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 adventurers in which to enjoy snow and skiing near Atlanta with our family fun guide to where to see snow and go skiing in Atlanta.
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 Nutsell. This small town, nestled against the slopes of Beech Mountain Resort, is an ideal place for a family snowcation. The town, at an elevation of 5,506 feet, has a free youth sledding hill open all winter which my kids LOVED, while the resort 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 ticket 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 sessions tickets are available separately from lift tickets and last two hours. So if you’d like 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.
Lodging at Beech Mountain. The town offers a broad range of lodging to fit most needs and budgets, while special lodging packages and deals, beginning at $119 for two nights, and are available throughout winter. Read our post on Beech Mountain for some inside scoop on a few different lodging options.
Inside and Outside the Atlanta Perimeter
An affordable and great option for families in Atlanta metro area to enjoy winter family fun in 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. DISCOUNT TICKETS HERE.
In addition to your Magical Night of Lights admission, you can visit Snow Island’s carnival area. Walking around is free, but if you want to go on any rides, you must purchase tickets. Each activity has a different number of tickets. Add on a snow tubing pass, or if all this confuses you (as it does me) then just purchase an all access pass which gets you on the snow tubing hill, ice skating and all the carnival rides.
Snowin’ in the Station
After skating, or just watching, there is a lot of holiday fun within the Atlantic Station complex. See the lights, visit the Christkindl German Market, or get a bite at one of the 17 Atlantic Station restaurants. My favorite is the nightly snow shows, because who wouldn’t be excited to see snow in Georgia? Santa’s Cottage, ATL Christkindl Market, and the Snow Shows, will be located in the NE-corner of Atlantic Station this year.
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 in North Carolina
With 20 lanes of snow tubing, Hawknest is recognized for having the largest Snow Tubing Park on the East Coast. Families who are not into skiing or snowboarding can skip the long line and crowd to enjoy a fun day of snow tubing here.
This is a great ski resort for the 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. And the Appalachian Ski school is the only ski resort in the Southeast region to be an official Burton Learn To Ride Center. Go with friends and find vacation rentals to save on lodging!
This North Carolina ski resort has a true ski resort feel with a ski village which includes the View Haus Cafeteria, Ski Rental Shop, and more! Apart from ski and snowboard fun, families can also enjoy snow tubing and ice skating. Beyond the ski resort, the town of Beech Mountain also has a free sledding hill.
The Cataloochee Ski resort is located in the Great Smokies Mountain which makes it very convenient to visit from Atlanta. With a variety of terrain for beginners to experts alike, the Cataloochee experience offers something for everyone. Multiple tube runs are available at Tube World too. ACCOMMODATIONS HERE
The closest ski resort to the Atlanta metro area is just two and a half hours. It’s so close that it’s almost like finding snow in Atlanta, plus it provides families with a chance to experience skiing. This is a bigger resort with skiing and snow boarding. Be sure to check out the Frozen Falls Tube Park as there are no age restrictions. ACCOMMODATIONS HERE
Sugar Mountain in Sapphire, 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. With other fun snow activities like an outdoor ice skating rink and snow tubing, 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 with 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 ride! 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
The only ski resort in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg, is located in a popular family friendly destination in Gatlinburg. It makes a perfect long weekend or even a week-long family trip. With 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
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 is our favorite neighborhood sledding hill. 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 is being redesigned in 2017-18, 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.
More places from our readers. Know others, tell us and we’ll add them.
Chastain Park, Intown.
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 appeal, but it does help to have some water proof boots – rain boots with heavy socks (or just a couple pairs of 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 notorious 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!)
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After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.