When you think of Southern California, you’re likely to envision year-long sunshine, palm trees, and the beach. (You’re not wrong, for the most part.) But when the temperatures start to drop, there are parts of SoCal that can look and feel like a winter wonderland. Whether you’re hoping to shred the slopes or have a snowball fight, these are the destinations in SoCal that are worth the road trip for a snowy getaway. Keep in mind that weather conditions and opening days for resorts may vary, so make sure to call ahead or double-check the websites of these locations before visiting.
Roughly 80 miles from Los Angeles, Lake Arrowhead is a quaint mountain resort that’s worth the drive for snow in SoCal. Whether you’re looking to go skiing, snowboarding or snow tubing, there’s no shortage of wintertime fun at Snow Valley, a ski resort located in nearby Running Springs. If you swing by SkyPark at Santa’s Village, you’ll find yourself surrounded by holiday cheer. The festive outdoor adventure welcomes you and your family to stop by St. Nick’s house, go ice skating, hop on the Northwoods Express train, or have a tea party with Mrs. Claus.
Big Bear Lake
If you’re looking for a winter white holiday, look no further than Big Bear Lake. Located about two hours from Los Angeles, Big Bear is home to two resorts: Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. Both offer skiing and snowboarding, with the former featuring SoCal’s only halfpipes for snowboarders. Additional winter activities in Big Bear include taking a snowshoe trek, ziplining above the forest floor, and going on a helicopter tour to get a beautiful view of Big Bear Valley.
Even if you’ve never been to Mount Baldy during the winter, you’ve likely seen it covered in a blanket of snow — it’s the highest point in greater Los Angeles, after all. Approximately a 50-minute drive from Los Angeles, the Mount Baldy Resort is the perfect place to experience the winter chill without having to travel too far. Like other snow-filled spots, you and your loved ones can go skiing, snowboarding or tubing at Mount Baldy. Ride the Sugarpine Chair Lift to the Top of the Notch, where you can wine and dine while taking in the mesmerizing mountain landscape.
A mountain community located in the San Jacinto Mountains, Idyllwild is a tranquil winter getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. About a two-hour drive from San Diego, you’ll find a sense of calm in the small town filled with local shops and restaurants. While Idyllwild doesn’t offer any places for skiing or snowboarding, there’s still plenty of outdoor fun, including hiking and rock climbing. After a day of playing in the snow, warm up at Middle Ridge Winery with a sip (or three) of its award-winning wines.
Travel to Wrightwood and you’ll find Mountain High, a winter resort nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains. The snowy spot, consisting of three resorts (west, east, and north), offers different terrains that are suitable for all skill levels. At Yeti’s Snow Park (the east and north resorts), you can enjoy tubing, sledding, and relaxing on the scenic sky chair rides.