Vacationing with Soul: Exploring California’s Golden State in December 2023!

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California, the Gilded State, is where dreams become reality. Popularly referred to as the “Residence of Hollywood”, this bustling state of the United States of America is a heavenly place where everything is beautiful. With picturesque coastline, artistic heritage, exotic beaches, diverse culture, towering mountains, vibrant nightlife, awe-inspiring landscapes and much more, California guarantees a fulfilling vacation to one and all. California in December is ideal for engaging in thrilling activities like trekking, biking, and camping excursions. There is joyous cheer all around with various theme-based events being hosted in different corners of the city. The city also offers you the opportunity to savor various types of cuisine, music and culture.

Climate In California In December

The climate in California varies depending on which part of the state you are visiting. For instance, the deserts are significantly warmer than the coastal areas. The days are mostly sunny with 8 hours of sunshine, however, you will experience some light rainfall. The temperature drops to 8.3 degrees Celsius, particularly at night, while during the daytime, the temperature hovers around 19.4 degrees Celsius.

5 Destinations To Explore In California In December

The month of December transforms California into a picturesque destination. The beaches are less crowded and the temperature welcomes you with a slightly cooler breeze. Here is an elaborate list of some fascinating places that are worth exploring with your friends and families, or even solo. Let’s get started..!


1. San Francisco

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The first on the list is San Francisco, filled with lively neighborhoods, ferry buildings, impressive art galleries and the undeniable charm of the City by the Bay. Considered as America’s finest city, San Francisco boasts a number of awe-inspiring sites, multi-cuisine restaurants, cafeterias and don’t miss out on the vibrant nightlife.

San Francisco in December transforms into a dazzling spectacle with stunning light displays and fireworks. We recommend you to visit The Golden Gate Theatre or The Curran for some mind-blowing Broadway hits and shows. You can also partake in thrilling activities like ice-skating, which is a popular winter sports activity in the US.

Major attractions: Alcatraz Island, Museums in SFO, Japanese Tea Garden, Muir Woods National Monument, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Bridge.Best Accommodation Options: Argonaut Hotel, Club Quarters Hotel, Palace Hotel, Fairmont San Francisco, Four Seasons Hotel, Loews Regency and The Ritz-Carlton

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2. San Diego

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If you are searching for an enchanting vacation and enjoy indulging in Mexican cuisine and margaritas, there is no superior place than San Diego. The city offers a plethora of tourist attractions and continues to entice visitors with its pleasant and inviting climate. Observing the gray whales off the coast of San Diego is unquestionably the finest activity to partake in.

If you find yourself in San Diego during the month of December, do not miss the opportunity to visit Balboa Park’s December Nights, the Parade of Lights, and the Old Globe Theater, which features an annual performance of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Additionally, make sure to witness the mesmerizing sunset views at Sunset Cliffs and Point Loma, which are some of the most incredible in the world. Just so you know, the sunset occurs between 4:50 and 6:00 in December.

Main attractions: Gaslamp Pet Parade, Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Christmas Parade, Parade of Lights, Balboa Park December Nights, Holiday Bowl, Neighborhood Holiday Lights.Recommended Hotels: Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, The US Grant, Hard Rock Hotel and Kimpton Hotel Palomar

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3. Monterey

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This charming spot situated along the coast is an essential destination to visit if you are planning a trip to California in December. The expansive and remarkable aquarium overlooking the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary attracts a large number of visitors. This world-class aquarium showcases diverse marine life, including sea lions, dolphins, and sharks.

The collection of restored buildings from the Spanish and Mexican era, surrounded by breathtaking coastal landscapes, will undoubtedly captivate you. Beautiful sunsets, exhilarating hiking trails, and delectable seafood have made Monterey a favorite destination among both locals and international tourists.

Main attractions: 17-Mile Drive, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Coast Guard Pier, Monterey State Historic Park, Monterey Museum of ArtRecommended Hotels: Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, Monterey Marriott, Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa, Monterey Bay Inn, and InterContinental The Clement Monterey

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4. Palm Springs

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Replete with lavish hotels, thermal springs, wellness centers, contemporary architectural structures, classic boutiques, high-end restaurants, and much more, Palm Springs is unquestionably one of the finest destinations to explore in California during the month of December. Recognized as one of the warmest locations in California during the winter season, Palm Springs provides numerous opportunities to keep yourself engaged.

Not to be missed, Palm Springs is the hub of RoboLights, the largest residential holiday destination in America, adorned with over 8 million lights. If you are the type of individual who desires to reside, dine, and shop under one roof, Palm Springs is the ultimate place to be.

Key attractions: Palm Springs Air Museum, Indian Canyons, Palm Springs Art Museum, Coachella Valley Preserve, Moorten Botanical Gardens, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, and Mount San Jacinto. Best Hotels to Stay: Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel, Best Western Plus Las Brisas Hotel, Best Western Plus Las Brisas Hotel, Colony Palms Hotel, and Hilton Palm Springs.

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5. Los Angeles

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Los Angeles is a splendid city in Southern California and serves as the epicenter of the film and television industry. Renowned for its iconic Hollywood sign as well as studios like Paramount Pictures, Universal, and Warner Brothers, Los Angeles is a dream destination for aspiring actors as well as travelers and beach enthusiasts from all over the globe. There is a plethora of activities to engage in here for every type of traveler, especially adventure-seekers, couples, youngsters, and surfers. You can embark on a behind-the-scenes tour at Warner Brothers studio, bask in the sunshine on the beaches, catch a few movies, meet celebrities at the Walk of Fame, and so much more.

Key attractions: Hollywood Boulevard, TCL Chinese Theatre, Paramount Pictures, Universal, Warner Brothers. Best Hotels to Stay: Freehand Los Angeles, Hilton Garden Inn Los Angeles Montebello, Libra Hotel, Holiday Inn Los Angeles.

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5 Things To Do In California In December

While you’re at it, why not partake in these enjoyable and thrilling activities in California to inject an element of adventure into your journey. Discover experiences suitable for all types of travelers and age groups here.


1. Yosemite National Park: Hit the Slopes

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Badger Pass Ski Area in Yosemite National Park is accessible during the winter season in December and is an extraordinary location for enjoying skiing. There are multiple instructors at Badger Pass offering lessons for skiing to ensure your safety. Operated by the National Park Service, Badger Pass is an incredible place to engage in both downhill skiing and snowboarding activities. Almost every year, there is a snowfall of 3 feet at the Badger Pass Ski Area.

Operating Hours: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm for Ski areaPricing: INR 3,700 ($52) for adults and INR 1,800 $25 for children

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2. Death Valley: Experience Scenic Views

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Despite its imposing name, Death Valley is one of the world’s most impressive desert wonders. The dramatic hiking trails of this valley encompassing approximately 3,000 square miles, are highly popular among adventure enthusiasts. The breathtaking vistas of this picturesque location with towering mountains in the background will certainly cast a spell on you. Death Valley is an ideal place to appreciate the golden, orange, and brown hues of the earth. Even if you have no desire to hike, you can simply traverse the ridges and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

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3. Lake Tahoe: Ski, Snowboard, And Snowshoe

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Regardless of whether you are traveling with friends, family, or solo, a visit to Lake Tahoe is essential. This pristine location offers an excellent base for enjoying adrenaline-pumping activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding. To make your trip unforgettable, attend the SnowGlobe Music Festival, which takes place every December.

This three-day music festival in Lake Tahoe’s snowy weather attracts some of the world’s top musicians and truly creates a magical experience. For more excitement and adventure, venture to the Sierra Nevada mountains or Mammoth Mountain, California’s tallest peak standing over 11,000 feet. Numerous sporting activities and live events take place here in December.

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4. Bodega Bay: Get a Glimpse of Grey Whales

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A journey to California is unfinished without glimpsing grey whales sailing along the California coast from the Arctic. This is an annual migration occurring, and one could witness mother whales and their newborn calves embarking on this extensive journey. Bodega Bay along Sonoma County’s coast, Point Montara Lighthouse, Año Nuevo State Park, Rodeo Beach, and Point Reyes peninsula are the top five spots to witness this remarkable activity.

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5. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens: Attend The “Festival Of Lights”

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Every Winter, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens transforms into a visual spectacle with thousands of innovative lights and exhibitions. This 47-acre coastal garden, surrounded by the natural elegance of shimmering flowers, is a delightful treat for the eyes. A visit to this botanical garden will undoubtedly enhance your trip. You will discover numerous stalls offering sweets and some of Mendocino’s finest wine. The live music in the background further elevates the atmosphere and mood of the entire festival.

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What To Bring For California In December

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No matter which part of California you are planning to explore, ensure to pack the following items:

  • A cozy winter coat
  • Long-sleeved shirts and sweatshirts are comfortable
  • Denim shorts or trousers are also a viable choice
  • You can even bring some of your finest garments
  • Transport an abundance of sunscreen ointments or creams
  • Carry a high-quality pair of shoes or boots, which are suitable for hiking
  • A lightweight and collapsible umbrella
  • Moisturizing lip balms to prevent dry and cracked lips
  • Electronic devices like a portable charger, mobile charger, and so on
  • Beach attire, if you desire to indulge in swimming at the beaches

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California is linked by various international flights from different corners of the world. So, without any hesitation, book your tickets now and enjoy a delightful and restful vacation in the USA. Make sure to explore all these marvelous places in California in December that will provide you with memories for a lifetime!

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Frequently Asked Questions About California In December

Is December a suitable time to visit California?

Undoubtedly, California enjoys the finest weather in December. The temperature in South California ranges from the mid-50s to the mid-70s and is pleasant for exploring the places with delight.

How chilly is California in December?

California in December experiences light rain showers, but there is sunshine for at least 8 hours per day. The temperature drops to 8.3 degrees Celsius, particularly at night, whereas during the daytime, the temperature is around 19.4 degrees Celsius.

What activities are there to do in California in December?

Skiing, Snowboarding, and Snowshoeing are the three most popular winter activities to engage in during December in California.

Which part of California receives snow?

The Lake Tahoe area, located in the northern part of California and nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, receives snowfall.

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