The sunset illuminating the horizon with an explosion of color, the water glistening as a backdrop – not to mention you’re wearing flip flops and shorts in mid-December.
The Southern California coast is full of great selfie spots with the perfect, picturesque backdrops for your vacation photos to send to relatives and friends in much cooler places, no doubt leaving them a little envious of the seaside scenery. .
Here are a few spots with Christmas trees right on the sand or lights dazzling over the water for this classic Southern California family beach photoshoot:
1. Crystal Cove Christmas Tree:
The historic cottages on the sands of Crystal Cove State Park are already a special slice of seaside splendor, but now the park’s historic district exudes vacation vibe, with lights set around the area and a decorated tree. a few steps from the sea.
This is the 25th year that the park has presented a holiday tree in the sand. This year he is about 11 feet tall.
While there is no official tree lighting ceremony this year, beachgoers can snap a photo with the tree at any time. A bonus move would include the family of cute little wooden reindeer standing next to the tree.
The whole historic district is adorned with vintage decorations, large old-fashioned colored lights put up by volunteers to give the district an air of vacation.
While you’re at it, visit the store for unique gifts like outdoor paintings of the Nestling Creek or historical books that tell the story of the eclectic cottages.
If you’re in no rush to leave, settle in at the Bootlegger Bar and sip a vacation-themed cocktail like the “Snowflake Martini” or “Boozy Hot Chocolate” while taking in the beach view.
2. Calafia State Beach Tree:
People come to Calafia State Beach and put their personal touch on the branches of a community tree with ornaments containing treasured keepsakes or fun decorations inspired by the sea.
For more than a decade now, local surfer Debbie Sheldrake-Stetson has brought a large evergreen tree to San Clemente Beach, a tradition that residents and visitors look forward to each year and that is growing in popularity as time goes on. that social media helps spread the word.
In recent years, the tree was on display near the beach stairs next to the railroad tracks, but last year the city moved it to the parking lot, where it is also located this year.
When she started chopping down a tree, Sheldrake-Stetson put up her own decorations, but soon strangers started coming with theirs.
Some have personalized messages or clues about who left the decoration. Others are simple, like a small wooden branch adorned with colorful ribbons. She tries to keep what she can in reserve to reuse them the following year.
Some of her favorites include bulbs that say “No Toll Road” and others with personalized touches, keepsakes with special meaning to someone. Some people even pay homage to their deceased loved ones, a special seaside memorial overlooking the ocean.
3: “Sunsets with Santa Claus” at San Clemente Pier:
At the nearby San Clemente Pier, the town has erected a tree at the end of the wooden structure, where Santa will arrive the next two weekends at sunset for photo ops with the kids.
While the tree is available to the public at all times for photos with an ocean backdrop, Santa will show up at the pier on Saturday December 11 and Sunday December 12, as well as December 18 and 19, from 3 p.m. time. at 17 o’clock
There will also be background music and singers will bring the holiday cheer, depending on the city.
Just minutes away, the San Clemente outlets are home to OC’s largest tree, a 100-foot white fir harvested from Mount Shasta.
4: Huntington Beach Ice Rink:
Ice skating at the beach? This will give your holiday card a unique touch.
It’s a great place to have a fun vacation and a quirky place to snap a photo to send to family and friends. There are even palm trees in the background to add to the California vibe.
This year, the city contracted with Ice America to build a 4,100 square foot skating rink with an ocean view. The rink runs parallel to the Pacific Coast Highway at Pier Plaza and can accommodate 162 skaters at a time.
Admission is $ 15 per person for unlimited time on the ice and $ 5 for skate rental.
5. The port of Dana Point:
Dana Point Harbor is lit up with holiday cheer, with over 700,000 LED lights illuminating the Small Craft Harbor.
There is a giant whale sculpture near the entrance to the parking lot that the whole family can sit in for a photo, or stand under the “Merry Kiss Me” arch for a romantic greeting card. There are tons of places to stop for photos, including a giant Adirondack chair or a walkway lined with decorated palm trees.
Father Christmas will show up in the harbor clock yard from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday December 10 and Saturday December 11.
6. Surfing Santa Claus:
Of course, Santa Claus can surf.
You may have seen him ride the waves at Seal Beach for the past three decades, a tradition that requires beachgoers to stop on the sand for photos.
The man behind Santa’s suit is Michael Pless, owner of the M&M Surf School just north of the pier, who for over 30 years has been bringing beach vacation joy.
He started surfing in a Santa Claus costume in the 90s, with his son Michael Jr. now also in the tradition.
Stick around and he’ll be happy to take a photo with you or your kids after his surf session is over.