The Charlottesville area’s claim to fame as one of the most beautiful regions of the country is clearly evident this time of year. From the great white blanket of snow on the slopes of Central Virginia’s popular ski resorts to the glistening trees of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Charlottesville area in winter beckons you to get outdoors and enjoy its frosty beauty. 

A crisp, winter visit is a fabulous way to experience the Shenandoah National Park. As the leaves fall from the trees and cooler temperatures improve visibility, the vistas and valleys of the Shenandoah National Park become more spectacular than ever. A leisurely car trip along Skyline Drive to view the icicle-laden trees and stunning mountain views or a brisk hike on a woodland trail in the Shenandoah National Park offer many chances to discover the natural wonderland at our back door. The bare trees of winter make wildlife tracking and viewing particularly rewarding, as you’ll have a better chance of seeing woodland animals like deer, foxes and turkeys as they forage for food. Listen and look for Shenandoah’s winter bird life, as well. Chickadees, nuthatches and a host of woodpeckers will be searching for seeds and berries or peeking under bark for hard-to-find insects.

And what winter holiday would be complete without a trip to our area’s local ski resorts? Whatever snow sport you choose skiing, snowboarding, tubing or skating winter sports are plentiful and cater to a range of interests. You’ll be sure to find plenty of terrain for all levels of experience and qualified snow sports instructors are at the ready if you’re looking to improve, too. Looking for even more fun? Take a slide down a mountainside on a snow tube! Snow tubing is the easiest way to have fun sliding down a vertical drop. The young and the young at heart have taken to this growing winter sport that requires no lessons or special equipment. Whatever winter sport you choose, what better excuse to warm up with a steamy mug of hot chocolate on a frosty day in the ski lodge or unwind with a sports massage at the spa? 

Of course, with our often milder weather, our area offers plenty of opportunities for year-round runners and bicyclists as well. Whether your dream vacation is action-packed or more relaxed, Charlottesville outdoors offers temptations of all kinds for intrepid solo adventurers, couples and families alike.