Snow Fun in California

By Nora Heston Tarte

Who says you have to cross state lines to enjoy the snow? Stay in California—and just a short drive from home—with these kid-friendly winter wonderlands.

Lathrop
Okay, so the snow isn’t exactly falling from the sky in Lathrop, but Dell’Osso Family Farms brings the next best thing to San Joaquin County. Stop by the farm before January 5th for snow tubing, ice skating, and drive-thru holiday lights. Some of the farm’s other attractions will be open, too. Check out the train ride, zip lines, and holiday store. HolidaysOnTheFarm.com

Truckee
Dubbed Tahoe Donner, this snow area offers real snow with a focus on family fun for young kids. The ski resorts around tend to focus on skiing and snowboarding, but at Tahoe Donner young families pay one low price for access to tubes, sleds, and plenty of snow toys. TahoeDonner.com

Tahoe City
Head to Tahoe but avoid the crazy crowds in South Lake. Tahoe City is home to a hill dedicated to sledding and snow play at Granlibakken Resort. Bring your own saucers and sleds, or borrow some on-site. Kids under age four sled for free. Expert tip: Stay and play. The lodge offers play discounts to guests. Granlibakken.com

Soda Springs
Get everything in one spot. Soda Springs Resort (near Truckee) has snow sports for older kids (including skiing and snowboarding lessons) and a snow playground for kids age eight and younger. Climb a snow mountain, rent a kid’s snow mobile, go tubing, and more. SodaSprings.com

Lyons Reservoir
Head south toward the Stanislaus National Forest, to find snow off of Highway 108. Here, Lyons Reservoir is the first place you’ll hit, with a town called Strawberry not much farther. It’s less about tubing and skiing in this area and more about snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Yosemite
Yosemite is oft-visited in the summer months, known for its challenging hiking paths and good camping spots. In winter, Yosemite transforms. Throughout Yosemite County there are plenty of opportunities to have the winter vacation of your dreams. Ice skate, ski, snowboard, cross country ski, snowshoe, ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, snowmobile, and more. You can even camp during winter here with the right gear.

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