Winter break is an amazing time to plan the road trip you’ve been waiting to take all year. Thankfully, California is full of picturesque destinations that are only a drive away. This list full of Winter road trips in California that are sure to inspire you to plan a getaway ASAP.
1. Lake Arrowhead
Lake Arrowhead is one of the destinations that is beautiful anytime of year. However, during the snowfall of Winter, this is the place to be. Lake Arrowhead really has something for everyone. It is a great place for outdoor adventures, such as fishing and ice skiing. Or if you just want to have a trip where you can get away to relax, renting out a cabin in Lake Arrowhead is also a great option. SkyPark Santa’s Village is also a great place to visit during the holiday season. It is an outdoor amusement park that features restaurants, stores and attractions. Concerts and events also take place here, so be sure to check the monthly calendar. However, Santa’s Village is only open through late November until January, so plan your visit accordingly.
Solvang is an adorable Danish town that is a great destination for a day trip or even to stay overnight. There are tons of stores and restaurants. The most popular activity here is wine tasting. There are more than 20 different wine tasting rooms to choose from. There are also a variety of different restaurants and bakeries that feature authentic Danish cuisine. There are tons of other activities to choose from as well, such as live theater, guided tours, cycling and golfing. This town also hosts several events and festivals throughout the year, so plan your trip accordingly. This town was voted as one of the 10 top “Christmassy” towns in America, so it is the perfect Winter destination. The annual Julefest happens every December and features tons of holiday fun, such as tree lightings, parades and a Santa’s village.
3. Big Sur
For those who are fans of scenery, a drive up the California coast is the perfect option. Big Sur offers a beautiful stretch along the coast. The journey is truly the destination on this road trip. If you visit, you have to do the famous 17 mile drive, which is a beautiful drive right along the water. There are plenty of areas to stop along the way and take pictures or just take in the beautiful scenery. Another popular tourist attraction is the Bixby Creek Bridge. This bridge is one of the most photographed bridges in California. This is due to its beautiful location right next to the coast. This is truly a must see if you visit Big Sur. Big Sur also offers plenty of restaurants, hotels and state parks. Or, if camping is more your style, there are also great campsites available nearby.
4. Mammoth Mountain
If you love Winter sports, like skiing or snowboarding, then this is definitely the place for you. Mammoth is the place to be if you are seeking adventure and can’t get enough of the snow. This location offers several ski resorts to choose from. It’s a great place for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Or, if you’re just getting into the sport, you can take lessons in order to get you on the slopes in no time. Even if you’re not into outdoor activities, Mammoth is still a great destination. It offers a super cute village with tons of stores and restaurants to choose from. Mammoth is the perfect place to rent a hotel or cabin and just get away for the weekend. It is about a six hour drive from Los Angeles, so this is definitely more of an overnight type of trip.
5. San Francisco
San Francisco might be a small city, but it truly offers something for everyone. If you are the type that loves the city life, then this is the place for you. Just like Mammoth Mountain, San Francisco is about a six hour drive from Los Angeles. I recommend spending at least three days in this city, so that you can see as much as possible and get the best experience. San Francisco offers some beautiful views of the bay and the ocean. Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge is a must for photo ops. Fisherman’s Wharf offers amazing seafood and is a ton of fun to walk around. Another must is riding one of the cable cars that travel up and down the main streets in the city. This is one of the best ways to get around the city. For the best shopping and food, you have to visit Union Square. This is the heart of the city where all the best stores and restaurants are. You can find nearly any store you can imagine within this area. I also recommend finding a hotel in this area because it is where the majority of attractions are located. Taking a bus tour around the city can also be a great idea if you want to be sure to hit all the main attractions. Haight and Ashburry is another fun area that is home to the hippies and hipsters. There are dozens of cute antique stores and thrift stores that can be a lot of fun to look through.