The weather outside is near perfect as always, but what kid doesn’t want a little snow in the winter months? Kick off your flip flops and get ready to dig out your mittens and enjoy some cold stuff with your little snow angels at these San Diego places for outdoor fun.
Photo credit: Shalini G. via Yelp
Village Walk at Eastlake
No need for mittens. At the Village Walk at Eastlake, just pull on a jacket and head out for an enchanted evening on any night now through Dec. 24. Snow falls each night at 6 and 7 p.m. While you’re there, grab a hot chocolate and catch up on a little shopping. Cost: Free
Garden of Lights
If you’re looking for the beauty and wonder of the season that will leave you feeling warm fuzzies, the Garden of Lights at San Diego Botanic Garden offers a beautiful celebration of the season that includes snow on certain nights. Open Dec. 6 – 23 and 26 – 30, from 5 – 9 p.m., the event features a snowy hill for sliding, marshmallow roasting, horse drawn wagon rides, visits with Santa, live music and hot mulled wine. The garden dazzles with thousands of lights making for a magical family night. Each day is different; snow is more likely on certain days than others and events vary day to day, so check the schedule online. Cost: $6 – 14/person (plus $1 – $3 for crafts and wagon rides)
At Sea World’s Snow World, jump up and down in the frosty stuff and sled down a hill. The park is decked out in holiday lights galore, something that deserves a stay until after the sun goes down. You can also visit Santa in his cottage, take a picture with real reindeer, or check out a holiday-themed sea otter show. Snow World is open daily until Jan. 4. Cost: Included in park admission (costs vary)
Insider’s Tips: If you’re planning a full day at the park, save this attraction until the end of the day since little ones may get wet. Or, if you visit here first, bring a change of clothes and find an all day locker located adjacent to the Reservation Center. Expect lines if your kids plan on sledding. Visit the website ahead of time to learn about height restrictions for sledders before you go.
Photo credit: San Diego Botanic Garden’s Facebook page
Helen Woodward’s Frosty Farm
Want to delight in snow with little ones before bedtime? Expect to frolic in falling snow at the Helen Woodward’s Frosty Farm event. Take a one of a kind picture with Santa and his miniature horse. Enjoy face painting, crafts, hot chocolate, cookie decorating, and fun animal encounters with alpacas, bunnies and doves. Frost Farm takes place weekends in December, through Dec. 21. Cost: $20/child, $9/adult
Insider’s Tip: Reservations required for Santa pictures this year and limited to children 12 and under. Reserve your time on the website.
LEGOLAND‘s Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights
Looking for winter thrills? At Holiday Snow Days and Winter Nights, build a snowman with lego hat and sunglasses, throw snowballs, and tube down a hill. You can also take pictures with a life sized LEGO Santa, and take in the sights of the LEGO Holiday Village. New this year is a family ice skating rink. Be sure to make skating reservations ahead of time. Fireworks dazzle the night sky Dec. 26 – 30 at 7 p.m. Cost: Included in park admission ($20/person for ice skating)
Photo credit: Shelby B. on Yelp
Looking for a quiet winterland oasis? It’s a windy, hour-plus journey north of San Diego, but beautiful Palomar Mountain is truly where the treetops glisten. The meadows covered in fresh powder make winter come alive to San Diegans. While there, check out the popular Palomar Observatory. But make sure to check their website before you start the drive for information on possible road closures.
Insider’s Tip: Remember that with this quiet, remote area you’ll be away from city conveniences. This means there’s no gas station on the mountain and only one store and restaurant. So load up the car with snacks and a thermos with hot cocoa. Check out the My Palomar website for tips to prepare for your visit.
Photo credit: Tim H. via Yelp
Abounding in mountain fun, head to East County for plenty of snowy choices and mountain fun. About one hour from San Diego, Cuyamaca State Park offers meadows that are fun to stomp in and have the perfect family snowball fight. Pull to the legal turnouts and hop out for free fun. There are also two day use areas: Green Valley and Paso Picacho that serve as campgrounds during the rest of the year, are good places to park your car in a lot and have a safe place to play with little ones in the snow. $8 per vehicle to park in Day Use areas.
Drive about 15 minutes further and arrive in Julian. Park along the streets and enjoy the old fashioned feeling of this historic town at its best:covered in snow! After you play, grab some warm apple cider and a piece of pie. If parking in the bustle of the town isn’t for you, head to William Heise Park parks where you can find parking, snow in the meadow, and a playground for the kiddos to run.
Mt. Laguna: A Weekend of Snow Fun
Looking for a weekend of snow adventure? Mt. Laguna receives the most snowfall in San Diego and Laguna Mountain Lodge with its comfortable motel rooms and cabins equipped with fireplaces, cooking facilities, satellite television, and full baths make for an affordable way to cozy up after a day filled with making snowmen or snow shoeing. Go ahead, celebrate winter! Cost: $65 – $200/night.
Do you like to play in the snow as part of your winter celebration? Tell us where in the comments!
— Cherie Gough