Staycations California Top Five
Solvang, Santa Barbara County
Solvang is a unique town with its Danish architecture around town and on buildings. With a small population of about 5,000, most of the businesses are geared towards visitors who come to stroll the streets which are filled with unique shops, variety of restaurants or bakeries, or to enjoy the many festivals throughout the year. The festival in December is called the Julefest (Yule-fest) which features a Christmas Parade, Tree Lighting, Live Nativity Pageant, Holiday Wine Walk and much more!
Besides Solvang itself, the countryside around the area is beautiful with its rolling hills and countryside appeal. www.solvangusa.com
Alamitos Bay and Naples Canals, Los Angeles County
This is one of my favorite places whether it is at the holidays or the middle of summer. Located near Long Beach, Alamitos Bay is filled with a lot of nooks and crannies to take your kayak, SUP, or boat. For Christmas, they light dozens of Christmas tree barges and place them in the middle of one of the main channels. Nearby sits the Naples Canals where you can walk along the sidewalk right at waters edge. The houses along the canals are nicely decorated for the holidays and gondola rides can be booked to give you a view from the water.
Venice Canals, Los Angeles County
This is the same thing as Naples with home viewing accessible along the walkway that stretches throughout the multiple canals. Bridges cross over to each side so you can enjoy all the homes along the way. Just like Naples, every once in awhile you will hear the sweets sounds of a gondolier singing to his passengers.
A fun and easy excursion for your Christmas light viewing, although it can get crowded on the weekends.
Newport Beach Boat Parade, Orange County
This boat parade is the best in the west in my opinion. Boats of every size and shape parade around the bay with some of the most elaborate decorations you will see. Last year’s highlight featured a huge dragon perched at the bow of the boat with fire exploding from its mouth. Not sure where the holidays fit in with that one but it was awesome anyway. Before the parade, take the ferry across to Balboa Island and enjoy the beautifully decorated homes and docks. On weekends you will hear carolers, bands, and hot chocolate and cookies are served along the way.
If this doesn’t get you in the spirit, nothing will.
Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego County
Where else can you watch the sun setting on the ocean while gliding across ice? The answer is at Hotel Del Coronado’s holiday ice rink. The rink is situated only steps from the sand and the hotel grounds are full of holiday spirit and decorations.