The 6 Best LATE Winter Destinations in Western New York

September 27, 2023
Written by
Don Vidler
Niagara falls frozen

Looking for fun things to do in wintertime in Western New York?

If so, then we’ve got you covered.  

In this post, you’re going to learn about some of the best places to visit in western NY in the winter.  

These upstate New York family winter getaways and weekend family getaways in upstate NY have been specifically chosen to provide you and your family with some amazing things to do when the snow starts falling (as it does in our Empire state winters.)  

So let’s get down to business and talk about the best places to go for enjoying the region during the winter snow season!  

A group of people standing on a bridge at the base of icy Niagara Falls

Photo Courtesy of Niagara Falls USA

1. Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls State Park is open 365 days per year.  

If you’ve never seen the Falls during the winter—well, you’re truly missing out.  

They feature activities like guided hikes, plenty of restaurants and stores to visit—plus the Cave of the Winds (yes, it’s really open year-round) that you can tour and explore. Some argue that the Canadian side is better, and we tend to disagree. Sure, there’s the panoramic view of both the Niagara and Horseshoe Falls – and fun and games at Clifton Hill.

But if you want to get up close and personal with the thundering water, you’ll do that on the US Side of Niagara Falls.

This is truly a winter destination that you won’t want to miss out on.  

A ski resort lift going up a snowy mountain and people skiing down

Photo Courtesy of Kissing Bridge

2. Kissing Bridge

Kissing Bridge is perhaps one of the most popular ski destinations in Western New York, and for good reason!  

It features 39 slopes, which are spread out over a vast area of 700 acres.  

The terrain at Kissing Bridge includes some great spots for beginners and intermediate skiers. But don’t worry—there are plenty of ‘advanced’ slopes out there for you daredevils!  

It’s serviced by 9 lifts too—so you can spend more time skiing and less time ‘hiking’ to get back to the top of the slopes.

classic rink east aurora

Photo Courtesy of Classic Rink

3. East Aurora Classic Rink

When it starts getting cold, do you suddenly feel like strapping blades to your feet and gliding on frozen water? Us, too! That's when we pack up our gear and head to Classic Rink in East Aurora.

Throughout the winter months (which in WNY translates to “probably sometime in mid-October,”) Classic Rink has public skates on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and special holidays. With admission just $6 and skate rentals at $4, the whole family can enjoy some classic Western New York ice skating all weekend long!

Classic Rink also has youth hockey programs and adult leagues. Shaky on your skates and don’t want anybody to know? You’re in luck! Classic Rink offers skating lessons for all ages to get you skate-shape in a skip. (That’s a saying, right?)

A person skiing past snow-covered trees

Photo Courtesy of Visit Buffalo Niagara

4. Beaver Meadow Audubon Center

The Beaver Meadow Audubon Center, located in North Java, New York, is a 324-acre nature preserve that’s dotted with glacial kettle ponds, wetlands, a boardwalk trail, meadows, a hawk watch, eight miles of marked walking trails, and an arboretum.  

But what most people don’t know about the Audubon center is that it’s an amazing place to hike in the winter.  

It’s great for cross-country skiing, but it’s also an incredible place to don snowshoes and hit the trails.  

If you enjoy getting out in nature, you can rent snowshoes (that is, if you don’t already have your own) at the Visitor Center and jump right into the action.

Just make sure to dress warm! It gets cold out there.  

people cross country skiing

Photo Courtesy of NY State Parks Blog

5. Knox Farm State Park

No need to travel far for this one. Knox Farm State Park is right next to East Aurora!

This 633-acre state park is the former estate of the renowned Knox family of Buffalo and is now host to all kinds of fun outdoor activities and events throughout the year. In the winter, strap on your showshoes or cross-country skis to take advantage of all the trails Knox has to offer, or just come enjoy the beautiful view.

The winter fun at Knox is for the whole family - including the doggos! At a whopping combined 6 acres, the fully enclosed dog park (broken up into 2 sections for big dogs and one for the little ones) at Knox is one of the biggest in the region, and open from dawn until dusk. Check out their dog park rules page for more details.

A picture containing text, outdoor, snow, signDescription automatically generated

Photo Courtesy of Historical Marker Database

6. Historic Clarence, New York

If you really want to take a trip down memory lane, you’ll love a visit to Erie County’s first official township—Clarence.  

This town dates back to 1808 and is filled with historic charm. There’s an inn in the town that’s 162 years old. There are hiking trails, beautiful roads to explore, gorgeous old houses to look at—and in the winter, you’ll get to experience all of this with the added beauty, charm, and elegance of a true ‘winter wonderland’ glow-up.  

Go antiquing, peruse small local shops, and if you’re one of those people who can’t get enough of the cold, stop in for an ice cream at one of the best local ice cream parlors in around—Antoinette’s Sweets.

You really can’t miss out on this experience if you’re looking for something charming and romantic to do in the winter in Western New York.  

A picture containing text, outdoor, scene, wayDescription automatically generated

Photo Courtesy of YouTube

Bonus: Warm Up By Getting Lost in Vidler’s 5&10

There you have it!

6 of the best winter destinations to visit in Western New York. On your way there or back again, stop in to Vidler’s to defrost your toes, and wander the aisles full of verything you need for a Western New York winter. (In case you’re snowed in, we’re always open at online!)

Feel free to pay us a visit anytime on Main St in East Aurora to experience the nostalgia of one of the largest and oldest five and dime stores still operating much as it did 90 years ago.  

We’re always open to new friends and warm eye-smiles!  

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