Skip to main content

Where to Celebrate a White Christmas in California
Travel

Where to Celebrate a White Christmas in California

What does winter wonderland mean to you? For a unique adventure, check out the best places to spend Christmas in California.

California.com

Share

5 min read

December 10, 2021

Snowflakes, snowmen, and snow-white cookies… what does winter wonderland mean to you? If you're envisioning a world where snow covers the landscape, making it glimmer under the bright blue sky, then start planning for a white Christmas in California. There's something about a white Christmas that gets everyone in a magical mood. Whether it's taking a romantic winter vacation, enjoying a wintertime activity with the family, or simply baking Christmas cookies at home, snow is the centerpiece of this season. For an adventure this December, check out the best places to spend a white Christmas in California—you’re in for a treat. 

White Christmas In Northern California

Northern California is home to rugged mountains, expansive forests, and wintertime activities—which makes it one of the best places to spend Christmas. Whether you want to admire a California snowfall from afar or roll a snowball yourself, these are the best places to experience snow in California’s north.

Take a weekend trip to Lake Tahoe for the ultimate winter getaway. Who wouldn't want to unwind in this winter wonderland?

White Lake Tahoe Christmas

Lake Tahoe resonates with visitors year-round, and Christmas is an extra special time beckoning to even more guests. You can feel the Christmas spirit oozing at every turn, from ice-carving demonstrations to fireworks shows. 

What’s better than skiing down white slopes during the wondrous week of Christmas? Skiing alongside Santa. Grab your sled, skis, and snowboards, and join Santa Claus as he slides down the slopes at Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort. If you want to make it a romantic date for two, enjoy a sleigh ride and dinner at a nice restaurant. Borges Sleigh and Carriage Rides boasts awesome carriage rides through the wilderness, and any of the local restaurants could host you for a memorable Lake Tahoe Christmas dinner.

Dreamy White Yosemite Christmas

Winter is usually about rest, relaxation, and hibernation. But it can also be about getting outside, trying something new, and embracing the snowfall instead of watching it from afar. Having trouble deciding between the two Christmas moods? Yosemite offers a taste of both! A Yosemite Christmas includes thrilling adventures like picturesque sleigh rides, outdoor ice skating rinks, and skiing in the nearby Badger Pass Ski Area. Not to mention the world-class eateries, cozy hotels, and the jolly mood in the air that truly makes Christmas in this California locale feel like a winter wonderland come to life.

Get in the holiday spirit and take the kids on fun-filled winter vacation they'll never forget.

White Christmas  at Mount Shasta

The endearing mountain towns overlooking Mount Shasta often see several inches of snowfall throughout the winter season. If you want to spend a romantic Christmas in California with your partner, whisk them away to a dreamy cabin in Shasta and watch the snowflakes land on your windowsill as you snuggle up by the fireplace with your warm mugs of tea. This is a perfect winter destination for those who’d like to escape the holiday frenzy and would make for a calming Christmas in California retreat. If you manage to score an Airbnb that has windows with direct views of Mount Shasta, prepare to fall under the spell of the mysterious mountain all over again.

When in Southern California, it's all about the sunny skies, festive holiday decorations, and creating fond memories.

White Christmas In Southern California

While it doesn’t typically scream snow and cold, there are plenty of awesome outdoor events to attend, snow-dusted places to explore, and Christmas lights to see in Southern California. Experiencing snow in Southern California should be on your bucket list, and these destinations prove why.

Solvang California Christmas

Discover the best of the Santa Ynez Valley in the charming Danish village of Solvang. While this small SoCal town doesn’t look like a white winter wonderland, it does get extra charming when it's covered in a thin veil of snowflakes. Visit and indulge in authentic Danish desserts from famous bakeries such as Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery. Take a ride on the Solvang Trolley, visit the boutiques and local shops, and enjoy a different side of Solvang during Christmas. 

For a snowy Christmas this year, take the family on a vacation to Big Bear Lake. You're bound to make everlasting memories.

Big Bear Lake Snowy Christmas

Big Bear Lake is one of the top SoCal skiing locations, making it also a wonderful destination to experience Christmas in California. Whether you're staying at one of the area’s fabulous ski resorts such as Big Bear Frontier, shopping at local stores, or simply enjoying a delectable meal at Tropicali, Big Bear is a place the whole family will love. Let your kids navigate their own individually controlled sleds at the Alpine Slide and enjoy a fun day of snow tubing. After a day in the snow, take the fun indoors at Bowling Barn, where you can engage in a friendly competitive match followed by an ice skating session and an exciting laser tag tournament. A journey to the Big Bear Village during Christmas is also a must for delicious eateries and a holiday season shopping spree.

White Winter Wonderland in Julian

Winters in San Diego are a blast: you can go from surfing the best waves to getting into snowball flights in a matter of hours. Head to the beautiful mountainous town of Julian for a unique yet old-school Christmas in California. Depending on when you visit, you might encounter anything from a light dusting to a few feet of snow in Julian. Even if you fail to catch this SoCal town when it’s covered in snow, you’ll still have a blast during the holiday season. Enjoy Christmas the classic way as you go on sleigh rides, eat chestnuts roasted on open fires, sniff wood fires, and catch a glimpse of snow-capped mountains surrounding town; there’s truly nothing else quite like a Christmas in Julian.

After the last autumn leaf has fallen and the Thanksgiving turkey has been served, a switch flips and everyone goes into Christmas mode.

Lake Arrowhead White Christmas

Often referred to as the Alps of Southern California, the mountains surrounding the scenic Lake Arrowhead make you feel like you’re floating above the clouds. Offering you a variety of wintertime attractions to choose from, Lake Arrowhead satisfies everyone from snow sports enthusiasts to those who like snuggling by the fireplace. For a quintessential Christmas in California experience, head over to Santa's Village in Lake Arrowhead. Go ice skating, ride the Northwoods Express, peek into Santa's workshop, and meet the friendly characters around the park. Feeling like an explosion of all things Christmas, the historic Santa's Village California is the ultimate place to be for a snowy Christmas in Southern California.

Recomended businesses

Show me California.com
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.

RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We’re committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that’s just the beginning…
LEARN MORE ABOUT US
Purpose section
Purpose section