Best Time to Visit California

Central San Francisco (Mike McBey)  [flickr.com]  CC BY 
License Information available under 'Proof of Image Sources'
On this page, you will find information about the climate and the best time to visit California. We created climate tables and charts for the locations of Los Angeles, San Francisco und San Diego. These contain details about temperatures, precipitation and more.

Furthermore, we analyzed all climate data and provide a recommendation about which months are best to visit California for your holiday.

Climate Overview

Thermometer Symbol 5 °C to 25 °C
Waves Symbol 11 °C to 21 °C
Rainy Cloud Symbol 04.37 in
Average Annual Temperature is between 14 °C (San Francisco) and 17.9 °C (San Diego)
Show temperatures in degree

Geography and General

California – the so-called Golden State – in the west of the United States of America is the state with the highest population.

According to current estimates, about 40 million people live in an area of over 249000 square miles between the Pacific Ocean and the neighbouring states of Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. In the south, California on the peninsula of the same name borders Baja California in Mexico.

The area of California is larger than that of the Federal Republic of Germany. The capital is Sacramento, but the largest cities in California are Los Angeles, San Diego, San José and San Francisco.

The state of California has a very high Asian population (over 5 million), but one third of the total population is of Mexican descent. In southern California in particular, Hispanics are already the absolute majority of the population.

California has always been a very popular destination due to its climate and numerous attractions. Guided tours in groups or individually with a rental car are often combined with detours to Las Vegas and the surrounding national parks.

Climate in California

South Ponto Beach - Tower 20 (Chad McDonald)  [flickr.com]  CC BY-ND 
License Information available under 'Proof of Image Sources' California has an extraordinary geographical diversity, ranging from alpine mountains to extremely hot desert regions. Accordingly, the climate in California also differs from region to region. Generally, three climate zones can be distinguished:

California’s coastal areas are somewhat cooled by the Pacific Ocean and are therefore significantly lower than inland. While the south coast has a subtropical climate, the Mojawe desert is called an arid climate zone. In the interior, however, the climate is continental.

In practice, this means warm day temperatures all year round on the coast, but the winters are very rainy, especially in the north. In the desert areas, very hot summer months with peak temperatures above 45 °C are common, but at night it cools down considerably.

The large cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego are of interest to most travellers as landmarks. Most of the rain falls here between November and March at comparatively low temperatures. Summer, on the other hand, is usually warm and dry.

Best Time to Visit California: Overview

JanuaryJan
TemperaturesTemp. up to 19 °C
Water max. 15 °C
FebruaryFeb
TemperaturesTemp. up to 19 °C
Water max. 15 °C
MarchMar
TemperaturesTemp. up to 19 °C
Water max. 16 °C
AprilApr
Good time to traveltime
mostly PerfectPerf. climate in California
MayMay
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in
California
JuneJun
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in
California
JulyJul
Best time to traveltime
Main Season
AugustAug
Best time to traveltime
Main Season
SeptemberSep
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in
California
OctoberOct
Good time to traveltime
mostly PerfectPerf. climate in California
NovemberNov
TemperaturesTemp. up to 21 °C
DecemberDec
TemperaturesTemp. up to 19 °C
Water max. 16 °C

When is the best time to travel in California?


In general, the pleasant travel season in California usually begins around Easter, when temperatures rise and rainfall decreases significantly. While the weather on the west coast and southwest of the USA is still quite unstable, the best travel time for California is from May to the end of September.

With similar cuts as in April, October is still well suited for a round trip. The absolute peak season in California is between mid-June and the end of August. During this time, accommodation prices are high and many attractions are also very popular with local visitors.

We therefore prefer the fringe months of late April to early June and September to mid-October as absolute favourites. Especially Yosemite and Sequoia show their best side in May. The fringe months are also ideal for combinations with hot areas such as Death Valley or Nevada.

Best Time to Visit the Regions

Find the best time to visit the regions (California) in the following overview.

LocationBest Time to Travel
Los AngelesMay, June, July, August, September, and October
San FranciscoMay, June, July, August, and September
San DiegoApril, May, June, July, August, September, and October

Climate Charts California

In the following, you will find climate charts for the regions.

Furthermore, there are some charts you can use for quick comparison of climate between the regions.

Show Climate Chart for    

Los Angeles

Climate Chart Los Angeles
Show temperatures in degree

San Francisco

Climate Chart San Francisco
Show temperatures in degree

San Diego

Climate Chart San Diego
Show temperatures in degree

Day Temperatures

Show temperatures in degree

Night Temperatures

Show temperatures in degree

Average Temperatures

Show temperatures in degree

Water Temperatures

Show temperatures in degree

Precipitation

Hours of Sunshine per Day

Source of Data: German Weather Service (Offenbach) and Wikipedia

Climate Tables California

In the following, you will find some climate tables for California, containing information about Temperatures, Precipitation, Water Temperatures, and Hours of Sunshine.
Show climate table for    

Temperatures, Precipitation, Sunshine in Los Angeles (California)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day Temperature19°19°19°20°21°22°24°25°25°24°21°19°
Night Temperature10°10°12°14°15°17°18°17°15°12°
Water Temperature14°14°15°15°16°18°19°20°19°18°17°15°
Precipitation (inch)2.42.521.970.710.160.0400.160.310.351.771.65
Hours of Sunshine789109912119877
Show temperatures in degree
Temperatures
The annual average temperature in Los Angeles is 17.2 °C.

For comparison: London 11 °C, NYC 12 °C, LA 17.9 °C

Warmest month: August (21.4 °C)
Coldest month: January (13.8 °C)

The maximum water temperature in Los Angeles is 20 °C. Comfortable bathing is possible at water temperatures of about 21 °C.

Months with water temperature of at least 17 °C (Limited bathing is possible):
June, July, August, September, October, and November

Precipitation
Overall annual precipitation: 12.05 inch

For comparison: London 24.06 in, NYC 41.57 in, LA 12.01 in

There is no rainy season (months with more than 6.9 in of precipitation).

You cannot expect snow in any month in Los Angeles.

Sunshine
As our climate table shows, July is the sunniest month with an average of 11.7 hours of sunshine per day. Over the year, there are 8.9 hours of sunshine per day on average. For comparison: London has 4.1, NYC has 7 and LA has 8.9 hours of sunshine per day on average.

Temperatures, Precipitation, Sunshine in San Francisco (California)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day Temperature13°15°16°18°19°21°22°22°23°21°17°13°
Night Temperature10°11°12°13°13°11°
Water Temperature11°11°12°12°13°14°15°15°16°15°13°11°
Precipitation (inch)4.373.193.071.380.20.120.040.040.21.222.873.11
Hours of Sunshine6791011111099865
Show temperatures in degree
Temperatures
The annual average temperature in San Francisco is 14 °C.

Warmest month: September (18.1 °C)
Coldest month: January (9.3 °C)

The maximum water temperature in San Francisco is 16 °C. Bathing would be very uncomfortable.

Precipitation
Overall annual precipitation: 19.8 inch

There is no rainy season (months with more than 6.9 in of precipitation).

You cannot expect snow in any month in San Francisco.

Sunshine
As our climate table shows, June is the sunniest month with an average of 10.8 hours of sunshine per day. Over the year, there are 8.4 hours of sunshine per day on average.

Temperatures, Precipitation, Sunshine in San Diego (California)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day Temperature19°19°19°20°21°22°25°25°25°24°21°19°
Night Temperature10°12°13°15°17°19°20°19°16°12°
Water Temperature15°15°16°17°17°19°21°21°20°19°18°16°
Precipitation (inch)1.811.541.770.790.20.080.040.120.240.351.461.57
Hours of Sunshine88898810108888
Show temperatures in degree
Temperatures
The annual average temperature in San Diego is 17.9 °C.

Warmest month: August (22.6 °C)
Coldest month: January (14.1 °C)

The maximum water temperature in San Diego is 21 °C. You can take a bath at these temperatures.

Months with water temperature of at least 17 °C (Limited bathing is possible):
all except January, February, March, and December

Months with water temperature of at least 21 °C (adequate for beach vacation):
July, and August

Precipitation
Overall annual precipitation: 9.96 inch

There is no rainy season (months with more than 6.9 in of precipitation).

You cannot expect snow in any month in San Diego.

Sunshine
As our climate table shows, July is the sunniest month with an average of 9.8 hours of sunshine per day. Over the year, there are 8.4 hours of sunshine per day on average.

Sights & Highlights


Among the most important sights in California are undoubtedly the two cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles. San Francisco attracts with highlights such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the cloudy Fishermans Wharf with Pier 39 and the legendary Lombard Street.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles scores with its Westside with Beverly Hills and the coastal city of Santa Monica as well as the glittering world of Hollywood. A visit to Universal Studios Hollywood is also a must on a trip to California. San Diego is home to Balboa Park and the USS Midway Museum.

There is also a lot to discover in the countryside: Yosemite National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the world, a view from Glacier Point remains unforgettable until the end of your life. The sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park (Giant Forest) are also a must – the list could go on forever!

More information about the best things to do: California

Popular Activities

More attractions

Escape from The Rock Cruise of San Francisco Bay | Los Angeles Sightseeing Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Ticket | San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran | San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off: Classic, Premium or Deluxe | The USS Midway Museum: Skip-the-Line Ticket | Alcatraz and Big Bus Premium 1-Day Hop-On Hop-Off | Alcatraz Ticket with 3-Hour Bicycle Tour at Sunset |

Current Weather and Forecast

Current Weather in San Francisco (Station Daly City)
moderate rain     moderate rain, 11.3 °C
Clouds: 90 %       Wind: 11 mph SO
Air Pressure: 1012 hPa       Humidity: 71 %
Last updated: 20th Mar 2019, 10:33 am
The next days …
19th Mar 201920th Mar 201921st Mar 201922nd Mar 201923rd Mar 201924th Mar 2019
light rain9 °C to 15 °Cheavy intensity rain10 °C to 11 °Clight rain7 °C to 12 °Clight rain11 °C to 13 °Cmoderate rain11 °C to 13 °Csky is clear9 °C to 16 °C
9 °C to 15 °C10 °C to 11 °C7 °C to 12 °C11 °C to 13 °C11 °C to 13 °C9 °C to 16 °C
Clouds: 68 %Clouds: 92 %Clouds: 8 %Clouds: 0 %Clouds: 98 %Clouds: 0 %
0.02 in of rain0.52 in of rain0.01 in of rain0.04 in of rain0.12 in of rainNo Precipitation
Weather information provided by OpenWeatherMap. (CC BY-SA)
Show temperatures in degree

USA: Regions

California is part of the holiday destination USA. We analyzed the climate for additional regions, in order to provide you with information about the best time to visit and the expected holiday weather:

California: Experiences of our Visitors

There are 2 reviews for California holiday already. Average rating is 5 of 5 stars.
  1. Avatar Preview
    Birger, 54 years old was there in June

    23 days of great weather, only Los Angeles had 2 days of clouds. Temperature at the coast 23-25°C with pleasant breeze. Grand Canyon 30°C, but 0°C at night. Bryce Canyon, Valley of Fire and Las Vegas unpleasant 46°C, at night 30°C. Tioga-Pass to Yosemite was still closed at the end of June, next pass in the north Fales Hot Springs only with SUVs recommended (no RVs!) right and left 1 meter snow at 20°C, but cleared road, Yosemite up to 30°C, breathtaking waterfalls

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  2. Avatar Preview
    Daniel, 33 years old was there in September

    7 days very pleasant weather in Los Angeles: Temperatures actually always between 20 and 25 °C, never extremely hot and even in the evening one can easily go outside with short clothes. And no rain.

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

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Breakfast with the Three Brothers (Todd Petrie)  [flickr.com]  CC BY 
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Epic Southern California

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