California is known for sand and sun, but don’t let that deter you from heading there for a winter vacation. The state has a whole lot to offer even in the colder months, whether you’re seeking out snow or looking to get away from freezing temperatures. We’ve put together the best winter destinations in California to help inspire your next getaway.
1. Palm Springs
If you’re looking to escape the cold this winter, head to Palm Springs. The nights get cool but the days are usually mild and sunny all winter long. This means you’ll have perfect weather to get outdoors and explore the area with activities such as hiking or bike riding. Palm Springs doesn’t tend to have much rain, but the museums and art galleries are a great option if it does happen to be wet when you are in town. Palm Springs Art Museum boasts an impressive collection and is well worth a visit.
2. Mammoth Mountain
Snow isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of California which means it is often overlooked as a ski destination. This is a real shame as its alpine regions have a lot to offer avid skiers and snowboarders. Mammoth Mountain has the highest ski slope in the state and a long snow season for extra alpine fun. With a diverse range of slopes, various terrain parks, and a world-class ski school, Mammoth Mountain caters to everyone from complete beginners to seasoned pros.
3. Napa Valley
Napa Valley typically conjures up images of sunshine and rolling hills and enjoying a glass of wine outdoors, things that aren’t typically associated with winter. However, in Napa Valley, these scenes exist all year round! Known as cabernet season, winter in Napa Valley still offers sunny weather and all of the wine tastings one would expect from the destination. The best part is that winter in the Valley is low season, so you won’t be battling crowds to get a taste of your favorite drop.
Unlike many destinations in the USA, the best time to visit Monterey is in the winter. The charming, coastal city experiences great weather during these months but without the summer crowds. No competing for a spot on the beach and no need for a heavy coat – it’s a win-win! While it is quieter in Monterey during the winter, you’ll still experience a lively buzz that takes over the region during the festive period. A range of events and festivals are held throughout winter, so if you’re in town make sure to check them out.
5. Death Valley
Death Valley is another Californian destination that is actually better in winter. Known for its sweltering heat, Death Valley is not the most enjoyable place to visit in summer. It can be hard to enjoy the views when you feel as though you’re about to melt! In winter, you won’t have this problem. The hottest place on Earth transforms into a natural paradise, offering stunning scenery, clear night skies, and glorious sunsets. The Inn and The Ranch are both excellent choices when it comes to accommodation, and will be sure to guarantee you a memorable winter vacation.
6. San Diego
With 265 days of sunshine each year, there’s no wrong time to visit San Diego. The winter cold will be a distant memory in this city that benefits from mild temperatures all year round. Even in January (San Diego’s wettest month), the city averages only 6 days of rain – pretty good odds if you’re looking for a sunny winter getaway! Make the most of the good weather by getting outdoors. San Diego is the perfect place to get in the water, whether you decide to surf the waves, admire the views from a kayak, or simply take a dip in the clear waters. It’s also whale season and the migration trail runs directly past the city, so book a tour and see these great beasts up close.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com