Heading to Calaveras County or Bear Valley Resort for the holidays? Enjoy this quick guide for the 10 top things to do during Christmas vacation in Calaveras County. From festive downtowns, to cozy fireside games, wine tasting, candy shops, and more, get in on the holiday spirit with one of the most hygge holiday regions California has to offer–Calaveras County! Ready to get the most out of your Christmas Vacation in Calaveras? Let’s go!
1. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras – Let Us Do the Cooking
Put the “vacation” back into “Christmas vacation” by dodging the dishes and enjoying dinner or brunch on us. No need to slave away in the kitchen; when you step out on the town you’ll be treated like family in one of our charming downtown restaurants, in a warm, festive atmosphere. Imbued with holiday cheer, the atmosphere is half the fun! With dozens of restaurants to choose from, you are sure to find something to meet everyone’s tastes.
Explore restaurants by town here: Restaurants in Angels Camp I Restaurants in Arnold I Restaurants in Copperopolis I Restaurants in Mokelumne Hill I Restaurants in Murphys I Restaurants in San Andreas I Restaurants in Valley Springs
Staying in Angels Camp with picky eater’s in tow? Check out our guide for Kid-Friendly Eats throughout Angels Camp here.
Traveling while vegan? Murphys restaurant scene has many great vegan options that will satisfy vegans, carnivores, and omnivores alike including Rob’s Place, Murphys Grille, Doke Sushi, Aria Bakery, Joma’s Artisan Ice Cream, Lila and Sage Cupcakes and more!
2. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras – Catch a Movie
No holiday would be complete without a trip to the movies and in Angels Camp, going to the movies is an even bigger treat than than most. Located right across the street from Yummy Ha! Ha! Ice Cream in festive historic downtown Angels Camp, Angels 6 Theatres is the perfect place to top off your Calaveras holiday experience with the latest movies in this art-deco style building with its 6 screens. Built during the silent film era, this historic theater comes with all the modern perks–including comfy high back reclinable loveseats with flip-up armrests, and the latest blockbuster releases. Angels 6 Theatres is a special treat. Small town friendliness, delicious GMO-free popcorn, more affordable prices for tickets and concessions than the average California cinema, and quaint downtown atmosphere all contribute to make this a fun place to make new memories with loved ones. Check current Angels Camp showtimes here. And remember to save room for locally made ice cream across the street before or after the show.
CHRISTMAS EVE BONUS: Watch It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen Christmas Eve, December 24th at Angels Theater.
Take advantage of Angels Theater’s Flashback Cinema event featuring limited showings of holiday favorites. 2018’s holiday season featured showings of holiday classics like Home Alone, Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Die Hard and more. Check back in November 2019 for the 2019 holiday Flashback Cinema schedule. Continuing beyond the holiday season, see the current Flashback Cinexma Schedule here.
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3. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras – Enjoy Festive, Quaint and Charming Downtown Atmosphere
Did you know lots of shops and wineries offer special discounts through New Years? It’s true. The last weeks of December are a great time to explore and save. Enjoy a leisurely stroll for those last minute flashes of inspiration in one of our small family owned shops and boutiques; or play secret Santa, by dropping off the kids at a movie, local park, Bear Valley Resort, or Copperopolis’ Epic World’s and Games and get in all of the solo shopping you need. Even if you’ve been worrying about that last minute holiday shopping or stocking stuffers, you can breathe a sigh of relief and pretend you had this planned all along.
Want to make the holiday shopping even easier? Pick-up a copy of our annual Calaveras Holiday Shopping Guide at the Calaveras Visitors Bureau in downtown Angels Camp, or view a digital copy of the Calaveras Holiday Shopping Guide on your smart device here.
4. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras – Enjoy Holiday and New Years Eve Events
From Lake Camache’s Winter Wonderland Lighted Boat Parade on December 29th to the annual Bear Valley New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, and more laid back events in between, use our on-line calendar of Calaveras events to see what’s happening throughout Calaveras and the surrounding area during your Christmas vacation in Calaveras County.
5. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras – Enjoy Local Bakeries and Sweets
Nothing says Christmas vacation like holiday sweets. From Calaveras bakeries, to artisan ice cream, a 100 year old candy shop, historic grocery stores, Calaveras coffee shops, tasting rooms and more; no matter where you are in Calaveras County, surprise your loved ones with an early morning treat or bring a little something special to the holiday table or pre-dinner party from one of Calaveras’ local bakeries or coffeeshops this Christmas Vacation. With this many options, there’s almost always someplace nearby to grab something sweet. Whether looking for holiday pies, tarts, turnovers, cinnamon rolls, or scones, explore the top 10 Calaveras bakeries and coffee shops with our Calaveras Holiday Eats guide here. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the guide for bonus sweet locations as well. All we can say is yumm-mmy.
6. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras – Get Cozy Indoors
It’s not everyday we get to cozy in with our loved ones indoors. Make sure to pack your cosiest clothes (including warm socks), snuggle in with some of those delicious bakes we mentioned earlier, and some nice warm beverages to boot. Ready to add some playful memories to the mix? Whether you’re crazy for puzzles, or looking for something a little more silly, games are a great way to get cozy and bond with loved ones.
Ready to take cozy to new levels? Read up on why Calaveras is the perfect place for next level holiday hygge here.
If you forgot to bring your favorite game or are looking for something new, make sure to swing by Murphys Village Toy Store for a peek at their offerings or spend some time in Copperopolis’ Epic Worlds and Games (where you can even try games out before you buy them). Once back indoors, make the magic extra fun by collecting all of the cell phones and electronic devices and starting a game or two. You and your loved ones will enjoy the memories for years to come.
Feeling a little stir crazy, but not up for an outdoor adventure quite yet? Explore our Guide to the Great Indoors in Calaveras here.
7. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras – Explore Gold Rush History
There’s something about Christmas that puts us in the mood to travel through time. If you’re a fellow time-traveler, you’re in luck, Calaveras is not only rich in Gold Rush history, but festive museums with hours worth of indigenous American and Gold Rush history artifacts to explore. Traveling with kids? They’ll love the 3 acre Angels Camp Museum where they can burn off some energy running through one of the largest covered wagon exhibits West of the Mississippi. Not to mention seeing the largest gold leaf nugget ever found at Ironstone Vineyard’s Heritage Museum. Learn what sets each museum apart by clicking the links below:
- Angels Camp Museum & Carriage House – Angels Camp, CA
- Calaveras Big Trees State Park Museum – Arnold, CA
- Calaveras County Museum Complex – San Andreas, CA
- Columbia State Park – Columbia, CA in nearby Tuolumne County
- Ironstone Heritage Museum – Murphys, CA
- Murphys Old Timers Museum – Murphys, CA
- Red Barn Museum – San Andreas, CA
- Sierra Nevada Logging Museum – Arnold, CA
- Stories in Stones – Angels Camp, CA
8. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras – Explore the Great Outdoors
There’s a reason Calaveras County was ranked as being in the top 1% most beautiful counties in the mainland United States. From caves to hikes, to golf, to fishing, and snow sports, Calaveras in December is the perfect time to explore the great outdoors. Explore all of the great outdoor activities available by town below.
Outdoor fun near Angels Camp I Outdoor fun near Arnold I Outdoor near Bear Valley I Outdoor fun near Copperopolis I Outdoor fun near Mokelumne Hill I Outdoor fun near Murphys I Outdoor fun near San Andreas I Outdoor fun near Valley Springs
9. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras – Go Wine Tasting or Explore Local Vineyards
From the moment wine lovers enter Calaveras County, they can sense the difference in attitude. It’s a laid-back, easy-going, meet-the-winemaker kind of vibe with endless recreational opportunities to round out a memory-making trip. The wine country here, with its Mediterranean climate and rolling foothills is perfectly suited to growing Rhone, Spanish and Italian varietals with big, bold flavor. But don’t let our laid-back attitude fool you. Calaveras wineries also win big, prestigious awards.
Oh, and don’t forget this unique fact about wine tasting in Calaveras: Not only can you visit gorgeous individual vineyards throughout the county, many wineries also have their own tasting rooms in historic downtown Murphys. In fact, there are upwards of 23 wine tasting rooms within walking distance of each other in this charming Gold Rush town of Murphys, CA.
10. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras – Hit the Slopes – Find Nearby Snow Play
About 50 minutes East of Angels Camp on Highway 4, Bear Valley is not only one of the closest ski resorts from the Bay Area and Sacramento region, it is often described as the most warm and welcoming resort in the Sierra. This friendly and relaxing High Sierra escape located in the beautiful Central Sierra Mountains. Nestled off Scenic Highway 4, in the spectacular Stanislaus Forest, this year-round destination offers activities from relaxation to extreme adventure in every season, and that includes loads of ways to enjoy snow play throughout Calaveras County’s High Sierra and Ebbetts Pass corridor.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Bear Valley Resort is the place to be for some epic skiing or snowboarding. Bear Valley Resort offers a total of ten lifts and 75+ trails across 1680 ski-able acres and a 1900′ vertical drop. 25% of Bear Valley’s trails are beginner difficulty, 40% are intermediate and 35% are advanced or higher. While you’re there, don’t miss out on lessons for adults and kids as well as the special deals for first time visitors. Check current Bear Valley weather and snow conditions here.
Looking for additional snow play? During Christmas vacation 2019, you can enjoy other winter activities such as sledding, tubing, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and more. Learn more about Calaveras Snow Play here.
Whether you’re looking to get your heart racing or to just slow down and savor the Sierra, Bear Valley is the perfect destination to enjoy the outdoors as Mother Nature intended.