Start planning your perfect summer vacation, whether that means traveling to beaches, discovering national parks, or exploring theme parks. This June offers a wealth of parties and fresh-air opportunities, including California State Parks Week (June 14–18), which features special activities at parks all over the state.
Early summer also brings its own harvest season, such as the sunflowers in bloom in Yolo County and the peach-and-berry stands along the Fresno County Fruit Trail. California’s Pride Month will throw plenty of parties and parades, too, from Sonoma County (June 2–4) to Los Angeles (June 9–10) to San Francisco (June 24–25). New pride events are happening this year, too, like Sausalito’s first pride celebration (June 9–July 1), and a fabulous Dynasty-themed drag party at Filoli Gardens (June 2), the San Mateo County estate where some of the iconic TV series was filmed
Build a trip around the fun events above or below, including days or full weekends devoted to wine, artichokes, and even movie monsters.
June 1–4: Mendocino Film Festival, Mendocino County
Choose from more than 50 screenings and eight panel discussions at this Mendocino County festival that includes feature-length and short films. (This year’s lineup includes films from 15 different nations and boasts 48 percent female filmmakers.) Some of the showcased films include Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in Mind, and Groundworks, a documentary about Native Californians that will be followed by a Coastal Pomo dance performance. Most screenings will be in Mendocino Village, while one festival theater is located in nearby Fort Bragg.
June 2–4: Outloud Music Festival, West Hollywood
Kick off Pride Month in California with three days of music in West Hollywood. Headliners include Idina Menzel on Friday, Grace Jones on Saturday, and Carly Rae Jepsen on Sunday. Choose from a variety of passes that range from just $34 for one-day admission to full-weekend passes that also include front-of-line access to pride events at West Hollywood’s Rainbow District bars. While you’re in town, check out the WeHo Pride Arts Festival, which will run through June 30.
June 2–4: Monsterpalooza, Pasadena
While July’s Comic-Con in San Diego celebrates comic book heroes, this weekend festival at Pasadena’s Convention Center honors the creepiest creatures of movies, TV, and the “haunt industry.” Check out exhibits, watch makeup demos and expert panels, and meet horror-film actors including Robert Englund (aka Freddy Krueger) and Amie Donald (the star of M3GAN).
June 2–10: Carmel Culinary Week, Carmel-by-the–Sea
The Monterey County town of Carmel-by-the-Sea celebrates its rich food-and-wine scene with an extended week of specials and offerings at more than 30 participating restaurants, including Hog’s Breath Inn and La Bicyclette (a favorite of Craig Kilborn’s, which he discusses on the California Now podcast). This restaurant week isn’t just about eating, either: the lineup of community events includes a meet-and-greet with Chopped host Ted Allen, wine tasting at the 30th Annual Monterey Winemakers' Celebration, and an outdoor screening of Ratatouille.
June 3: Opening Day for Splash-N-Dash, Snelling
Just 55 miles from Yosemite National Park, this inflatable water park inside Lake McSwain Recreation Area makes a great stop on any summer road trip through the Central Valley. Indeed, it’s the largest inflatable water park in North America, offering a 25-foot-tall slide tower, racing slides, and more than 30 new obstacles. Rent kayaks, eat at the café, or kick back in the adult-friendly Lazy Splash area, comprised of inflatable “lounging islands.” Stay later on Fridays or Saturdays to watch movies on the beach. The season runs through early September.
June 3: Taste of Calaveras, Murphys
Explore the gardens and wine cave at Ironstone Vineyards, located in the Gold Country town of Murphys, while also tasting wines from more than 25 Calaveras County vintners and bites from local chefs. This is the 14th year of this limited-ticket event that also includes live music, food trucks, and local art for sale. For discounted tickets, purchase by May 15.
Later in the month, the Gold Country town will also participate in Make Music Day, happening on the summer solstice in more than 1,000 cities around the globe. Check out the free music on June 21 starting at 3 p.m. at Murphys Irish Pub then continuing from 7 p.m. until after midnight at the Music Barn at Val du Vino Winery and Vineyards.
June 3: Wild Oaks Country Music Festival, Thousand Oaks
Bring your cowboy boots for a day of music in Conejo Valley. The lineup includes Craig Morgan, the Grammy-nominated Cam, and local favorites Chris Johnson and the Hollywood Hillbillies. Between shows, take part in line-dancing lessons, food trucks, kids’ activities, and hot sauce tastings. Make it a full weekend by staying at one of the festival’s partner hotels in the Conejo Valley.
June 3: Hangtown Motocross Classic, Rancho Cordova
This year marks the 54th year of this racing weekend in Rancho Cordova. Thursday and Friday at Prairie City OHV Parkwill feature amateur racers, then the pros will hit the track on Saturday. Choose from general admission and VIP-style tickets, some with Pro Pit Access Passes. For the most savings, book your hotel using Visit Rancho Cordova’s special offer and you’ll get 15 percent off general admission tickets, plus gift card freebies.
June 3–4: L.A. WineFest, Long Beach
Los Angeles County has an unsung viticulture scene, and this annual event showcases some great Southern California wines—like Waters Edge Winery in Long Beach and Stella Rosa in Los Angeles—alongside bottles from elsewhere in California and around the globe. Pair the wines with food-truck cuisine while strolling Long Beach’s scenic waterfront, home of the Aquarium of the Pacific.
June 3–4: Downtown Burbank Arts Festival, Burbank
Burbank may be best known as the place to attend tapings of TV shows, but this weekend offers a classic street fair with art, jewelry, fashions, and home decor. The free, dog-friendly event on San Fernando Blvd. is also a nice excuse to explore this bustling downtown, lined with restaurants and vivid murals.
June 3–11: San Mateo County Fair, San Mateo
Admire the huge floral creations, livestock, a dragon exhibit, and all the classic activities at this San Francisco Peninsula fair that has been running for nearly a century. Plan your trip around events such as Family Pride Day (June 4), Pacific Islands Day (June 10), and Dia de la Feria (June 11), and check out its Domini Hoskins Black History Museum.
June 4: World Famous Tustin Chili Cookoff, Tustin
This Orange County town near Anaheim boasts of having the world’s largest one-day chili cook-off. The annual festivities play out on the streets of Tustin’s Old Town with live bands, a family fun zone, beer and wine gardens, and the chili-fueled showdown, often with about 50 teams in contention.
June 10: Beerfest—The Good One, Santa Rosa
Come for tastings of sour beers, “hop bombs,” and barrel-aged brews at this 21+ event on the lawn of Sonoma County’s Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. While some beer festivals are family affairs with kids’ activities and other diversions, this event offers a variety of food trucks but is otherwise geared toward adult beer nerds who just want to talk beer.
June 10: Los Angeles Independent Beer Festival, Long Beach
Sip your way through Los Angeles’ beer scene at this event that showcases 75 L.A.-based craft brewers. Bring your own blanket or lawn chairs for the event at Long Beach’s ShoreLine Aquatic Park, which has nice views of the marina and recently reopened Queen Mary, and pair your beer with cuisine from a dozen food trucks.
June 10: San Diego Brew Festival, San Diego
Immerse yourself in San Diego’s craft beer scene during this afternoon festival at Liberty Station’s NTC Park. Admission grants you unlimited tastes from more than 70 breweries while you enjoy live music and browse the food trucks. Participating San Diego breweries include Mikkeller San Diego, Border X Brewing, and Blue Fire Brewing.
June 10–11: Fishin' For $50K Trout Tournament, Big Bear Lake
Spring and early summer are prime time for rainbow trout at Big Bear Lake, and this tournament adds another layer of incentive: 30 of the trout are tagged to win prizes, with five of them worth $10,000 each. Adults need a California fishing license to compete, but kids 16 and under won’t need one.
June 10–11: Artichoke Festival, Monterey
“Thistle Be Fun” is the theme of this year’s annual artichoke party in Monterey County. Watch chef demos, take field tours, and taste myriad uses of the local edible thistle flower—grilled, fried, and even in cupcakes. Enter the artichoke-eating contest or cleanse your palate between snacks by taking part in the fun run or the wine-tasting event.
June 15–25: Conejo Valley Days, Thousand Oaks
This classic fair in L.A. County’s Thousand Oaks started in the 1940s as a “community circus” and has grown over the years to include carnival rides, games, live music, and lots of fair cuisine. Local musical acts include the 805 Social Club and line-dancing guru Kristal Lynn.
June 17–25: Healdsburg Jazz Festival
Who says Sonoma County’s Healdsburg is just about food and wine? Now in its third decade, this jazz fest will be headlined by acts such as Dianne Reeves, the Bill Frisell Trio, and 2023 Best New Artist Grammy winner Samara Joy. Performances are held at various locations around town, including the Hotel Healdsburg and Bacchus Landing.
June 16–18: Santa Rosa Country Summer, Sonoma County
First launched in 2014, this country music festival at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds has a Southern-fried spirit: This year’s lineup features Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Church, and the Brothers Osbourne. Buy a three-day pass and you can also book an RV camping spot on-site.
Love showtunes? Nearby in the Sonoma Valley, the Transcendence Theatre Company kicks off its summer season of pop- and Broadway-music-fueled shows on June 16. Bring your picnic blanket to the shows at Jack London State Historic Park and pick up food and local wine from on-site vendors.
June 16–18: Broken Arrow Skyrace, Palisades Tahoe
Choose from seven distances (plus a kid-friendly route) in this trail-running event for both elite and recreational runners on the slopes of Palisades Tahoe. The routes, which range from a “vertical K” to a 46K, often go off-trail and include steep terrain, hand lines, a ladder, and no doubt some snow, as well as nice views of Lake Tahoe. Celebrate afterward with the festival’s food, craft beer, music, seminars, and family activities. (Note: You must register by June 1.)
For a more low-key challenge, check out Palisades Tahoe’s Great Bingo Revival, in which a different local restaurant will host a creative bingo night every Thursday from June 29–July 27.
June 17: Mile High 100, Lake Almanor
Pedal around Upstate California’s Lake Almanor during this annual ride that isn’t so much a race, but rather offers varying levels of challenge combined with Plumas County scenery. Choose from the 100-mile “Century” ride, the 68-mile “Metric,” or the more leisurely “Half Metric” (33 miles), which stays completely by the lake.
June 17–25: Lavender Blue Harvest Days, Placerville
A certain red fruit abounds during autumn in the Apple Hill area of El Dorado County, but during summer it’s all about lavender, berries, and cherries. Come see how local farms and wineries offer their own takes on this season, with lavender-infused drinks or creative berry treats. Or try your hand at lavender wreath-making at Bluestone Meadow Farm.
June 20–26: Palm Springs International ShortFest
Watch short films and panel discussions at Greater Palm Springs’ acclaimed festival, held at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. Top films win either cash prizes or five qualification spots for next year’s Academy Awards. After the event, watch the Virtual Best of Fest online, featuring both award winners and audience favorites.
June 21–25: Sonoma-Marin Fair, Petaluma
This annual event at Petaluma’s Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds celebrates both classic livestock and local makers of wine, cheese, chocolate, and more. This year’s festivities—with the theme “Everybody’s Fair”—will include an Artisan Hall, a World's Ugliest Dog contest, live stage performances, and classic rides.
June 23–24: Summer Solstice Parade & Festival, Santa Barbara
The Central Coast city enjoys its own version of the midnight sun at this beloved festival with a Mardi Gras vibe. Take part in the live music, food, wine, and kids’ activities in Alameda Park during the whole weekend, and the colorful parade down Santa Barbara Street on June 24.
June 24: Old Santa Ynez Day, Santa Ynez
Watch a massive line dance in the streets, see authentic stagecoaches, and wear your best cowboy fashions to celebrate this 19th-century Central Coast town that has an Old West spirit. The event also features music, a petting zoo, and Indian fry bread tacos. Learn more about the Santa Ynez Valley’s heritage by exploring Santa Ynez Historical Museum, which also hosts a pig roast that day.
June 24: Woodies on the Wharf, Santa Cruz
Enjoy a unique car show and soak up Santa Cruz’s historic surf culture at this display of more than 200 “woodies,” mostly pre-1950s cars that featured wood-paneled bodies. Stroll past the cars along the Santa Cruz Wharf, stopping to enjoy the shops, restaurants, and ocean views.
June 24: Star Party at the Presidio, San Francisco
Once a month, members of the San Francisco Astronomers’ Association bring their big telescopes to the Main Parade Lawn of the Presidio for a viewing party, beginning at 6 p.m. You can hang out, too, and use their telescopes during the evening to view the moon, planets, and constellations, including Orion and Cassiopeia. Just dress warmly and check the weather (rain or clouds can mean a cancellation), and keep tabs on future dates and locations around San Francisco.
June 24–25: Pier 360 Beach Festival, Santa Monica
Embrace summer in Santa Monica at this event that is part contest, part beach party. From the Santa Monica Pier, watch competitors in paddleboard races, ocean swimming, beach volleyball, sandcastle-building, and lifeguarding challenges. On the sidelines, enjoy live music, hula dancers, a beer garden, and kids zone. To boost your own skills, take advantage of the festival’s free SUP lessons in a training pool on the pier deck.
June 29–July 2: High Sierra Music Festival, Quincy
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Thievery Corporation, and Marcus King headline this Plumas County festival where music is just the beginning. This packed weekend includes a Family Village zone (with circus acts), daily costume themes, a community swimming pool, and daily mind-body activities including yoga and guided meditation. Depending on what kind of pass you buy, you can camp at the fairgrounds, which has a special area just for families with kids.