No, Los Angeles winters don’t feature any snow. And subzero temperatures? Forgetaboutit. You’ll have to deal with (mostly) sunny skies and moderate 60-degree weather instead.
Not to worry – Los Angeles does have its share of uniquely winter fun, much of it outdoors. Here are 10 family friendly winter nature outings in Los Angeles worth checking out.
1. Play in the snow.
True, there’s no snow in Los Angeles. But it isn’t far away. Good spots for beginners (read: you can pull off to the side of the road and go play) can be found at Wrightwood or Mt. Pinos in Frazier Park. Snow Summit, Big Bear and Mountain High make for nice winter weekend getaways.
2. Attend a star party.
Winter night skies put on quite an epic star display. Public star parties are offered at the Griffith Observatory once a month. Volunteers provide free use of telescopes and other equipment, allowing families to look at the sun, moon, stars and planets.
3. Go orange picking.
Orange picking is a quintessentially Southern California activity. Head to one of the last working groves at Heritage Park in La Verne for a chance to pick your own fruit right off the trees. The season runs through mid-March.
4. Sled the Venice sand berms.
The yearly sand berms that help prevent winter waves from flooding Venice are now up. Grab a saucer (or a boogie board) and head to the slopes – they usually stay up until March.
5. Hit the trails.
Winter’s moderate temperatures make for great hiking. Bring snacks and wear layers. Then head to one of our favorite Los Angeles winter hiking spots.
6. Go whale watching.
The gray whale migration along the California coast takes place during the winter months. You can watch from the shore or take a guided boat tour from one of many locations up and down the coast.
7. Visit a migrating monarch butterfly grove.
Okay, technically this isn’t actually in Los Angeles. But it’s so cool you gotta check it out! Monarch butterflies migrate to Goleta each November through February. You can see them for free at the Goleta Butterfly Grove just north of Santa Barbara.
8. Head to the beach.
Beaches are overlooked (and empty) during winter. Bring a jacket – and maybe a kite – and take advantage of having the place practically to yourselves. Check out my list of the best beaches in Los Angeles to figure out which is best for your family.
9. Do some bird watching.
The Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society offers free, guided family birding walks at Malibu Lagoon State Beach every fourth Sunday of the month at 10 a.m., rain or shine.
10. Explore local tide pools.
Winter is the time to head to the tide pools. And Leo Carrillo State Park is one of our favorite spots. There’s some 1.5 miles of beach, tide pools & coastal caves here – plus a kid-friendly beach that’s not too bad, either.
For more places to explore nature in Los Angeles, follow my Los Angeles Nature Fun board on Pinterest.