Best Time to Visit California for Activities

When is the best time to visit Yosemite National Park

The best time to travel to California depends on your planned activities . Because the climate in California varies greatly depending on the region and season. Therefore, different periods of time are suitable for different activities. I’ll show you when the best months for a beach vacation in the Golden State are or when you should plan a whale watching tour. Or are you wondering when you can expect the perfect travel weather for a hike through Yosemite National Park ? You can also find the answer here.

When is the best time to visit Death Valley?

If you want to visit the Mojave Desert with Death Valley, then plan your vacation in spring or autumn . Because in summer the temperatures climb to over 40 degrees Celsius and in winter freezing temperatures are reached every now and then. Are you traveling to California in the summer and you don’t want to miss out on a trip to Death Valley despite the weather? Then I advise you necessarily enough sunscreen and a hat to pack. With light clothing you also protect yourself against overheating. I also recommend sturdy shoes for your tour through Death Valley. Take enough water with you to Death Valley (at least 3 liters per person) and fill up your car. So nothing stands in the way of your trip to the national park.

When is the best time to visit Yosemite National Park?

When is the best time to visit Yosemite National Park

The Yosemite National Park is open all year. However, the entire park cannot be visited at any time of the year. Between November and May, some roads in the park may be closed due to weather conditions. In order to pass the steep paths by car, you should definitely pack snow chains in the car. Despite snowfall and some inaccessible parts, Yosemite National Park is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience in winter . In contrast to the warm season, far fewer holidaymakers come to the park from December to March. So you can enjoy the snow-covered beauty in peace without high numbers of tourists.

The months of May to July are perfect for hiking through Yosemite National Park. Flora and fauna wake up from hibernation after the cold season and delight visitors from all parts of the world with their splendor. The temperatures are pleasant during this time for a day trip through the beautiful park.

The best time to explore the national park’s waterfalls and rivers is from May to June . During these months the snow melts and fills even the smallest rivers with melt water. In the hot summer temperatures, the water level sinks again. In autumn this reaches its lowest level and the waterfalls are hardly filled with water or even completely dry. Therefore, spring is perfect for a visit to the waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. If you are lucky, the first flowers, trees and bushes will bloom in colorful splendor in May.

When is the best time to go to California for a beach vacation?

The best time to travel to California for a beach vacation is July and August . During these months you will spend time on the beaches of Los Angeles in optimal climatic conditions. June and September are also great for a California beach vacation. However, these months bring 2 hours of sunshine less than July and August. The water temperature is 19 to 20 degrees Celsius during the best travel time. This guarantees you a cooling off in summery degrees. But be careful: the water temperatures of the Pacific are only suitable for hardened bathers. Because the cool water is only perceived as pleasant from a value of 21 degrees Celsius. In July and August, you can expect an average of 28 to 29 degrees Celsius during a beach vacation in Los Angeles. The breeze that blows from the Pacific over the coastal region gives you a pleasant feeling on your skin even in hot temperatures. I have the best travel time for Los Angeles ready for you in my travel calendar . But not only the city of angels invites you to vacation by the sea. San Diego also attracts sun worshipers to California with its beautiful beaches. It is not for nothing that the city is nicknamed “Côte d’Azur California”. The best time to travel to San Diego for a beach vacation is June through September .

When is the best time to go whale watching?

best time to go whale watching

According to, the best time to go whale watching depends on the area in which you are in California. Gray whales swim from Alaska to Mexico from November to April . Depending on the month, they can therefore be admired in other areas of California. While whale watching you can come very close to the animals. You take a boat out to sea to take a look at the imposing mammals. You might even see a whale make a spectacular leap out of the water. I’ll keep our fingers crossed!

Gray whales are the most common sightings in California , but humpback whales , orcas, blue whales and dolphins also keep surfacing and delight holidaymakers. In the following table I provide you with the optimal travel time for whale sightings in various California locations:

Region Whale species Travel time
Monterey Humpback whalesGray whales

Blue whales

March to NovemberDecember to April

May to September (especially June to September)

Santa Barbara Gray whalesHumpback / blue whales January to mid-AprilJune to November (especially June to September)
San Diego Gray whalesBlue / fin whales December to MarchMay to November
Mendocino Gray whales November to April
San Francisco Gray whales December to May

Holiday guru tip: Drive down the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway from north to south. So you have a view of the bright blue Pacific and with a bit of luck you will see a group of whales swimming by. Take a break at one of the many viewpoints and watch the marine mammals as they slide through the Pacific Ocean. Sun, sea and a breathtaking natural spectacle – what more could you want? You will never forget this experience.