Southern California is known across the country as the place with the mildest winters. While those of us who live here may know how lucky we are to have 70 degree days all year long, sometimes we still want to see the snow or participate in winter sports. Lucky for us, there are quite a few places within a short drive where the full winter experience can be had!
Winter Day Trips Near San Diego
Mountain High Ski Resort opened their ski season on November 25, just in time for some Thanksgiving slopes! This resort is a short 2.5 hour drive from San Diego, and they create their own snowpacks each year to provide SoCal with a full ski season. There’s a glut of cabin rentals, hotels, and other lodging options if you’re looking to make a long weekend of it, but with that short drive time many San Diegans find themselves with season passes!
The second most popular SoCal ski resort is Bear Mountain. This popular destination is a short trip from the town of Big Bear, making it feel a little more like a mountain getaway! You can also checkout nearby Big Bear Lake to take in the natural beauty of the Californian mountains. Like Mountain High, Bear Mountain has their own snow machines, allowing a full ski season regardless of the weather. There are numerous lodging options, and a lot to do in Big Bear for any family members who aren’t into winter sports. If no one in your family is into skiing or snowboarding, but they still love seeing snow or smelling a crisp fall breeze, some of San Diego’s lesser-frequented mountains might be for you!
The Laguna Mountain State Park is a well known destination for locals when the snows hit! The general store sells sleds and rangers helpfully direct visitors to the best spots to get out for a quick romp in the snow. If it’s not snowing, Mt. Laguna offers wonderful hiking trails and a breathtaking viewpoint over the Anza Borrego desert. Be sure to head back through the rustic town of Julian and warm up with a slice of apple pie!
This is a lesser-frequented mountain in San Diego county, but Palomar offers something that few other places do: a full scale observatory! The Palomar Observatory is a research facility that is still in use today. Be sure to call ahead and confirm there is a tour the day you are headed up the mountain if you’d like to see the structure and surrounding area. Palomar also offers lovely hiking trails and stunning views, but be careful headed up as the road is challenging and a popular road for motorcyclists and car enthusiasts. Southern California may have a reputation for not having much of a winter, but there are still places you can go to snowboard, sled, or enjoy a fun day playing in the snow. If you’re headed up to the local mountains for a taste of winter weather, make sure you have tire chains for your vehicle and that your car is ready for the cold temperatures. And as always, we’re happy to give your car a once-over or show you how to install your tire chains. Set up an appointment today! Image: Flickr