A few winters ago, I took Field Trip Boy and Field Trip Girl to play in the snow at Mt. Baldy. Boy, did that not go over so well! I forgot the most essential clothing item…winter gloves! My kids lasted, oh, maybe 20 minutes and then we got back in the car and headed down the mountain. So much for that adventure!
I am bound and determined to never repeat that same mistake twice! This winter I plan to rent a cabin in the mountains and reintroduce my children to the concept of “having fun” in the snow. But this time I will be sure to bring gloves!
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Best Places To Enjoy The Snow In Southern California
Here are some of the best places in Southern California to play in the snow:
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Idyllwild is a cozy little mountain top community located above the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County. The village itself is quaint and beautiful, especially during the winter time. It does snow in Idyllwild, but there is no snow skiing allowed. Therefore, it is typically not as crowded as other mountain communities such as Wrightwood or Big Bear.
My family has been to Mt. Baldy twice. Once, in 2016 to go snow tubing at Mt. Baldy’s Tubing Park, and in 2017 to play in the snow. You can easily get to Mt. Baldy in about 1 and 15 minutes from anywhere in Orange County. At the top of the mountain, they offer skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. My favorite part about Mt. Baldy is that you don’t have to go very far up the mountain to find the snow. My children and I like to go half way up and then stop on the side of the road to play. We also bring our own snow sleds.
Back in 2010, my family and I rented a time share and spent the weekend in Palm Springs. While in town, we took the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to enjoy the view of the valley and play in the snow at the top of the mountain. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway starts at Valley Station and travels more than 5,800 feet up to Mountain Station in the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. There’s plenty to do once you reach the top including snow shoeing and cross country skiing.
Big Bear Lake is a unique mountain resort surrounded by the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest. Activities include skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and cross-country skiing. The drive to get to Big Bear is fairly quick too. About a 1-3 hour drive from any major city in Southern California. Other fun activities in the area include visiting the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, the Big Bear Discovery Center and inner tubing at Big Bear Snow Play.
Lake Arrowhead is another mountain top community located in the San Bernardino National Forest. It is a great place to spend a weekend playing in the snow. Families can stay at a cottage near the lake and head over to the Lake Arrowhead Village for some shopping and eating. There are also numerous day hikes around the area.
Snow Valley is very close to the town of Running Springs on the way to Big Bear. When it snows, Snow Valley has a special area designated for families to go sledding and snow playing. Sledding is also available at Snow Drift – Snow Tubing Park.
Mountain High located in Wrightwood is a snowy ski village nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains. They have 3 resorts that offer something for everyone including skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and of course making little snowmen with your kids!
Palomar Mountain is a hidden gem surrounded by the The Cleveland National Forest. Home to Palomar Mountain State Park and the Palomar Observatory, the Palomar Mountains include peaks ranging from 3000-6000 feet above sea level. If you decide to play in the snow at Palomar Mountain State Park, an Adventure Pass is required.
At just over 6000 feet above sea level, Mount Laguna is one of the most popular places to see winter snow coming from the San Diego area. If there is snow, chains are required and you’ll need to purchase them ahead of time. The Laguna Mountain Lodge has reasonably-priced accommodations, a Visitor Center and Adventure Passes for sale for $5.00.
So let’s hope, the next time my family and I visit the snow, I can help turn Field Trip Boy’s grumpy face into a happy one!
Happy Field Tripping!