13805 Blairs Valley Rd., Mercersburg, PA
Just a two hour drive from downtown DC can have you and your family on the Bryce Resort tubing track for some fast paced fun. Tubers over 4-years-old can explore the bunny slopes for $21, Wednesday thru Friday, and $28 on weekends. Fun fact: Bryce lets kids over 8 hit the tubing track alone, while mom and dad catch some quality time by the fire at the resorts Copper Kettle or the Fireside Grill restaurants.
1982 Fairway Dr., Basye, VA
photo: Pocono Mountains
Worth-the-Drive: Blue Mountain Resort
If you’re looking for a change of scenery, head to the PA for winter thrills. There are over 10 resorts to tube (and ski) in the Pocono Mountains. and Blue Mountain offers the fastest and longest lanes in the region—and the state! This resort has 34 lanes, so you never have to wait long for another run. And 3 running lifts means you spend more time sledding than toting that airtube back up the hill (and with over 1,000 feet of sledding, you’re not going to want to walk). Off-peak times cost $25/person. Otherwise, order your tickets online for $25 (a savings of $5/ticket). Stay at near-by Woodloch Resort and snow tubing—while not as “extreme” as the Blue Mountain experience—is complimentary with your stay.
1660 Blue Mountain Dr., Palmerton, PA
—Meghan Yudes Meyers, Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Amanda Rodriguez