We are now officially in the dead of winter, with temperatures across the country plunging and leaving the majority of Americans to count the days (and seconds) until spring’s arrival. Of course, and not to rub it in, Southern California is still sunny and in the 70s, but that doesn’t mean Angelenos can’t take advantage of the gifts from Old Man Winter. This time of year is perfect for taking a quick jaunt away from the city to enjoy a little snow and cold (everything’s good in small doses), or relax while thinking about how good SoCal has it. Here are some of our favorite destinations that are just a stone’s throw from Culver City.
LOCATION: Lake Tahoe
DISTANCE FROM CULVER CITY : 4 hours, 35 minutes by plane; from Bob Hope Airport to Reno-Tahoe International.
When it comes to ski resorts in the vicinity of Los Angeles, you can’t get much better than the stunning properties that make up Lake Tahoe, the jewel among them being Heavenly Mountain. With 3,500 vertical feet for skiing and riding, and breathtaking views of the lake and the Sierra Nevada and Carson mountain ranges, Heavenly is sure to please even the most fickle fans of winter. Liesl Kenney, the Public Relations Director for the Mountain, cites the “24/7 Vegas-style nightlife” as another major reason to take the trip. “We offer a high-energy resort experience like no other” says Kenney. And she isn’t kidding. There’s also a mobile DJ station that pumps out jams to skiers and riders as they’re making their way down from the massive peak. “It’s complete with 52 high-output speakers provided by Kicker Audio, and 1,200 watts of power,” Kennedy boasts. Turn it up! More info here.
LOCATION: Palm Springs
DISTANCE FROM CULVER CITY: 2 hours, 10 minutes by car.
Palm Springs is home to an abundance of awesome locations that allow you to kick back and forget about the real world. One of our favorites has to be Sparrows Lodge, a rustic getaway that epitomizes the definition of the word “vacation,” largely due to the fact that guest rooms aren’t outfitted with televisions, phones, or alarm clocks. According to Ashley Galvan, a Guest Services Agent at the Lodge, it’s “kind of like going camping, but yet not camping.” Forget about the kind of camps you used to visit as a kid. With a painstaking attention to rustic details, an outdoor pool made with intricate stonework, and private patios, it’s no wonder that Sparrows used to be a favorite hideaway for the brightest stars in Hollywood during its glamorous 1950s heyday. It’s since been redone, but still maintains that famous charm. “It’s a relaxing place,” Galvan notes. “Palm Springs provides a home away from home atmosphere that the guests seem to be attracted too.” Oh, and did we mention bathrooms outfitted with nozzles that mimic a rain shower? More info here.
LOCATION: Big Bear Lake
DISTANCE FROM CULVER CITY: 2 hours, 19 minutes by car.
Nestled just north of Palm Springs lies Big Bear Lake, a hidden gem offering all the skiing and riding your snowy heart could desire. With stunning scenery, an impressive amount of annual snowfall (100 inches a year, on average), and an active nightlife scene, Bear Mountain is similar to a Colorado resort, only much closer. And if hitting jumps and tricks is your thing, Bear is outfitted with over 120 beginner to advanced jibs including a variety of rails, boxes and walls, so you can get as wild as you want. “Big Bear Mountain Resorts has both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit which have the best skiing and snowboarding conditions in Southern California,” explained Aryana Aguiar, a spokesperson for the resort. “We have over 50 runs available for all riders.” Just make sure to snap plenty of shots of the surrounding San Gorgonio Mountains and Big Bear Lake. Did someone say Instagram? (No filter required.) More info here.
L’Auberge Del Mar
LOCATION: Del Mar- just north of San Diego.
DISTANCE FROM CULVER CITY: 2 hours, 20 minutes by car.
If frost and flurries aren’t your thing, there’s always the respite of a quiet beach. The L’Auberge Del Mar is a quintessential swanky beachside resort located in the quiet community of Del Mar. With a landscaped footpath to the sandy shores of Del Mar Beach (repeatedly voted one of the best beaches in the U.S.), outdoor whirlpools, tennis courts, and 120 guest rooms built for kings, the L’Auberge is like a ritzy Beverly Hills resort crossed with a secluded Hawaiian hotel. And if everything seems brand new on the property, it pretty much is. “In 2008, we underwent an extensive renovation and emerged in its current form the chic and sophisticated Lâ€™Auberge,” noted Bob Harter, the Director of Sales and Marketing at the resort. “We embrace our location through our stylish, yet relaxed design and ambiance. The exceptional dining venues are favorites among the residents, and our activities programming (which includes surfing, hiking, biking) reflects the active lifestyle of this community.” And if L’Auberge’s on-site dining options aren’t enough for you, don’t forget to check out Bully’s North right down the street, which has been perfect the art of the Prime Rib since 1967. More info here.
Ojai Rancho Inn
LOCATION: Ojai (West of Santa Barbara, East of Thousand Oaks)
DISTANCE FROM CULVER CITY: 1 hour, 30 minutes by car.
For those winter travelers short on funds or free time, the Ojai Rancho Inn serves as a quick, budget-friendly escape. Originally a 50s roadside motel, it’s since been converted into its current chic-state, but maintains just the right amount of kitschy roadtrippin’ roots. “We’re only an hour and a half away from LA, but it feels so far removed,” says Ojai proprietor Kenny Osehan. “Friends from LA often say that once they get to Ojai they can finally breathe. The quiet and landscape of the valley makes you feel so far away from the hustle of the city.” The community of Ojai itself is a hidden gem, chock full of small town shops and galleries, and rife with hiking and bike trails to take in the great outdoors. One trail in particular even goes from behind the Inn to Ventura Beach, about 17 miles one way in total. “Ojai is a great place to relax and do a whole lot of nothing. It’s also a fun place to explore at a slower pace. Guests can look for nothing or look for something and be happy either way,” adds Kenny. More info here.
Glen Oaks Big Sur
LOCATION: Big Sur, duh.
DISTANCE FROM CULVER CITY: 5 hours, 40 minutes by car.
Rooms with fireplaces? Check. Heated bathroom floors? Check. An outdoor communal fire-pit surrounded by nature’s beauty? Check and check. Glen Oaks Big Sur is a picture perfect winter destination located in historic Big Sur, which is known for its crisp air, stunning cliffs, and towering trees. With showers built for two and a quiet aura, it comes as no surprise that Travel + Leisure Magazine named it one of the Most Romantic Hotels in the World. Rooms don’t have televisions at this winter getaway, but who needs to watch the latest episode of The Bachelor when you’re enveloped by hundred-year-old Redwoods? More info here.