Who knew you could ski, surf, and eat generous amounts of avocado all in one weekend?
Catching the winter wave, I spent the weekend both skiing and surfing in California. The Sunshine State isn’t short of snow play, and just a couple hours from Santa Monica and Venice Beach, we were off to Big Bear.
The perfect combination of snow and sun rays, we hit the slopes and the sand within 48 hours, making a California winter the perfect vacation for those who want it all.
Whether you’re craving the outdoors or great food, check out these things to do in So Cal.
Things to Do in Venice Beach + Santa Monica, California
So many things to do and so many people to see! How we spent a day on the shores of Los Angeles:
1. Learn to surf with Aqua Surf School
I wasn’t sure that I could handle the cold of California winter, but surfing in January was not cold! Between the adrenaline and the wetsuit, I was kicking myself for not taking winter surf lessons before (I’m usually overseas during the summer). I really recommend Aqua Surf School, the guys were great and I felt very safe.
Beginner’s luck! I literally got up on my first wave (but not necessarily each wave thereafter).
Candid moments of real high-fives! Haha, so excited!
Feelin’ the endless summer vibe. Thank you California winter.
Taking it a step further… Or backward? Pun intended.
2. Bike from Santa Monica to Venice Beach
We took electric bikes with Pedal or Not. They offer tours with a historical flair — great for families.
3. Check out Abbot Kinney and the Venice Canals.
Bike or stroll, the views aren’t Italian, but they are Los Angelino.
4. Get drinks at the best bar in Venice — the only rooftop bar in Venice! — Hotel Erwin.
We actually also stayed at the chic boutique Hotel Erwin A Joie de Vivre Hotel, Venice, Los Angeles and had a yummy dinner at their downstairs restaurant, Barlo. It’s a full 360 hospitality experience.
5. Survive a night out for a mid-day out: Sunday Brunch in Santa Monica!
Bottomless Mimosas and “All You Can Eat” french toast at The Independence in Santa Monica.
Things to Do in Big Bear
Confessions of a California native: I don’t do cold. Well, I didn’t do cold until I learned to ski … and loved it! Ironically, it’s Snoop and Katy Perry’s Golden Coast that warmly welcomed my snow bunny adventures. Check out these Califronia winter activities in Big Bear.
1. Learn to Ski or Snowboard.
I opted for skiing as I’ve taken snowboarding lessons in the past. As a beginner, I significantly prefer skiing. LOVE it actually. It was easier to pick up and I could see myself doing it for life around the world. Pictured: Ski School at Big Bear Mountain Resort.
2. Go night snow tubing in Big Bear, California
Did you catch me going 1.1. mph on Snapchat? Haha, a lot of fun for kids or to link up as adults.
3. Play on the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain — Big Bear, California.
What’s my age again? I call this snow-carting. It’s like go-carts except … you vs. mountain.
4. Catch the Sunset at Big Bear Lake
I think California beach sunsets have some competition. I suggest checking out the sunset from a respectable distance. Do not walk on the frozen lake as it is not safe.
5. Switch the slopes for some snow biking.
We detoured to tour with Bear Valley Bikes on “fat bikes” designed just for snow and mud.
Where to Stay // Where to Eat
Big Bear Hotels:
Venice and Santa Monica Restaurants
The Independence (order the avocado toast and all-you-can-eat french toast)
Barlo Kitchen and Cocktails (Hotel Erwin)
Big Bear Restaurants:
Big Bear Lake Brewing Company (order the stuffed avocado)
A thank you to Visit California, Big Bear Visitors Bureau, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, and Santa Monica Travel & Tourism for partnering with TravelBreak. Per usual, all opinions are our own.
S H O P
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