Finding a place with snow in Atlanta is not easy, but it’s not impossible. Snow Atlanta-style is a bit different than real snow, but perfect for southerners who don’t get to see the real stuff often.
OK, yes, we remember those few years that Atlanta transformed into a winter wonderland…but those are rare and short-lived.
If you are thinking, “But I want to find REAL snow near me!” — part of the beauty of living in Atlanta is we are within driving distance to many great ski resorts in North Carolina and Tennessee (and even one in Alabama). Your family can still find winter adventures to enjoy snow and skiing near Atlanta!
Here’s our family fun guide on where to see snow and go skiing in Atlanta (or nearby).
FIND REAL SNOW NEAR ATLANTA AT BEECH MOUNTAIN
Whether you have young kids who have never seen snow, or older kids wanting to return to the slopes, the ski resort town of Beech Mountain, North Carolina is one of our favorite winter escapes within driving distance of Atlanta.
Beech Mountain in a nutshell. This small town, nestled against the slopes of the Beech Mountain Resort, is an ideal place for a family snow-cation. The town, at an elevation of 5,506 feet, has a free youth sledding hill open all winter, which my kids LOVED. The resort also offers skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, and various learn-to-ski programs for all ages of children. (Don’t worry! They have adult programs too.)
Ski, Skate and Tube at Beech Mountain. Beech Mountain has lift tickets options for a half day, full day, and night skiing. If you decide a half-day on the slopes is enough, or want to take a break, skating and tubing session tickets are available separately from lift tickets and are good for two hours. So if you’d like to experience tubing, skating, or just the various shops in the village without ever buying a lift ticket and hitting the slopes — it’s totally doable, no skiing required.
INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE ATLANTA PERIMETER
SNOW MOUNTAIN IN STONE MOUNTAIN PARK
Note: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the desire to maintain social distancing, Stone Mountain Park’s Snow Mountain has been canceled again for the 2021-2022 season.
Snow Mountain is an affordable and great option for families in the Atlanta metro area to enjoy winter family fun in the snow without the hassle of driving for hours.
Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park is the best place to find snow in Atlanta. Snow Mountain has tube runs, sledding hills for the little ones at Avalanche Alley, a snow play area, snow man center and more.
WINTER WONDERLAND AT LAKE LANIER ISLANDS
Play in the snow all day and then take in the beautiful Lakeside Lights Spectacular at night with an All-Access Pass at Lake Lanier Islands!
License to Chill at Snow Island has snow tubing, ice skating, carnival rides, an area for making snow angels and playing in the snow, and after all that — you can make s’mores and sip hot cocoa.
Daily passes and season passes are available.
SNOWIN’ AT THE STATION
After ice skating, there is still a lot of holiday fun to be had within the Atlantic Station complex…including snow!
Set to the soundtrack provided by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Station has integrated their holiday tree lights, cafe lights surrounding Atlantic Green, all-new custom jumbotron animated video, and SNOW (!) shows into one spectacular celebration that occurs every hour from 5-9 p.m. Monday – Sunday this holiday season. This is all part of their free Celebration at the Station event.
Atlantic Station is also hosting a drive-thru lights experience this year — the Atlanta Festival of Lights.
NORTH CAROLINA SKI AND TUBING RESORTS
If you can’t find snow in Atlanta, the next best thing is to head north to the mountains of North Carolina. North Carolina ski resorts have snow making capabilities, so you are guaranteed to see some of the white stuff, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
SCALY MOUNTAIN OUTDOOR CENTER
No experience needed to fly down Scaly Mountain’s snow tubing lanes. And a “magic carpet” will even take you back to the top, so you can do it again and again. Your kids must be at least 42 inches tall and at least 4 years old to tube the big hill, but they also have a kiddie slope for little ones.
This resort is only 15 minutes from Dillard, GA, so it makes for a great weekend getaway or even a day trip! (They have ice skating too!)
HAWKSNEST SNOW TUBING IN SEVEN DEVILS, NC
With 30 lanes of snow tubing, Hawksnest is recognized for having the largest Snow Tubing Park on the East Coast! This place is all about the snow tubing!
The lanes here are 400-1,000 feet long and have three moving carpet lifts to bring you back to the top.
And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, they have snow-making capabilities, so you and your fellow winter adventurers are guaranteed to see the white stuff! Ages 3+.
APPALACHIAN SKI IN BLOWING ROCK, NC
Appalachian Ski is a great ski resort for a beginner or a family.
With 10 slopes, 3 terrain parks and a panoramic outdoor ice arena, there is an adventure waiting for every member of the family.
The Appalachian Ski school is the only ski resort in the Southeast region to be an official Burton Learn To Ride Center. They have ice skating here too!
THANK YOU to Stuffed Suitcase for the Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List!
CATALOOCHEE IN MAGGIE VALLEY, NC
The Cataloochee Ski resort is located in the Great Smoky Mountains, which makes it very convenient to visit from Atlanta.
With a variety of terrain for beginner skiers and experts alike, the Cataloochee experience offers something for everyone.
Multiple snow tube runs are available at Tube World — just down the street from the ski resort. ACCOMMODATIONS HERE!
SAPPHIRE VALLEY IN SAPPHIRE, NC
The Sapphire Valley Ski Resort is the closest ski resort to the Atlanta metro area — only 2.5 hours away! It’s so close that it’s almost like finding snow in Atlanta, plus it provides families with a chance to experience skiing.
SUGAR MOUNTAIN IN SUGAR MOUNTAIN, NC
The largest ski area in North Carolina is a favorite ski resort for many experienced skiers who can’t fly out West or go up North. Sugar Mountain Ski Resort has all the winter activities!
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, they’e got an outdoor ice skating rink and snow tubing, too. This resort offers a variety of winter fun for the whole family. ACCOMMODATIONS HERE!
WOLF RIDGE SKI RESORT IN MARS HILL, NC
The new and improved Wolf Ridge Ski Resort has gone through a major renovation and added 15 additional acres of ski terrain, a new Quad Lift and a new Terrain Park. That 15 additional acres takes Wolf Ridge Ski Resort to 82 total acres of terrain on which to ski! They also have snow tubing, and offer skiing lessons.
It’s conveniently located just 5 miles off I-26, making it a great option for families looking for a great winter destination near Atlanta. ACCOMMODATIONS HERE!
ALABAMA AND TENNESSEE SKI RESORTS
Still no snow in Atlanta? Here are a few other neighboring states with snow capabilities
OBER GATLINBURG IN GATLINBURG, TN
A trip here makes a perfect long weekend or even a week-long family trip. With so many things to do in Gatlinburg, even the family member who is not fond of snow and skiing will surly find other fun things to do. ACCOMMODATIONS HERE!
CLOUDMONT SKI RESORT, LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, AL
Note: No info has yet been released about their 2021 plans. Check their Facebook page for updates.
About an hour and a half from Birmingham is a small Southern town called Mentone. The elevation of the mountain is 1,800 feet, so it can be a bit colder there than down in the valley.
However, Cloudmont Ski Resort doesn’t wait for Mother Nature. The resort has advanced snow-making equipment. As long as the temperature gets below 28, there is snow for skiing or just playing around. ACCOMMODATIONS HERE!
SNOW ATLANTA STYLE: NEIGHBORHOOD SLEDDING HILLS IN ATLANTA
So it may not happen often, but it does snow in Atlanta from time-to-time. At least every other year or so we get enough snow in Atlanta to bring out the sleds, hit the hills, and play in the snow.
Here are our favorite neighborhood sledding hills. I’d love to make this an awesome list of “where to go sledding near me” that can be pulled out when we get some good snow in Atlanta worthy of sledding. So tell me where your neighbors go to sled when it snows in Atlanta and we’ll add it to the list.
Bobby Jones Golf Course, Buckhead. As long as the ground is covered with white, you’ll find neighbors all over Bobby Jones Golf Course off Howell Mill Road in Buckhead. (Note: The golf course was redesigned in 2018, so jury is out if you’ll still be able to sled here.)
Piedmont Park, Midtown. The hill in front of the Park Tavern is a great spot for sledding. Bonus: You can get some hot chocolate at the Park Tavern.
Here are more places from our readers. Know others? Tell us and we’ll add them.
- Chastain Park, Intown.
- Cross Creek Golf Course, Buckhead.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT SLEDDING AND SNOW ATLANTA-STYLE
When you see the snow – GO! When you see snow in Atlanta, you have to take advantage of it right away. Don’t wait for it to warm up before going out to play or it may be all gone. Whatever you are doing can wait – play now.
Keep a Plastic Sled in Reserve. Snow in Atlanta is never deep enough for a runner sled or a heavy toboggan. Your best bet is a plastic sled or toboggan Go ahead and get one before the snow hits. By the time you find an Ace Hardware that still has the sleds, the snow will be gone. Plan ahead and keep at least one in reserve.
Make a snow cone. While it’s still fresh, put a little snow in a cup and add some Kool-Aid or other Sweet Syrup for a winter treat. This probably goes without saying, but since Georgia kids rarely see the white stuff, they may not realize what their Northern counterparts have just known since birth — don’t eat the yellow snow! Yellow Snow = Yuck.
Snow Gear. You don’t need full-on ski apparel, but it does help to have some water proof boots – rain boots with heavy socks (or just a couple pairs of regular socks) works too – you just want to make sure they are waterproof. Gloves or mittens are a necessity too. We may not see snow in Atlanta often, but when we do, it’s cold (for us anyway) and you don’t want to miss the chance to pack the perfect snow ball.
Stay Close to Home. Atlantans are notoriously bad drivers on a good sunny summer day. When we have snow in Atlanta with black ice, they completely lose it. Best to avoid the roadways all together – and head out to the sledding hill or make a snowman in the front yard.
Run to the Grocery. Don’t think you’re above fighting your neighbor for the last loaf of bread or the last gallon of milk. It doesn’t snow often but when it does, the snow and ice can keep you indoors for days. The only thing worse than getting snowed in is getting snowed in without enough food. (Don’t forget the drinks!)
MORE WINTER FUN:
- OBER GATLINBURG: Ober Gatlinburg, Winter Magic & Gatlinburg’s Best Winter Excitement
- ATLANTA WINTER: 51+ Super Fun Things To Do In Winter Your Kids Will Love
- SKI RESORTS: Top Ski Resorts Every Atlanta Family Should Visit
- NC SKI RESORTS: 6 Best North Carolina Ski Resorts
- OUTDOOR GAMES: 53 Outdoor Games Your Kids Will Love During Any Season
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