10 Things to Do During Christmas Vacation in Calaveras

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, holiday desserts, and more, get in on the holiday spirit with one of the most charming small-town 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

CAMPS Restaurant, Angels Camp, Calaveras County
Camps Restaurant in Angels Camp, CA is the perfect place to unwind over the holidays.

Put the “vacation” back into “Christmas vacation” by dodging the dishes and enjoying dinner or brunch in Calaveras County. 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.

CAMPS Restaurant @ Greenhorn Creek Golf Resort – Join CAMPS for a beautiful Christmas Eve Dinner. Make your reservations as soon as possible by calling them at 209-729-8181.

Crusco’s Ristorante in downtown Angels Camp will be serving a special, old-world Italian Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve menu. Call now for reservations 209-736-1440. Family-friendly and a beautiful, elegant ambience serving local and Italian wine.

Murphys Historic Hotel is offering an amazing Christmas Eve dinner.  Give them a call now to make your reservations because they book up fast! Verona 18 in Copperopolis is serving a Christmas Eve dinner and accepting pre-orders for to-go Christmas meals that can be picked up by 2 p.m. on the 24th. The newly remodeled Hotel Leger will be celebrating the holidays with an amazing Christmas Eve meal, so make sure to check their Facebook page for their special holiday menu. Other restaurants open for dinner on Christmas Eve – Camps @ Greenhorn Creek Golf Club in Angels Camp, Alchemy and Grounds in Murphys. Need vegan options? Scroll down a little bit for our suggestions…

Looking for something special and unique? Stop in to Murphys Grade on Main Street in historic downtown Murphys. It’s a restaurant! Fill your tummy with BBQ oysters, New England Clam Chowder, freshly baked sourdough bread, or the not-to-be-missed and “oh-my-gawd-that-is-so-amazing” smoked halibut dip! It’s a CBD shop! Featuring quality CBD in tincture, soft gels , topicals, flower, honey, gummies + more. It’s a boutique! Find elegant, Calaveras-made jewelry, beautiful, soft & cozy hemp blankets and clothing, and more.

Explore restaurants by town here: Restaurants in Angels CampRestaurants in Arnold I Restaurants in CopperopolisRestaurants in Mokelumne Hill I Restaurants in Murphys I Restaurants in San Andreas I Restaurants in Valley Springs

Traveling while vegan? The Murphys restaurant scene has many great vegan options that will satisfy vegans, carnivores, and omnivores alike including House of Pita, Doke Sushi, Aria Bakery, Joma’s Artisan Ice Cream, and more! Traveling with kids? Calaveras restaurants are all family friendly and happy to make accommodations for children.

2. Christmas Vacation in CalaverasMake it a Movie Night! (or Live Theatre)

Holiday Magic in Calaveras: Angels Camp Christmas | Pete Conroy
Angels Camp Christmas | Pete Conroy

No holiday would be complete without a trip to the movies! Angels 6 Theater is the perfect place to top off your Calaveras holiday experience with the latest releases in this beautiful historic art-deco style building with its six state-of-the-art auditoriums.

Built during the silent film era, this historic theater comes with all the modern perks–including comfy high back luxury reclining 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 a charming downtown atmosphere all make this a great place to create new memories with loved ones. Check current Angels Camp showtimes here.

Before you head out, grab a bite at Angels Creek Restaurant or Cascabel just a few steps away.

Murphys Creek Theater, Inspecting Carol
Murphys Creek Theater, Inspecting Carol. Photo | Emily Graham

Live theatre your thing? Well, you’re in luck because Calaveras boasts TWO theatres featuring Christmas stories both familiar, yet unique. Fourth Wall Entertainment Troupe performs the classic Babes in Toyland December 8th – 17th in downtown San Andreas at the historic Metropolitan. Murphys Creek Theatre features an incredible one-actor show, One Christmas Carol, a heartwarming adaptation of the classic tale. This one-man tour de force features over 35 distinct characters, making it an intimate and spirited evening of theatre perfect for the whole family! Murphys Creek Theatre is offering “pay-what-you-can” tickets to ensure everyone in our community can enjoy this festive performance and in the spirit of the holidays is asking those who can consider “Pay it forward” by contributing a little extra when purchasing tickets to help support the theatre. Performances run from December 1-23, 2023.

3. Christmas Vacation in CalaverasStroll Through Calaveras’ Festive and Charming Downtown Atmospheres

Murphys Holiday Open House
Murphys Open House Parade | Calaveras Enterprise

Did you know lots of shops and wineries offer special discounts through New Years? December is a great time to explore local stores and save. Enjoy a leisurely stroll for those last minute flashes of inspiration in one of our small family owned shops and boutiques. Even if you’ve been worrying about that last minute holiday shopping or stocking stuffer, you can breathe a sigh of relief and pretend you had this planned all along. For your talented, crafty friend, you will certainly find something special at Serendipity, a boutique-style arts and craft shop & a local artisan collective located in Murphys. Olive Crush Farms in Valley Springs is a wine bar with light fare food, gift shop, home decor, furniture, olive oil and more, hand made crafts, and they will have the perfect gift for your foodie folks. Hide + Barrel in Angels Camp offers high quality, solid wood home furnishings and decor that are built to last. Specializing in those one of a kind pieces you won’t find in those big box stores, everything they make is hand-crafted from the ground up with a meticulous eye for detail.

4. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras“Sleigh” All Day and Ring in New Years Eve!

New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Bear Valley

From Sequoia Woods and Verona 18′s New Year’s Eve Extravaganzas to Bear Valley’s Fireworks celebration, plus 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. V Restaurant, Bistro & Bar will be open for New Year’s Eve, offering a prix fixe menu with two seatings in the dining room at 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm with reservations, so call them soon! The Bistro will also be open on a first come, first serve basis.

5. Christmas Vacation in CalaverasTreat Yourself With 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 Calaveras bakeries and coffee shops with our Calaveras Holiday Eats guide here. Grab yummy apple donuts for game night from The Red Apple located between Murphys and Arnold, or if you happen to be on the west side of the county, stop into Mo’s Devil Food Bakery in Valley Springs for delicious holiday cookies and warm, homestyle soup made from scratch. For extra special chocolate-y goodness, make sure to stop in at Nelson’s Candy Kitchen in downtown Murphys. Using pure and fresh ingredients, cooked in bright copper kettles, and cooled on marble tables that are over 100 years old, the Nelson family has delighted visitors with handmade candies and confections for five generations!

6. Christmas Vacation in CalaverasGet Cozy Indoors & Reconnect With Loved Ones

Holiday Hygge, Cabin Life, Christmas Vacation
Instagrammer @meganhollyclouse getting cozy with friends in Arnold.

It’s not everyday we get to cozy in with our loved ones indoors. Make sure to pack your coziest clothes (including warm socks), snuggle in with some of those delicious baked treats 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.

Murphys Village Toy Store | Brio
Murphys Village Toy Store | Brio

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. 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.

7. Christmas Vacation in CalaverasExplore Gold Rush History

Angels Camp Museum: Stamp Mill | Jason B Smith

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 1/2 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:

8. Christmas Vacation in CalaverasGet Adventurous Outside

Calaveras Big Trees Winter Wonderland by Lisa Boulton

There’s a reason Calaveras County was ranked as on of the top 1% of the 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.

Conditions permitting, join the guided walk around the beautiful North Grove Trail in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, every Saturday at 11:30 am.  Meet at the Visitor Center Plaza for an easy walk led by knowledgeable docents and staff. All ages are welcome, and children muse have a parent/guardian with them at all times. The North Grove Trail is just under 2 miles long, and easily walked by most people. Walks will become snowshoe walks when snow conditions dictates, and remember to bring water and use the restroom before meeting your guide for your 1.5 to 2 hour tour. Call 209-795-7980 for more information.

Explore all of the great outdoor activities here:   Outdoor Activities in Calaveras County 

9. Christmas Vacation in CalaverasTaste Calaveras

Feeling festive at Lavender Ridge Tasting Room in Murphys, CA

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. But don’t let our laid-back attitude fool you. Calaveras wineries also win big, prestigious awards. Calaveras wine country, with its Mediterranean climate and rolling foothills, is perfectly suited to growing Rhone, Spanish, and Italian varietals with big, bold flavor. The Calaveras Winegrape Alliance organized a easy-to-use maps of tasting rooms and vineyards showcasing the best of the best right here in Calaveras County.

Two fun wine experiences in Murphys – wine tasting and cheese pairings at Lavender Ridge and Pop the Bubbly Champagne Bar which, of course, showcases the sparkly stuff from around here and abroad.  In Arnold, don’t miss the cozy Sarafina’s Italian Kitchen and Hinterhaus Distillery, where you can enjoy the most wonderful Old Fashioned with delicious bourbon distilled right here in Calaveras. In Mokelumne Hill, don’t miss Posterity Ciderworks, and in Angels Camp, don’t miss the beautiful historic underground bar, Miner’s Lounge.

10. Christmas Vacation in Calaveras Hit the Slopes & Play in the Snow

Christmas Vacation, Christmas Vacation in Calaveras, Bear Valley, Skiing Near Sacramento, Snow Near Sacramento,
Hit the slopes at Bear Valley Resort I Courtesy of official Instagram account @bearvalleyresort.

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 is 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 premier and pristine skiing and 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.

sled, sledding, tubing

Check in with Bear Valley Adventure Company for snowmobile, sledding, or cross-country skiing adventures!

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.

Looking for more fun things to explore in Calaveras County or need help finding something in particular? We’re here to help! Explore our website by town at, reach out via email at, give us a call at 1-209-736-0049, or visit us in person at 753 S. Main Street in Angels Camp, CA.

Happy vacation!