Disclaimer: Listening to the above playlist will likely cause the booking of an impromptu plane ticket to California.
Anyone else immediately taken back to the OC days? Thanks for that, Phantom Planet. I recently finished a week’s worth of traveling throughout the state of California, and the best accompaniment to those travels were my favorite songs about the Golden State. Take a listen while reading.
I’ve already outlined one of my favorite destinations in the state, the city of LA and its best attribute, beaches. From romantic walks on El Matador beach to kicking your heels up at Hotel Erwin in Venice (that rooftop tho), a lot of fun in the sun can be had here. But what if you want some snow to go with that beach glow?
The sheer fact alone that you can surf and ski in the same day is straight up ridiculous. I think this is what 2Pac was referring to when he dropped “California Love” – there’s just so much to love. Let’s start with Big Bear, a whopping two hour drive from L.A.
Location: Big Bear Lake
Why We Love It: Big Bear Mountain Resorts’ Snow Summit and Bear Mountain offer two distinct mountain experiences. Into jumps, tricks, and terrain parks? Bear Mountain is calling your name. It’s also a perfect mountain for beginners. Not a skier or snowboarder? No problem. Tubing at Alpine Slide + Fat Bikes at Bear Valley Bikes makes for a fun afternoon.
Where To Eat: Big Bear Lake Brewing Co., Grizzly Manor Cafe, Bear Belly Deli (best sandwich I’ve ever eaten)
Where to Sleep: For groups, check out Big Bear Luxury Rentals
Heading further north, you’ll find Mammoth – California’s beloved ski resort. Five hours away from both Big Bear and Los Angeles, Mammoth attracts local Californians and worldly adventure sport enthusiasts alike.
Why We Love It: Mammoth Mountain soars higher than any other in the state of California, coming in with a peak elevation of 11,053 ft. It provides steeps and bowls for a variety of skill levels and has about 300 days of sunshine/yr and an average of 400 inches of snowfall/yr.
Where To Eat: Slocums, The Restaurant at Convict Lake, Burgers Restaurant
Where to Sleep: Juniper Springs Lodge
Moving on up, we hit Lake Tahoe about 3 1/2 hours north of Mammoth. If you’re flying in, driving distance from the Reno-Tahoe airport is about an hour (book Bell Limo Transportation), but you’ll soon be engulfed in the most beautiful winter wonderland. Worth every mile of that drive.
Location: Tahoe (Squaw Valley)
Why We Love It: One of the largest ski areas in the U.S., Tahoe attracts people from all over the world. It’s also surrounded by some incredible scenery, and if I heard any advice, it was to come back during summertime. I love a destination that’s in season year-round. The aerial cable car travels 2,000 vertical feet to High Camp at the summit where the views of Lake Tahoe are stunning.
Where To Eat: Terrace at High Camp (top of Squaw Valley), West Shore Cafe, Uncorked, Christy Hill
Photos by Chris Kauffman
What I Wore in California
Ski gear that turns into chic apres ski attire is the name of the game. No more packing issues and overweight baggage!