When is it the best time to Visit California is a question I get quite often.
One of the reasons why we keep going back to California is because it really offers something different at each time of the year – and different enough from what we have at home in England.
If you think it is all about the Summer, I would actually beg to differ – whilst they are epic, there are plenty of reasons to Visit California in the Spring, Autumn and Winter.
California in Winter
We have been in the Winter a few times, and got to do something we had never done: skied in California. Lake Tahoe offers the best skiing in the area, and whilst it is very different to our skiing experiences in Europe, we found it quite unique.
One of the things we really liked (and were surprised) was how you could ski a different mountain (and resort) every day (whilst staying in the same hotel).
You can obviously go wine tasting at any time of the year, but we tagged along to Sonoma after skiing in Lake Tahoe and we loved every minute of it.
California’s definition of cold is a bit different to ours (we did wear a cashmere jumper when out, but no need for real coats) – and that is something we should be grateful for.
During our trip to Sonoma, we enjoyed walks in empty beaches and also really enjoyed our boutique wine tasting experiences without the crowds (which you rarely find in Sonoma, but a lot more people obviously visit in the Summer).
Like they do in the movies. You can grab a comfy jumper and head to Malibu for a great walk after lunch, or do the same in La Jolla, near San Diego. Temperatures in the Winter are around 10-18c, with some days getting into the lower 20s.
California in Spring
Music Festivals and Tennis Tournaments
There is a reason why Coachella and Indian Wells Tennis tournaments take place in the Spring – the temperature in the Greater Palm Springs area is pretty perfect and also absolutely prime season (with accommodation selling out a year in advance).
March to June is one of the best times to spot these creatures – we have done so in Dana Point and would recommend a visit.
One of the reasons why we like California so much is because of the food – and how the farm to table movement really found its place in the Golden state. And that better time of the year to enjoy super fresh ingredients?
Spring temperatures are normally in the low 20s (celsius), making it perfect to enjoy a picture-perfect road trip.
California in Summer
Summer in California needs no introduction. With temperatures ranging from 20c to 40c (in Palm Springs), you will of course enjoy many special beach days and cooler days by the sea.
Enjoy the beaches and pools
It is one of the reasons why so many of us want to visit California, so let’s be honest about it. You will find sun loungers in Coronado beach in San Diego and at Malibu Cove in Malibu. Also, Malibu Beach Inn has their own – I have done extensive research on this topic and if you find more places that do so, please let me know. As for hotel pools, I love Belmond El Encanto‘s (albeit a bit small) and the Four Seasons Beverly Hills.
Get on the water
The Pacific Ocean is cooler than The Atlantic (no doubt about that!) but you may be able to swim. One thing I always recommend, if you visit Newport Beach, is to rent a Duffy boat (with your drivers licence) and enjoy this gorgeous part of California in a really nice (and inexpensive way).
Sunset SUP is also very popular in the area.
California in Autumn
Californians love golfing – and Palm Springers more than anyone else. With the temperatures cooling down a bit (to the mid to high 20s in the coast to 30s in the desert), early morning golf games are the thing to do. My husband thinks it is perfectly acceptable to tee off at 7am and meet me by the pool at 11am. I do not complain.
Enjoy a Spa break
California does ‘wellness’ very well – and it is not just about the green juice craze. I have visited The Golden Door Spa in the Fall (Autumn for us) and it was just perfect. Plenty of me time, which is needed and also truly spectacular weather (and food).
Another option is to stay at Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, where you will find 4-5 fitness classes a day, and spend gorgeous afternoons in the hotel’s pool or private beach.
What month is the hottest in California?
The hottest months in California are July, August and September – and also the most popular. It really depends what you what to do – and I hope you can find some useful California tips in this and my other California articles.
What is the best month to go to California?
In my opinion, it is September and October – and the latter is a very pleasant surprise as it is much quieter, rates are lower and the temperature was pretty perfect. But then again, it is California, so you really can’t get it wrong.
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Check out our other California Guides below:
- California Travel Guide
- Best Things to Do in California
- Best Places to Stay in California
- Best Places to Visit in California