Start picturing your perfect summer, whether that means beaches, national parks, or thrilling new roller coasters at theme parks. This June offers a wealth of parties and fresh-air opportunities, including the first-ever California State Parks Week (June 14–18), with 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 San Francisco (June 25–26) to West Hollywood (June 3–5) and Catalina Island (June 18).
Build a trip around the fun events above or below, including days or full weekends devoted to hot-air balloons, wine, artichokes, and even movie monsters.
June 3–5: Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival
This three-day festival in Temecula Valley offers the magical experience of watching 50 hot-air balloons lift off each day. Book a ride yourself, watch the evening Balloon Glow, or enjoy the views while staying attached to the ground on a Balloon Tether ride. The weekend is also a great chance to explore Old Town Temecula and the area’s dynamic wine scene.
June 3–5: Monsterpalooza, Pasadena
While July’s Comic-Con in San Diego celebrates comic book heroes, this weekend festival at Pasadena’s Convention Centerhonors the creepiest creatures of movies, television, and the “haunt industry.” Check out exhibits, watch makeup demos and expert panels, and meet horror-film actors including Tim Curry and Neve Campbell. Come back in a few weeks for the Pasadena Chalk Festival (June 18–19) to see the work of 600 artists covering three blocks of sidewalks around The Paseo shopping center.
June 4: Opening Day for Splash-N-Dash, Snelling
Just 55 miles from Yosemite National Park, this inflatable water park that sits on top of a lake makes a great stop on any summer road trip through the Central Valley. The newly expanded water park—now the largest of its kind in North America—is located inside Lake McSwain Recreation Area and includes features such as 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” in shallow water. Season runs through Sept. 5.
June 4–5: 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 4–12: 88th Annual San Mateo County Fair
Admire the huge floral creations, livestock, a dinosaur exhibit, and all the classic fair fun at this San Mateo County institution that has been running for nearly a century. Plan your trip around special fair days such as Family Pride Day (June 5), Pacific Islands Day (June 11), and Dia de la Feria (June 12).
This Orange County town near Anaheim boasts of having the world’s largest one-day street fair and 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 5: Truckee Dirt Fondo
Bring your bike or at least cheer on the competitors at this off-road bike race and family festival in Tahoe National Forest near Truckee. The three routes—best traversed with gravel bikes or hard-tail mountain bikes—include stretches of trail as high as 8,000 feet. The post-race festival includes food trucks, live music, and beer from local makers such as FiftyFifty Brewing and non-alcoholic Best Day Brewing.
June 5: Oakland Zoo Turns 100
Celebrate this classic zoo’s centennial at a free party in downtown Oakland’s Snow Park, which was the zoo’s original home. Entertainment and activities feature other cornerstones of the Oakland community, too, such as the soccer team Oakland Roots and Children’s Fairyland.
June 10–11: Huichica, Sonoma
This family-friendly Sonoma festival (say it wah-chee-ka) at the lovely Gundlach Bundschu Winery blends live music, food, and local wine. The unconventional lineup (which has been touted as “artists worth knowing”) is headlined by the all-female dance-punk pioneers ESG, garage rockers Allah-Las, and “emo jammers” Turnover.
June 11: 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, which will also be lined with food trucks. While some beer festivals are family affairs with kids’ activities and other diversions, this event is geared toward adult beer nerds who just want to talk beer.
June 11, 18–19: San Diego Brew Festival and San Diego International Beer Festival
June offers an especially festive time to sample San Diego’s craft beer scene. On June 11, the San Diego Brew Festival takes place at Liberty Station’s NTC Park. Admission grants you unlimited tastes from 70 breweries, while you enjoy live music and browse the food trucks. Stick around to continue tasting at the following weekend’s San Diego International Beer Festival (June 18–19), which claims to be the biggest beerfest on the West Coast. Sample your way through beers, meads, and ciders from nearly 200 breweries—including local stars such as Ballast Point and The Lost Abbey.
Now is also the time to get tickets for the first summer season at the Rady Shell. The summer lineup at downtown’s idyllic concert venue includes touring acts Sheryl Crow, Common, and Steve Martin & Martin Short, as well as San Diego Symphony concerts such as The Music of John Williams and The Princess Bride in Concert.
June 11–22: Artichoke Festival, Monterey
This longtime Monterey County festival offers chef demos, field tours, kids’ activities, and myriad ways to taste 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 13–19: Healdsburg Jazz Festival
The famed jazz festival features a diverse range of musicians performing at various Sonoma County spots, including parks and wineries—and some shows are free. Headliners include NEA Jazz Master Dave Holland, blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, and San Francisco vocalist Bobi Céspedes.
Jun 16–26: Conejo Valley Days, Thousand Oaks
This annual fair in Conejo Valley started in the 1940s as a “community circus,” and has grown over the years to include carnival rides, games, live music, and lots of classic fair food.
June 17–19: Santa Rosa Country Summer
First launched in 2014, this country music festival at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds has a chicken-fried spirit: This year’s lineup features Blake Shelton, Kelsea Ballerini, and Jimmie Allen. Buy a three-day pass and you can also book an RV camping spot onsite.
Love show tunes? Nearby, the Transcendence Theatre Company kicks off its summer season of Broadway music-fueled shows on June 17. 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 17–19: Mendocino Coast Purple Urchin Festival
This weekend of tastings, cooking demos, and marine ecology lessons boasts of being the nation’s first-ever festival to celebrate the spiky sea creatures. A few Mendocino County hotels and restaurants—including The Harbor House Inn, Little River Inn, and Princess Seafood Market & Deli—are offering special urchin-focused menus all weekend. Some hotels are also offering third-night free deals for urchin fans.
June 18: Century Ride, Lake Almanor
Pedal around Upstate California’s Lake Almanor during this annual ride that offers varying levels of challenge. The toughest is the 108-mile “Century” ride, which climbs 3,200 feet while circling the lake and winding through Indian Valley. Or do either the “Metric” (56 miles and 1,200 feet of elevation gain) or the more leisurely “Half Metric” (33 miles), which stays by the lake.
June 18–26: 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. About 20 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 21-27: 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 the Academy Awards. After the event, watch the Virtual Best of Fest online, featuring both award winners and audience favorites.
June 22–25: 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.
While you’re in Sonoma County, celebrate the 50th anniversary of Healdsburg’s Jordan Winery by attending one of its charity-benefit Social Impact Dinner (June 24); this alfresco dinner features house wines including the inaugural 1976 vintage of Jordan Cabernet. (Fun fact: Jordan Winery is the nation’s largest bee-friendly pollinating vineyard.)
June 23–26: 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 bodies. Stroll past the cars along the Santa Cruz Wharf, stopping to enjoy the shops, restaurants, and ocean views.
June 24–25: 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 25.
June 25: Old Santa Ynez Day, Santa Ynez
Watch a giant line dance in the streets, see authentic stagecoaches, and wear your best cowboy fashions to celebrate the 140th anniversary of this Central Coast town that has an Old West spirit. Along with music, a petting zoo, and Indian-fry-bread tacos, the day includes a parade and a fancy-boot contest. Learn more about the Santa Ynez Valley’s heritage by exploring Santa Ynez Historical Museum for free that day.