California's climate is often compared to that of the Mediterranean, due to warm, dry summers, and mild, wet winters. On the coast, average yearly temperatures range between the low 40s°F (4.4°C) and in the high 70s°F (21.1°C) and 80s°F (26.7°C). Farther inland, summers are hot and dry, and at higher altitudes the weather is more typical of a four-seasons cycle with cold, snowy winters. The contrast is clear in the state’s two largest cities, where you’ll find very different weather patterns. San Francisco is famous for its fog — especially in the summer, and Los Angeles is known for its consistently sunny, desert-like, coastal climate.
You’ll find the weather along California’s Central Coast to be consistently mild, varying down the coast with rainfall and coastal fog. Keep in mind that rainy season runs from November through April.
With all the happy produce in the Central Valley, you might have guessed that the sun shines most days. Summer highs average in the high 90s°F (32.2°C), and 100-degree (37.8°C) weather is not uncommon. Winters are mild, bringing rain and highs in the 50s°F (10°C).
They don’t call it desert for nothing. During the wettest month of the year, it usually rains less than two inches. In the depths of winter, average high temperatures run around 70°F(21.1°C). At the height of summer, it can reach triple digits, yet the dry air and resort pools make even the hottest days seem bearable.
Nestled between mountain climate to the east and coastal climate to the west, Gold Country enjoys hot, dry summers, and winters, usually in full swing by November, are cooler and wet with rain — or snow, depending on how far up in the foothills you go.
The most important thing to know about the High Sierra's alpine climate is that weather can change quickly, especially if you’re changing altitude while hiking, climbing, or driving. The area is famous for lots of sunshine and big-time winter snow. Summers are typically warm and dry.
Far enough from the ocean to escape the coastal fog, the Inland Empire is hot and dry from summer through early fall. Some folks might call it hot and dry year-round, but locals say November ‘til March is the “wet season,” which brings cooler temperatures and a few mild rains.
The arid climate in Los Angeles promises lots of sun and little humidity throughout the year. Average high temps run from the high 60s°F(15.6°C) in winter months to the low 80s°F (26.7°C) in summer. Rainstorms come through from November to March, dropping roughly 2-4 inches per month.
Redwood trees love the North Coast's foggy climate: not too hot, not too cold. Average daily highs range from the mid-50s°F(10°C) in winter to the mid-60s°F (15.6°C) in summer. Venture inland a few miles, and the temperature might increase or decrease significantly — sometimes up to 50 degrees. Rainy season is November through March.
There’s one number to remember when you’re talking about Orange County weather: 70. That’s the approximate percentage of sunny days AND the average temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. Summers are moderate to hot, but proximity to the ocean brings cool evening breezes. Winters are mild with little rainfall.
Daily high temperatures don’t vary much during the year in San Diego, averaging in the 60s°F (15.6°C) from December through May, and in the 70s°F(21.1°C) from June through November. What passes for rainy season here generally lasts from November to February, but an entire month’s rainfall often comes in one day.
San Francisco Bay Area
Late summer and early fall are typically the warmest and driest in the Bay Area, with highs in the 70s°F (21.1°C) and 80s°F (26.7°C). November through April brings rain and temperatures in the 50s°F (10°C). Days in May, June and July often begin and end with fog, which can clear mid-day.
The Shasta Cascade weather depends largely on what altitude you’re at — and there are a lot to choose from here! In general, this area is cold in the winter, with snow and freezing temperatures. Summers are hot and dry. November through March brings quite a bit of rain and the white stuff, at an average of 5 to 7 inches per month.