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Suggested itinerary for a 5-day family winter vacation in Bishop. 

5 Day Adventure Itinerary

Bishop in winter offers the perfect family getaway that has a little (actually … a lot) for everyone in the family. Get out of the big city and into the mountains where the snowy peaks rise up on either side of this broad, beautiful valley. The nights are chilly, the days are often warm, the air is clear and crisp, and our big backyard is a natural playground.

Pack up your toys: bicycles and skateboards, skis and toboggans, fishing gear and tennis togs, paints and sketchbooks, binoculars and cameras, and make sure to pack suitable winter clothing to layer for warmth and protection. Yes, you’ll need sunscreen too.  

Getting to Bishop

If you’re driving to Bishop from southern California or east from Nevada, you will most likely spend 4-5 hours on the road. Winter road conditions from the north can make the trip a bit longer and slower, but wherever you’re coming from it’s going to be an amazing drive. The scenery is spectacular and there are incredible geographical and historical landmarks to see along the way. Request our vacation guide for detailed information on traveling to Bishop, and what to see and do along the way.

Click on each day’s itinerary for a full rundown on where to stay, and what to see, do and eat! 

Holiday Inn. Bishop.

Just perfect for a family winter getaway!
Day One Itinerary

You’ve arrived! And it’s likely you’ve had a number of hours in a vehicle together. Perhaps you can check into your lodgings early, but if not grab a little (or a lotta) lunch and stretch your legs with a stroll in the park.

Lunch: Schat’s Bakkery

The bakery that put Bishop on the map.

Erick Schat’s Bakkery is one of the businesses that put Bishop on the map. After 80 years in business, it’s still fresh and delicious. When you come to Bishop you just have to visit this institution of yumminess. Begin your Bishop adventure here and make up a bag of sandwiches, cookies, sweets and treats to take to the Bishop City Park (across the street) where you can spread a picnic on one of the tables or a blanket on the lawn. Let the kids release a little of that pent-up energy with a game of tag or shred the skatepark.

Activity: Walk or bike about town

Go bike about Bishop

And stop in at the Bishop Visitor Center

Bring your own bikes or take advantage of our Eastside Bike Share program from right here in the park. There are some easy car-free paths along the canals around town that are super for a mid-winter’s afternoon stroll or roll. Get a feel for the layout of the town, but before you head off, pop into the Bishop Visitor Center (that cute A-frame building at the entrance to the park) and get maps, directions, advice and info to start your vacation off on the right track.

Food. Fun. Games. Pizza Factory.

Dinner: Pizza Factory

Eat in. Take out. Deliver. No matter your energy levels this is going be the perfect family dinner place. If everyone is still lively then go eat in at Pizza Factory where there’s food and fun for everyone. Big screen TVs show live sports and an arcade can keep the kiddos amused. A fresh salad bar offers great greens and healthy goodness, and the pizzas, calzones, and wings and things are delicious. Food is available for take-out or delivery to your lodgings too.


Lodging: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bishop

Holiday Inn Pools

Located in the heart of Bishop, this lodging facility has all the amenities that you’ve come to expect from this brand. This Holiday Inn Express & Suites offers great rooms, free full breakfast, high-speed internet, and a heated indoor pool – just perfect for a family winter getaway.

Day Two Itinerary

Photo: @parentsthatrock

Activity: Rock climbing with Sierra Mountain Center

Rock climbing in the Bishop area is world-class and year-round. If you and the kids have done some gym climbing where you live, then it’s time to translate that to real rock in our big backyard. If you’ve never tried rock climbing, now’s your chance to learn the basics in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. We recommend that you contact the great folks at Sierra Mountain Center, in advance, and book a custom package or plan your trip to participate in one of the many clinics offered by the guide services here in town.

Lunch: Bag your lunch at Great Basin Bakery

Great Basin Bakery

A day of climbing is going to need good healthy food to keep you all fueled. This locally owned and operated bakery opens early and makes great sandwiches, cookies, bagels, pastries, salads and more.

Holy Smoke BBQ

Dinner: Holy Smoke BBQ

This is a whole lot of Texas in the outback of California. Choose from pulled pork, hickory smoked chicken, Texas style brisket and tri-tip, pork ribs and homemade chili. Add some cornbread, coleslaw and mac & cheese and you’ll have one happy family.


Lodging: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bishop

Have a swim in the pool, soak in the whirlpool, or just catch up on some TV … then sweet dreams.

Day Three Itinerary
Activity: Cross-country ski, snowshoe or sledding

Within 20 miles from town is the beautiful Bishop Creek Canyon recreational area where you’ll reach snow. Sometimes lots and lots of it. Head out of town along W. Line St. (Highway 168 W.) towards Aspendell. Depending on the snowpack and what snow sport you’ve chosen you’ll either take the left turn towards South Lake or continue on a little beyond Aspendell. Park at the winter road closure, hop out and gear up for the snow fun. The canyon above Aspendell is great for sledding and snowshoeing. The cross-country skiing is best along the more gently sloping South Lake Rd.

Bring your snow gear, or get what you need at these great stores and guide services for a wonderful day of snow play. You could even book a guide to take you and your kids out for a half day of safe snow fun in the mountains. If you need gear and guiding, do your research and planning beforehand. On the day, make sure you are all dressed in layers to keep warm as you start out. Then shed a layer or two if the day warms up. Stay together and only challenge yourselves to a level of activity that you can all achieve safely and happily. If the kiddos are under 12, go sledding. Take teens snowshoeing. Young adults might be ready for, or experienced in, cross-country skiing. Know the risks and be prepared. A morning is all you need to experience the thrill of a safe Sierra Nevada snow adventure.

Lunch: Great burger and fries at Bishop Burger Barn

Warm winter day at Burger Barn

After a few hours in the mountains, drop back to town where the day is likely to be warm and sunny at the Burger Barn. Statistically speaking, Bishop and the Owens Valley have about a 92% chance of dry days, that means an adventure in the heart of the Eastern Sierra offers 335 sunny days a year to play outdoors.

The outdoor seating at this rustic burger spot is great for families. If it’s a little too chilly there’s a cozy, enclosed seating area upstairs. The food is fresh and delicious and locally sourced as much as possible. And there are vegetarian and gluten-free options. It’s closed on Tuesdays … so, be sure to plan for that.

Activity: Keough’s Hot Springs

Keough’s Hot Springs is a marvelously soothing and fun hot spring resort, a mere 8.5 miles south of Bishop. It’ll be just what you all need after an invigorating morning in the snow.

Founded by Phillip Keough in 1919, the resort harks back to its bygone era with much of the original wooden structure intact. There are two pools that have a constant flow of warm, fresh mineral water. It’s the perfect place for energetic kids. It’s also great for adults who need little restorative soaking. The large swimming pool, which measures 100’ long by 40’ wide, is great for lap swimming or just splashing and floating. The slightly smaller soaking pool is kept at an even 104 deg F and is perfect for easing muscles and soaking away stress. And you can keep an eye on the kids from a seated spot in this hot pool.

Keough’s is also closed on Tuesdays. So, perhaps don’t plan for day three to fall on a Tuesday! 🙂 

Dinner: Back Alley Bowl & Grill

Back Alley Bowl & Grill

After an easy afternoon of soaking it’s time for some lively family entertainment with food and fun all rolled into one. The Back Alley Bowl & Grill serves up steaks, seafood specials, salads, light dinner fare, and children’s options. Adults can enjoy the nightly drinks specials from the full bar. Book a lane and go bowling with the kids. If it’s Saturday night … it’s Cosmic Bowling.

Lodging: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bishop

We suggest freshening up in your room(s) before you head to dinner and bowling. The Inn and the Alley are across the street from one another. No need to drive. So, you can have a drink with dinner and walk back safely to your lodgings afterward.

Day Four Itinerary
Activity: Winter Fishing

Gone fishin’

Bishop has long been considered a world-class fishing destination and is best known for magnificent seasonal fly-fishing in the streams of the Sierra Nevada. But, did you know that fishing in the Lower Owens River is legal all year long? Miles of canals, large reservoirs and protected ponds in the Owens Valley, some offering handicapped-accessible fishing piers, are easily accessible by car. Get a guide and / or get some gear and information from our local outfitters.

The knowledgeable and experienced folks who live and fish in the Eastern Sierra can help you plan a fishing excursion or take you and your family out on a fishing trip that will be safe, fun and rewarding. There are many guide services that cater to beginners as well as experienced anglers. The sporting goods stores and outfitters carry something for everyone to build a basic kit or add to your tackle box. Check out Reagan’s Sporting Goods to get kit and info, or contact Sierra Bright Dot Fishing to book a guided excursion.

Do some fishing preparation with the kids before you get here to get them excited and ready for this adventure. Take a look at this previous blog on getting your kids ready for fishing.

Delicious Deli at Mahogany Smoked Meats

Lunch: Pack a picnic from Mahogany Smoked Meats

Fishing with the family would be best from mid-morning to mid-afternoon during winter. It’s the warmest part of the day. It’ll work up an appetite so buy a bag of delicious goodies for lunch from Mahogany Smoked Meats. Get made-to-order sandwiches and some jerky treats to keep everyone happy and remember to keep hydrated … even in winter.





Dinner: Astorga’s Family Mexican Restaurant

Family Fiesta at Astorgas

No need to dress for dinner. It’s casual and friendly. Astorga’s Family Mexican Restaurant is family owned and operated and families are welcomed here. Serving quality, authentic Mexican food for 17 years this is a great way to end your vacay in Bishop. 

Lodging: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Bishop

Pool hours are from 7am to 9pm. If you get an early dinner, you’ll make it in time to a take a last dip in the pool or soak in the whirlpool before heading to bed.

Day Five Itinerary

Morning coffee and a full breakfast at your lodging will fuel you up for the drive home. And if you get it early, you’ll still have time for a little trip back in time.

Activity: Laws Railroad Museum and Historic Site

Laws Depot

Take a short 6-mile drive north on Highway 6 to the Laws Railroad Museum and Historic Site. This museum celebrates the local railroad history and tells the story of a time when the railroad station was the heart of a bustling western town. Close to 50 authentic structures on eleven acres are filled with artifacts and original objects that depict the lifestyles of the homemakers, artisans, and townspeople of the period.

Lunch: Bishop Looney Bean

Lunch from Looney Bean

Make a quick stop at Bishop Looney Bean for excellently roasted coffee and freshly baked treats to keep everyone happy for the drive home.

Good Bye!

On the road again to home-sweet-home. But when you need a home-away-from-home come on back to Bishop in spring, summer and fall. There’s so much more to explore!

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