Christmas vacation places in Southern CA.
December 18, 2013 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Hi! Since most of our family is traveling for the holidays, and we haven’t yet taken our honeymoon (we got married in October), we thought we’d take a trip ourselves. But we could use some recommendations for someplace to go.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

-Driving distance from San Diego/Orange County. We’re having dinner with family in Newport Beach on Christmas Eve, and would drive directly from there to check in that night. (we live in north San Diego County and our definition of driving distance is several hours, we're comfortable with long drives)

-We’re looking to go someplace that has snow. We’re not planning on skiing, just relaxing inside and having a ‘white Christmas’ in a nice resort-style place.

-Good restaurants in/around the place we’d stay. Other inside fun things like museums, bookstores, and the like a big plus.

-Massage on-site. We’re expecting a baby in February, and stress has been kind of high, so we’re looking to take some ‘us time’.

Basically, we’re looking for the up in the mountains version of someplace like the Madonna Inn – mid-range price, nice amenities, and a place to relax for four or five days.
posted by FritoKAL to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
We did our honeymoon in Tahoe (albeit, in September). We stayed on the Nevada side, so plenty of big name hotels, with good rates and lots of amenities.

Otherwise, it sounds like you're looking at Arrowhead.
posted by vignettist at 10:30 AM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Big Bear Lake/Bear Mountain is a ski resort about 3 hours from San Diego. They have man-made snow.

I like Tahoe myself, although that is a HAUL from San Diego. 600 miles. That's a day, in ANYONE's Book!

I recommend Northstar, the resort is adorable and they have some really nice accomodations there. You can get a condo and do some meals in, saves money and it allows you not to have to get dressed or leave your condo if you don't feel like it.

You can go into Tahoe proper, if you want to gamble or see a show or whatever.

The drive up shouldn't be too bad, the only sketchy part is 50, it can be a white knuckle experience if there's snow or ice (you'll need chains if that's the case.)

Yosemite might be an option, but there's no availability at the Ahwanee, more's the pity.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:42 AM on December 18, 2013

I think Big Bear is the closest you'll get guaranteed snow. Lake Arrowhead is pretty, but there is nothing to do up there.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:07 AM on December 18, 2013

If you go to Northstar or anywhere else on the north side of Tahoe, you'll take 80 all the way up, not 50. It's still recommended that you bring chains, but the 80 is a bigger freeway and gets plowed faster/more often.

That said, Tahoe is at least a day's drive from San Diego and if you're leaving at 8pm say, I'd be shocked if you got there before 3 or 4 am. And that's with good weather and no traffic anywhere. I wouldn't recommend it given your time frame.

If you do decide to go there, definitely stay at Northstar though. It's one of the nicer resorts and it's got ice skating and other stuff to do there.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 12:55 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

There is no snow in Lake Tahoe right now, and none projected until the 29th or so. Some of the resorts are making snow, but it sounds like it's not what you're looking for.

Tahoe Webcams
posted by cnc at 2:22 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

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