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The ‘Most Magical’ winter destinations in California

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While California probably isn’t the first place you think of when you think about winter, per se, there are some towns that could serve as the backdrop of a Hallmark Christmas movie.

Tripstodiscover.com, a website that provides trip planning suggestions and resources, released a list of the 50 “Most Magical” winter wonderland towns in the United States.

While most of the towns featured on the list are located in states with seasons, three California towns cracked the list.

All three places are well known to Californians as great ski towns, but snow isn’t the only part of the equation. The list also accounted for the little things that make for an ideal getaway, including other winter time activities like ice skating, sledding or hot chocolate by the fire.

These are the “most magical” winter towns in California:

Bear Valley

Home of Bear Valley ski area, this town in Alpine County is known for its outstanding skiing and other winter activities.

Bear Valley averages about 30 feet of snow every year, Tripstodiscover writes.

“Located in the Central Sierra Mountains, the white powdery stuff is often piled as high as 10 feet or more, while the many mountain cabins are laced with icicles and surrounded by towering redwood trees. After a day of play at the Bear Valley Ski Area or one of the tubing/sledding hills, there’s nothing better than coming back to enjoy the warmth of a roaring fire.”

Lake Tahoe

FILE - In this March 5, 2018, file photo, sunlight shimmers off the snow and waters of Lake Tahoe in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
FILE – In this March 5, 2018, file photo, sunlight shimmers off the snow and waters of Lake Tahoe in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Another area in the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe is located along the California-Nevada border with much of the lake encompassed in Placer and El Dorado counties.

When Californians think of Lake Tahoe, most probably think of South Lake Tahoe, the largest town surrounding the lake.

Snowfall can total anywhere from 200 to 500 inches near Lake Tahoe and in the surrounding mountains.

“In the winter, snow almost always blankets the ground but the skies are typically bright and sunny, making it an idyllic place to be, not only to take advantage of some of the country’s best ski resorts but activities for all sorts of adventurers,” TripstoDiscover writes.

Snowshoeing, sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides are also listed as options for those seeking a winter wonderland. There’s also ample spas and resorts, as well as some gambling opportunities on the Nevada side of the lake.

Mammoth Lake

Mammoth Mountain is seen on Nov. 9, 2020. (Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain)
Mammoth Mountain is seen on Nov. 9, 2020. (Peter Morning/Mammoth Mountain)

Home of one of the most popular ski resorts in the world, Mammoth Lakes is obviously a great spot for winter sports.

But it’s not just boarding and skiing on the menu at Mammoth.

“There are miles upon miles of cross-country and snowshoe terrain along with snowmobile adventures, sledding, and plenty of other family fun.”

The website also suggests booking a cabin rental and enjoying some hot cocoa as you sit by an indoor fireplace.

If you’re really itching for a wintertime getaway, but want to leave California to find it, there are 47 other towns you could consider. To see all 50 towns on the list, click here.