9 of the Best Outdoor Winter Activities and How to Get Started

9 of the Best Outdoor Winter Activities and How to Get Started

With winter comes opportunities and activities that you can’t do any other time of year. Sure, it’s cold, slippy, and it’s not for everyone.

But for most people, there are several winter months where they live and you might even see some snow. So why not embrace the cold, snow and ice, and do some fun activities with friends and family.

Here are some of the most fun, and best outdoor winter activities to do in the winter months, along with some tips around where and how to get involved.

9 of the Best Outdoor Winter Activities and How to Get Started


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Skiing and snow go hand-in-hand. It’s not something you can easily do when some snowfall covers hilly areas near your home, but it’s a popular winter activity at ski resorts and practice slopes.

It’s a lot more physical than it looks, it’s a great form of exercise as well as being fun.

How to get started:

Skiing holidays are really popular, you can get everything all-inclusive so you don’t need to worry about kit, being near the slopes etc, it’s all taken care of.

Check out if you have any dry or indoor slopes near where you live too if you want to get in some practice or see if you enjoy skiing.



Snowboarding is the winter sport of choice for thrill seekers who like to go fast and release some adrenaline racing down the snowy slopes.

It’s a little more expensive to get started with than skiing or skating, but it’s a much different sport and usually appeals to a different set of people.

How to get started:

The best way to get started with snowboarding is to book a group training session with a snowboarding club.

A professional will take you through all the beginner steps, recommend which bits of kit you need, and answer any questions.

Most people are hooked after the first session, likewise, if it’s not for you, you’ll know.

Ice Skating


Ice skating is fun, although it’s not recommended on lakes that frost over. Ice rinks always appear in popular areas when it’s winter. They will have all the kit you need and provide a safe place for you to skate.

How to get started:

One of the great things about ice skating is that you can pick it up as a beginner and get straight on the ice. You’re going to fall a few times, but take it steady and you’ll be fine.

If you’re using a temporary rink you won’t need anything other than some warm clothes. If you start to take skating more seriously you’ll need some skates, there are clubs and groups to join.



Sledding is one of the first activities kids think of when they see snow hitting the floor. It’s just as fun for adults too, and you always have the excuse of needing to ride with toddlers for safety reasons.

How to get started:

All you need is a hill, a sled, and some snow. The rest, like how to steer, sit, etc, you can figure out when you’re sledding down the hill, that’s part of the fun.

Some sleds have a steering cord, some can sit more than one person, some are little more than crude pieces of plastic. You don’t need anything special to have fun racing down a hill.

As with most winter activities put safety first. Start out slowly on a hill that isn’t very steep and make sure there are no obstacles in the way!

Winter Camping


While camping in the summer and hiking across beautiful green countrysides and sitting up watching the sunset is pretty cool, camping in winter presents a whole new experience and is pretty fun too.

How to get started:

Being prepared is always really important when camping, but even more so in the winter. There is nothing fun about shivering with cold overnight, but if you’re well prepared being all snug and warm when it’s cold outside is an awesome feeling.

Make sure you have a good idea of the temperatures you’re going to be camping in and prepare accordingly. Don’t forget it’s just as important to keep hydrated in the cold weather.

Ice Fishing


If you enjoy fishing, don’t let a little ice, snow, and some freezing temperatures put you off. Ice fishing is a whole other technique of fishing that’s just as fun, easy to pick up, especially if you know how to fish, and a fun activity for the whole family.

How to get started:

Make sure you have the proper permits and permission to fish in the spot you choose as you would with any form of fishing.

Fishing rods designed for ice fishing are much shorter than normal rods as you will be standing closer to where you’re casting, but you can use your normal rod if that’s all you have available.

The most important factor with ice fishing is safety. You have to be absolutely sure the ice will not give way beneath you. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have comprehensive safety guidelines here.

Winter Hiking


If you enjoy hiking you probably like pushing yourself a bit further, look forward to changes of scenery, and like to challenge yourself.

Winter hiking ticks all of these boxes. It doesn’t have to be a sunny day to enjoy hiking, winter brings out a scenic beauty and animals that summer doesn’t.

How to get started:

You can either look up hiking routes near you or just go out and explore. If it’s frosty or there is snow on the ground make sure you have footwear with a good grip designed for winter weather and wrap up warm.

You won’t even feel the cold once you’re into your stride. It’s a great way to get some exercise, get out in nature, and enjoy the scenery.

Don’t forget to keep safe. Take a backpack with some food, a hydration bladder to keep hydrated, and your phone in case of emergencies.

Throw a BBQ Party


Just because it’s freezing cold outside it doesn’t mean you can’t throw a BBQ, invite some friends over, and have a good time.

How to get started:

There are a few differences between a winter and summer BBQ. You’ll need to warm up the grill longer than usual, and some foods will take longer to cook. If it’s windy take into account the direction of the wind and move your grill accordingly too.

Keep the lid closed as much as possible too if you have one on your grill to keep that warmth in. With hot food and drink the cold weather will not ruin a good day.

Track Animals


This is an activity particularly interesting for kids. If there has been snowfall you’ll be able to see all kinds of footprints and tracks. You can even leave food out and prepare the night before.

How to get started:

Find somewhere rural and free from people’s footprints and start looking for animal tracks. You’ll find bird prints for sure, might even see some larger prints leading to the animal’s home.

It’s a great way to get out of the house, experience the outdoors, get some exercise, and spend time as a family. A pretty cool winter activity. You can track animal trails any time of year, but it’s a lot easy to see prints in the snow.

Safety Tips When Outdoors in the Winter

It’s always worth covering some safety tips, especially in the winter. Here are some basic safety tips and advice to be aware of:

Dress Appropriately – Even if you’re doing physical activities and think you’ll get too hot, always have more than enough warm clothing with you when you’re outdoors and the temperatures are low.

Avoid Getting Wet – Being wet and outside in freezing temperatures does not mix. You’ll catch a cold, or worse, so wear waterproofs if you’re having snowball fights, and stay off frozen lakes.

Keep in Touch with Friends and Family – Always have your mobile on you and keep in touch with someone. Accident rates increase in poor weather conditions, and being stuck, lost, or needing help can be resolved with a phone call.

Stay off Frozen Lakes – It happens every year, someone assumes the ice is thick enough to hold their weight, but it’s not. The best advice is not to stand on frozen lakes at all, don’t be that person.

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