Places to Visit in California in March

California is a fabulous place to plan your vacation any time of year. Here’s a list of fun places to visit in California in March to explore all the must-see destinations in the state.

We’ve asked our travel friends to share their favorite California vacation ideas for visiting during the month of March. You’ll find a variety of spectacular sights and unique destinations, offering something special for every type of traveler.

12 places to visit in March in California

One can never quite predict the weather in March. You might be fortunate enough to witness the last of winter’s snow atop the Sierra Nevada, making for a stunning backdrop against the clear blue Californian sky.

While the mountains retain their icy cloak, the valleys begin to bloom. You can head to the desert parks like Joshua Tree or Death Valley, which are just starting to warm up, but still void of the scorching summer heat.

The wildflower fields of Antelope Valley begin their vibrant display, cloaking the landscape in a sea of color. Meanwhile, the coast is a sight to behold, with crisp mornings giving way to pleasantly warm afternoons – perfect for a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway.

So pack a sweater, but keep your sunglasses handy; March in California is a delight of contrasts.

Grab this free California Bucket List Packet for even more things to see, do and eat all around the state in the month of March! Simply click the graphic below to get a ton of vacation ideas for visiting California!

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California map of places to visit in March

Map of California Vacation Spots in March

Here is a map of March vacation spots in California to help you plan your travel itinerary! This map guides you through California’s most coveted vacation spots in March, offering a blend of sunny beaches, mountainous trails, and vibrant cityscapes.

From the golden beaches of San Diego to the rugged beauty of Yosemite National Park, and the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles, there’s a destination to match every traveler’s preference.

We recommend the California GuideAlong App to hear fun behind-the-scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location as you drive through the state!

Places to Visit in California in March

Visiting California in March is a delightful experience. The weather is mild and comfortable, perfect for exploring the outdoors, enjoying the wildflower season, and soaking up the culture.

California National Parks in the Spring: Depending on the location of the park, March could still be cold and snowy in the higher elevations. Parks on the coast will be chilly with spring rain. The desert parks will be crowded as people visit to enjoy the moderate temperatures.

Southern California Vacation Ideas: In March the weather begins to warm up, with temperatures averaging in the comfortable 60s to low 70s. You can expect a mix of sunny days and the occasional light rainfall, bringing a fresh, blooming appeal to the landscape. Hiking trails, beaches, and parks become vibrant hotspots, and the streets buzz with the onset of numerous music and art festivals.

Northern California Vacation Ideas: In March the weather is typically dry with temperatures range between 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember to pack a light jacket though, evenings can get a little chilly. It’s a great time for outdoor activities like hiking and wine tasting!

We’ve asked our travel friends to share their favorite California vacation spots for the month of March! Here are their recommendations and tips!

Elephant seals at Ano Nuevo State Park
Elephant seals at Ano Nuevo State Park

Ano Nuevo State Park in March

March is a magical time at Año Nuevo State Park, famous for its elephant seals! You can see them year-round, but from December 15 to March 31, you can witness the fascinating lifecycle of the seals as mighty bulls contend for dominance and mothers nurture their newborn pups. 

By March, the adults often head out from this area, leaving the cute pups on the beach to play and learn how to adult.

If you come during these months, you’ll have to take a 3-4 mile walk to get out here and will need a guide once at the elephant seal area. It’s very much worth it, but definitely bring a zoom lens for your camera or some binoculars; you can’t get too close!

For the ultimate trail, head out on the Ano Nuevo Point Trail, a 4-mile round trip easy hike that gives you the best of the best of this park, including some views of surfers hitting up the waves at Cove Beach. There’s a parking fee unless you have a state park pass. (Recommended by Nina and Garrett, California is for Adventure)

Where To Stay Near Santa Cruz

Big Sur, California
Big Sur

Big Sur in March

If you’re a fan of wildflowers, then March is the best time to visit Big Sur. The weather is mild at this time of year, and it’s before the fog season begins, so you will have unobstructed views. The nights will still be chilly at this time of year, so get a room with a fireplace. 

You also won’t have the summer crowds, which is nice for watching the return migration of the gray whales that starts in March.

Make sure to visit Point Lobos and China Cove on your Big Sur road trip. The water is so clear here, and it’s a beautiful aqua color. You must also stop at Garrapata State Park for sunset. There are many scenic areas and hiking trails in this park.

Another stop you can’t miss is Pfeiffer Beach with its purple sands and the famous Keyhole Rock. Finally, be sure to stop at McWay Falls for one of the most dramatic waterfalls that you will ever see. These falls run into the ocean, and are one of the most photographed images of the Big Sur area.

In March, Big Sur beckons you with cool temperatures, beautiful landscapes, and a peaceful ambiance that you just won’t find at other times of the year. (Recommended by Valen, This Way To Paradise)

Big Sur Lodging & Tours

Carlsbad Flower Fields in March
Carlsbad Flower Fields

Carlsbad in March

One of the best places to visit in March are the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California. Every season 50,000 acres of Giant Tecolote ranunculus flowers bloom in a rainbow of colors blanketing the hillside in Carlsbad. However this attraction is only open for a few weeks each spring, so make sure to visit when you have the chance.

The Flower Fields in Carlsbad appeal to a variety of visitors. Families with small children will enjoy tractor rides through the brilliantly colored flowers, picking blueberries, or playing on the slides in Santa’s Village. This attraction is also beloved by photographers and anyone seeking swoon-worthy social media photos. Gardeners will enjoy learning from master gardeners at the demonstration garden or gazing at prized poinsettias. 

Before you visit, make sure to purchase tickets in advance. It’s best to avoid weekends and holidays if you want to avoid crowds. Dress in layers because the weather can fluctuate from hot and sunny, to chilly if the clouds roll in. Sturdy shoes are also recommended. 

This March, make sure to visit one of the best things to do in Carlsbad. Soak up the scenery at the Carlsbad Flower Fields. (Recommended by Jennifer, Seeking Stamps)

Carlsbad Lodging & Tours

Catalina Island
Catalina Island

Catalina Island in March

Nestled off the Southern California coast, Catalina Island offers an incredible March retreat with its off-season charm and pleasant daytime temperatures averaging 60°F. 

Located in the Channel Islands, this is the only privately owned and commercial island among the archipelago.

There are so many incredible things to do at Catalina Island, with scenic trails overlooking the dramatic coastline, you’ll almost feel like you’re in the Azores! Enjoy the sunshine and many eateries along the beach or waterfront in downtown Avalon, which is one of the most charming towns in California too!

During the summer months, Catalina Island is much busier and can be packed with crowds, especially on days where cruise ships visit. Visiting in March offers one of the more serene times to visit the island and still enjoy the comfortable outdoors, natural beauty, and plenty of things to enjoy downtown Avalon that Catalina Island offers. (Recommended by Megan, Bobo and Chichi)

Catalina Island Lodging & Tours

California Adventure Food & Wine Festival
California Adventure Food & Wine Festival

Disneyland in March

March is one of my favorite times to visit the Disneyland Resort theme park. The weather is perfect this time of year and usually stays between 75° and 80° with temperatures cooling down in the evenings.

March is also when the Disneyland California Food & Wine Festival takes place at California Adventure Park. You’ll be able to enjoy a wide variety of delicious tasty bites and libations in between going on your favorite rides.

If you visit Disneyland in March you can skip the restaurant reservations and spend the day perusing the numerous amazing food booths spread out across Disney California Adventure. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience! (Recommended by Sondra, Cuisine & Travel)

Anaheim Lodging & Tours

Palisades Tahoe
Palisades Tahoe

Lake Tahoe in March

Up in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains, the sapphire-blue Lake Tahoe straddles the border of California and Nevada. March is a great month to visit, presenting a mix of snowy landscapes and spring sunshine.

In March, the temperature ranges between 25°F and 45°F, mild enough for a Lake Tahoe winter itinerary filled with outdoor adventures. Snow lovers can still have a blast with winter sports as the mountain slopes at the 14 ski resorts around Lake Tahoe are still in full swing.

Even though some hiking trails may still have snow, the sunny days are warm enough for a nice leisurely forest hike around the lake at places like the Emerald Bay State Park.

March in Tahoe is also packed with unique events like the 10-Day Snowfest, the Great Ski Race, and the WinterWonderGrass Festival. For St. Patrick’s Day, celebrate with a pub crawl from bar to bar, trying out different local beers and specialty dishes. (Recommended by Catherine, Day Trip Nomad)

Where To Stay Near Lake Tahoe

California Poppy Reserve
California Poppy Reserve

Los Angeles in March

Head to Los Angeles in March to see stunning wildflowers in Southern California at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. About an hour’s drive from the city, the reserve is the perfect opportunity to catch a sea of beautiful, blooming poppies. 

Prefer to stay more local? The LA Marathon is a must-see, even if you’re not running. Thousands of athletes pound the pavement, and thousands in the stands cheer them on. The energy is electric, and you can’t help but get swept up in the excitement. It’s a celebration of endurance, spirit, and LA’s love for a good show.

Or, if you’re craving a more laid-back experience, Huntington Gardens is a great stop. This local gem is a floral wonderland, offering a peaceful retreat amid the city’s buzz. Stroll through the gardens, breathe in the fragrant air, and enjoy nature’s magic.

Lastly, if you’re looking to participate in St. Patrick’s Day activities in Los Angeles, head over to Brennan’s in Marina del Rey. Here’s the twist: they host turtle racing! It’s quirky, it’s fun, and it’s so LA. Imagine cheering on these adorable, slow-moving competitors while sipping on a green beer. It’s a great way to wrap up your trip to Los Angeles in March. (Recommended by Jen, Jen on the Run)

Los Angeles Lodging & Tours

Mount Shasta, California
Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta in March

Mount Shasta is one of the best spots to visit in California in March. The region, known for its mystical and majestic mountain, absolutely comes alive in the Spring.

As the weather warms up, there are so many things to do in Mount Shasta for spiritual seekers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. March is an ideal time for skiing and snowboarding at the Mount Shasta Ski Park. Additionally, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

And there are also a plethora of excellent hiking trails in the region for any skill level. Panther Meadows, a high-altitude meadow, is a must-visit for its vibrant wildflowers and spiritual significance to Native American cultures.

For those seeking a more serene experience, Lake Siskiyou is a great spot to sit and soak in the scenery. Mount Shasta City Park is also an excellent space to while away the day. And the Mt. Shasta Gateway Peace Garden is the perfect spot to meditate or say a prayer. Be sure to explore the charming town of Mount Shasta itself, with its boutique shops and excellent local eateries.(Recommended by Sumeeta, Sumeeta Seeks)

Where To Stay Near Shasta-Trinity National Forest

Palm Springs
Palm Springs

Palm Springs in March

For any tennis fans or those after some warm climate in March, Palm Springs is the ideal vacation destination. Located in Southern California, this desert city boasts sunny skies and average high temperatures of 81°F, great for enjoying all the outdoor activities this area offers.

One of the biggest draws to the city in March is the annual BNP Paribas tennis tournament. This massive event brings together the best tennis players around the world to compete against one another! Alternatively, if you prefer spending your time in nature, there are plenty of trails that offer breathtaking views.

There’s also the Living Desert Zoo, which is a family-friendly activity. This zoo is on the smaller side but promises an educational experience for the whole family on all things desert wildlife. Just be sure to pack a jacket or sweater since evenings can still get quite cold. (Recommended by Kristin, Global Travel Escapades)

Palm Springs Lodging & Tours

Bear Gulch Reservoir
Bear Gulch Reservoir at Pinnacles

Pinnacles National Park in March

Pinnacles National Park in Paicines, California is just over 2 hours south of San Francisco. It’s one of California’s most spectacular, and yet underrated, National Parks. March is one of the best times of the year to visit Pinnacles because the temps average at about 68 degrees and the rainy season is usually over by then.

The stunning Pinnacles landscape was formed about 23 million years ago by volcanic eruptions and what’s left are majestic rock spires and talus caves scattered throughout the park. There are about 30 miles of trails to explore, lakes, and some of the state’s unique wildlife such as peregrine falcons and California condors. One of Pinnacles’ coolest features are the Townsend Big Eared Bat colonies that breed in the caves in May through July.

The best hike in Pinnacles is the Bear Gulch to Condor Gulch to High Peaks Loop which shows you all the best features and views of the park. It’s a 6.1 mile loop through caves, the reservoir, and up to a 2700 foot elevation. Be sure to check weather conditions before you go and bring a flashlight for the caves! Hiking in Pinnacles is guaranteed to be an unforgettable adventure in a true gem of a National Park. (Recommended by Carrie, Carrie Green Zinn Travel Blog)

Where to Stay Near Pinnacles National Park

Redondo Beach Pier
Redondo Beach Pier

Redondo Beach in March

If you enjoy outdoor activities and the beach, Redondo Beach, California, will not disappoint. On any morning, the area is alive with activity without feeling crowded.  

The ocean waves attract surfers, while ships in the harbor sit quietly waiting for visitors wanting deep sea fishing or sightseeing journeys hoping to spy whales. 

On the beach, join the beach volleyball fun, participate in a dodgeball game, or play with family or friends to test your frisbee expertise. Or you can choose to walk the beach for miles and soak in the fresh ocean air. For bikers, you can ride on the 23.1 bike trail, which is considered easy.  

Hungry? The fresh seafood markets make it easy to select your favorite and take it to your vacation kitchen. If you want fine dining, no problem; there are places happy to accommodate you.  

Plan to visit Redondo Pier, where there are long-established seafood restaurants and the opportunity to talk to fishermen at the very end of the pier. Or if you want a gift or a souvenir from your trip, you can find it here. Be ready to be delighted – Redondo is a beautiful beach town. (Recommended by Kathy, Palm Springs Insider Guide)

Where to Stay in Redondo Beach

Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park in March

Redwood National Park in Northern California is one of 63 National Parks in the United States, and March brings the dreamy, iconic Pacific Northwest feels to this national park. 

Redwood National Park doesn’t offer amazing views for miles and miles from some epic hike with insane elevation gains. And it doesn’t offer a one stop shop for really seeing the park in one go.

Instead, this National Park in California is a place to connect with nature among the giants, and find pieces of near absolute silence in the woods. 

With the Redwoods being in multiple different areas in Northern California, you really can’t see everything in one trip. However, there are a few places you just cannot miss. 

Be sure to visit the Avenue of the Giants, great for camping, short hikes, or just enjoying the extremely scenic drive. Likewise, don’t miss driving on Howland Hill Road near the Oregon boarder. This is a well maintained dirt road offering longer hikes and the chance to drive up close and personal right along the bases of these gigantic trees. (Recommended by Heather, Arbours Abroad)

Redwood National Park Lodging

Balboa Park in San Diego
Balboa Park in San Diego

San Diego in March

March is the perfect month to visit San Diego. The weather is mostly sunny and warm but the city is less crowded with lower prices than in the summer. March is still prime season to spot grey whales on a whale watching tour and wildflowers are blooming in the surrounding area.

If you are a history buff both the Maritime Museum and the USS Midway, a historic aircraft carrier, are well worth a visit. Shop for souvenirs at Old Town San Diego, a mix of outdoor museum and shopping district, before taking an Old Town Trolley Tour to see more of America’s Finest City. And on the rare rainy day Balboa Park offers 18 museums to keep you happy!

Of course no trip to Southern California would be complete without heading to the beach. Sure, the water will be a bit chilly in March but there is plenty of fun to be had. Hang out at Mission Beach and ride the famous wooden roller coaster at nearby Belmont Park.

Or take the ferry from Seaport Village across to Coronado to tour the famous Hotel Del Coronado and stroll along the cute main street which its many quaint shops and restaurants. (Recommended by Kitty, Kitty Meets World)

San Diego Lodging & Tours

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco in March

March marks the beginning of spring in San Francisco. With mild and often sunny weather, it is a great time to visit this vibrant city with its iconic landmarks and diverse cultures.  

Opened in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognisable structures in the world and still carries thousands of people across the strait between San Fransico Bay and the Pacific Ocean. A walk or bike ride across the bridge is a must, with breathtaking views of the picturesque landscapes and the notorious Alcatraz prison. 

Fisherman’s Wharf allows you to savour fresh seafood and browse some of the eclectic shops and museums before taking a spin on the 46m high SkyStar Wheel. 

Next up is San Fransisco’s Chinatown, the oldest in North America, offering a cultural experience with its narrow alleys and authentic cuisine. The historic cable cars are well worth a ride and are a great way to enjoy the nostalgia of days gone by, as well as being a peaceful way to traverse the city’s hilly terrain. 

San Francisco has a rich tapestry of experiences for every traveler, from the artistic Mission District to the serene Golden Gate Park. (Recommended by Katie, Trekking The Dream)

San Francisco Lodging & Tours

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