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Best Road Trip Ideas for a Winter Getaway For LA Families!

You can say goodbye to the monotony of your routine, responsibilities, and stressors for a few days when you take a road trip. The best part about road trips is that they are not limited to a particular season or time of the year. You can find numerous exciting places to visit in almost every season and irrespective of the weather conditions. If you have been planning to visit some beautiful locations with your family but don’t know where to start, fret not! We have compiled some excellent ideas for road trip destinations during the holiday season so that you can make the most out of this special time of the year. Here are four best road trip ideas for a holiday getaway from Los Angeles:


Yosemite National Park is one of California’s most iconic destinations, and it’s also one of the best winter getaways from Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Yosemite is usually crowded with tourists from May to October, so visiting during the winter months will give you the opportunity to enjoy this truly spectacular location in relative solitude.

These winter months also provide great opportunities for photographers, as the winter landscape is particularly photogenic. If you’re visiting Yosemite in the winter, be aware that the park’s roads are open year-round, but they are not plowed during the winter months. Additionally, Yosemite’s waterfalls aren’t flowing as heavily during the winter compared to the rest of the year, but they’re still beautiful sights to behold.

Popular Activities:

There are two official snow play areas inside Yosemite plus sledding hills at the south entrance and in Strawberry near Sonora Pass.

If you’ve never strapped on a pair of snowshoes and gone tromping through a wintry landscape, Yosemite’s marked winter trails and gorgeous scenery make it an excellent place to try the activity. The most popular spots for snowshoeing are the same as cross-country skiing: Crane Flat and Badger Pass. The 2-mile Clark Range View Trail is popular with snowshoers at Crane Flat, while the snowy Glacier Point Road offers lovely views up near Badger Pass.

Head out on your own to explore the dark winter skies or attend a night event at Bass Lake.

Where to Stay:

Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite - The property’s two-bedroom hillside villas are ideal for families at Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite. One bedroom has either a queen bed or two twin beds, and the other serves as both a master bedroom and common room with a patio or balcony. Located in Groveland, Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite is in a rural area and in the mountains. While the natural beauty of Yosemite Big Oak Flat Entrance and Yosemite Valley can be enjoyed by anyone, those looking for an activity can check out Wapama Falls at Hetch Hetchy. Enjoy the area's slopes with cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, and snowboarding, and don't miss out on the snowshoeing.

Tenaya at Yosemite - Tenaya is a 4-star eco-friendly resort. located in Fish Camp, Tenaya at Yosemite is in a rural area and in the mountains. Pioneer Yosemite History Center is a notable landmark, and the area's natural beauty can be seen at Sierra National Forest and Mariposa Grove.

The kids and adults would love the rock climbing, archery, hiking, snowshoeing and ice skating, and biking at this resort. Enjoy pizza and more at the two onsite restaurants.

Don't miss Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. Jet skiing, kayaking, and rafting offer great chances to get out on the surrounding water, or you can seek out an adventure with horse riding nearby.

Lake Tahoe, California

If your family is looking for some serious snow action, Lake Tahoe is a driving distance of roughly 7 hours from LA.

Activities & Attractions:

The resort’s Mountain Sports Center located right on Highway 89 can get you set with gear and send you off on an adventure. The resort has miles of groomed trails for cross country skiing, or like you mentioned people can pull on the snowshoes and tour Tallac Historic Site. The resort’s General Store is open year round and is a great place to grab breakfast. Breakfast is served 7 days a week in the dining area of the store in front of the large stone fireplace.

Or go experience a one of kind yearly tradition at Camp Richardson – Snowshoe cocktail races. Other destinations have races, but nothing comes close to this three-part race series held on the beach in front of the Beacon Bar and Grill.

Snowshoes are provided. The winner is the fastest and cleanest -- no spillage allowed -- at the finish. For their efforts, competitors can win prizes that range from snowshoes and dining certificates to equipment and marina rentals.

Registration is free and there are multiple race categories. After racers can refresh with the resort’s signature Rum Runner or try one of the new winter cocktails on tap.

The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe, which opened in June, is the newest addition to the 235-acre lakefront property. The Lodge boasts154 luxury guest rooms, 8,500 sq. ft. spa and salon, 200-seat bistro restaurant, kids camp, premium shopping, and much more.

The Lodge’s pool is heated year round, and the pool area includes an outdoor fireplace and a 40 person hot tub with direct views to the lake. The pool and hot tub have bar service and are accessible to guests of the lodge.

The Lodge’s new restaurant, the Bistro, has unique flatbread pizza options like the Ai Funghi E Salsicce, with elk sausage and wild boar salami, soppresetta, smoked provolone, wild mushrooms, and herbs.

South Lake Tahoe’s NHL sized ice arena offers daily public skate sessions including night skate sessions on the weekends. Or catch a hockey game. The rink is home to the WSHL Tahoe Icemen.

Afterward, stop by nearby Revive Coffee & Wine Bar for a great wine selection and delicious coffee drinks (for adults only).

Where to Stay:

PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn is a cozy, lodge-like resort which is located near the north shore of Lake Tahoe. You will feel right at home at the Squaw Valley hotel. From skiing to mountain biking, shopping to fine dining, PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn has all the ingredients of an invigorating Lake Tahoe getaway for families.

Resort at Squaw Creek is a luxury California resort in an idyllic mountain setting at the base of Squaw Valley. The hotel features on-site hydroponic garden that sustains distinct restaurants; a full-service spa and fitness center; Mountain Buddies, a comprehensive children's program, and a shopping promenade.

Enjoy guided fly-fishing, 18 km of Nordic trails, a private ice rink, year-round outdoor swimming pools, access to miles of hiking and biking trails, boating, rafting and paddle boarding on nearby Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River, horseback riding, tennis, snowshoeing, and of course skiing.

Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel is South Lake Tahoe's only all-suite lodging option. Located at the base of Heavenly Mountain Resort and moments from world-class gaming, dining, ice-skating, golf, shopping, hiking, biking, entertainment, and lake activities, the stylish Lake Tahoe accommodations are perfect for an adventure vacation for families.

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake is an excellent winter getaway from Los Angeles. It’s an alpine lake that’s nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains, and it has a reputation for being a hotspot for celebrities and other affluent individuals. Big Bear Lake is a great place to visit to enjoy the crisp winter air and take advantage of the relatively warm water.

The lake is frozen during this time of year, but it’s still possible to walk on the surface. Big Bear Lake is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts and winter sport enthusiasts. You can go skiing, ice skating, sledding, or snowboarding. You can also visit the Bear Mountain Zoo or the Big Bear Discovery Museum. There are also many great cabins and hotels near Big Bear Lake if you’re looking for a place to stay.

Big Bear Lake is around a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles. For more details, check out our Awesome Family Guide to Big Bear and Beyond!

Cordonado, California

For families who want to stay close to home, kick back and relax, and enjoy the beautiful SoCal weather, we suggest having a Christmas vacation at Loews Coronado Bay Resort in Coronado, California.

The drive is a short 2 1/2 hours, and by the time the kids have some snack, play a few games, and have some family bonding in the car, you will be at your destination. The Resort has three heated pools, hot tub spa, a dry sauna, and is absolutely gorgeous and luxurious.

Christmas Eve - Chef Jamie Dunn has created an amazing Christmas Eve seafood feast in Crown Landing. This four-course prix-fixe menu will showcase the best from Catalina Offshore. Regular a la carte and kids menus will also be available.

Christmas Day - Experience a special Christmas Day Champagne Brunch in Crown Landing featuring traditional brunch fare like Salt Creek mussels, snow crab claws, eggs benedict, brioche French toast and locally cured sausages; holiday classics like sourdough and chestnut stuffing and roasted acorn squash with cinnamon butter; omelet and carving stations and a holiday dessert bar paired perfectly with a wonderful mimosa bar.

Christmas Dinner - Chef Jamie Dunn has prepared a special Christmas dinner in Crown Landing featuring holiday classics like brown sugar glazed ham, roasted salmon, and Huntsinger Ranch turkey, seafood, and a delicious dessert bar.

If you decide to get out of the resort and explore the city, check the calendar of events for Coronado City.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale Arizona is a great short drive from Los Angeles. The drive is generally 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Activities & Attractions:

OdySea in the Desert - home to the Southwest’s largest aquarium (opened last summer) just launched a new attraction, Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs. The attraction takes children and adults back in time to the era of dinosaurs with interactive educational exhibits featuring more than 50 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, fossil excavations, face painting, sluicing activities, balloon art, and more.

Butterfly Wonderland is one-of-a-kind and the largest butterfly atrium in North America. It is right next to OdySea in the Desert!

Flying Trapeze Classes - The Phoenician (which is a great kid-friendly resort) has partnered with iFly to provide guests and locals with Flying Trapeze classes on the property! This is for ages 4 and up.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is located in the heart of Scottsdale and is the most unique park of its kind. Kids can see model trains to full-size and take a ride on 1950s carousel.

There are also many outdoor activities such as Papago Park and The Desert Botanical Garden, where kids can be “desert detectives” and learn how plants and animals survive in desert environments.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has activities for all-ages throughout the year and has specific packages you can purchase such as the “Mommy, Me and an American Girl Package,” which includes luxurious mommy-daughter time (complete with manicures and a trip to the American Girl Scottsdale store.)

The Phoenician, which has recently undergone a massive renovation, has on-going organized activities (such as crafts and games) and a full-size jungle gym, sandbox and half-sized basketball court.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch has hands-on crafting for the kids where they can make dream catchers and rain sticks. They also have a 2.5-acre “water playground,” three-story water-slide and a sand beach.


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