Secret Places In California To Visit This Winter

Winter is the time for vacations, and that means exploring every little bit of your state. While you might feel like you’ve done all of the things in your city, there are always those hidden gems that take you by surprise. With a state as large as this one, can you ever see it all? Here is our list of the best secret places in California to visit this winter

Watch the Newport Beach Boat Parade

Price: Free to view; $20 for Christmas boat cruise.

When: December 18 - 22; See event site for full hours

Location: 309 Palm St, Newport Beach, California

Why You Should Go: You and your friends can sip hot chocolate and watch a spectacular light display on the water.

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Book a Cozy Getaway Cabin

Price: A 2-person cabin begins at $139 a night. Prices vary by date.

When: Year-round

Location: Big Bear, California (2 hours from LA)

Why You Should Go: You can escape from city life in these beautiful fully-stocked glamping cabins.

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Explore the Cambria German Christmas Market

Price: $10 to $25 per person

When: November 29 - December 23 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: Cambria Pines Lodge, 2905 Burton Dr, Cambria, CA 93428

Why You Should Go: You can experience what Germany is like in the winter but in your own backyard. The markets are full of magical sights, goodies, and Christmas cheer. Who doesn't want Gluhwein and pretzels?

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Snowshoe to Fallen Leaf Lake

Price: Free

When: Varies by season

Location: South Lake Tahoe, California

Why You Should Go: During the winter, grabbing a pair of snowshoes and exploring is one of the most fun ways to see northern California. This frozen lake is one of the most beautiful winter destinations.

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Ride an Alpine Coaster Through the Forest

Price: $6 per person

When: Year-round; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday

Location: Big Bear Lakes, California

Why You Should Go: You can race your best friend on a giant alpine slide through the wilderness.

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Go Sledding at Mammoth Mountain

Price: Varies by season

When: November - February

Location: You can find full directions here.

Why You Should Go: You can fly down the mountain on a sled and feel like a kid again. Mammoth is one of the best places to go skiing, snowboarding, and tubing in California.

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Tour California’s Largest International Christmas Market 

Price: Free admission

When: Friday, December 6 from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday, December 7 from noon to 11 p.m.

Location: Balboa Park, San Diego, California

Why You Should Go: You can enjoy San Diego’s largest Christmas festival. There are beautiful lights, delicious food, and goodies from all around the world, and plenty of places to take super-fun, Instagrammable pictures.

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Visit Sequoia National Park During the Snowy Season

Price: $35 per vehicle

When: November - December

Location: Sequoia National Park, California

Why You Should Go: You can walk through a forest of 275-foot tall Sequoia trees, hike by beautiful frozen lakes, and have a massive snowball fight.

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We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.