Visiting Pittsburgh this winter and looking for some fun, creative winter day trip options? From skiing to wine tasting, here are the best winter day trips from Pittsburgh all under a two-hour drive.
I’ve lived near Pittsburgh for most of my life, so I know how precarious the winters can be, especially when it comes to driving. I also know I can get stir crazy and have to get outdoors at least once during the winter. So, I wanted to create fun winter day trip options that have easy drives. Each also has both indoor and outdoor options so you can get out of the cold weather and relax.
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Only an hour southeast of Pittsburgh proper, Laurel Highlands is an outdoor lover’s dream spot. Here are my suggestions when you visit.
Seven Springs Ski Resort – Yes, we all adore Seven Springs for its skiing, snow tubing, and terrain-based learning program. There are also plenty of restaurants to grab a bite to eat, too. It’s an affordable ski option, for sure.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort – you don’t have to be a registered guest to enjoy its on-property amenities: art classes, animal sanctuary, art pieces (walk or drive depending on weather). Also an on-property spa and casino.
Westmoreland Museum of American Art – Located in Greensburg. What I really love is the fact that there’s free admission. It’s also literally a “hands-on” museum – some pieces have gloves to put on so they can touch the art!
Ohiopyle State Park – Pennsylvania’s second largest state park. Hiking and walking opportunities that offer beginner-friendly to advanced trails. Feel free to take your dogs – get them out of the house, too.
Laurel Hill – I was told Laurel Hill is Laurel Highlands’ best kept secret. There’s hiking and walking with a 64-acre lake. Love birding? Grab the binoculars and a PA birding book before you leave the house.
Butler County, PA
Just under an hour north of Pittsburgh, I adore Butler County, PA. It’s smaller cities offer plenty of visitors and residents (I lived there many years ago!).
‘Burgh Bits and Bites Food Tour – On pleasant Saturdays, head to Saxonburg for a two-hour food tasting and historic walking tour. The tour highlights small businesses and eateries, plus you’ll get some cool city history to share. It’s not every Saturday, so please check the official ‘Burgh Bits and Bites calendar for details and pricing.
Moraine State Park – Open daily sunrise to sunset, Moraine State Park is lovely no matter what time of year. But in winter, there’s hiking, walking, birding, and 26 miles of snowmobiling trails.
Butler County Beer Circuit – We love featuring craft breweries and brew trails on the blog, so Butler County Beer Circuit definitely hit my radar. With eight craft breweries, pick up a Passport to Happiness at a participating brew pub or the tourism bureau and, once completed, pick up a cute prize at the Butler County Visitors Bureau in Zelienople (So quaint. Filled with mom and pop shops.). Of course, I don’t recommend hitting all of the stops in one day, so pace yourself, please.
UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex – If you or your family love the Pittsburgh Penguins, heading to their training rink is a must. Plus, you can actually ice skate where the Pens practice! Most Friday nights and Saturdays are public skating. There’s also a fire pit, NHL store, and a cafe.
Just under a two-hour drive from Pittsburgh, Bedford, PA melds American history with quaint mom and pop shops and small businesses. While we’re talking American history in Bedford, it has ties to both George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. Yep!
Bedford Covered Bridges – 14, hundred-year old covered bridges built by hand. Checking out a few (or all) is a beautiful road trip idea or Sunday drive.
Lake Shore Trail – There’s hiking & walking around Shawnee Lake, a 3.5 mile loop in Shawnee State Park. The path is pretty smooth most days (when there’s not a ton of snow), so take the stroller just in case.
Blue Knob All Seasons Resort – The Bedford ski resort has the highest skiable mountain in PA. It also has 34 trails with three lifts. If the kids love tubing and snowboarding, it offers both, too.
Chocolate Walk in Downtown Bedford – The Chocolate Walk is a one-off winter event this year on February 2nd. There will be over 25 participating locations, and you’ll be able to pick up a small treat or experience at each. Advance tickets required, so head to the official Chocolate Walk website for more information on tickets and pricing.
Omni Bedford Springs Resort – One of my favorite PA luxury resorts. It’s historically gorgeous and was called the “Summer White House”. Yep, several U.S. Presidents would summer there. It also has eight, on-property mineral springs can be seen on hikes and walks. I’ve done both and have even taken a vehicle near a couple and walked the rest of the way. This winter, it’s offering a culinary experience: Chef’s Table. On select Friday and Saturday nights, a six course, prix fixe menu with beverage pairings is offered. It’s super popular, so make advance reservations. Lastly, the Bedford Bath Ritual is a must if you like unique spa experiences. It’s eight step process has everything from a mineral deluge to aromatic steam and heated whirlpool to a cool plunge. You’ll feel rejuvenated and relaxed when you hit the lounge afterwards.
Lake Erie Wine Country
Lake Erie Wine Country is right around a two-hour drive, but on good driving days, it’s absolutely worth it. It has 23 wineries in a 50-mile stretch, open year round, and offers plenty of winter wine fun.
Bare the Barrels – Such a fun experience! From Jan 19-21, 2018, it’s a way for the wineries to empty their barrels to get ready for next year. Not only will you get a cool wine-making lesson, there are plenty of discounts and samples.
Wine & Chocolate Weekend – A way to keep the Valentine’s Day decadence going throughout the weekend. Happening from Feb 15-17, there will be wine and food sample pairings offered in at least six wineries. And, of course, there will be plenty of chocolate samples.
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