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Jill Sanford | 01.22.2018

There are plenty of reasons California is an ideal winter destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With nine national parks, the proximity of the mountains to the ocean, and the relative quiet and lack of crowds compared to other times to visit and take advantage of the Golden State’s natural beauty, there is a lot to love about California’s colder months.

To best appreciate this state as a winter destination, visitors should allocate some time to tromp around in the snowy Sierra Nevada as well as as explore the coastline. You’ll be blown away that you can go from a nearly freezing day at over 8,000 feet to a comfortable coastal chill in just one day.

Locals, however, should definitely take advantage of the breadth of adventures here in California as often as possible. Don’t feel pressure to squeeze these ideas into each weekend. Instead, stretch them out over the entire weekend and make the place where you live the place where you play.

From Sierra summits to seaside scenes, here are just a few of our favorite winter adventures in California.

Desert

The best time to visit the desert in California is hands down in the winter due to fewer crowds and more comfortable temperatures. 

Surf and Sun in SoCal

Escape the cold and bask in the land of eternal summer. 

Big Trees

From the Sequoias to the Redwoods, you'll want to stand beneath California's giants.

Central and Northern Coast

The weather may be chillier, but the views are breathtaking.

Alpine Adventures

Craving snow? Head straight for the Sierra and Southern Cascades.

Looking for more California winter adventures? Consider this road trip to see the state covered in a blanket of white. 

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