Photo by Design That Sticks
It’s getting cold in most parts of the country… very cold, in fact. And if another freezing holiday season seems like more than you can bear, perhaps it’s time to take it as a sign and book a little getaway this year. After all, who needs a white Christmas when you can sink your toes into the sand and bask in the sunshine?
There’s still plenty of time to make those last-minute travel reservations. And if you’re flying into San Francisco, Burbank or LAX, consider Super Cheap Car Rental for your car rental reservations Los Angeles. Our independently owned company can often beat the rates of some of our corporate competitors, and we offer deals on Orange County long-term car rental terms.
But where should you go once you’re flight has landed and you’re ready to drive off into the sunset in your rental car? That’s up to you. The 10 places in California to visit on this list are always beautiful choices. Visit one or try to explore as many as possible.
If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway in Northern California, look no further than Mendocino. There are no chain stores in the entire village, and every shop and restaurant in town offers something unique. If you’re there for the Festival of Lights, prepare for an unforgettable experience. The Old-Time Coastal Christmas Celebration lasts all December and includes Christmas Train rides, a seasonal Model Train Show and Christmas at the Ford House Visitor Center, with decorations, cinnamon rolls and a roaring fire.
California’s Danish village is gorgeous during the holiday season. Their annual Solvang Julefest brings Old World traditions to the modern wine country, while the Julefest Wine & Beer Walk offers the perfect opportunity to sample local brews and vino. There’s even a living nativity reenactment.
The charming city of Fresno is a true Christmas village thanks to the two miles of decorations along Van Ness Boulevard, better known as Christmas Tree Lane. The Fig Garden neighborhood also gets into the spirit, featuring over 140 decorated homes.
If you can get to Newport Beach between December 14 and 18, you won’t be disappointed—their annual Christmas Boat Parade is a sight to behold. The tradition dates back more than 100 years and attracts people from all over the state. There are several charter boats you can take, or you can catch the sights from the shoreline.
The Santa Monica community really gets into the holiday spirit, offering all kinds of craft fairs and holiday walks throughout December. Many of the local restaurants offer delicious Christmas menus, allowing you to leave the cooking to someone else. If you’re Jewish, you’ll appreciate the Menorah Lightings on the Third Street Promenade from December 24-January 1.
Big Bear Lake
Sometimes, in spite of the beautiful California sunshine, nothing but a white Christmas will do, In that case, take a few days off from the surf and sand and head to Big Bear Lake in the Inland Empire. With holiday lights glowing in the village and snow falling on the pines, Big Bear Lake makes a perfect Christmas escape just a couple of hours from Los Angeles.
If you’ve never experienced LA during the holiday season, you’re missing out. The Original Farmers Market and The Grove bring out their decorations shortly after Halloween, and there are almost too many events and activities to count. From parades and tree lightings to holiday markets and plays, you certainly won’t be bored in LA in December. If you can make it to the city by December 16, head to the Music Center Plaza for their annual (free!) Holiday Sing-Along. There’s nothing like belting out “Silver Bells” with hundreds of strangers to lift your spirits.
Aside from its mild climate and peaceful atmosphere, Palm Springs makes a great holiday destination because of their annual Robolights display. Robolights is an impressive 8.4 million light display that sits on four acres and impresses people of all ages.
Head south to sunny San Diego and enjoy mild winter temperatures, a decorated downtown area and dozens of beautiful beaches to walk on. Many of the area’s top hotels, like the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, go all out with the decorating and menus. You’ll have your choice of festivals, parades and light displays, not to mention Skating by the Sea, Coronado’s outdoor rink. There is also an abundance of free family-friendly holiday activities in San Diego.
Located in San Diego County, Julian offers a hint of winter chill in a picturesque setting. The town’s 80 foot tall living Christmas tree stays illuminated from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. The entire historic gold-mining town is decorated to celebrate as well. Though it won’t be too cold to enjoy yourself here, you’ll definitely also enjoy spending your evenings by the fireplace.
Planning a road trip down the California Coast? There’s never a bad time to explore our beautiful coastline. See our article on The Top 10 Road Trip Stops On The California Coast.