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California in December?

Australia
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California in December?

I'm looking at taking a holiday with my sister and my son in California during December/early January 2013/14. We wanted to do outdoors stuff, some cycling, hiking and beaches (moderate level). Is the weather suitable for these sort of activities at this time of the year? I'm coming from Australia, so I don't mind cooler weather, but my sister is escaping the UK winter. Would if be good to tour with a company - usually I organise my own trips. Any advice very welcome.

Los Angeles
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1. Re: California in December?

UK winter and Southern California weather at this time of year is night and day. When its not raining, weather is generally high 60's - low 70's (F). Rain / clouds are possible at this time of year, but then so too is sunshine. So outdoor activities can be hit and miss, depending on presence of rain, or not. For beaches, if its not raining, strolling on the beach? Sure. Dipping your toes in the water? Absolutely. Laying out on the beach to get a tan? Probably not so much. Swimming in the ocean, surfing, etc? No, not without a wet suit. Ocean water temperatures in southern California are not tropical and really only get tolerable for swimming during the summer months, roughly June - September.

Further north in California (think San Francisco, Monterey etc.) the weather is generally colder, and can be rainier.

Fortaleza, CE
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2. Re: California in December?

California's a big state. Can you narrow things down are are you open to the entire state? A lot of desert areas, including but not limited to Death Valley Natl. Park, Joshua Tree Natl. Park and Anza-Borrego State Park, are usually quite good for hiking, and some cycling. Parks close to Los Angeles, such as Santa Monica Mountains, Griffith Park, etc., could be wet on some days but on others could be good for hiking and cycling. I've been to Channel Islands National Park in late winter. There are also, as noted, some very rainy, and even snowy, places in the state.

Santa Monica, CA
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3. Re: California in December?

Sutter makes a good point! Please tell us more: do you want to visit LA? If so, this is the correct forum. If not, you need the California forum. What is your accommodation budget? Will you be renting a car, or do you want to be near transit lines?

In December, the weather can be cool, or it can be nice and warm. Use the nice, warm days for the beach (but the water is likely to be far too cold to go in). Hiking in the Santa Monica mountains is very good in the cooler months. Everything will be decked out in Christmas decorations.

Australia
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4. Re: California in December?

Thank you very much for your reply. I'm not into laying on the beach getting a tan - walking definitely. That was very helpful.

Australia
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5. Re: California in December?

Thank you for your reply. All very useful info. I will look more into the parks you suggest.

Australia
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6. Re: California in December?

Thank you for your reply. I posted on the LA forum as I would be flying into LA and spend some time there before going south/inland. Accommodation would be middle of the road. Yes, we would hire a car. A lot of the cycling tours don't seem to run over the Christmas period. Is this generally the case with touring companies at this time of year? My sister and I want to escape the whole Christmas thing. Wondering if that will be possible! Perhaps walking in the parks is the best bet.

Santa Clarita, CA
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7. Re: California in December?

December is a great time to visit the deserts. Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Etc. is quite nice in December and you can enjoy the desert without the heat. There are some nifty videos over at http://www.touring.com that show off the areas around the Cochella Valley.

Australia
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8. Re: California in December?

Thank you. That sounds like an interesting option for some of the holiday. I appreciate your reply.

Australia
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9. Re: California in December?

I really like the look of Santa Monica. Thank you.

California
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10. Re: California in December?

I think you should organize your overall trip. See my ideas which follow here.

It will not be possible to *escape the whole Christmas thing* You will hear the words *Happy Holidays* used frequently because this is the holiday season (which includes Christmas).

MY TRIP IDEAS

From Los Angeles I could imagine a vacation loop like this where there are better chances of weather being nice, sunny and not snowy or rainy --

o Julian, California, a cute old mining town in San Diego County - Go to www.julianca.com/attractions/

o Palm Springs area (ride the aerial tram and hike around, visit The Living Desert - Go to www.livingdesert.org , hike down to Palm Canyon on a real Native American Indian reservation)

Go to palmspringslife.com/Palm-Springs-Life/… I suggest:

Hike #4 Palm Canyon Trail to the Stone Pools (Palm Springs Indian Canyons)

Length: 6 miles

Hiking Time: 3 hours

Elevation Gain: 880 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Season: October to May

Information: 1-760-323-6018

o Prescott, Arizona - Go to www.visit-prescott.com/ , and Jerome, Arizona and Sedona, Arizona - Go to www.visitsedona.com/‎ Take a jeep tour in Sedona. Take your pick:

pinkjeeptours.com/‎ OR www.redrockjeep.com/‎ OR www.sedonajeeptours.com/‎ OR www.safarijeeptours.com/‎ OR www.adayinthewest.com/‎ OR www.earthwisdomjeeptours.com/‎

o Williams, Arizona - Go to experiencewilliams.com/‎ (on historic highway Route 66) Maybe take the train to Grand Canyon - Go to www.thetrain.com/

o South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park - Go to www.nps.gov/grca/

o Las Vegas (optional)

o Death Valley National Park (optional) Go to www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/

o Mohave National Preserve (optional) Go to www.nps.gov/moja/

o Joshua Tree National Park and Twentynine Palms, California - Go to www.nps.gov/jotr/

Go to palmspringslife.com/Palm-Springs-Life/… I suggest:

Hike #2 Lost Palms Oasis Trail at Cottonwood Spring (Joshua Tree National Park)

Length: 8 miles

Hiking time: 4 hours

Elevation gain: 400 feet

Difficulty: Moderate

Season: September to May

Information: Joshua Tree National Park, 1-760-367-5500

o return to Los Angeles

Whew!

Edited: 21 August 2013, 09:23