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California's Best Places to Visit in December

California's Best Places to Visit in December

We've compiled the best places to visit in December when you're in California. Team


2 min read

November 16, 2023

December in California is not just a month; it's a vibrant showcase of diverse landscapes and festive spirits. The state's unique charm in this winter month is irresistible. Whether you're seeking snowy mountains or sunny beaches, California in December has something for everyone. Here are the best places to visit in December, each offering a unique slice of California's winter wonder.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe tops the list of the best places to visit in December. This alpine paradise transforms into a snowy retreat, offering some of the best skiing and snowboarding experiences in the country. The crisp air and the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains set the perfect backdrop for a winter getaway. Don't forget to explore the charming towns around the lake, where you can enjoy cozy fireside dining and boutique shopping.

Mendocino Coast

The Mendocino Coast, with its dramatic cliffs and wild, untamed beauty, is a stark contrast to California's more famous sunny beaches. In December, the rugged coastline is often shrouded in mist, giving it an ethereal quality. This is the perfect time for quiet beach walks, exploring quaint coastal towns, and enjoying the serene atmosphere. The California weather in December here brings a peaceful solitude that's hard to find elsewhere.


Nestled in the Cuyamaca mountains, Julian is a charming historic town famous for its apple pies and gold mining history. December is a special time in Julian, with its small-town holiday celebrations and a chance of snow, offering a cozy mountain village feel. It's an ideal spot for those seeking a quaint, festive experience.

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake, while known for its ski resorts, is also a fantastic destination for those looking for a quieter December retreat. The town offers charming cabin stays, serene lake views, and opportunities for winter sports. It's a more laid-back alternative to the busier Lake Tahoe but equally enchanting in its winter setting.


Solvang, a Danish village in the Santa Ynez Valley, is enchanting in December. The town is decked out in holiday lights and Danish-style decorations, making it feel like a European getaway. The cool California weather in December enhances the experience of exploring its unique architecture, Danish bakeries, and wineries.

Each of these destinations offers a unique slice of California in December, away from the usual tourist hotspots. They embody the diverse experiences that make California a remarkable place to visit during the winter season. Whether you're after scenic coastal views, historic towns, unique landscapes, or cozy mountain retreats, these less-known locales are among the best places to visit in California in December.

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