knitted fingerless mitts holding cup of tea, with lit fire in background.

Winter Bucket Lists: 50+ Activities to Have the Best Winter!

Winter is such a magical season. There’s the holiday season, New Years, and opportunities for snowy winter wonderlands. Ideal for creating your winter bucket lists, to make sure you take advantage of capturing and creating those special memories with loved ones. Plus it’s a great chance to avoid being cooped up in the house. Grab your winter jacket and snow boots, and your Winter Bucket List, and head out for some adventures. Or take advantage of the cool weather to do some self-care, or cozy time around the fire.

We’ve got over 50 fun ideas for Winter Bucket List activities for winter travel, kids, Christmas, the outdoors and more. Plus a free Bucket List printable at the end of this post, so you can easily create your own Winter Bucket Lists to have the best season yet.

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of the links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you! See full disclosure and disclaimer policy here.

Why you need a winter bucket list

Table of Contents

Life can get busy, with work, family, kids and especially the holidays in winter. It can be difficult to carve out time to do the things you’ve always wanted to and spend quality time with family that doesn’t involve chauffeuring your kids around, and grabbing fast food on the way to your next holiday activity.

Plus with the pandemic, many people are looking for ways to spend quality time at home, or away from the crowds.

A winter bucket list can focus your attention on what’s important for you; spending time with family and friends, and help celebrate the beauty of the winter season indoors and out.

WINTER BUCKET LIST IDEAS &

FREE WINTER BUCKET LIST PRINTABLE

We’ve compiled our list of 50+ exciting, fun and relaxing winter bucket list ideas to inspire you to adventure more this and every winter season. Don’t forget to grab your free winter bucket list printable at the end of this article.

AT HOME BUCKET LIST FOR WINTER

Our At Home Bucket List ideas are perfect for those chilly days when you would rather hide out under the covers, than strap on your snow boots and brave the wind and snow. Or perhaps to take advantage of a little post outdoor warm up activities. These are perfect ideas for a winter bucket list for families, couples or solo.

Lit fireplace with woman's knitted socks and book in front of it.

Try A New Recipe or Three

If you are stuck at home, why not spice up your life by learning to cook a new recipe a week or month from a different country. Have a theme dinner and invite some family or friends over. Make a night of it and watch a movie where that country is featured and eat some snacks from around the world.

Cooking with kids? Eat2Explore is a monthly subscription box that introduces kids to new cultures and baking from a different country every month. Plus it's super easy way for parents as the box comes with the essential spice/sauce/grain mixes, shopping lists, interactive learning activities, country-inspired stickers, kitchen tools, and more.

Read A book by the Fire

Cozy up by a warm fire, wrapped in a blanket, and immerse yourself in another world for the weekend (or an hour if the kids will let you). Amazon has loads of free or really inexpensive books in Kindle. You can even just download the free Kindle App on your smart phone or tablet if you don’t have a Kindle. Or pop by your local library and borrow a favourite book or three.

Don’t have a fireplace? It might be time to rent a cabin for the weekend. You can cross off some other bucket list items like snow shoeiing, taking a couples winter weekend get away, or snow tubing at the same time.

Learn to Knit, Crochet or Start a New Hobby

Winter is the perfect time to learn to crochet that baby Yoda doll you’ve had your eye on, while binge watching your favourite tv shows.

There are a lot of indoor hobbies that can help make the winter pass well, if snow (or crocheting) isn’t your thing. You could learn to paint, draw, play a musical instrument, write, or take an online course in philosphy, art history, coding, or anything that catches your fancy. Maybe even brush up on another language you want to learn for your next vacation by taking a course.

Rosetta Stone is a very popular and affordable online language company that offers lessons in 25 languages on their popular language app and online.
Winter knitting striped hat, mitts and 3 balls of yarn in a basket.

Create a staycation at Home

If you can’t leave your city for a vacation, bring the vacation to you! Create a staycation at home or in your own home town. Here are a few ideas to inspire:

  • Order yourself a Holiday in A Box and immerse yourself with a curated guide to the best activities and historical highlights in your chosen city, an online virtual tour, plus holiday “souvenirs”, gourmet recipes and travel themed goodies
  • Give yourself a spa day. Make or buy face masks, give yourself a foot soak in some epsom salt water, then a pedicure while listening to some relaxing music.
  • Find a cool local home, cabin or cottage rental and stay for a night or a weekend.
  • Have an indoor picnic
  • Take a virtual tour of a place you’ve always wanted to visit
  • Do a winter indoor (or outdoor) scavenger hunt
  • Be a tourist in your own home town and visit a local museum, art gallery or site you’ve never been to

Winter Bucket List – Start a Gratitude Journal

Writing in a gratitude journal each day can help improve your mood, decrease stress, and help develop a more positive outlook on life as shown by research.

It doesn’t have to take long. It can be as simple as writing out 5 things you are grateful for each day in a cute lined journal, or use printable gratitude sheets with prompts to help you if you are stuck. They don’t have to be grand, they can be anything you feel grateful for, clean sheets on the bed, a cup of hot chocolate warming your hands, a loved one’s smile in the morning.

You can grab a printable gratitude journal with prompts like the one we've created. Get your children in on the action and help them develop the practice as well with this fun & colorful kids unicorn gratitude journal we created for our own kids that now you can use too.

Donate your time

There are many valuable organizations who are looking for volunteers year round. Donating your time can be rewarding and a great way to give back to your community. You could volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food pantry, kids sports club, nearby museum, or women’s shelters to name a few. If volunteering isn’t possible, consider donating to a local charity.

Binge Watch a TV Series

There is no better time than winter to climb into cozy pjamas, curl up in a warm blanket with some yummy tea and watch a favourite TV series you’ve been saving up for a special occasion. This is a great way to spend time as a family or with friends when you are low on energy. Netflix, and Amazon Prime have oodles of shows to choose from.

So many binge worthy tv shows, so little time. Check out this list of The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch. Check out the classics like Friends, The Office, The Simpsons,& Grey's Anatomy to more modern classics like Stranger Things, and Game of Thrones. 

Do A Puzzle

There is something quite satisfying and relaxing about doing puzzles, and they are a great all ages activity. Make a cup of hot cocoa or apple cider, and gather around the table for family friendly brain workout.

Plus they have the added benefit of helping improve short term memory, visual-spatial reasoning and your mood.

Start A Scrapbook or Make A Year in Review Photobook

This usually happens for me by default as I make the grandparents a yearly photobook for their Christmas present. We also like to create photobooks for special vacations. The kids especially like having something they can flip through and look back on.

Scrapbooking is still extremely popular. What else are you going to do with all those miscellaneous photos?

Worried you aren't creative? There are lots of ideas on the internet. Try this How to Make A Scrapbook Page beginner article or grab a scrap book kit. Our favourite online photobooks come from Mixbook. You choose the layout & style of book you want, and then put the picture in yourself or have it filled automtically. They run sales regularly so you can also get them at a reasonable price. 

Start a New Winter Tradition

No time like the present than to start a new winter bucket list tradition. I have heard of people buying a new cozy sweater or festive themed candle to burn each year. You could host a yearly scavenger hunt, cookie decorating night or share your favourite memory of winter’s past.

WINTER BUCKET LIST IDEAS – Grab Your FREE Winter Bucket Lists

Make your own Winter Bucket Lists by grabbing your Free winter bucket lists here.

CHRISTMAS BUCKET LIST IDEAS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree…… Tis the season to celebrate and spend time with friends, family, your sweetie. The Christmas Bucket List ideas could be a whole post in itself, which I may have to do one day.

Woman and young girl putting ornaments on a Christmas tree.

Decorate A Gingerbread House or Cookies

Decorating Gingerbread Houses is a tradition in our house, and definitely on our yearly Christmas bucket list. Buy a pre-made gingerbread kit if trying to bake the perfect pieces of gingerbread is likely to end up like an episode of Nailed It.

If you want to change it up a bit try creating and decorating new gingerbread creations. Maybe it’s cars, boats, forest scenes with animals. Or try with different building materials like marshmallows, chocolate bars and cookies. The sky is the limit.

4 small gingerbread houses decorated with smarties and gum drops and sprinkles.

Host a Holiday Movie Marathon

What’s better than the Holidays than a Holiday Movie Marathon. Invite some girlfriends over for your favourite romantic Christmas movies, or pick the classics from your childhood and watch them back to back. Make it a Christmas Movie Scavenger Hunt to add a little game action to the marathon.

Or watch a Christmas movie a day in December (or for the 12 days of Christmas). Try out themes like Christmas movies you’ve never watched before, movies from each decade, or choose all animated movies.

Make sure to stock up on some delicious hot cocoa to go with your movies. Up your game with some fancier Hot Chocolate Sticks or stick with the more traditional ground hot chocolate with a few mini marshmallows. 

Invent a New Holiday Cocktail / Mocktail

Ever seen the show Nailed It? Where people who are not that gifted at baking compete against each other in baking challenges, and the results are often hilarious. My eight year old loves that show. Think Nailed It for cocktails / mocktails. Invite a few friends / family members over and have a competition to see who can make the best creation. Have a judge, prizes and everything.

Donate Warm Clothes or Adopt A Family for Christmas

While I think it’s important to do acts of kindness and donate time or money to those who need it year round, Christmas time can be especially hard for people.

At my work we usually adopt a family for Christmas and provide the food or gift certificates for food, and unwrapped gifts every year. We also do a warm clothes drive, for gently used or new jackets, mitts, hats. It’s a great way to declutter and help someone stay warm in winter.

Getting some family, friends or coworkers together is an easy way to make a difference and can also make it more affordable for everyone.

Make Your Own Ugly Christmas Sweater

While you may not be able to avoid your least favourite uncle at Christmas dinner, or the dreaded work Christmas parties , you will be able to rock the Ugly Christmas Sweater competition with these fun DIY ideas. The uglier the better.

Roast Chestnuts

Chestnuts roasting over an open fire.. but maybe bit inside your home. My first ever roasted chestnut was from a street vendor in Germany at a street festival. There is a reason why they are included in a song. They have such a sweet, delicious taste once roasted.

Send Holiday Cards

Who doesn’t love getting personal mail in this day an age of electonic communication. Make it even more unique by making your own holiday cards and sending them to elders in care facilities, military personnel overseas or write letters to inmates.

Wear Matching Christmas Pjamas & Do a Photoshoot

Grab a pair of matching pjamas and do a fun photoshoot. Stage some funny or cute holiday scenes. For a bonus create Christmas cards with the photos and send them out to family and friends.

Once you’ve got cozy pj’s a pjama day may just be in order. Lounge around all day doing relaxing things like reading by a fire, play games or cook nourishing food.

Looking for matching pj's? We found some super cute matching pjama's on Etsy last year. So many fun choices, and you support smaller businesses. Always a plus in my mind. 

celebrate Christmas at Home (When you can’t travel)

There are some great ways to bring a little travel and adventure to your home, when you can’t travel. Check out our full post on ideas for Christmas at home here.

You may also like our list of 100+ Family Friendly Bucket List ideas

WINTER BUCKET LIST IDEAS: WINTER TRAVEL BUCKET LIST

Winter travel can be a fun adventure for those who don’t live in a place that snows each year. Even if you do, there are so many fun outdoor activities to take advantage of from snowsports like skiing, ice climbing and snowshoeiing, to visiting Christmas villages and markets, ice castles and glaciers.

See the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are spectacular and magical lights dancing across the sky. Iceland, Finaland and northern Canada and Alaska are a few places you can easily see this wonder.

Yellowknife, NT, Canada is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the world. I can see them from my porch almost every night. Check out our top tips for viewing the aurora.

Snowshoe in a National Park

Take a road trip to a local National Park to take in some majestic surroundings. Crater Lake, OR offers ranger guided snowshoe walks in the winter, as do many national parks in the USA that are open all year round.

Visit a Christmas Village

Christmas Villages can enchant the young and old. From towns filled with old word charm like Woodstock, Vermont with world class concernts, carriage rides and tours of historic homes, to Rovaniemi in Lapland, Finland just north of the Artic Circle with real reindeer AND Northern Lights. There are many winter wonderlands for you to discover.

Use this as an inspiration for your next winter vacation The Best Christmas Towns in the World.

Winter Travel Bucket List – Sleep in an Ice Castle

While there are many places in Canada and the US to visit ice castles, like in Yellowknife, NT Canada, or Midway, Utah, USA, there aren’t as many places to actually sleep in an ice castle. Here is a list of four stunnning ice hotels from around the world to add to your winter travel bucket list:

  • Hotel de Glâce, Canada in Quebec City – Usually opens in January, offers 21 rooms, and is the only ice hotel in North America.
  • Ice Hotel Winter, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden – Usually open December to April and has ski-in ski out access to the 137 roomed hotel, located 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
  • Snow Castle Resort, Finland – The Snow Hotel is open only in winter and has 14 rooms. Their Seaside Glass Villas are open year round and offer gorgeous views of the Northern Lights.
  • Kirkenes Snow Hotel, Norway – The Kirkenes Snow Hotel is open December to April and offers locally sorced three course meals, visits with reindeers and huskies, and tours such as king crab fishing, northern lights and cross country skiing.

Go Winter Camping

Only for the brave or well prepared, take your adventures to the next level with some winter camping. Just make sure you bring proper equipment.

Tip: Heading to a USA National Park? Grab the America the Beautiful Pass to get access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites including National Parks for the year.

Try Out a New Restaurant

Take a trip to new restaurant you haven’t tried out yet. It’s so easy to get stuck in your routines, but there is a world of flavours out there. Maybe try out your favourite food, but just at a place you haven’t been to yet, or break out of the regular and try a new to you food.

Visit a Frozen waterfall

Winter time the crowds at traditionally busy sights like Niagara Falls or National Parks clear and it provides a great opportunity to view these pristine world wonders. Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone, Niagara Falls, and Multnomah Falls, Oregon are a couple of well-known places to experience waterfalls in winter.

Find out all the tips for visiting Niagara Falls here. 
Niagara Falls in winter, frozen mist

Attend a Winter Festival

No need to stay home hiding under your covers when there is a world of winter festivals to explore out there. Winter Festivals happen all over the world. They celebrate everything from a historic victory over enemies in Venice, Italy with the weeks long Venice Carnival, to music festivals such as the Let it Roll Festival in Czech Republic or the Winter Carnival in Quebec, Canada complete with ice palace, music, ice slides and more.

Head out on a Winter Road Trip

Head out on the highway, feel the frozen wind in your hair and take a road trip with family or friends. Travel somewhere you’ve never been, or visit an old favourite you haven’t seen in awhile. Make sure to winterize your vehicle and know some tips for winter driving and roadtrips.

Tip: Use the Road Tripper App to plan out your route, collab with road trip mates and find best sites and places to stay.You can try out their free plan or get their plus plan - sooo worth it. We have it and love it. 

Go on a sleigh ride

Take a sleigh ride through the wilderness and imagine reindeer pulling your sleigh through the snowy wonderland. Add a cozy blanket and your sweetie and it can be a romantic date.

WINTER BUCKET LIST FOR KIDS (OF ALL AGES)

Winter activities brings out the kid in all of us. Join the fun and get in the winter spirit with these winter bucket list ideas for kids. But let’s be honest, these aren’t only for kids. Anyone can participate in this bucketlist and enjoy themselves.

Make S’Mores Over a Fire

WInter campfires are a great way to spend time outdoors as a family. Make sure to bring cozy blankets or sleeping bags to wrap yourselves up in, and the ingredients or a done-for-you kit for yummy S’mores.

Have A games night

Games Nights! What a fun way to connect with your kids. Or have an adult only Games Night while the kids are on sleepovers. Choose a few family favourites or try out some new ones. Bring out some snacks and you will be all set.

We love a good games night in our family. Need a few ideas?  Trekking the National Parks is an award winning travel themed game perfect for 8+. Or maybe the silly giggle inducing Kids against Maturity. We always get a kick out of these card games; Uno, or Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese Pizza. 

Do a random act of kindess

Doing random acts of kindess is a great way to bond as a family and teach your kids about compassion and service to others. Here are some easy ideas to do as a family:

  • Shovel Snow for a Neighbour
  • Sort out and Donate toys you are no longer using
  • Write thank you notes to a teacher, or someone who you appreciate
  • Offer to walk a neighbour’s dog for them
  • Pick up litter at your local park
  • Donate food to the food bank
  • Paint rocks then hide them in your neighbourhood or local park for others to find

Learn About & Draw Arctic Animals

Santa Claus isn’t the only thing that lives in the Arctic. Learn about the animals and people, Inuit who live in the North and then draw some cool pictures.

Camp Out in Your Livingroom

Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can’t have a camp out, and stay warm. Deck out your living room as a fort with blankets, sleeping bags, and fairy lights. If you have enough room you can even set up a tent. Read campfire or ghost stories.

Etsy has some really sweet playhouses & indoor tents for kids that would be super fun to sleep in. Don't forget the campfire stories.
Mom and daughter camping indoors reading a book.

Write a Holiday / Winter Story

The Holidays and winter time is full of inspiration for story writing. Grab a pen and some paper, take a winter stroll and then get writing. We also love Mad Libs, where the story is mostly written for you, with blank spaces you & your kids can throw out words for. They end up with hilarious story lines that are guaranteed to make everyone laugh. They even have Christmas Mad Libs if you are looking for a little holiday cheer.

Have a snowball fight

Grab a few friends, your kids and head out into the snow for an epic snowball fight.

Make an Obstacle Course

Kids got cabin fever because it’s another snow day? Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can’t get outdoors and get in some fun physical activity. Build a winter obstacle course out of snow, or do a set of outdoor activities. Here are a few ideas:

  • Jump over or climb through hula hoops
  • Sled down a hill
  • Make a snow angel
  • Walking a wooden plank as a balance beam
  • Pack snow in a bucket and make snow castles

Make Snow Cones

When I was a kid I grew up on the west coast of Canada where it rarely ever snowed, and if it did it melted almost right away. I always wanted a Snoopy Snowcone Machine. My daughter loves to make her version of snow cones with fresh snow and a little drizzle of juice. You can also crush ice in the blender, and add some drink flavouring or juice.

While you can just use a blender or freshly fallen snow, if you want to get fancy you can grab a Shaved Ice / Snow cone maker on amazon. It will even make frozen cocktails for the adults.

Go on a Winter scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunts are a wonderful way to bond as a family any time of the year, and especially winter time. Here’s a free winter scavenger hunt printable.

Look at Christmas lights

There is something magical about Christmas lights, twinkling in the darkness. Take a stroll around your neighbourhood, or take a drive to Christmas Lights winter wonderland. Add some more holiday spirit by donning on your holiday-themed pj’s, and cranking Jingle Bells music on the radio.

make snow angels

Put on your winter gear, jump into the snow, wave your arms overhead like you just don’t care and make beautiful snow angels.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES TO ADD TO YOUR WINTER BUCKET LIST

Winter Bucket Lists For The Snow

Living most of my my adult life in somewhere snowy over winter in Canada it is hard for me to imagine a winter without snow. I did grow up on the West Coast of Canada where snow was a rarity, so I feel ya’ if snow is not part of your regular winter rituals. If you don’t live somewhere with snow, it may be a great chance to take a road trip, vacation or a day trip somewhere the white winter magic is.

Go Snow Tubing

Snow tubing is a really fun (and cheap) way to spend time in the snow. All you need is an inflatable tube and a good downhill run. Many popular resorts also offer snow tubing runs, where you can take a lift up, and tube down.

Check out our list of the best USA wintery vacation ideas here. Some of the top places to go snow tubing are on there too.

Take a Winter Hike or Walk in the woods

Whether you love snowshoeiing or just hiking paths in the snow, a walk in the woods will help you connect with nature, as you hike through snow covered firs and pines. Here is a list of the 9 Best Places to Snowshoe in North America, but you don’t need to go far to have fun (unless you live somewhere warm year round).

Ride a fat bike

When I first saw someone ride a fat bike in Yellowknife in -30C I thought they were crazy. But they are a lot of fun. If you don’t know the fat bikes have large tires to make them able to ride on snowier & icier conditions. You don’t have to own a fat bike. There are many places that rent them or you can even join a fat bike tour.

3 people riding in the snow on fat tire bikes in the woods.

Try Ice Fishing

For the adventurous, head out on the ice (make sure it’s safe first), drill a hole and do a little ice fishing.

Here's a list of great places to Ice fish in Canada (Great Slave in the NWT is one of them) or here's some ideas for ice fishing in the USA.

Learn to ski or snowboard

Winter is the best time to learn a new sport. Plenty of ones to try including skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiiing or snowshoeiing. Even if it’s only down the bunny slope or you fall down many times (snowboarding was not in my skill set).

Organize a Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt

Grab a few friends or family members, put together teams and a list of of winter themed items or activities your teams will need to take photos of and let them race against the clock. Add some prizes to make it even more fun.

Go stargazing

Cold, crystal clear winter nights are the perfect time to do a little stargazing. Take a trip outside the city lights for the best views, or book a cabin for the weekend, and take a midnight walk.

Ice Skating Down a Canal, Lake or Rink

Ice skating on a frozen lake, pond or canal can let you enjoy some beautiful scenery around the globe. There are also lots of outdoor ice skating rinks that open during the winter months, even in places without snow. Glide, twirl, skate backward if your lucky, then grab a hot cocoa to warm up.

Go to a tree lighting

Oh Christmas Tree….Tree Lighting Ceremonies are a big deal in many cities, and are a must for any winter bucketlist. Leavenworth, Washington, USA is well known for it’s Hallmark Christmas movie vibe, and dowtown lights, which come on every night over the winter months. They have over 500,000 lights!

Don’t Forget to Grab your Winter Bucket Lists hERE

Two fanned bucket lists printables over a campfire

Conclusion: Winter Bucket Lists: 50+ Activities to Have the Best Winter!

Winter is a great time to get outdoors and try something new, so you don’t end up with cabin fever. Our 50+ actitivites to have the best winter are just a starting point to give you some inspiration. What is on your winter bucket lists?


Packed for Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.ca.

2 thoughts on “Winter Bucket Lists: 50+ Activities to Have the Best Winter!”

  1. Predrag Kovačević

    Really interesting and comprehensive article. I especially like Staycation At Home because we have two little children and it is very hard to go on a vacation with them. But definitely during the Christmas holidays, the accent should be on the acts of mercy and kindness.

  2. I am bookmarking this! So many beautiful ideas! I live in Canada where winter lasts for like 8 months 😆 this is perfect!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together, I personally needed this 😃

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!

Scroll to Top