With its long stretches of sand and perpetual sunshine, Southern California is an ideal winter getaway that provides many seasonal activities. Find out what you can do this winter on an excursion to California’s warmer and lower half.
Some Best Things to do in California during Winter
Stroll Through Balboa Park
Balboa Park is an iconic San Diego landmark that’s home to many of the city’s most popular attractions that include gardens, museums, and performing arts venues. Every holiday season the park is transformed into a winter paradise.
Christmas Nights is a no-cost festival that will take place between December 1 and 2. Explore food and drink from all over the globe, enjoy live music, and revel in delight in the amazing holiday decorations. The park also gives free museum admission for a short period of time each evening.
Watch a Christmas Boat Parade
In only Southern California can you watch the Christmas parade that takes place aboard vessels! It is the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights between December 10-17 is packed with hundreds of vessels decked in Christmas lights and festive decorations.
You can find a seat at Seaport Village or the Coronado Ferry Landing to enjoy the most spectacular views.
Go on a Bike Tour
Biking is among the most well-known things to do across Southern California and is an extremely enjoyable way to take in the sights on a sunny winter day.
The Bayshore Bikeway is located in San Diego, the Bayshore Bikeway is an all-day bike ride that offers panoramic views of Imperial Beach, the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base, and the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Another great biking location can be found on the Mission Bay Bike Path which has about 12 miles of curved trails through parks and along waterways.
If you’re in Palm Springs, take advantage of the many bicycle routes within as well around the city. These routes differ in difficulty as well as distance and scenery. Enjoy your surroundings, including the San Jacinto mountain range, huge desert landscapes, and mansions built in the mid-century that were once home to vintage Hollywood stars.
Head to the High Desert
The world-renowned Joshua Tree National Park is the place where it is that the Mojave, as well as the Colorado deserts, meet, filling it with distinct mountains, vegetation, and the rich history of its culture. The most popular desert activities are climbing rocks, hiking, and camping.
Another desert-like landscape that is worth exploring is Anza-Borrego State Park the largest state park that has numerous backroads as well as hiking trails.
A day trip that is easy to San Diego, a key benefit to visiting the desert during the winter months is that it avoids extreme heat and enjoys mild temperatures.
Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
A trip on the Aerial Tramway at 8,000 feet high above the San Jacinto Mountains is a Palm Springs must.
The tram car that rotates offers stunning panoramas over Chino Canyon and the surrounding wilderness. Marvel at the stark contrast between the scorching desert and the cold that the hills offer. Explore the area on walking trails, take in the breathtaking views from the observation decks, or visit the natural science museum.
Be an Art Enthusiast
Southern California is home to many of the most prestigious art venues and special events.
The Convention Center for Art located in Palm Springs houses dozens of galleries representing artists from all over the globe that showcases stunning artwork, sculptures, and photography.
The mild winter weather is ideal to enjoy outdoor art as well. Explore the Edwards Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego or head to Anza-Borrego Desert State park to admire the massive sculptures of wild animals, dinosaurs, and historic characters.
Attend a Film Festival
It is the Palm Springs International Film Festival will be held at the beginning of the two weeks of January. You can score passes to attend screenings, and maybe even see some of your favorite film stars! The prestigious festival also has an awards gala.
Ride the Waves
The San Diego beaches are renowned for their surf breaks and winter brings larger and more powerful swells.
La Jolla Shores and Tourmaline are great spots to visit for those who are new to the sport. You can paddle out to Black’s Beach or Swami’s if you’re confident enough to tackle the challenge.
The temperature of the water drops significantly during this time of the year. Therefore, make sure you wear an appropriate wetsuit. It’s also crucial to stay cognizant of proper surfing etiquette as well as the changing conditions of the water since there aren’t any lifeguards in the water during the winter months.
Holiday Whale Watching
The winter months are the best time for seeing gray whales migrate on the coastline of Southern California. You can hire for the whale-watching tour with expert guides who will lead you on a kayak or boat to the most popular marine mammal spots.
If you’re not feeling like taking a boat trip take a binocular to look for whales from a distance. Point Loma, home to the magnificent Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is an ideal spot for taking in the views of the ocean and seeing the gentle giants.
Explore New Heights
If you are looking for a day excursion starting from San Diego featuring spectacular mountaintop views, go to Mount Laguna. Mountaineering, hiking, and biking are well-known activities in the region. There is also the possibility of snow at this time of the year, and it is possible to cross-country ski or sled.
If you’re thinking about the idea of a Southern California vacation, check out the lavish and spacious homes at the Welk resort in San Diego or Desert Oasis in the Palm Springs region. A stay at one of these resorts will put you close to the center of the summer fun in the warm winter months.