The state of California: the all American holiday destination! California is one of the most famous states in America, and is home to some of the country’s most well-known destinations. Cities and towns include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento to name a few. As well as urban culture, there are many mesmerising landscapes to explore, including some treasured national parks.
Written by: Mark Johnson / 12 August 2016
And of course, it’s always sunny in California! August is the prime time for holidays, so the state is the perfect destination for summer adventures, so here’s everything you need to know about California in August…
California always brings to mind images of sunny vineyards and bright beaches. But in reality, California has a range of different climates, owing in part to the length of the state. In the south there is a hot desert climate, while in the north it can be almost subarctic. California’s legendary fog often hugs the coast from Monterey, usually during summer months; it burns off by midday before rolling in again at sunset and can make for some interesting photo opportunities.
Many areas enjoy a more Mediterranean climate climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters which is perfect for growing fresh produce such as fruit for refreshing juices, and grapes for pressing into a variety of wines. So be sure to cool off with a fresh beverage when you first arrive!
California has year round sun and gets particularly hot in August - temperatures can reach thirty degrees or more. Places like San Francisco can be slightly cooler due to coastal breezes, but in general August is the perfect month to visit California if you’re looking to catch a tan.
Trust us when we say, California really does have a landscape to suit everyone’s tastes! Some of the most beautiful natural vistas in the world can be seen here, which makes it the ideal destination for road trip holidays.
Are you a fan of beaches? The aptly named Bowling Ball Beach is on the Mendocino coast in Northern California. The beach is dotted with round boulders which, you guessed it – look just like bowling balls. The beach is the perfect spot for relaxing with a picnic, but is also great for hiking and surfing.
You can also dive deep into the earth by exploring the Painted Canyons in Mecca, located about 40 miles southeast of Palm Springs. Named after its walls which are coloured a mixture of reds, pinks and greens, the colourful hike through the gorge helpfully includes a number of ladders to help you on your way.
Yosemite National Park
You’re guaranteed to be wowed by any scenery in California, but one of the most impressive is the mighty Yosemite Falls at the incredible Yosemite National Park. This awe-inspiring waterfall measures 2,425 feet, and is the fifth tallest waterfall in the world. Believe it or not, all that water comes from snow that has melted!
Another one of California’s highlights is its wildlife. The hugely diverse landscape throughout the state provides the perfect environment for a remarkable variety of sea life, land animals and birds and there are plenty of opportunities to observe them in their natural habitats. There’s no way we could list all the wildlife to see, but here are a few to look out for.
These gorgeous mammals were thought to be extinct in the 19th century, but thankfully one pair survived and after many years of conservation work, there are now 4,000 of them living in the area. Tule elk can be seen in various locations across California, but head to The Tule Elk State Reserve in Kern County for the most reliable viewing point.
Did you know that the blue whale is the largest animal on planet, with a tongue that weighs as much as an elephant? During the summer months, humpback and blue whales are known to swim along the coast of California. So look out for the whale-watching cruise tour in Monterey, or spot them from the shore at Point Reyes National Seashore.
Now protected by law, the numbers of Sea Otters have risen from just 50 to almost 2,000. The climate and rocky shores along Monterey coastline are ideal for these little guys and the bountiful kelp forests are full of their favourite snacks. The best place to encounter a sea otter in its natural habitat is out on the water so why not rent a kayak to observe these wonderful creatures in action?
Popular Tours - Bouldering in Bishop
Bouldering is basically rock climbing without the equipment and no more than a few feet from the floor. For avid rock climbers, bouldering is a great opportunity to test your strength and enjoy the beautiful Californian scenery. There are boulders suitable for all levels of ability, from beginner to expert, so don’t worry if you’ve never tried it before - it provides the perfect step up for rock climbing.
Universal Studios in Hollywood
This is the ultimate experience for all film fanatics and a fun filled day for all the family and big kids alike. Universal Studios offers the famous Studio Tour, as well as a number of shows, attractions and fun rides based on the world’s biggest films. So if you’re a fan of Transformers, Despicable Me or Harry Potter, then this is the tour for you!
Wine tasting in Napa Valley
Get a taste of California by trying the wines of Napa Valley. Just an hours drive from San Francisco, the best time to visit Napa Valley is in summer months as there is often a packed schedule of events and festivals taking place to celebrate fantastic wines and good food so August is perfect!
Sporting Events & Activities
If you love sports and the great outdoors, then California won’t disappoint. Santa Cruz is one of the best locations in the world for surfers, and is a short drive away from San Francisco. Alternatively, try Los Angeles - the number of beaches nearby are all brilliant for catching the waves, whether you’re a pro or newbie.
For those of you more into your motors, be sure not to miss the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Taking place in August, this is the largest event in the Monterey Classic Car Week. Imagine 550 cars racing towards the finish line, and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect.
For an alternative sporting event, go along to The Annual Charity Ping Pong Tournament in LA and play ping pong for a great cause! Both teams and individual players are welcome, and the proceeds from the event go to helping local schools reach sustainability goals.
Festivals - Sawdust Festival of Arts
From July through to the end of August, you can see the top artists of Southern Orange County displaying their work in quirky open air gallery in the Laguna Beach area. Take a tour of the exhibition, try making art for yourself and watch live demonstrations.
SF Aloha Festival
Expect Pacific Islander music and Polynesian dancing included in the variety of entertainment available at this weekend festival in the San Mateo area. Don’t miss seeing the arts and crafts on display, as well as getting involved in the culture and trying some authentic island cuisine.
La Habra Corn Festival
This is not to be missed if you’re travelling with family, La Habra festival is a feast of rides, music and games for the whole family to enjoy. Hot buttered corn on the cob will be available, as well as Funnel Cakes, and be sure to check out the Corn Festival Marketplace for more tasty treats.
Where to eat
California is known as a social melting pot and this is reflected in its cosmopolitan dining experiences. California is big on locally sourced produce and the climate is ideal for growing seasonal fruit and vegetables year round which works well as part of the health conscious culture here with a variety of vegetarian and vegan dining options also available - try Café Gratitude in Los Angeles for a truly wholesome vegan dining experience.
Meat & Seafood
California is renowned for its steak and cattle ranches with grass fed animals but being so close to the ocean means that fresh seafood is also in abundance; Californians consume more seafood than anywhere else in the USA with fishermen bringing 300 different species to market each year. Try the Animal in Los Angeles for a trendy meat feast and the Anchor Oyster Bar & Seafood Market in San Francisco for your fresh seafood fix.
Mexican & Wine
California shares a border with Mexico and offers some of the most authentic and spicy Mexican food in the United States and it doesn’t get much for authentic than The Taco Stand in La Jolla, San Diego. And of course there’s good wine to go with each meal - Northern California is famous for its wines and vineyards dating back to 1855! Prepare to have your tastebuds tantalised on a trip to California.