Plan a Winter Getaway to Shaver Lake in California

Aug 25, 2020 | California, Snow Suit, United States

Shaver Lake is one of our favorite winter getaway destinations.  Since we live on the Central Coast of California where it snows every few decades, our kids get pretty excited about spending some time in the snow.  Shaver Lake is only a three-hour drive, making it perfect for a quick weekend away.


The elevation of Shaver Lake is 5,627 feet, making snow in the winter a good possibility, but not a guarantee. Generally, even if Shaver does get a snowstorm in October or November, chances are good that it will be followed by a rainstorm, melting the snow.

For this reason, mid-January through the beginning of March is the best time to go if you want to have snow on the ground.  Our family typically schedules our Shaver trips for February.   We like to avoid the busiest weekend (Presidents’ Weekend) and have spent several Super Bowl weekends enjoying the winter wonderland.

If you want to visit an area that generally has several feet of snow throughout the winter, you may want to consider visiting another one of our favorite places, South Lake Tahoe!

Snow trips with cousins are the best


We love to camp, but not in the winter.  The town of Shaver Lake is small, and while there is a small hotel, we opt to reserve a larger home through VRBO.  Making memories is always better with cousins, so we get a large house that will accommodate a couple of families.

We love having a fire crackling (or gas fire is fine) with snow falling outside, a game room to keep the kids entertained at night, a washer and dryer (for all the wet things), and a kitchen to fix our own meals.

If a hotel with an indoor swimming pool is a must, and you don’t mind a 60-minute drive, Fresno is at the base of the mountains and has a variety of hotel accommodations to choose from based on your preferences.


Although it’s a small town, there is still plenty to do in the village and surrounding area.

Go Sledding or Tubing

The community of Shaver Lake has plenty of small hills perfect for snow sledding!  We build tube runs right outside the back door of our vacation rental and the kids spend countless hours sliding down.  Old tire tubes and plastic toboggans are still our favorites.

If there isn’t enough snow at your rental house, or you don’t want to build your own tube run, jump in the car and drive north on Highway 168 to one of the designated sno-parks.  Parking passes are required for the sno-parks, and can be obtained from these vendors located in Shaver Lake.

If we’re visiting a sno-park, we like to make a day of it and pack an Instant Pot of soup, crackers, and plenty of water.  There’s just something about eating soup in the snow!

Go For a Hike

In winters when the snow is scarce, we can hike one of the many trails in the area.  Last time, we hiked the 3.3 mile Shaver Lake Trail.  If you like snowshoeing, Shaver Lake area also has a trail system that’s great for snowshoeing.

Get Coffee in Town

While getting coffee might not be high on the priority list for the younger people in your party, Allan and I love leaving the kids with cousins while we walk from the VRBO to the Shaver Lake Village to Shaver Coffee & Deli for a cup of joe.  

Spend a Day on the Slopes

China Peak Mountain Resort is only a 30-minute drive from Shaver Lake, making it the perfect day-trip for snowboarders and skiers.  The resort offers lessons for those who are just learning.  It’s not a large resort, so it’s easy for everyone to do their own thing and still cross paths on the slopes all day long.

Go Snowmobiling

If you like a little extra thrill in your life, go snowmobiling in Shaver.  You can rent snowmobiles from Shaver Lake Power Center and explore the trails at the Tamarack Sno-Park.

Claire with her snow saucer, getting ready to slide

Plan Your Next Trip to Shaver

If you need a quick trip to just get away and enjoy a little winter fun, Shaver Lake is a great destination choice, providing plenty of fun for families!

Have you been to Shaver Lake?  Did you go in the winter?  What did you think?  Tell us about it in the comments!


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