Where to Go to Play in the Snow in So Cal

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This post about where to go to play in the snow in So Cal is written by guest blogger, Daley Erickson. She has a ton of great info on making a day trip from OC to see the snow. Here is what she writes…

“Admittedly, I am not much of a snow person. Given a choice, I am probably more of an “order drinks with umbrellas by the pool while the kids splash” kind of girl.

However, if my 3 1/2 year old Avery dressing Barbie up like a snow bunny and my almost-7 year old Ethan attempting to “sled” down the stairs on a box top are any indication, I believe my “get out of the snow free” pass is officially up. It’s time for this Orange County family to suit up in snow gear or ship out!

Luckily in our amazing nook of the world, it truly is possible to drive from 70 degree warm weather to literally 20 degrees and snow falling about an hour and a half away. So last weekend I set out to get the snow party started. With a little prep and planning, we made some amazing snowy memories and I have a feeling the winter games are just beginning.

So what do you need and where do you go for your first OC Snow Outing?


Every mom I talked to told me that if we all stayed warm, we would have a MUCH better time and the snow party would last for much longer. Nothing like soaking wet socks, damp clothes or cold hands to cut the fun short. I was lucky enough to borrow most everything we needed from a friend. Boots, ski pants/ jumpers, parkas, gloves, extra socks, scarves and hats are the most paramount. Everything kept us warm and toasty.

Considering that you may only use these clothes a few times a year, borrowed, discount or gently used clothing is a great way to go.

If you want to purchase new items for the family, P.F. McMullin Co. in Santa Ana is a great place to grab good quality discount gear.

Newport Kids Consignment in Costa Mesa is another good option for gently used jackets and other items. They accept only higher-end brands, so you will find up-date-styles at highly discounted rates.

Weather and Route

Make sure you check the weather and find out which local spot would be ideal for your day trip. Are the roads open? Is your car equipped with chains? Do you want to head to a snow park with lifts and tubing/sledding zones or just find a fluffy fun spot of your own on the mountain? Here are some great areas and the toll #s to call to check conditions, map your plan and map your route.

Big Bear (800) 427-7623
Mt. Baldy (909) 981-3344
Mountain High (888) 754-7878
Crystal Lake (626) 335-1251

I would recommend printing out directions once you decide on your destination outside of OC. Cell phone coverage is spotty or not available once you are in the mountains.

Comforts of home

Pocket hand and boot warmers, carafes of hot chocolate, sleds and snow discs can all serve to make the experience more comfy, special and exciting. They will never forget that amazing day sledding down the hill and the nice warming cup of cocoa mom had back at the car after.

You can find fun fancy stuff for winter trips at REI in Tustin.

We headed to the beautiful recreational area at Crystal Lake which was about 1 ½ hour super easy drive.

The kids had snow ball fights, raced down the hills in sleds and just goofed off in the majestic scenery. It was SO FUN for all of us and the perfect simple day trip. For our next adventure, we will most likely try Snow Play in Big Bear.  They have a big tubing and sledding park that is action-packed, not to mention skiing and snow boarding for beginners and the advanced.

The awesome benefits of our first Snow Day:

Unplug:  There is zero cell or wi-fi coverage on the mountain, so we “unplugged” for a bit from our cells, ipads, kindles, etc.
Inexpensive: Once you have the gear, entertainment can be either free or very inexpensive
Enjoy Nature: Spectacular scenery in the great outdoors never hurts.
Active: Snow play is awesome active play in the freshest of mountain air! They will sleep wonderfully once they get home.
Family Memories: Nothing is better than snuggling with your sweet family back at home in the OC, laughing about all the fun times and great memories we made.

Our family’s love of Snow Days has just begun!”

Daley Erickson is an OC mom of two beautiful kids, 3 1/2 year old Avery and 6 1/2 year old Ethan. As a health advocate and Personal Power Planner, she helps people meet their goals to live their best lives. Visit Daley’s blog here -> Next Level OC


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  1. 1
    Helen says:

    This is a perfect article for planning a day in the snow. I love the idea to bring a thermos of hot chocolate!!! Helping the kiddos stay warm and full of hot cocoa makes for a happy day for all!

  2. 2
    jen says:

    I loved it too! Can you believe my kids have NEVER been to the snow (bad mama!) This post inspired me to plan a trip. I know they would love it and Daley made it seem do-able!

  3. 3
    Daley says:

    Thanks so very much for having me Jen! I find Tiny Oranges to be such a great and super fun mom’s resource. Honored to share our Snow Day story!

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