The Complete Travel Guide to California
California is one of the largest states in the USA and it is the most diverse in activities and geography. You would adventure this place with your family and friends and make your trip an epic. Even if you are living in this place for decades, there are so many place that you may want to visit. In this article, I am going to give you the complete travel guide to California as well as some tips that you may need!
The best time to visit California:
One of the best things about California is- there isn’t any terrible time for visiting this place. California is well known for its best and suitable weather in the USA all over the year. As this state is too large, you have to plan your tour depending on the spots you want to visit and what you want to do. For instance, if you want to do snowboarding or skiing, winter would be the best time for you.
Most people assume that the best time is summer to visit because of the sunny weather in the beaches and other desert destinations such as Palm springs, Death Valley and Southern California. Northern California is known particularly for its foggy days and finicky weather during this season.
I think that late September or October probably is the proper time for visiting California especially if you are planning to go on a long road trip round this state. During Fall, desert towns start to cool and the atmosphere is perfect and suitable in Southern California for getting in the beach time. San Francisco which is located in Northern California is another place to visit during fall as you would find clearer days and a good beach atmosphere in this weather. Another benefit is that the tourists are lesser and a price of the accommodation is better in this weather. You may research the places you want to visit and plan the tour during the best time of the year.
How does California’s weather fare?
California’s Mediterranean climate makes it popular with characteristics like dry and hot summers and mild winters. Fog in the morning is common in the Northern area but they disappear in the mid-day. Southern California has mild temperature and the heat gets high in August or July and colder in winter. Death Valley recorded the highest temperature during summer and mountains got freezing temperatures during winter.
Peak season in California is the summer because of the hot weather alongside the beaches. Southern California heat could go up around 80s to 90s but local areas could go around 100 degrees. June is not suitable for most people as it burns off through the day. At night the coastal area becomes cooler; so many visitors like to come here at this time.
Fall is the popular and accurate time for exploring California as the weather at this time is ideal. It stays warmer during October in southern areas and the local areas cool down that makes tours more bearable. But northern California becomes hottest as the temperature could go up to 70 to 80 degrees in October and September.
During winter, California is not the same as other states of the USA. It is an extremely wet season and could get cooler than other states. You could expect the temperature around 40 to 50 degrees at night and gets higher up to 69 degrees during the month of December to February. Sometimes temperature could rise around 90 degrees in January. Northern California temperature is lower like 58 to 60 degrees. If you want to visit this place and do some snowy adventure, late February may be the right time for you.
Some people would tell that it is one of the beautiful seasons. During this season, the flowers bloom and the temperature rises around 50 to 70 degrees at mid-day. If you want to chase wildflowers, you should plan the tour around April.
The Best way to get around:
California is the best state in the USA to plan an amazing road tour. You should remember the length of the roads is so long that you would need twelve hours for driving straight and you could not cover the entire state in one week.
If you want to go on a road trip, you have to start your journey by flying into a city such as Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego and then book a car for your road trip. For exploring a particular city, you could use public transport or rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber. San Francisco is suitable for going around in public transports. Cities like San Diego and Los Angeles, renting a car would be perfect to save large bills on Uber.
Packing for the trip:
One important fact is to pack your attire when going on a trip in California. That means you have to pack your long and short pants to change, light sweaters and jackets and items such as hats, sunscreen and sunglasses are a must!
Wherever you go, you would find that all the people are wearing jeans. Thus, you don’t have to pack any fancy dress. You should pack all necessary items for activities like paddle boarding, swimming, camping, horseback riding, surfing, snowboarding or scuba diving. It is difficult to pack all of these things. That’s why you could rent such things because these things are available in local shops.
1. Packing list for your summer trip:
- Two or three tank tops or t-shirts
- One long shirt
- Few sweaters and jackets
- One pair of jeans
- Denim shorts
- Good shoes
- Flip flops
- Flat sandals
- Beach cover-up
- One or two nice outfits
- Bag for carrying your important things with you
- A high-quality backpack
- Small bag
- Insulated water-bottle
- Beach blanket or towel
- Hiking shoes
- Body lotion
- Hair ties
2. Packing list for your winter trip:
- Two or three tops or t-shirts for layering
- Long shirts
- Warmer leather jackets
- Few cozy sweaters
- Winter Hat
- Two or three pairs of pants
- Walking shoes
- Few nice outfits to go any events
- Small and big bag for carrying
- Insulated water-bottle
- Hiking boots
- Makeup or toiletries
- Hair ties
- Body lotion
How to prepare your budget?
Trip to California is not cheap! If you are planning to eat in five star restaurants, stay in expensive hotels and partake in different activities, you should think about money first. Your budget could vary and it depends highly on what you would be doing.
You could reduce the amount by staying in inexpensive hotels and cooking your food yourself and spending more time with nature. Your main expense would be the gas cost!
You would need about 100 dollars per night unless you stay in camping sites or hostels. Some other places are higher demand and cost more than $100 per night. If you choose staying in higher-end resorts or design centric places, you have to keep at least $300 per night.
You may have to spend about $60 per person for food in LA restaurants and this amount is only for dinner with drinks. For breakfast and lunch, you would find options in the $20 to $30 range. You would have to spend about $200 to $300 per day and this amount would increase if you have planned for doing other activities. Moreover, the best thing about California is- you could go out in a natural environment and enjoy a lot of things for free!
Locations you should visit:
- Winter destinations: Mammoth mountain, Lake Tahoe and Big Bear.
- Coastal escapes: Catalina Island, Point Reyes, Laguna Beach, Big Sur, Mendocino
- Desert Vibes: Palm Springs, Red Rock Canyon State Park, Death Valley, Joshua Tree
- Beautiful Cities: San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles
- Wine destination: Paso Robles, Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Temecula
- Peaceful Retreats: Malibu, Big Sur, Ojai
- National Parks: Joshua Tree, Redwood, Yosemite, Sequoia, Pinnacles, Lassen Volcanic, Channel Island, Death Valley
- Music Festivals: Outside Lands, Stagecoach, Bottle Rock Napa Valley, FYF Fest, Coachella
What else to expect?
- Language: Almost all people in California speak in English. As this place is a mixture of different cultures, you may find people speaking in Spanish widely specifically in Southern areas.
- Currency: US dollar is the currency in California.
- ATMs and Credit Cards: You could pay for almost everything with the credit card. You would find many ATMs around this state and most stores only accept Visa, AMEX and MasterCard.
- Safety: it is relatively safe all over the USA. Definitely there are some cities such as LA where you would need to keep yourself aware of the surroundings. California is a safe place to travel but if you are going on a road trip, you should let your friends or family members know about the location where you are heading and when they should expect you to arrive.
California would be the best place for you to do adventure and spend some good time with nature. For family trips or friend’s hangouts, California would be the perfect choice!