Winter Break Outside

Tamarack Sierra NF

Why spend time with family indoors, when you can be outside enjoying the mighty fine scenery and breathing fresh air?

In California winter can be dry and windy – or it can be snowy and cold, depending on the weather pattern. Droughts general last a few years, and then comes the deluge of rain for a year or two. Record snowfall, most rainfall ever recorded, biggest storm of 100 years!

atmospheric river


If you plan to spend the holiday season traveling the golden state, always know before you go. Check the weather and road conditions; always plan for rain (anytime between OCT-APRIL) and have adequate jackets, footwear and tarps.

Planning for a coastal hike, with dinner plus an inn by the sea is quite different from a chains required, snow skiing weekend in the high altitudes. Below are just a small sampling of ideas for winter vacations – out of doors.

Back Roads
Bike Rentals
Cabin Rentals
Coastal Towns
Cross Country Ski
Desert Camping
Desert Towns
Farm Towns
Ghost Towns
Hot Springs
Ice Skating
Indian Rock Art
Meteor Showers
National Forests
National Parks
Rural Counties
Sledding Hills
Slot Canyon Hikes
Snow Chains
Snow Gear
Snow Ski Resorts
Snow Shoe Rentals
Snow Towns
State Parks

bikes at beach


Visiting National Parks, National Forests and mountain locations in California

(snow is common anywhere above 4000′ elevation, but possible down to 1000′ elevation)

At this time of year, expect park highways to be snowy or icy. When chains are required, all vehicles entering the parks must carry tire chains or cables, including 4WD and AWD vehicles.

During active winter storms tow trucks do not generally enter the park and towing bills can be very expensive. Vehicles that are incapacitated or stuck in the snow may not get out for a day or more.

locations by elevation