If you're originally from a northern or Midwestern state but now bask in the balmy climes of Florida or California, you know how tough it can be to get into the holiday spirit with no snow in sight. These next few weeks provide a window for festive in-town excursions or day trips to the snowy mountains, so we've put together a list of destinations worthy of a trip from Los Angeles, Miami, and the Bay Area.
So pick a spot, search for a ride, and queue up the holiday playlist that is totally not Mariah Carey on repeat. For those who can't wait to plan their route, there's a map with each of these locations pinned at the bottom of this post.
From Los Angeles
Say goodbye to sandy beaches and gridlocked traffic and reacquaint yourself with some serene winter settings just a few hours outside the heart of L.A.
- Angeles National Forest is home to several wintertime hot spots, including Mt. Baldy and Big Pines. If you're in the mood for a short culinary getaway, Newcombs Ranch is a delightfully cozy restaurant among the snow-covered pines.
- Big Bear Lake has family-friendly holiday events at The Village with the Snow Valley and Bear Mountain ski resorts close by.
- Though the famous Robolights is in Detroit for the season, Palm Springs has plenty of displays, parades, and festivals to get you in the holiday spirit.
For these longer drives far away from L.A. traffic, we recommend searching for an economy ride.
You won't find snow-capped mountains or iced-over lakes within driving distance of South Beach, but there are still plenty of ways to Getaround to some December decorations.
- Santa’s Enchanted Forest, the world's largest holiday theme park, has lights and rides for days—and Santa every night.
- The 50-foot tree at Bayfront Holiday Village is classic Christmas... with an animated twist.
- Amazing animal lanterns are the stars of the show at Zoo Miami's Zoo Light event.
We recommend searching for a drop-top convertible to allow for maximum enjoyment of the balmy December weather and the best views of the city holiday lights.
From the San Francisco Bay Area
These historic and charming mountain towns each embrace the holidays, and all are within a day's drive from the Bay Area. Layer up!
- There are plenty of winter wonderland resorts at Lake Tahoe, including Squaw Valley, Sierra at Tahoe, Boreal Mountain Resort and more.
- Slide down the slopes further south at the family-friendly Mammoth Mountain.
- At the Victorian Christmas event in Nevada City (above), costumed carolers provide the soundtrack as local vendors sell hand-made wares and home-cooked holiday treats.
- Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating are just a few wintry possibilities at Yosemite Valley.
SUVs and Jeeps are best-suited for the climb from the Bay Area to these festive mountain towns.
Click the arrow in the top left corner of the map to reveal separate layers for LA, SF, and Miami.
(Header image via Joe Daniel Price / Getty Images )