Top 10 California Destinations to Visit This Winter


Winter is that annoying party guest that always overstays its welcome. You get all excited to greet it after Thanksgiving, and then you forget it will be staying with you long after the charm of those Christmas twinkle lights wears off. Now that January’s coming to a close, it’s pretty clear we’re stuck smack dab in the middle of the less-than-festive, freezing stretch of winter. But don’t despair: with some careful planning, you can capitalize on winter’s best assets with a quick trip to one of these California destinations:

1. Lake Tahoe

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Why: Skiing, sledding, showshoeing, and spas for days.

Where to stay: The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe. 

2. Pacific Grove

Image via Butterfly Grove Inn.

Why: The abundance of Monarch butterflies in the winter make it a sight to see.

Where to stay: Seven Gables Inn.   

3. Yosemite

Image via Bay City Guide.

Why: The epitome of a “winter wonderland.”

Where to stay: Yosemite Bed and Breakfast.

4. Big Sur

Image via NBC News.

Why: Meteor showers as far as the eye can see.

Where to stay: Post Ranch Inn

5. Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

Image via Hip Camp.

Why: Cold weather camping and wine within reach.

Where to stay: Bothe-Napa Valley Campground

6. Joshua Tree

Image via Wikimedia.

Why: Scenic, snowy hikes for every fitness level.

Where to stay: The Desert Lily.  

7. Half Moon Bay

Image via Oceanic Society.

Why: Winter whale watching. 

Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay.

8. Mendocino

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Why: Unrivaled relaxation.

Where to stay: Orr Hot Springs Resort

9. Death Valley.

Image via SmugMug.

Why: Piping hot temperatures, no matter the month.

Where to stay: Furnace Creek Resort

10. Healdsburg

Image via Belle de Jour Inn Bed and Breakfast.

Why: A charming escape just a short drive from San Francisco.

Where to stay: Belle de Jour Inn Bed and Breakfast.

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