California Weather and Climate

Geography and general

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

According to current estimates, around 40 million people live on an area of ​​over 400,000 square kilometers between the Pacific and the neighboring states of Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. In the south, California borders on the peninsula of the same name on 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, the so-called Hispanics already make up the absolute majority of the population.

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

The flight time from Frankfurt to Los Angeles or San Francisco is around 11.5 hours non-stop.

Climate in California

California has an extraordinary geographic diversity, ranging from alpine mountains to extremely hot desert regions. Accordingly, California also has regionally different climatic conditions. In general, three climate zones can be distinguished:

The coastal areas of California are cooled somewhat by the Pacific Ocean and are therefore significantly lower than inland. While the south coast has a subtropical climate, the Moja desert is known as an arid climate zone. In the interior, however, a continental climate is predominant.

In practical terms, this means warm daytime temperatures on the coast all year round, but winters are very rainy, especially in the north. In the desert regions, very hot summer months with peak temperatures above 45 degrees are common, but at night it cools down considerably.

For most travelers, the major cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are interesting 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.

When is the best time to visit California?

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

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

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

Optimal travel time for the regions

In the following overview you can see the best travel time depending on the region (California).

Place Best travel time
los Angeles May, June, July, August, September and October
San Francisco May, June, July, August and September
San Diego April, May, June, July, August, September and October

Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine in Los Angeles (California)

Jan Feb March Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daytime temperature 19 ° C 19 ° C 19 ° C 20 ° C 21 ° C 22 ° C 24 ° C 25 ° C 25 ° C 24 ° C 21 ° C 19 ° C
Night temperature 9 ° C 10 ° C 10 ° C 12 ° C 14 ° C 15 ° C 17 ° C 18 ° C 17 ° C 15 ° C 12 ° C 9 ° C
Water temperature 14 ° C 14 ° C 15 ° C 15 ° C 16 ° C 18 ° C 19 ° C 20 ° C 19 ° C 18 ° C 17 ° C 15 ° C
Precipitation in mm 61 64 50 18 4 1 0 4 8 9 45 42
Hours of sunshine 7 8 9 10 9 9 12 11 9 8 7 7
Sunrise 7:00 6:40 7:05 6:20 5:50 5:40 5:50 6:15 6:35 7:00 6:25 6:50
Sunset 17:05 17:35 19:00 19:25 19:45 20:05 20:05 19:40 19:00 18:20 16:50 16:45

Temperatures

The average annual temperature in Los Angeles is 17.2 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is August (21.4 ° C), coldest month of January with mean values of 13.8 ° C. The maximum water temperature in Los Angeles is 20 ° C. Pleasant bathing is possible from temperatures of around 21 ° C. The months of June, July, August, September, October and November have a water temperature of at least 17 ° C. Bathing is then possible to a limited extent.

Precipitation

The annual precipitation is 306 mm. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. There is no rainy season, i.e. months with more than 175 mm 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. The average annual sunshine is 8.9 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.

Cities nearby

The following major towns are nearby and have a similar climate: Long Beach, Anaheim, Hollywood, Glendale, Huntington Beach, Santa Clarita, Garden Grove, Pomona, Valencia, Torrance, Pasadena, Orange, Fullerton, East Los Angeles, Koreatown, El Monte, Downey and Van Nuys.

Sights & highlights

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

Los Angeles, meanwhile, scores with its west side 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 a must on a trip to California. In San Diego, Balboa Park and the USS Midway Museum await.

There is also a lot to discover in terms of landscape: Yosemite National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the world, and a view from Glacier Point is unforgettable for a lifetime. The sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park (Giant Forest) are also a must – the list could go on and on!

California weather in March, April and May

Average daily temperatures between 16 ° C and 21 ° C can be expected over the next three months. It gets warmest in May in Los Angeles, while March is a little cooler in San Francisco.

Do you want to go on a beach holiday? The water temperatures are in March, April and May 12-17 ° C.

In the period from March to May the sun shines on average between 8 and 11 hours a day. The sunniest weather is in May in San Francisco, but with less sun you will have to get by in San Diego in March.

California Weather and Climate
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