Snow is hammering much of the United States this winter, and many feel trapped inside by feet of snow. Instead of staying in and watching Friends reruns, get outdoors and enjoy these nearly-free activities with your family or friends.
- Snowshoeing. If you plan to spend time playing in the snow, the only equipment you’ll need to get is a pair of snowshoes. Choose from running or hiking snowshoes; you can buy a decent pair for around $150. If you’d like to test drive snowshoes or just use them on an occasional basis, renting is the way to go. Rent a pair of snowshoes at REI or local ski shops for $15 to $22.When dressing to snowshoe, put moisture-wicking base layers on bottom with warmer wear on top. Choose items that are easy to layer or remove if you get too hot. If you are visiting a national park in the winter, visit the National Parks Service website to see if your park offers ranger-led snowshoe walks or hikes. These walks are almost always FREE and usually include equipment rental.
- Cross-country skiing. Cross-country skiing is a great activity for families or those who are looking to exercise outdoors without the dangers of downhill skiing. Though it can be tricky to get the hang of initially, cross-country skiing is a blast. Learn for FREE at a Winter Trails Day event, where instruction and equipment are provided for everyone. Many of these events have already happened this year, but mark your calendars for upcoming trail days for this season and next. Rent equipment at local REI stores or ski shops for less than $30 a day. Fees to use groomed cross-country trails are minimal, about $5.
- Tubing. Nothing is more simple and exhilarating than tubing on fresh snow. Get a tube at a local tire store for cheap, or shop for one at Walmart or Costco. Take it to a park for free, but be sure to outfit the family with helmets before sliding.Or shell out a few extra bucks and opt for a premium tubing experience at a tubing park. These venues shuttle you up the hill so you don’t have to walk, and the runs are nicely groomed for a smooth ride. Tubes are provided and usually there are easier lanes for youngsters along with more thrilling options. Rates for these parks start around $15, and deals are frequent on daily deal sites.
- Build a snowman or snow cave. Yes, this winter activity is as old as the hills, but how you do it is what makes it fun. Create a Snowman Building Kit for your family that’s stocked with decorations from around your house: buttons for eyes, old hats, used Halloween costumes and other silly stuff. Your kids will love getting the kit out and creating new creations year after year.Easily create a snow cave by hollowing out the pile of snow left from shoveling your driveway. These only take a few minutes to create, but kids will enjoy them for hours or days.
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