For some, winter is the best time to stay at home, but for others, it is the perfect time to roam around the country and explore new places. If you are an adventurer, you are probably looking for new travel-worthy destinations to visit this winter. While sunny California probably isn’t your first association for winter traveling, the Golden State actually has so much to offer to its visitors during the winter. Here are some of the amazing places you should visit this winter in California.
1. Orange County
For some Christmas festivities, be sure to visit the Orange County. Believe it or not, but some of the most interesting Christmas festivities in Southern California take place in Newport Beach and Orange County.
If you like holiday lights, you’ll be amazed by the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Over 100 watercraft participate in this event and glow up the city.
Winter Fest OC is another winter gem of this place.
Here you can play in the snow (fresh snow is blowdown daily), go ice skating, go down an ice slide, walk in a snow maze, watch the carnival rides, see the world’s largest walk-through ornament as well as the largest rocking horse, and so much more. The winter fun in California at this destination is never-ending. If you are interested in purchasing tickets for this event you can do it online.
Explore Orange County by hiking or horseback riding in Fairview Park, go bird watching in historic Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, or ride the bike in Huntington Beach.
2. Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park was established in 1994 and is one of the most popular national parks in the USA.
Since summers in Joshua Tree National Park can be exhausting due to high temperatures, use the wintertime to enjoy this place. The average high temperature during the winter is 60 degrees and the average low 40.
Rock climbers are attracted to this destination during the winter in California when other popular destinations are covered in snow.
The park is much quieter in the winter so you can peacefully explore this 800,000-acre area. Joshua trees (agaves) only grow in the desert of California. Mormon settlers thought that they look like Joshua’s hands reaching up to the heavens, which is where the name comes from.
One of the hidden treasures of Joshua Tree National Park is Lost Horse Mine – one of the best-preserved gold mines you can find in the park. You can either go on a 6.7-mile round trip hike loop or 4-mile round trip loop. Along the way, you’ll absorb the breathtaking views of Pleasant Valley.
3. Lake Tahoe Winter in California
If your main preoccupation is to find a place for skiing, you should know that the best one is Lake Tahoe. Ski lovers will love this place since it has over a dozen ski resorts for lots of fun in the winter in California.
Whether you are an experienced skier or you are just starting, you will find your place in Lake Tahoe. You can choose between groomed slopes and the winter woods.
Skiing is not the only activity you can involve in. You can also go snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or ice skating.
Go back to the days when you were children and round up your family and friends for some sledding and tubing. Ski resorts like Heavenly Mountain and Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort have machine-groomed hills for sled rides and tube slides.
4. Death Valley
This largest national park in the lower 48 states is the hottest desert in the world. The unbearable heat makes the Death Valley a place everyone avoids in the summer. Fortunately, the wintertime gives you a chance to see its unbelievable contrast of landscapes.
You should know that by visiting Death Valley, you’ll be at the lowest point in North America. This national park is also the home of some mysteries. The puzzling scene of scattered rocks whose moving trails are clearly visible is set in Racetrack Playa.
Besides hiking in the Golden Canyon, you’ll be able to see salt on the valley floor which you might mistake for snow at first.
Every sunset lover should go to Zabriskie Point to enjoy the stunning view. If you visit the valley in late February, you might also see the blooming of wildflowers.
Keep in mind that Death Valley is the busiest in the winter. Better reserve a room two or even three months in advance to ensure that you’ll have a place to stay.
5. Pacific Grove’s Monarch Sanctuary
Pacific Grove transforms itself into Butterfly Town in the winter. It is all thanks to the monarch butterflies. This is one of the best places to go butterfly-watching.
Butterflies are coming across the country to take refuge in Butterfly Town which becomes their home from October to March.
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a tropical insect that comes from as far as Canada to migrate to California cost in order to avoid the harsh winters.
If you want to know more about this phenomenon, you can go to the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. Museum docents are there every day from November to February to give you any answer and enhance your experience. You can find them in Pacific Grove’s Monarch Sanctuary from 12 pm-3 pm because that’s when you can see both the clustering and flying of monarchs.
Since 1939, the town has been hosting the Butterfly Parade which is also something you might like to see in the winter in California.
Some Final Thoughts
Depending on your interests, hobbies, and likes, you can pick the spot that suits you best. California offers something for everyone and wintertime helps you avoid the unbearably hot weather and enjoy the beautiful sites. Make sure that you bring your camera along because these amazing sights are something you’ll want to remember your whole life.
About the Author
More Places to Visit in California
About the Photo
The photo in the header above is of a 1921 classic Hudson car next to a Joshua Tree in the desert, California, USA. Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay
About the Author
Daniela McVicker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a contributor to Topwritersreview. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in psychological science. Her passion is traveling and finding ways to enrich students’ learning experience.
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