Blog,  Travel

Top 5 Cozy Cabin Winter Getaway Ideas in California

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… minus the white snow that skips over where we live in Southern California. It’s this time of year where my husband, L, and I crave a cozy cabin winter getaway with our pup Ace. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and into the beautiful great outdoors.

Sometimes if you want a white Christmas in California, you gotta go get it yourself – and this list of winter cabin trips was inspired by just that!

Here are the Top 5 Cozy Cabin Winter Getaway Ideas in California!


Number one on this list is also our top recommended Christmas vacation idea in the US. Here in Southern California, Big Bear is one of most beloved hotspots for a cozy cabin getaway for couples, families, and friend groups alike. The snowfall here is so beautiful, and it’s only about a 2-hour drive from Los Angeles.

When you’re done with the all-day winter activities like snowboarding, skiing, and tubing, it’s so nice to go back to a cozy cabin in the woods. Light up the fireplace, have a few drinks, make some s’mores, and have a fun game night in while everyone’s bundled up in festive onesies and fuzzy blankets.

All season long, Big Bear Village will also be decorated with beautiful twinkling lights along the carved bears and woodland creatures – great for cute pictures! Whenever we visit Big Bear, we have to stop by our favorite restaurants – Peppercorn Grille (the Maui crab cakes are to die for!!) and Grizzly Manor Cafe for some delicious breakfast.

RECOMMENDED STAYS: Lakewood Cabins | Black Forest Lodge | Noon Lodge

Image courtesy of Lakewood Cabins via
Image courtesy of Black Forest Lodge via

Sequoia National Park is L’s favorite national park in California. The giant sequoia trees are just something else, and during the winter the air is extra crisp with the fresh smells of pinecones. The trails here are also really enjoyable – such as the Big Trees Trail and Congress Trail (be sure to check with rangers on winter hiking trails). Also check the park website to plan ahead, as it can get quite icy and snowy during the winter time.

I’d also recommend packing some food if you’re cozying up in a cabin because the restaurant options here aren’t great. Though, an honorable mention is the Bison burger at The Peaks Restaurant – I’d recommend it if it’s still on the menu. It’s especially tasty and rewarding after a long day’s adventure.

Note that the ever popular John Muir Lodge and Grant Grove Cabins are open seasonally, so you won’t be able to stay here during the holiday season. Currently, these two accommodations have an estimated opening date of March 22, 2024.

RECOMMENDED STAYS: Wuksachi Lodge | Lazy J Ranch | Montecito Sequoia Lodge

Image courtesy of Wuksachi Lodge via Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Beloved by snowboarders and skiers, Mammoth Lakes is a beautiful town known for Mammoth Mountain. It’s often considered the more rugged alternative to Big Bear, and is more suited for adventure-seekers who enjoy exploring the great outdoors beyond the typical tourist attractions.

There are so many outdoor recreation activities here – snowshoeing, snowmobiling, tubing, sledding. Its majestic beauty also makes it so easy to unplug and leave all your troubles behind. And if you’re looking for activities to do outside winter sports, I highly recommend visiting the natural hot springs. Popular options include Wild Willy’s, Crab Cooker, and Hilltop Tub (gotta love all these names!).

Mammoth Lakes is also located more conveniently for Northern California travelers, and it is only 45 minutes away from Yosemite National Park. It is important to note, however, that during the winter time the Tioga Pass will NOT be open so the 45-minute journey actually stretches to 6 hours!

RECOMMENDED STAYS: Edelweiss Lodge | Snowcreek Resort Vacation Rentals | The Village Lodge


With the magical snowfall that blankets Lake Tahoe each year, it’s a no surprise that snowboarders and skiers flock to its world-class ski resorts for some winter fun. It takes 7 to 8 hours to drive from Los Angeles to this Winter Wonderland, but many still make the trip over to see Mother Nature in all her glory.

Beyond the epic winter adventures, you can also check out Heavenly Village for some ice-skating, axe-throwing, mini-golf, and even get dressed up and transported to a whole different period at the old-time photo booth. There are also many hiking options, and my personal favorite activity to check out is the unique experience of dog sledding.

You can also stack your trip to Lake Tahoe with a visit to beautiful Reno, since they’re about a 30-minutes drive from each other. Hit up downtown Reno for some après-ski fun at the many restaurants and bar options before you return to your cozy cabin.

RECOMMENDED STAYS: Cedar Pines Resort | Black Bear Lodge | Bear Crossing South Lake Tahoe

Image courtesy of Cedar Pines Resort via
Image courtesy of Black Bear Lodge via

There’s nothing quite like Yosemite National Park – you just can’t help but stare in awe at the majestic mountains of El Capitan as you drive through the park. Every scene is picture-perfect with its towering granite rocks and cascading waterfalls. It’s also home to the iconic Half Dome.

L and I both consider our hikes in Yosemite as our most favorite and memorable trips. It’s just one of those places where you think to yourself, “the more I see, the less I know.” Every problem in life just seems trivial, and every worry seems so insignificant when you’re adventuring in the beauty of Yosemite.

Consider a trip here with friends, or bring your adventure pup with you as you explore the great outdoors together. At night, you can all make a mug of hot cocoa and bust out some board games while snuggled up next to the cozy fire in your warm cabin.

RECOMMENDED STAYS: Yosemite View Lodge | Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite | Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *