What to do in California in January? Weather and Event Guide

california winter

Are you planning a winter trip to California? The festive season may be at an end, but there’s still plenty to see and do in January, long before the summer season takes hold!

In this blog, we’ll guide you through some of our favorite suggestions for activities and destinations in the state, as well as offering a few weather tips which are sure to help with your packing and planning.

Is January a good time to go to California?

January is a great time to visit California, particularly if you’re eager to avoid the crowds. Spring and summer tends to be when people usually make the trip, yet many of the top attractions are open year round – meaning you can enjoy them in peace, and with fewer queues.

In addition, there are many experiences which are exclusive to January, with natural wonders and events happening throughout the month. With your Good Nite Inn promo code, you’ll soon be on your way to organizing your dream winter break.

Packing for your January trip

While it’s not as cold as many areas during January, it’s still wise to pack a few wintry essentials for your stay during a trip to the Good Nite Inn Buena Park CA or any of our other California venues.

As with any other trip, the items you pack will depend largely on the kind of vacation you have in mind, but we recommend compiling a list which suits both the climate and the geography of your chosen destination.

January generally brings weather which is suitable for a stroll by the sea, but beaches are almost invariably a little chiller than inland areas, particularly later in the day.

For campers and hikers, bring plenty of layered items of clothing and keep a close eye on the weather reports for any unexpected weather events. Crucially, remember to pack your sunscreen. It might be winter, but Californian sun will still be out in full force – and you need to stay protected.

Is it cold in California in January?

Temperatures in California generally depend on where you’re located and can vary from one place to the next. By the coast, it’ll be cooler than the summer months, but not necessarily cold. Desert locations are also at their most temperate, making this the ideal time to visit while staying at hotels in California USA.

Does California get snow?

Southern California is dry and warm compared to its Northern counterpart, and even Northern California is noted for its almost constant sunshine. However, in California’s mountain regions, you will find plenty of snow. Sierra Nevada has significant snow coverage during the winter months. Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear Lake and Lake Tahoe tend to be especially cold and wintery in January.

In general, you can expect between 300-500 inches of snow in the coldest regions of California throughout the snowy season – so don’t forget your skis or snowboard if you’re a winter sport fan.

Which cities have snow in California in January?

rate skiing

For snow in California, you may find yourself heading to high elevation towns and cities which provide a great combination of stunning views and abundant snow. Many of these destinations are noted for their snow-specific activities (skiing, sledding, etc.) so you’ll never be short of things to do during your visit.

Cities most likely to experience snow are located in the Sierra Nevada, as well as the area of Sacramento, which also experiences a higher than usual snowfall. However, your best bet for enjoying the snow is to head for the mountain towns. Staying at a hotel such as Good Nite Inn Salinas leaves you ideally placed for exploring the local area during January.

Key destinations for January in California

January in California offers an abundance of great locations and attractions. Here are some of our favorite seasonal mainstays!

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

One of California’s most popular spots, the Palm Springs aerial tramway will give you access to incredible mountain views and a range of great winter activities. If you’re a fan of skiing or snowboarding, this is the place to be but if you prefer a slower pace, simply bring a camera and enjoy the journey!

  • Big Bear Lake

A mountain resort surrounded by San Bernadino National Forest, this is a great spot for more winter activities like sledding, cross-country skiing and snowboarding. It’s also only a short distance from Southern California’s largest cities, making it extra-accessible for a quick day trip.

We recommend heading to the Big Bear Alpine Zoo if you’re travelling with children, as they’re sure to find it fascinating.

  • Mount Laguna

Positioned around 6000 feet above sea level, Mount Laguna is a popular destination for snow-seekers in January, with lots of adventurous activities to enjoy in the surrounding area.

Activities for January in California

As well as great destinations to explore, January also provides a number of unique opportunities to see the local wildlife. This is the month when Monarch butterflies arrive in areas like Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz, and their morning flight can be particularly spectacular to see up close.

In addition, this is a great month for observing elephant seals, who head for the Ano Nuevo beach, as well as Piedras Blancas. Whale watchers are also in for a treat, with grey whales particularly abundant during this month. For those with an interest in outer space, the Quadrantid Meteor Showers are another January fixture, which takes place far from the bright lights of California’s cities.

California Vacation Packages & Offers

Ready to plan your California trip? Then we have the ideal way to make your money go further, with a selection of Winter Season Specials which provide access to top Californian hotels during January.

To find out more, give us a call or simply grab your promo code and get booking.