7 Holiday Travel Ideas In California’s Central Valley

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Holiday Travel Ideas In California’s Central Valley

The Central Valley is the hidden gem of California, often overlooked and misunderstood. Yea, it's hot, but it's also immensely beautiful, and the weather is near perfect most of the year, especially during the holiday season!


The holidays are a great time to explore all the wonderful things California's Central Valley offers. From wine country to snow-capped mountains, there's something for everyone in this beautiful region. Here are seven great ideas for holiday travel in California's Central Valley.

7 Must-See Central Valley Spots

1. Spend time in nature at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are great places to spend time in nature and escape the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The parks feature towering sequoias, beautiful landscapes, and plenty of opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing. Winter is a particularly magical time to visit as the snow-capped mountains provide a picturesque backdrop.

2. Experience the food and wine of Sonoma County

Sonoma County is one of California's premier wine regions and is home to hundreds of wineries. The area also boasts amazing restaurants, farm-to-table dining, and farmer's markets. Visitors can tour wineries, go on foodie tours, or simply spend time exploring the charming towns of Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, and Sonoma. 

3. Shop till you drop in San Francisco

In the northern reaches of the Central Valley, you have the bay area. San Francisco is a shopper's paradise with its myriad of boutiques, malls, and department stores. Union Square is ground zero for holiday shopping with its world-class shops and department stores like Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale's. Or check out Ghirardelli Square for unique shops and the famous Ghirardelli chocolate factory. There's also no shortage of markets to find one-of-a-kind gifts like the Ferry Building Marketplace or festive pop-ups like Stranger Things at Crossroads Trading Co. 

4. Say hello to animals at the Zoo or Aquarium

The holidays are a great time to visit the zoo or aquarium as many offer special events like Zoo Lights or Sea Lion Celebration. The San Francisco Zoo is decked out with holiday lights and decorations, while visitors can see Santa Claus swimming with sea lions at the Aquarium of the Bay. The Charles M Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa also offers holiday-themed events like "A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Planting Ceremony."

5. Take a scenic drive down Highway 1 

Highway 1 is one of the most scenic drives in California, with its towering cliffs, crashing waves, and pristine beaches. Stop along the way to enjoy activities like whale watching, hiking, picnicking, or simply marveling at the stunning views. Many sections of Highway 1 are only accessible during certain times of the year so take advantage of this unique opportunity during the holidays.  

6. Embrace your inner child at Great America Theme Park 

Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara is a great place to bring the family for some holiday fun. The park features rides for all ages, an interactive water park called Boomerang Bay, holiday-themed events, and Santa Claus himself! Great America is also home to Snowflake Lake, where visitors can go ice skating amidst fake snowfall—a perfect activity for a cold winter day.  

7. Ski or snowboard at Badger Pass Ski Area 

Badger Pass Ski Area is California's oldest ski resort and offers breathtaking views of Yosemite National Park from its slopes. The resort features beginner to advanced-level trails as well as cross-country skiing options, making it ideal for both novice skiers and experienced riders alike. After a long day on the slopes, relax in one of Badger Pass' lodges or take a leisurely stroll through nearby Yosemite Village. 


Nona's Auto Center Can Help You Prepare For Your California Travel Dreams

Whether you're looking for outdoor adventures, wine tastings, shopping sprees, or simple relaxation, California's Central Valley has it all this holiday season. So make plans now to enjoy all that this wonderful region has to offer. Happy holidays!

Stop by Nona's Auto Center in Turlock, Ca, when you are ready to begin your Central Valley trip this year, and we’ll help ensure your trip goes as planned! Please, visit our website to schedule an appointment with us today. Also, don't forget to add us on Facebook; see you soon!