Christmas Vacation in Southern California
Christmas Vacation in Southern California

Are you dreaming of a sunshine-filled Christmas vacation? Look no further than Southern California! With its stunning beaches, vibrant cities, and endless outdoor activities, this region offers the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable holiday getaway. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through planning your dream Christmas vacation in Southern California, from choosing the perfect destination to enjoying festive activities. So grab your sunscreen and let’s dive in!

1. Choose Your Destination: Coastal Delights

Southern California has something for everyone, depending on the coastal hotspots. Whatever you’re into or need, it’s got you covered. If you don’t know where to go, then here are a few popular coastal destinations:

a. Santa Monica

Start out heading on your journey through the city off the beach with a vibrant feel. The main point of attraction in this case is the world-famous iconic pier. From lazing on sandy beaches, touring the iconic Santa Monica Pier, and shopping in chic boutiques and eateries that line the Third Street Promenade, little tips: if you’re feeling a little adventurous, take a ride on the Pacific Park’s Ferris wheel at sunset!

b. San Diego

If you are looking for a buffer destination with all family-friendly spots being available in one place, then San Diego may be your best shot. Great weather and innumerable attractions make it a place that’s worth visiting by all families alike. Visit Balboa Park and explore the world-class San Diego Zoo, with all exhibits being interactive so kids can have fun while learning, or visit over 100 interactive displays at the US Midway Museum. If you want some city life magic, then visit their annual December Nights festival, where festive lights fill the streets, live music plays everywhere, and yummy food fills your belly.

c. Newport Beach

For a more laid-back beach experience, venture to Newport Beach. This coastal city is renowned for its picturesque harbor and luxurious beachfront properties. Rent a bike and cruise along the boardwalk, take a scenic harbor cruise, or simply relax on the pristine beaches. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider booking a whale-watching excursion for a chance to spot majestic marine creatures.

2. Experience Festive Delights: Holiday Events and Activities

Southern California pulls out all the stops when it comes to celebrating the holiday season. From light displays that put your eyes into a trance to charming Christmas markets that’ll make your wallet cry, there’s never enough time in the day to do everything. Luckily, we narrowed it down for you so you can skip all the thinking and go straight to doing. Here are a few must-see holiday events and activities:

a. Disneyland Resort

No Christmas vacation in Southern California is complete without a visit to Disneyland. In this magical world, they’ve transformed the park into a winter paradise with fake snow and lights everywhere. And don’t even get me started on the parades and performances that I’m pretty sure caused someone to dislocate their jaw from smiling too hard. But nothing compares to their nightly “Believe… in Holiday Magic” fireworks show, where they project lights onto them as if they were a canvas.

b. The Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn

Every year, Riverside has its famous Festival of Lights at Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, where millions of lights are draped over trees like icing on a cake. This creates such an enchanting atmosphere that it’s difficult not to have your jaw on the floor when you see it in person for the first time. Taking a stroll around the property feels like walking through those background sets they used way back in movies instead of green screens during Christmas scenes. It’s also worth noting that this place does have live music performances, and you might want to try some holiday treats from vendors while you’re listening.

c. Ice Skating by the Beach

One thing that no one has ever wished for is ice skating near a body of water, but yet here we are with rinks near beaches in Southern California, like Ice at Santa Monica or Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, which is basically ice skating but with a beautiful view. So lace up your skates and glide across the ice while enjoying the view of the beach, because what could possibly go wrong?

3. Explore Natural Wonders: Outdoor Adventures

Southern California is known for its beautiful beaches, but there’s more to it than that. The region also offers breathtaking natural wonders and lots of outdoor activities. Here are some spots that will take you out of your comfort zone and into an adrenaline-filled experience.

a. Joshua Tree National Park

Escape the city and get hit with an alien world by checking out this national park. Unique trees, big boulders, and sunsets that’ll leave you breathless are just a few things to experience here. Whether you enjoy hiking through lush trails or pushing yourself to climb rocks, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.

b. Channel Islands National Park

If you plan on going here, make sure you pack your scuba gear. Just off the coast of California are some islands that make up this national park. It’s basically the Galapagos of North America because of how much wildlife there is. Fish and seals are everywhere in this water-based wonderland, so get ready for an up-close encounter with nature’s little fishies.

4. Soak Up the Sun: Beach Escapes

When Southern California is in full swing of beautiful weather, it becomes a nation for sun worshippers. If in your mind a fantastic vacation includes sandy shores and ocean spells, then check out the beach escapes below:

a. Laguna Beach

Located in Orange County, Laguna Beach has the best cliffside views, and of them all, it has the cleanest waters. Lay around in hidden coves, sun yourself away, take a walk around its tide pools, or enjoy its great art scene. Don’t miss the panoramic, iconic, breathtaking ocean views at Main Beach Park while having a perfect picnic.

b. La Jolla

Hidden away like one of California’s secrets is San Diego. The small coastal community of La Jolla gives endless chances for the beach to be crazed. Uncover hidden pristine coves, snorkel at the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, or give seals a whirl on one of their guided kayak tours. For the ultimate in luxury, treat yourself to one of La Jolla’s premier luxury oceanfront resorts.


When you plan your dream Christmas vacation in Southern California, it’s an opportunity to make memories that will last forever. Whether you want to lay in the sun on the beach, check out all the natural beauty, or dive right into the festivities, this area has whatever you’re looking for. Just imagine your perfect getaway and get ready to embrace Christmas like no other. Southern California can’t wait to see you.

At Travel-Wise, we’re committed to turning your family’s dream vacation into a reality. We’re driven by a genuine love for crafting hassle-free and highly enjoyable trips. Our trip planner simplifies the process and adds excitement. Explore curated itineraries, personalize your adventure, and design a journey tailored for your family’s unique preferences.