California is described by its tourism site, Travel California, as being “a year-round destination”.
The varying altitudes of the state offer a variety of temperatures, which is inviting to all travelers, whether they are looking for a downhill ski resort or beachside cabana.
It offers travelers many coastal cities, mountains, outdoor recreation areas, and relatively mild, enjoyable weather.
The Mediterranean-like climate of the state makes it attractive to a wide variety of people, from Minnesotans looking to escape the brutal winters and Floridians trying to escape the brutal summers.
When Does Summer End In California?
Summer in California officially ends on September 22nd.
The state’s peak summer months as occurring from June through August.
The majority of the state experiences Mediterranean-like climates.
This includes warm but dry summers and mild but wet winters.
Additionally, a heavy fog drapes over the coast of the state in the mornings and again in the early evenings around dusk.
Farther inland, it is more common for the summers to be warmer and winters cooler as compared to the coastal areas during the same time.
What Is The Average Temperature During The Peak Months?
July is often the warmest month in the mid to northernmost areas of the state.
The average temperature variation in the Sacramento Downtown Area for example ranges from 61 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
The record maximum temperature in July was recorded in 1998 when the state reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
The record minimum temperature in July was recorded in 1887 when Sacramento dropped to 49 degrees Fahrenheit.
South of Sacramento, in San Diego, the typical maximum temperature reached throughout July is 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the southern half of California, in particular San Diego, typically experiences their warmest temperatures in September.
The normal temperature range is 65 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the San Diego Area defied these normal temperatures when the area experienced a record high of 101 degrees Fahrenheit in September 1978 and a record low of 52 degrees Fahrenheit in September 1920.
Thus, the peak summer months, while officially described as being June through August, can differ throughout the state as a result of elevation and proximity to the ocean.
If you want specifics on other areas of California, use the National Weather Service for detailed weather information.
When Does California Start To Cool Down?
The state begins to experience autumn-like temperatures towards the end of September and throughout November.
In the Sacramento Downtown Area, the average temperature from 1991-2020 was reported to be 65.9 degrees Fahrenheit in September with a gradual decline throughout October, to an average of 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit in November.
In the northern areas of the state, Shasta Dam, CA has recorded an average temperature of 76.6 degrees Fahrenheit in September and then declined to 54.2 degrees Fahrenheit in November throughout the same period.
Shasta Dam is a dam located on the Sacramento River north of Redding, CA.
Does California Experience All Four Seasons?
Areas of higher altitudes within the state do experience the full cycle of seasons.
These include warm and beautiful summers, colorful tree foliage in the fall with cooling temperatures, and snowy, cold winters.
Waterfall season is what they call the springtime snowmelt.
The snow melting creates a new abundance of water which in turn creates the picturesque waterfalls found in Yosemite National Park and other areas across the state.
Many waterfalls found in California are dried up during the summer months, only to be rediscovered during the snowmelt.
How Does Climate Change Impact The Weather In California
Climate change is increasingly playing a large part in impacting the weather through decreased rainfall and increased temperatures experienced throughout the state.
In fact, the southern part of the state has had an average increase of 3 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the last 100 years, and the average rainfall has also decreased.
This causes concerns as the lesser amounts of water create a dryer, more wildfire-prone, state.
Also, coastal ecosystems and reefs are at greater risk for destruction along with lands used for producing crops like grapes, almonds, oranges, and more.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency shows concern over an increase in carbon dioxide levels (up 40% since the 1700s) and trapped greenhouse gasses.
These factors can cause atmospheric and surface warming across the Earth.
The rate of evaporation has been increasing throughout California, which causes more humidity and affects the rainfall.
For example, some areas may experience heavier rainfall while other areas are affected by a drought.
The amount of water needed is increasing, while evaporation is reducing the supply available for crops, livestock, and surface waters like lakes and rivers.
The snowpack within the higher altitudes of the state has also been affected due to the warming climate.
As temperatures increase, more snow within the snowpack melts, and less snow is falling to rebuild it.
Travelers who visit the state to downhill ski or snowshoe are surely going to be affected by a shortened snow and winter recreation season each year.
The health of our families is also at risk.
Hotter days can be dangerous for vulnerable seniors or individuals who have a preexisting conditions like Multiple Sclerosis or Emphysema.
Heat stroke and dehydration are just two potential health risks.
Increased pollution and greenhouse gasses can also have a negative long-term impact on our cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
The Environmental Protection Agency is concerned about the lack of clean air as well, which will likely increase throughout the next generation(s).
The Best Time To Visit California
It’s typical for people planning a vacation to California to visit during the peak summer months.
If travelers want to visit the higher elevation areas through the Sierra Nevada, Mount Shasta, and Lassen Peak (two of the tallest volcanoes in California) it is often not possible to access them until the peak summer months when temperatures rise enough to melt the snow.
However, for travelers looking to stay away from big crowds the ideal time to visit may be towards the end of summer and into the beginning of fall.
September and October see the start of decreasing temperatures.
Crowds decrease, particularly during the back-to-school months, making it an ideal time to visit festivals, beaches, and other common tourist attractions.
What Are Some Common Activities To Do In California In The Summer
No matter the variety of interests and hobbies a person may have, it is likely that California can provide entertainment and fun for everyone.
1. For The Festival Lovers
One of the most commonly known festivals in California is the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
The festival attracts thousands of people for two weekends every April.
Other summer festival options include:
- Newport Beach Jazz Festival (June) is the place to experience jazz, soul, and R&B music.
- Surf Rodeo (July) is where music and surfing collide. Visitors can play cornhole, enter a bikini cowgirl contest, and watch a surfing contest all while listening to live music on the Ventura Pier.
- The Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza (August) happens in Mammoth, CA. A wide variety of food vendors (think Boba, Mini Donuts, Korean Teriyaki, etc.), breweries, and retail vendors attend.
2. For The Outdoor Adventurer
Any outdoor enthusiast looking to experience the great outdoors can check out the wide variety of national and state parks throughout the state.
Some of the most common national parks include Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Redwood, and Sequoia National Park.
If you’re a veteran, Gold Star family member, or current military member you can get in for free with a Common Access Card, Military ID, or proof of a Gold Star Voucher.
3. For The City Goer
Families or individuals looking to spend time in the city can experience the thrills of Disneyland Park, explore Alcatraz Island or the Golden Gate Bridge, experience a safari within the San Diego Zoo, shop on the Santa Monica Pier, and so much more.
Art lovers can experience the beauty of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which displays over 147,000 objects and covers 6,000 years of artistry from around the world.
LACMA also states that on the western side of the United States, it is the largest art museum.
Travelers looking to experience the deep sea, without actually getting on a boat, can visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA.
Summer hours are extended through Labor Day, with certain weekends allowing earlier entry times and later closing times.
The newest exhibition, Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean, is now open and visitors get to encounter deep-sea animals.
“Football-sized giant isopods to transparent jellies that glow” are just two animals you can discover within this collection.
Another fantastic, and common, tourist attraction is Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park.
Visitors have a wide variety of options, including meeting the Disney Princesses at Royal Hall or the all-new Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park.
4. For The Sports Fans
If you’re a fan of the National Football League, pay a visit to the SoFi Stadium to watch the Los Angeles Rams or visit Levi’s Stadium for the San Francisco 49ers.
If you prefer basketball, the Crypto.com Arena (formerly the Staples Center) is home to the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.
The arena’s name change became effective in December 2021, after over 20 years of operation as the famous Staples Center since its opening in 1999.
The Lakers will continue playing in the newly named arena, however, the Clippers plan to move to the Intuit Dome in 2024.
And if you are a baseball fan, the Los Angeles Angels, Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants are just a couple of options for you to check out.
5. For The Beach Lovers And Swimmers
California offers a variety of extreme water sports such as:
- Rent a jet ski or boat from Invert Sports and spend the day jet skiing around Castaic Lake, Lake Tahoe, or any of the 34 lakes and reservoirs the company works with throughout the state. Castaic Lake is found within the Sierra Pelona Mountains and is one of the most popular lakes used for boating, tubing, and fishing.
- Flyboarding, an adrenaline junkie’s bucket list activity, uses a jetboard that is similar to a hoverboard that propels its riders into the air. This activity is popular in San Diego, where locals and travelers alike head to Mission Bay Sports Center for gear and to take classes.
- Other extreme water sports include extreme kayaking, wakeboarding, wakesurfing, and parasailing.