Cross country skiing, winter hiking, and soaking in hot springs are just some of the best ways to experience winter in the great outdoors. Winter is here, and while it looks a little different at every AutoCamp location, these quieter months reveal new angles of beauty at each of these stunning spots.
Whether you’re joining us for festive holiday events or looking for a quieter midwinter retreat to relax and reset in the new year, there’s plenty to do at AutoCamp locations on the East and West Coasts. Read on for our list of making the most of these naturally beautiful locations, and take advantage of fewer crowds and views available only this time of year.
1. Shop Our Winter Markets in Joshua Tree or The Catskills
On December 10th, do your holiday shopping right on site at two of our AutoCamp locations, the Catskills and Joshua Tree. In the Catskills, our Winter Market curated by Phoenicia Flea, will host a selection of vendors offering handpicked vintage, luxe bath and body products, ceramics, art, and more from local businesses. Stock up on gifts while sipping warm beverages in the Clubhouse.
On the opposite coast, take advantage of our Winter Market in the Desert with Mojave Flea. Local artisanal goods include original art, artisanal leather goods and denim, and ingredients and crafts sourced from makers in Mexico—grab a beverage at the Clubhouse and get something special for everyone on your list. If you can’t make either market in person, give the gift of adventure with an AutoCamp gift card.
2. Winter Hike the Best of Yosemite Valley tour
Cooler temperatures and clear skies make winter an especially magical time to take in the sights of Yosemite National Park. Our Best of Yosemite Tour is a half day excursion that includes iconic park sites like sheer rock faces and waterfalls, along with scenic views of El Capitan and Half Dome.
3. Snowshoe Through the Catskills
If downhill skiing isn’t your thing, that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside while the snow piles up. The pristine forests of the Catskills are ideal settings for snowshoeing, an accessible way to get out into the great outdoors.
Local cross country ski areas like Bearpen Mountain offer snowshoe rentals and a guide to their wilderness trails. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and birds while moving silently through the snow.
4. Soak in the Hot Springs in Joshua Tree
Natural hot (and cold!) springs abound in the aptly-named nearby township of Desert Hot Springs. Warm up after a brisk early morning hike in one of the many soaking tubs before returning to hang by the communal campfire at AutoCamp.
5. Explore Hunter Mountain from AutoCamp Catskills
The historic Hunter Mountain, just a short drive from AutoCamp Catskills, offers midcentury charm with modern lifts and facilities. Take a beginner lesson, or if you’re an experienced skier, take on their famous 1,600 foot vertical drop. Retreat back to the Catskills Clubhouse after a long day for après ski warm beverages and relaxation.
6. Go Ice Skating in Yosemite Valley
There’s no more magical place to ice skate than outdoors in the shadow of Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome. Open since the early 1900s, Curry Village Ice Skating Rink features dramatically picturesque views of the valley and a cozy fire pit for warming up after you hit the ice.
7. Cross Country Ski Cape Cod
A fresh snowfall in Cape Cod is a fleeting event, which makes it especially magical to experience firsthand. The Cape’s plentiful nature and preservation areas are dreamy settings for cross country skiing—Beebe Woods in Falmouth is a short drive from AutoCamp and a stunning setting for moving through the snow. Rent supplies in Hyannis and bundle up for a day of this quintessential New England activity.
8. Go Whale Watching on the Sonoma Coast
Winter brings a massive migration of giant whales traveling from near Alaska down to Baja California for the winter. Late December through May is a great time to spot Gray and Blue whales as they make their way south through Bodega Bay. Perch at the Ocean Overlook in Bodega Head or a book a whale watching boat excursion into the blue winter waters.
9. Attend an Epic Christmas Feast in Yosemite
The annual Bracebridge Dinner is a beloved local event that recreates Christmas traditions from Medieval England. Featuring musical performances and an elaborate meal, it’s a dramatic seasonal scene. While the dinner hasn’t taken place since 2019, it will make its triumphant return in 2023 and tickets go quickly, so plan ahead.
10. Explore Sonoma’s Famous Mustard Blooms
In addition to being an easier time to make reservations for Healdsburg and Sonoma’s most popular wineries, winter also brings the iconic mustard bloom to the region. While the grapes are off the vines for winter, blankets of brilliant yellow mustard plants bloom, covering the rolling hills in a dramatic carpet of flowers that also enrich the soil for the next year’s crop. Visit to capture pictures of the scene, but make sure to be respectful of the local ecology and not trespass on any private fields.