Cozy and Exhilarating Ways to Spend Winter at AutoCamp
Fall’s crisp breezes are here but snowfall, long nights, and the thrills of the holidays are just around the corner. Whether you’re bundling up to hit the slopes in Yosemite or the Catskills or planning a stay that’s all about reading in front of a crackling fire with a glass of wine in hand, there’s plenty to do at AutoCamp locations across the country. Here’s our cheat sheet to make the most of wintertime in the great outdoors after waking up with a steaming cup of coffee in your luxe AirStream, Tent, or Suite.
Take in the Thanksgiving magic of Massachusetts with a Cranberry Bog Fat Tire Bike Tour, which takes you on a two-wheeled adventure to a working cranberry bog. Soak up the fall foliage and stunning colors of the berries while seeing the truly unique way this favorite American ingredient is produced. Beebe Woods in Woods Hole is a favorite year-round hiking spot, featuring two idyllic ponds—including one fittingly named Ice House Pond. Head back to AutoCamp for cozy Folk Tales around the fire, featuring fascinating characters and tales from New England history. Cross country skiing through the Falmouth and Woods Hole areas is a fantastic way to work up a sweat while seeing how much wildlife activity is still happening despite the cold.
Head indoors to an indulgent dinner of pasta and other Italian classics like butternut squash tortelloni with bolognese at the classic Osteria la Civetta, or settle in for a pint and live music at Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub. When it comes to the holidays, Falmouth goes all out with charming events like caroling at the Nobska Lighthouse, tree lighting on the village green, a 5K jingle jog, and an epic Santa Claus arrival via sailboat—for a full list of events, stay tuned to the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce. And book now for tickets to Gardens Aglow, a spectacular display of lights at the famed Heritage Museum and Gardens.
The peace and calm of the Russian River in the wintertime makes it a perfect spot for some R&R at AutoCamp. Start the day with Outdoor Yoga (weather permitting!), for an invigorating, centering experience before diving into the rest of Sonoma’s outdoor offerings. Take a hike to Bodega Head, a scenic hiking trail with views of Bodega Bay. If you’re joining us after the new year, plan a weekend around the free Bodega Head whale spotting events hosted by experts from Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (offered January through May).
Shop for artisanal gifts at Guerneville’s charming local shops like the Guerneville 5 & 10, offering an endless array of stocking stuffers, and Altered Images Gallery before stopping off for lunch or dinner at BROT, which offers a modern spin on German food (think crispy pork schnitzel and spaetzle paired with fresh local produce), perfect for a crisp or rainy day with a beer in hand. Or, snag one of the handful of tables at Boon Eat + Drink to sip local Russian River wines alongside warming dishes like flank steak with chimichurri or a vegetarian polenta lasagna. To really get in the Christmas spirit, stop by the Guerneville Parade of Lights, which usually happens the first weekend of December and features floats lit with twinkle lights and live musicians winding their way through town. For an indoor wine tasting in front of a wood fire, it’s worth making the 40-minute drive to Lambert Bridge Winery in Healdsburg.
The soaring mountains and fir trees of Yosemite look even more majestic under a blanket of snow. Book a ski trip to Badger Pass, which offers plenty of powder for experts as well as smaller hills for little ones and beginners. If skiing or boarding isn’t your thing, the resort also offers snowshoeing and epic tube rides, or plan a cross country ski route that lets you take things at a slower pace. Another great way to experience the park (other than on foot, of course) is with a winter trail ride through Yosemite. Go back in time on horseback and discover the beauty of the park and its surroundings from a new perspective. For a relatively easy winter hike, make the trip to Bridalveil Fall, which looks stunning surrounded by ice and snow. Another unforgettable outdoor activity is to ski in the shadow of Half Dome at the Curry Village Ice Skating Rink, which opens for the season in November and includes a fire pit to warm up around.
In Mariposa, stake out a spot for the annual Merry Mountain Christmas Parade and tree lighting, which offers festive fun and hot cocoa for visitors of all ages. Don’t leave town without having a quintessential diner breakfast at Sugar Pine Cafe, which tastes even better after a few days spent skiing and hiking. 1850 Brewing Company also makes the perfect backdrop for a winter feast, complete with antlers on the wall—don’t miss their menu of inventive burgers and brewed on-site beers.
The stellar Joshua Tree landscape looks even more otherworldly in the winter, and cooler temps make it easy to spend entire days outdoors in the desert. In the daytime, the park is still sunny and usually around the mid-60s, though it does get quite chilly once the sun goes down. It’s also a great time to rock climb and walk through some of the park’s more popular sections like the Cholla Cactus Garden, since the major crowds start to taper off as temps dips and the days get shorter.
Nearby Twentynine Palms hosts a yearly Christmas event that includes appearances by Santa and the charming site of Christmas lights in the middle of the desert. Pre-Thanksgiving, the Copper Mountain College Foundation’s Annual Festival of Wreaths auctions off handmade wreaths for a good cause, in addition to hosting a silent auction. Cook breakfast around the fire at AutoCamp and then warm up with a cup of Joshua Tree Coffee Company’s locally brewed blends before picking up gifts from some of the town’s eclectic shops and makers (you can read about some of our favorites here).
No matter which AutoCamp you head to this winter, local festivities and fun are guaranteed.