Massanutten Resort: How to Spend a Winter Weekend with Kids

Snowboarding is hard. Like, really hard. I’m not much of a skier, but I still had high hopes for a second career as a snowboarder when I settled in for my first lesson at Massanutten Resort in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Okay, not really. This was my very first time on a snowboard. It was a struggle. The instructor was quick to note, however, that snowboarding is harder to learn (you got that right), but easier to master. Skiing apparently is just the opposite.

A friend later told me that if I could just make it through the first two days, I’d be all good. Honestly, I could barely make it through two hours. Fortunately, my 12 y.o. daughter (Molly) and her bestie (Erika) fared better on our quick snow-filled getaway to Massanutten.

Massanutten-Snowboard Lesson

Thankfully, there’s way more to do at Massanutten Resort than snowboarding. As in, there really is something for everyone in winter, like a petting farm, zip lines, an indoor water park, snow tubing and escape rooms.

Get Out on the Slopes

Massanutten-Snowboard Lesson

But first, the snow sports. There are 12 ski runs at Massanutten, including three greens, six blues and two blacks. It’s not a super-size ski resort, but there’s enough here to keep the fun humming along for a few hours or a few days, like a long weekend fo fun snow activities for adults and kids.

There’s also a ski school that offers private and group ski and snowboard lessons for all ages and all levels. The terrain-based learning approach prepares newbies like me to slide, steer, start and stop when on a real-world slope. Kids ages 4-12 can join the Mountain Cruisers for all levels of ski instruction (snowboard instruction starts at age 7).

Wannabe snowboarders take note, there’s a video tutorial on the website. It’s a Beginner’s Guide to Snowboarding video that guides you through the basics. If I ever take a boarding lesson again, I’m definitely watching these short videos as a refresher course.

You can rent all your gear on-site, including skis/boards, boots and helmets (I totally recommend a helmet). You’ve got to bring your own goggles, but you may net even need them. A pair of sunglasses will likely suffice.

For snowboarding, bring waterproof gloves. You will find yourself on the ground, using your hands to boost yourself back up, way more often than when skiing. Keep this in mind.

For those eager to hit the slopes more than once or twice during the 2020-2021 ski season, consider the new family season passes to save big on lift tickets for the entire family. You’ll want to buy your tickets ahead of time, so be sure to consult the online reservation schedule once it is available.

Note that online reservations may be required this year to let Massanutten Resort know when you plan to be on the slopes. Massanutten gold card holders can also save on water park tickets, ski lift tickets, golf greens fees and more.

Grab a Snow Tube 

Massanutten-Snow Tubing

Snow tubing is definitely more my scene and Massanutten has one of the best snow tubing parks in the country, IMHO. Massanutten tubing rocks with a whopping 16 lanes open at any one time that run 900 feet from top to bottom. The vertical is nearly 12 stories.

Massanutten snow tubing sessions run in two-hour blocks from as early as 9 am to as late as midnight. In 2020, Massanutten Resort debuted “Northern Lights Tubing.” This is basically cosmic tubing at high speeds in the dark with disco lights and loud music.

Our session ran from 8 pm to 10 pm. It was a Saturday night so it was pretty busy and we only got in maybe four or five runs. That was plenty though, and to be honest, my feet began to get cold after a run or two. 

A magic carpet conveyer belt makes it super-easy to get back to the top of the tubing hill after an exhilarating run of snow tubing in Virginia. Wear warm layers for snowtubing and bring hand warmers and toasty toes even on evenings that are not super-cold. It got pretty chilly standing on ice at the top of the hill while waiting for our turns.

Splash Around at the Indoor Water Park

Massanutten-Indoor Water Park

The indoor water park is my favorite activity at Massanutten. It’s a great place to escape the cold at this mountain resort. It’s also 84 degrees inside, so it’s nice and toasty.

The Massanutten Resort water park has everything you would want, including a lazy river, water slides and a massive water-powered playground with a dumping bucket, water cannons, waterfalls and water sprays that seem to come from all directions.

For little ones, there’s the Frog Pond. It’s a water play area with gentle sprays, a toddler-sized slide and bucket carousel. For wannabe body surfers, there’s a triple-jet FlowRider that creates ocean-like waves. It’s not easy, but we did see a few successful rides.

Massanutten-Lazy River

Adjacent to the FlowRider is Shenandoah Hot Springs, a super-size indoor-outdoor hot tub that’s just right for relaxing muscles after time spent on the slopes. Quick note that the outdoor portion is only open when outdoor temps reach at least 70 degrees.

There’s a walk-up snack bar too called The Snack Shack that sells kid-friendly basics, like pizza, chips and ice cream. Yum-o.

For table service, go upstairs to the Hideaway Lounge. It’s a full-service restaurant and bar with a wall of windows that lets you look down on the water park. Here you’ll find everything from classic wings and chicken tenders to cobb salads and chicken club sandwiches.

Massanutten-Cobb Salad

One super important note about the indoor water park is that you need to bring your own towels. You can buy beach towels in the gift shop, but they cost around $20 each.

However, there is a Dollar General 8 minutes away in Elkton. We bought bath towels there for $3 each. They were perfect in a pinch. There’s also a Food Lion and a Walgreens across from the Dollar General.

What Else is There to Do 

Once you’ve skied, boarded, tubed and splashed, you’re not done for the day. Check the daily Massanutten Resort activities schedule for cooking demos, family nights, wine tastings, live music and drive-in movie nights. There are even creative arts classes that can be taken across the resort, like jewelry making, decorative painting and tie-dying. 

There are plenty of other Massanutten activities too, like the three escape rooms. There’s also a brand-new virtual reality escape room experience. These are all super-fun on a rainy day.

Adjacent to the ski slopes is the Family Adventure Park. This is home to snow tubing, but also to the Mega Zip, an 800-foot zipline at Massanutten that hits speeds up to 30 miles per hour. There’s a canopy tour too with hanging vines and log crossings.

For kids age 12 and under, there’s a kid-size canopy tour that includes a 100-foot zipline, a swinging vine bridge and log crossings. A kids’ playland wows with inflatable bounces houses and gem mining.

To save money, consider a Massanutten activity pass, like the Adventure Pass. Activity passes are valid for eight days and include discounts on the waterpark, golf, art classes, yoga and fitness classes, even admission to nearby family attractions, like Luray Caverns.

Oh, and there’s the world-class Spa at Massanutten that offers services for women, men, teens and tweens. Teens can book a massage, while teens and tweens can enjoy a 60-minute facial. You can even sign up to make a body scrub or learn to apply make-up. Seriously, so much to do here.

Eat All the Food 

Massanutten-Campfire Grill Girls

We live about two hours from Massanutten. We’ve been to the resort for the day, but we’ve never spent the night. We’d also never eaten a sit-down meal at Massanutten.

We really enjoyed our lunch at Hideaway Lounge. The menu had a good selection of food items for both kids and adults. There also is a good-size dessert and cocktail menu.

For dinner, we went to Campfire Grill. The restaurant is casual, but you’ll find more upscale offerings, like prime rib, sirloin steak, grilled salmon and pan-fried trout. They also had a nice selection of salads and pizzas.

The kids menu had the usual suspects, like hot dogs and chicken tenders. You’ll also find pizza sliders and hobo pie, which appears to be a cheeseburger on white bread slices rather than a bun. For light fare, they’ve got kid-size carrots and celery with ranch dressing.

Massanutten-Campfire Grill Desserts

Do not leave Campfire Grill without noshing on dessert. We ordered the skillet s’mores (ah-mazing) and the campground cookie skillet (even more ah-mazing). I still dream about these desserts. I’d love to wake up one day to one of these waiting for me on my nightstand.

For wood-smoked chicken, ribs and pork, check out Virginia Barbeque & Pizza Co. We didn’t get a chance to eat a meal here, but the dine-in menu looks delicious. I may need to come back just to order the smoked BBQ tacos. They serve breakfast here too.

Call it a Night


At the end of a super-fun day, we called it a night in a two-bedroom duplex style unit at the gated Regal Vistas. These are the newest units on resort property and are perfect for a family of four. Or, a mom and two tween girls, like us. It was our version of a perfect ski lodge in the mountains.

Each of the duplex units has two bedrooms, a living area, a kitchen, a garage and a nice-size deck. The expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains were a delight. I just wish I had more time to savor them.

There are nine different lodging options at Massanutten Resort, including traditional hotel rooms, two-bedroom duplexes and four-bedroom condos. The next closest hotels are 30 minutes away in Harrisonburg, so you’ll want to stay on-property.

Warm Weather Fun 

When the weather warms, there’s plenty more to do, like summer tubing, hiking, fishing, carriage rides, mini-golf, bumper cars, horseback rides and scenic chairlift rides. There’s also a brand-new outdoor waterpark for 2020.

Like to golf? There are two 18-hole golf courses, as well as a driving range. There’s also a mountain bike park and lessons for novice mountain bike riders like me.

Winter’s not over yet, so make it a weekend at Massanutten in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Your kids will definitely thank you for fabulous winter fun for the ages.

Disclaimer: I was hosted by Massanutten Resort. However, I was not compensated and all opinions expressed here are my own.