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Yosemite in the spring | © Kieron Norfield / Flickr
Yosemite in the spring | © Kieron Norfield / Flickr

15 Reasons to Visit California in the Spring

Picture of Deanna Morgado
Updated: 28 November 2017

Despite what people may tell you, California does have four seasons. During the spring, there is so much to do, see, and admire. If you’re not sure about visiting the Golden State in the springtime, here are 15 reasons why you should.

Wine Country

California is home to some of the world’s best wineries. In the springtime, the vineyards are beautiful places to walk around and explore. And, of course, there’s nothing better than going wine-tasting with the spring sun kissing your face.

The California Coast

The state’s beautiful coastline in unbeatable in the spring. The fog that typically blankets the scenic views in the colder months is finally starting to lift, revealing the most breathtaking scenery that the Pacific has to offer. You can admire these spring views all the way up and down the coast.

National Parks

National parks are a perfect place to witness the magic of the blooming season, and California has many of them throughout the state. You can marvel at the world’s largest tree in the Redwood National Forest, frolic through wildflower fields in Yosemite, or admire the desert blossoms at Joshua Tree.

Sailing

Spring kicks off the season of sailing in the Golden State. Some places, such as San Francisco, open the season with festive fun and events. The sun is finally out on the water, and the breeze is perfect for catching the sails, taking you across the blue ocean and bay.

Theme parks

Many theme parks around the nation are opening back up after the wet winter, and California’s theme parks are no different. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom offers something for everyone. Springtime is also a great time to visit the zoos in the state because as the weather warms up, the animals become a bit more active. Of course, Disneyland in the spring is not only magical but bright and beautiful.

Seasonal cuisine

The seasons influence the cuisine up and down California, and the state is no doubt at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement. Therefore, California’s fare is something to try, especially in the spring when much of the food is at its peak deliciousness.

The California poppies

Of course, the newly blossomed wildflowers and other flora are absolutely gorgeous, but the California poppy is the state flower. There’s no better way to celebrate spring in the state than to go check out the poppy fields and their blooming orange sprouts.

The deserts

The weather is much milder, and the plant life is in full swing this time of year in the California deserts. Sure, it’ll still be hot, but you won’t feel like you’re going melt into the sand.

Bird-watching

If you know your bird species, then you know that the blossoming season means that it’s also the nesting season for the beautiful egrets and herons. If you’re not an expert, many guides are available that will show you where you can see these magnificent birds.

The Lyrid meteor shower

Spring also strikes the Golden State on a cosmic level with the Lyrid meteor shower. This dance of shooting stars comes around every April and is visible in Big Sur, Mendocino, Death Valley, and along Highway 395. It’s a wonder and treat to look up and realize there’s so much more to the universe than yourself.

It’s the best time for whale-watching

For California gray whales, spring means migration. These majestic giants make the annual swim from the warm water in Mexico to the cooler climes in chilly Alaska. The whales make their way along the California coast; therefore, virtually anywhere on the entire coastline makes for a great whale-watching opportunity.

The Bay Area gets bluer

It may or may not be backed by science, but a trip to the Bay Area in the springtime is worth it just for how much bluer the water seems to be. Perhaps it’s the clearer spring skies finally getting a small break from the area’s infamous fog. Either way, it’s absolutely a reason to make a stop in the Bay Area.

All the film festivals

For one reason or another, spring also marks the beginning of film festival season in California—music festivals take center stage in the summer. But if you’re traveling around the state during the spring, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll find a film festival happening near you. They all vary in eliteness, genres, and levels, but they are all fascinating.

California takes the Spring Equinox seriously

The Spring Equinox, which marks the first day of spring and is also known as the equinoctial Earth Day, is celebrated throughout California in very different ways. The diverse cultures of the state bring in all of their special traditions to observe the start of the season. During this time, the Iranian culture is celebrating their new year, while the Japanese honor their ancestors. Also, pagan religion followers connect with nature, and multiple events take place to honor the Earth and its preservation.

The nights are pleasantly warm

In the spring, it’s getting warmer but not yet hot. That means you won’t freeze to death (by California standards) if you go out at night, and that huge puff jacket can stay at home.