5. Plan a national park trip.
If you’re already daydreaming about next summer’s vacation, you can’t go wrong with a national park. Many popular parks in the West require visitors to prebook entry, permits, or campsites. Now's the time to plan your next visit.
6. Prevent frozen pipes.
Broken and frozen pipes, and the resulting damage, are the second leading cause of home insurance claims in the United States—following only hurricanes. Guard against these mishaps by insulating all exposed pipes and setting your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees when you’re away. Also, make sure you know how to turn off your main water line quickly if necessary.
7. Take a ride on a holiday train.
Put on your pajamas and head to Sunol, California, to hop aboard Niles Canyon Railway’s festive Train of Lights. Visit the snack bar to munch and marvel at the lights and music as you ride in the railway’s antique coaches and open cars for an hour-long chug.
8. Inventory your winter gear.
Your cold-weather wardrobe has been gathering dust for a year (or more if you didn’t venture out much last winter), and now is the perfect time to shake out the cobwebs to see what still works—and what doesn’t. Separate clothes and accessories you’ll use this winter and donate what you no longer need.
9. Pack it up.
Save your outdoor furniture from rain damage by covering it or putting it away for the season. Store it in a dry place, like the garage, to keep it fresh for next year.