Stretching across 107 acres on the pristine coast of California’s Monterey Peninsula is Asilomar State Beach, an idyllic winter hideaway for anyone looking to spend their Christmas season on the sandy shores of a beach rather than under a blanket of snow.
The beach is a protected natural habitat in Pacific Grove, a quiet little town home to the Point Pinos Lighthouse and which may be familiar to fans of the television series Big Little Lies. The shore is filled with rocky outcroppings in the water and dunes along the waterfront, which create an eerily beautiful landscape perfect for hiking and exploring.
While California’s coastal communities can get chilly, especially during the winter months, highs in the 60s are a welcome change in the middle of December for anyone who lives in some of the country’s colder climates where cold, ice and snow are the norm for Christmas.
A great place to stay during your visit is the Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds, which includes a conference center built in 1913 by the YWCA, deemed a National Historic Landmark. The wood-and-stone hotel has a classic log cabin feel to it and takes visitors back to a simpler time. During the holiday season the hotel participates in Christmas at the Inns, an event where many of Pacific Grove’s inns and bed and breakfasts decorate their properties in Victorian-era style and open their doors for visitors to enjoy a nostalgic Christmas experience. The event includes old-fashioned carolers and plenty of treats offered by the hosting hotels. Pacific Grove is an ideal place for such an event due to the prevalence of picturesque, Victorian-era homes and businesses in town.
During the winter season there are plenty of fun activities at Asilomar to give you and your family a memorable Christmas experience. The Asilomar Ramble is a nature and wildlife viewing tour of the area led by a park ranger that will give you an up-close and informative experience. The tour doesn’t just introduce you to the local flora and fauna but also teaches you about the history of the area and the hotel. There are also the Dunes and Coast Trail Hike or the Asilomar Birds and Their Habitat Homes tours to give you additional opportunities for exploring.
When you’ve finished your Christmastime stay at Asilomar and head home, wherever that may be, your family will have fond memories of their white sandy Christmas on the Monterey Peninsula.
Santa Barbara is perfect for couples. It’s no wonder the city nicknamed the American Riviera is a place to walk hand-in-hand through the urban wine trail, gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes over dinner at an award-winning restaurant or listen to the crash of waves and call of seagulls along the country’s oldest operating wharf. Yet, it’s also a great place to bring kids.
Walking across The National Mall, I literally crossed paths with Lonnie G. Bunch III, the Smithsonian Institution’s first African American CEO. Dr. Bunch, who first visited the Smithsonian as a 10-year-old Civil War buff, was told by his father, “Here’s a place where you can understand yourself and your country and not be worried by the color of your skin.” Bunch, who famously created the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, was quoted as saying, “I wanted to give back to those institutions that shaped everything I am.”
Sure, we’re barely dipping our toes into winter weather, but isn’t it more fun to think ahead to the warm weather family fun your crew could have at the Jersey Shore? Luckily, Atlantic City, New Jersey, offers far more than sandy beaches and casinos — enough to entertain all ages in all sorts of weather.
While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.