Get Outside With These Family-Friendly Sleigh Rides
This winter, delight your kids—and yourself—with a horse-drawn sleigh ride. From mountain to pastoral countryside views, the whole family will be charmed by the swish of sleigh runners over fresh snow and the muffled clomp of horse hooves. We don’t think you’ll be able to stop yourself from humming “Winter Wonderland”!
Sleigh bells ring—from east to west, here are seven family-friendly sleigh rides to check out this winter.
Each holiday season, from Thanksgiving through Christmas, Christmas by Candlelight comes to Old Sturbridge Village. This month long event takes place each weekend (Friday through Sunday) from 3 p.m.–8 p.m. In addition to sleigh rides, Christmas by Candlelight features New England holiday traditions, live music, storytelling, festive foods, a roaring bonfire, a nightly tree lighting, and a gingerbread house contest!
Cost: Adults $28, Children 4–14 $14, Children 3 and under free
Tip: Save 15% by purchasing tickets before Thanksgiving
Take a step back in time with a sleigh ride through Amish country. By sun or star light, you’ll experience the beauty and quiet of a family dairy farm. Located three hours from the DMV area and two and a half hours from Pittsburgh, you can spend a weekend exploring the Deep Creek Lake area.
Cost: Adults $16, Children 3–12 $12, Children under 3 free
Tip: Ask about farm tours and milking demonstrations
Located 30 miles from downtown Chicago, a sleigh ride with Forest View Farms is the perfect nearby getaway for families in the Chicagoland area. Forest View Farms is a family-owned business and has been providing family-friendly horse fun since the 1950s.
Cost: $7–$10 per person
Tip: Call to check availability and schedule a ride
Apple Holler offers visitors a unique ag-venture experience with a farm-to-table restaurant, bakery, gift shop, orchard, family farm, and winter-wonderland sleigh rides! Winter sleigh rides glide through orchards and 100-year-old hardwood forests. After the ride, cozy up to a crackling fire, s’mores, hot apple cider, and hot chocolate. Located 30 miles south of Milwaukee and 70 miles north of Chicago, Apple Holler is a great day-trip for families with kids of all ages.
Cost: $80 for up to four people, $15 for each additional person
Tip: Bring along a carrot or two for the horses!
This one-of-a-kind sleigh ride takes riders into the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, WY. Horse drawn sleighs glide through an elk herd numbering in the thousands! Other wildlife viewing opportunities include eagles, coyotes, foxes, badgers, bison, deer, wolves, trumpeter swans, ducks, and geese. And as if the wildlife encounters weren’t enough, riders are treated to picturesque views of the Grand Teton Mountains. Sleigh rides into the refuge operate daily from mid-December through early April (closed on Christmas). Tickets can be purchased at the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center.
Cost: Adults $25, Children 5–12 $15, Children 4 and under free
Tip: Dress in layers, bring a blanket, and BYO hot chocolate!
Operated out of Mountain Springs Lodge, this scenic horse drawn sleigh ride glides passengers through open meadows and forest groves while offering riders views of the Cascade Mountains. A mid-ride stop at Beaver Creek Barn treats passengers to hot spiced cider and a warm fire. Breakfast and dinner rides are also available.
Cost: Adults $26, Children 3–12 $16, Children 2 and under free
Tip: In the winter, it takes about 30 minutes to make the 14-mile drive from Leavenworth to Mountain Springs Lodge.
Explore Yosemite National Park in the snow with a sleigh ride operated by Yosemite Trails Saddle & Sleigh Company. Sleigh rides are only offered for a few weeks each winter, from mid-December through early January. Riders will glide along historic Jackson Road and warm up at Skidders Camp with a fire, marshmallows, hot apple cider, and cowboy coffee.
Cost: Adults $35, Children 4–13 $22, Children 3 and under free
Tip: Coming from LA or the Bay Area? Make an overnight out of it! There are a number of lodging options in Fish Camp.
We’d love to know your favorite sleigh ride, please share in the comments below!
Kathy is a freelance writer, an Independent Quality Provider with BabyQuip and the mother of a very active one-year-old boy. When she’s not changing diapers, developing engaging content for clients, or helping families travel with little ones, she enjoys reading, gardening, yoga, and naps.