A Guide to California’s Off-the-Beaten-Path Winter Adventures

Mount Shasta winter destination guide

This article was produced in partnership with Visit California.

For those looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure this winter, California is the perfect destination. From chasing snow to exploring seemingly-endless coastline, or escaping city life in favor of an eclectic desert experience, this state truly has something for everyone.

The diversity found in each of the destinations below was a driving force in their inclusion, along with a myriad of outdoor experiences readily available at each – ranging from some of the most pristine campgrounds, scenic hikes and exceptional star-gazing in a Dark-Sky-recognized national park. It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – in this case, no matter which of these locations you choose, the Golden State’s natural allure and charm are sure to captivate your entire family.

Big Sur

big sur

Big Sur is a bucket list destination for anyone who loves the outdoors, and winter is the perfect time to experience the magic of this region. From trout fishing to cozy family nooks like the historic library, this mesmerizing stretch of California coastline is as memorable as it gets.

Our Guide to Big Sur


Winter is the most ideal time to visit the California desert – the days are mild, and the nights clear and crisp. Home to spectacular hiking, wildlife and unobstructed stargazing, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park has plenty to offer and is just a quick jaunt to charming neighboring town Borrego Springs.

Our Guide to Anza-Borrego

Humboldt County

From breathtaking views and endless trails and camping options at Patrick’s Point State Park, to locally-owned wineries and the state’s northernmost ocean-front pier, the Humboldt County coastline has so much to offer. Immerse yourself in some of the tallest redwoods or explore the rugged and remote Lost Coast, then retire to a quiet fishing town for your home base. This is Northern California at its finest.

Our Guide to Humboldt County

Mt. Shasta

lesser-known campgrounds

Mt. Shasta is oftentimes referred to as California’s hidden gem, and rightfully so. From dogsledding, snowshoeing or kicking back at an award-winning brewery, small-town Shasta is that quaint snow-driven getaway you’ve been searching for.

Our Guide to Mount Shasta

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