Places to Visit in California in the Spring

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 the spring 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 spring months of March, April, and May. You’ll find a variety of spectacular sights and unique destinations, offering something special for every type of traveler.

California in the spring places to visit in

The state’s unique geographical diversity makes springtime an unpredictable yet exciting season to visit. One minute, it’s a sun-soaked paradise, the next it’s a cool ocean breeze sweeping through followed by rain.

We recommend you check the weather forecast for the location in California you’ll be visiting. Temperatures will vary from Northern to Southern California as well as from coastal to inland areas.

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

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map of places to visit in California in the spring

Map of California Vacation Spots in the Spring

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

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 the Spring

Visiting California in the spring means mild weather with comfortable temperatures that are perfect for exploring the outdoors.

California National Parks in the Spring: Depending on the location of the park, early spring 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 the spring 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: Expect a mix of sun and rain. 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 in the spring! Here are their recommendations and tips!

Big Sur
Big Sur

Bug Sur in the Spring

One of the most beautiful natural areas of California is found in Big Sur, and a perfect place to visit during the spring season. What makes mid to late spring one of the best times of year to visit is that the number of average rain days drops, the temperatures start to rise a little, and it is not very crowded. 

Big Sur is a place you definitely wouldn’t want to visit during the rainy season because mud/landslides do happen and can close down the roads throughout the entire area. 

We recommend starting your Big Sur road trip from Monterey or Carmel because the route from north to south allows you to be on the right side of the road, closest to the ocean (and the views). 

A few of the best places to stop along the way include Bixby Creek Bridge, Point Sur Lighthouse, Pfeiffer Beach, Ragged Point, and Elephant Seal Vista Point. (Recommended by Haley, Fernweh Foreigner)

Where To Stay Near Big Sur

Places to visit in California in the spring: Anacapa Island
Anacapa Island

Channel Islands in the Spring

For those who love animals, particularly birds, Anacapa Island is one of the most fascinating places to visit in California in the Spring. This tiny island off the southern coast is part of the infamous Channel Islands National Park. Being the smallest and most remote island, Anacapa is perfect for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. 

While Anacapa Island features wildlife all year long, the springtime brings thousands of nesting seagulls. Among the wildflowers you will find white friendly seagulls scattered across the grass, guarding their eggs. They line the hiking trails, and aren’t at all afraid of humans. 

Anacapa Island is a unique National Park in California – it’s uninhabited by humans, and can only be reached by daytime boat tours from Oxnard and Ventura Harbors. Visitors should prepare for lots of physical activity on a trip to Anacapa, as lots of stairs need to be climbed upon arrival.

Once on the island, visitors can find a park ranger station and an old iconic lighthouse. All food and water needs to be brought from the mainland, and packed out as well. Visiting Anacapa takes preparation and an open mind, but it’s worth it to be able to observe this beautiful piece of untouched nature in the spring. (Recommended by Olivia, Girl With Blue Sails)

Channel Islands Lodging & Tours

Death Valley
Death Valley

Death Valley National Park in the Spring

Death Valley National Park is easily one of the best places to visit in California in the springtime. The weather at the park during this time is quite pleasant, with the temperature averaging around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the nights being relatively cool.

Death Valley National Park is one of the best California National Parks to visit in March to see a spring bloom in the desert! The park is known for its seasonal wildflowers that may bloom all over the valley during the spring season.

Visitors can go hiking, camping, picnicking, and stargazing during their visit. Some of the top things to do include a visit to Zabriskie Point, with its endless badlands; Badwater Basin, a wide flat salt pan; and the Mesquite Sand Dunes, with rolling hills in front of purple mountains.

While visiting the park in spring, visitors should also make sure to stop by the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to get a map of the park and gather information about its attractions. Death Valley is located in the southeastern part of California, on the Nevada border, and is roughly a four hour drive from Los Angeles.

Death Valley a must-visit destination for anyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors and the natural beauty of California during the spring season. (Recommended by Monica, This Rare Earth)

Death Valley Lodging & Tours

Teacup ride at Disneyland
Teacup ride at Disneyland

Disneyland in the Spring

Visiting Disneyland Resort in California during spring is the perfect blend of fun and relaxation, thanks to the beautiful California weather and the exciting atmosphere of the parks. In spring, everything at Disneyland seems to sparkle a bit more – the flowers are blooming, and the sun shines just right.

Make sure your Disney Packing List includes a poncho for any spring rain shower, or for rides where you could get wet!

One of the best parts about visiting in spring is the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. This event is a must-try, offering a fantastic array of foods and wines that showcase the richness of California’s culinary scene. It’s not only about the food; the festival atmosphere is filled with energy and entertainment.

Both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park have lots to offer. You can enjoy classic rides like Space Mountain or experience the nostalgic It’s a Small World. Over at Disney California Adventure, don’t miss the thrill of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! And of course, the evenings are magical with the stunning fireworks display over Sleeping Beauty Castle.

To maximize your experience at Disneyland Resort, think about getting a Park Hopper ticket. This way, you’ll have the flexibility to switch between the parks as you please, ensuring you don’t miss out on any of the fun. (Recommended by Kim, Traveling Swansons)

Anaheim Lodging & Tours

Arch Rock at Joshua Tree
Arch Rock

Joshua Tree National Park in the Spring

Joshua Tree National Park makes for a great place to visit in California in the spring thanks to beautiful weather. If you are looking for a spring break destination, Joshua Tree in March and April makes a great day trip as part of a California road trip or a longer stay to really explore the park. The weather makes it an ideal time to visit with cooler mornings and evenings and perfect temperatures for hiking in the day time.

If you plan to camp at Joshua Tree National Park, be sure to make a reservation in advance if you are visiting in the spring. For those who don’t enjoy camping, there are plenty of affordable hotels near the park as well if you are willing to drive about 20 – 30 minutes to get to the park.

Once you are in the park, try out some of the hikes like Arch Rock or Barker Dam. Drive along Park Boulevard to see the Joshua Trees that the park is named for. If you are there during sunrise or sunset, that is the best time for the Cholla Cactus Garden to watch it light up with the sun low in the sky.

Spring is one of the best times to visit Joshua Tree, so add it to your California spring bucket list and make it a part of your California road trip or a weekend getaway of its own. (Recommended by Christine, Live Love Run Travel)

Joshua Tree National Park Lodging & Tours

Hollywood, California
Hollywood

Los Angeles in the Spring

Los Angeles typically experiences mild and pleasant weather during the spring, which is the perfect time to visit during spring. The daytime temperatures range from the 60s to 70s Fahrenheit (15-25°C) which is perfect for sightseeing in LA.

There are so many things to do in Los Angeles that you can cover easily in a 3-4 day trip. Also, during April, you can visit almond blossom fields near LA as a day trip. 

Spring is the best time to chase the wildflowers. The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Descanso Gardens, and the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens are popular spots to appreciate the spring blossoms.

Hollywood and Los Angeles are synonymous. You can spend a day visiting the Hollywood area. Take the Hollywood Walk of Fame walk & spot your famous stars. You can also visit the Chinese theatre and The Hollywood Museum. Later, take Uber/Lyft to the Hollywood sign and end the day at Griffith Observatory.

There are so many places to visit in the Los Angeles downtown area. You can check out the famous attractions of LA like Broad, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the historic Olvera Street. If you are an art lover, visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and in the evening window shop at Rodeo Drive- one of the most expensive streets in California!

If you are visiting Los Angeles with kids, you can spare a day for Universal Studios Hollywood or Disneyland. If this does not interest you, spend a leisurely day at Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier. During spring, the beach remains warm and has fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months.

Also, don’t forget to check out spring activities and events when you visit during March-April. (Recommended by Mayuri, fernwehrahee)

Los Angeles Lodging & Tours

Malibu, California
Malibu Seafood Market

Malibu in the Spring

With California’s almost near-perfect climate occurring nearly 24/7/365, enjoying the coastal beach towns is a must. And nothing exemplifies that more than sunny Malibu.

With spring, it’s not too hot that you can enjoy the outdoors here. Take a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway with the windows down and the wind blowing through your hair up and down the coastline.

Stop off for some Instagram-worthy shots to make the whole trip worthwhile. You can stop off at one of the many nature and hiking trails in the mountains. The wildflowers start to bloom and the wildlife is all around you.

For food, you can stop by Neptune’s Net or one of the other local eateries for some excellent seafood and maybe catch one of the monthly local car exhibits and motorcycle groups passing by. Perfect for sitting down and just enjoying some people-watching.

This is just a small taste of things to do in Malibu. The best tip for spring is to expect it to be a little crowded. Everyone will be thinking of getting out and enjoying the surf and sun too while in the area. Yes, the PCH could be a little crowded or you might need to wait in line longer than usual for lunch. Just enjoy the experience as spring in Malibu can’t be beat. (Recommended by Nick, The World Overload)

Where to Stay in Malibu

Mendocino
Mendocino

Mendocino in the Spring

If you’re looking for a destination in California with incredible scenery, head to the Mendocino Coast. This stretch of coastline rivals Big Sur with its picturesque coves, giant haystacks, and dramatic cliffs. And springtime is the perfect time to visit.

In the spring you’ll hit the end of whale watching season, enjoy the gorgeous cherry blossoms throughout Mendocino village, and see the botanical gardens at their best. 

Without the heat or the tourists, it’s also a great time to visit one of the 10 state parks in Mendocino County. Hike through the redwoods at Russian Gulch State Park, or the pygmy forest of Van Damm State Park, or admire the sea glass at Glass Beach in MacKerricher State Park. 

The quaint village of Mendocino offers a glimpse into Victorian times and the town’s history of logging. Stroll through the art galleries and boutiques, and stop for a bite at one of the many delicious restaurants. (Recommended by Denise, Chef Denise)

Where To Stay Near Mendocino

Napa Valley Wine Train
Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley in the Spring

Spring in Napa Valley is a breath of fresh air, with wildflowers blooming, vineyards waking up, and a relaxed vibe in the air. The mild mid-to-high 60s temperatures make outdoor wine tasting a delight, and it’s the perfect time to explore the valley on two wheels with a guided bike tour or a solo ride.

If you’re not sure where to begin your journey through the vines with over 400 wineries awaiting your exploration, well, why not start from the very beginning? Visiting Napa’s oldest wineries, each offering a glimpse into the rich history of winemaking in the region is an excellent jumping point.

Looking for something more unique? Then you will love embarking on the Napa Valley Wine Train, an iconic experience blending scenic vistas with gastronomic delights, or taking to the skies in a hot air balloon for a breathtaking aerial view of the vineyards — each an unforgettable way to experience Napa Valley. Seeking a more active exploration? You can grab a bike and traverse the picturesque landscapes, uncovering hidden gems among the vineyards. 

And, of course, no visit to Napa would be complete without checking out its exquisite restaurants, showcasing the best of California cuisine, or capping off your day with a touch of luxury at Calistoga, indulging in their renowned mud treatments — a rejuvenating ritual that is especially enjoyable after a long day of wine tasting and outdoor activities. 

Spring in Napa Valley is always a good idea. Although, the weather can be unpredictable; so pack layers to ensure comfort during your daytime adventures and evening strolls. And don’t forget your camera and sense of adventure! (Recommended by Goya, GoyaGaleotta)

Where To Stay Near Napa Valley

Tahquitz Canyon waterfall
Tahquitz Canyon waterfall

Palm Springs in the Spring

If you’ve ever been invited to a boutique wedding in Palm Springs or driven past this historic town on your way to Coachella, you might have some idea of this city’s charm during the summer months. But locals and in-the-know visitors will tell you that the best time to visit Palm Springs is in … well … the spring. 

While avoiding the fierceness of the summer sun, you can enjoy all the outdoor activities that Palm Springs has to offer and also avoid the summer crowds. Stroll through the historic streets of downtown and treat yourself to a date shake or soak in the rejuvenating waters of Palm Springs naturally occurring hot springs.

Palm Springs also offers some of the most unique hiking in Southern California. Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up the side of the towering San Jacinto Mountain Range and explore meandering woodsy trails in the crisp pine air.

Or spend a couple of hours climbing the scenic Tahquitz Canyon Trail. You will not only enjoy incredible views of the canyon below but also have the chance to plunge into the icy waters of the waterfall that caps the trail. (Recommended by Miranda, Travel Breakdown)

Palm Springs Lodging & Tours

Pasadena City Hall
Pasadena City Hall

Pasadena in the Spring

Pasadena is located near Los Angeles and is known for its Craftsman architecture as well as the Tournament of Roses Parade.

During your visit, delight in the Norton Simon Museum’s world-class collections, including works by renowned European masters like Picasso and Rembrandt, as well as an extensive Asian art collection. 

History buffs should stop at the Pasadena Museum of History and its treasure trove of artifacts, including a standout collection of decorative terra cotta tiles. Visitors can also tour the elegant 1929 Fényes Mansion on the grounds. Between these two museums, this city attracts both art and history lovers alike.

For outdoor enthusiasts, take to the trails at Eaton Canyon Falls where the path leads to a waterfall and wading pool. The hike is relatively easy, and you can reach the waterfall in less than an hour. Or take a drive to Inspiration Point for panoramic views of the city.

Spring is a wonderful time of the year to visit. The Huntington Library and Descanso Gardens are excellent spots to enjoy the flowers in bloom. 

Spend the afternoon exploring the shops and galleries in Old Pasadena located on Colorado Boulevard. Old Pasadena offers a mouthwatering array of dining options, from vegan cafes to authentic Mexican cuisine, or Italian dishes that remind you of restaurants in Trastevere.

The temperature in the spring season ranges from 70 to 80 degrees with mild conditions. Be sure to pack a light jacket or umbrella in case of occasional spring showers. (Recommended by Tanya, Travels & Treasures)

Where to Stay in Pasadena

Balboa Park
Balboa Park

San Diego in the Spring

Spring is a great time of year to visit San Diego, California, when flowers and festivals are in full bloom. Between early March-early May, don’t miss stopping by the Flower Fields of Carlsbad in northern San Diego. 

In Little Italy, springtime welcomes the Sicilian festival which promises great food and family friendly fun. For a fun and unique event, check out the Busker Festival in San Diego’s Seaport Village. Besides the many festivals during spring in San Diego, this season is a great time of year to enjoy San Diego’s natural beauty. 

Visit Balboa Park for a culturally-enriched stroll, popping into some of the onsite museums if you so choose. Hit the boardwalk along the beach in San Diego or nearby La Jolla, and catch a sunset at Sunset Cliffs at least one evening while you’re in town. (Recommended by Nausheen, Globe Gazers)

San Diego Lodging & Tours

Sea Lions in San Francisco
Sea Lions in San Francisco

San Francisco in the Spring

San Francisco can be visited all year round. Spring is the shoulder season here, busier than the winter months but fewer crowds than summer. 

I would recommend at least 3 to 4 days in San Francisco, and more if you are using it as a base for several day trips. You can fly into the city or take a road trip to the west coast in California.

There is the iconic Golden Bridge to visit. If you drive to Fort Baker, you can get some of the best views of this bridge. Another interesting activity is the Alcatraz Prison tour from the city.

If you are travelling with kids, a visit to California Science Center and Exploratorium is a good option. There are touristy areas like the Fishermen’s Wharf, you can see the antics of sea lions and take a ferry for the Alcatraz Prison Tour. The Ferry building with its tall clock tower is not to be missed. You can take a stroll through the Embarcadero area. Another area to walk through is Mission District, with its street art on the buildings.

San Francisco is full of hip bars, cafes and restaurants. And being a very cosmopolitan city, there are myriad options of cuisines available. (Recommended by Shweta of Zest In A Tote)

Where to Stay in San Francisco

Santa Barbara Spanish Mission
Santa Barbara Spanish Mission

Santa Barbara in the Spring

Nestled between the mountains and the sea, Santa Barbara is a charming small city on the central coast. The spring is a great time to visit because there is a lower chance of rain than in winter and temperatures are very comfortable for outdoor activities.

Some of the best things to do in Santa Barbara include visiting the historic Spanish Mission, wandering the pier and harbor, bike riding the ocean front pathways, and checking out internationally famous artists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

If you’ll be in California in March, go whale watching on the channel for Pacific grey whales during their migration.

In April you can participate in the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival – one of the west coast’s largest and longest running Earth Day festivals.

Santa Barbara is also a world renowned wine region. If you’re interested in wine, the Funk Zone neighborhood has no shortages of tasting rooms. Try Pali Wine or the Santa Barbara Wine Collective, both with charming outdoor patios. For food, there are many great restaurants nearby the pedestrian-friendly promenade on State Street. I recommend Zaytoon (Lebanese) or Loquita (Spanish). For the best coffee shops in Santa Barbara, head to Dune or Handlebar. (Recommended by Taylor at TayTrumTravels)

Santa Barbara Lodging & Tours

Solvang, California in the spring
Solvang, California in the spring

Solvang in the Spring

Solvang, a fairytale town on the West Coast of the USA, is a fantastic place to visit in California in the spring. The nearest big International airport to Solvang is Los Angeles, about 128 miles away.

Danish Americans developed this region in 1911, so the city is set in Danish style. Santa Ynez mountains surround this little Danish town on the USA’s western coast. 

The top three things to do in Solvang are to take a walking street tour to witness Danish architecture and vibes, eat/shop across Danish restaurants and boutique shops all around, and finally visit Ostrichland feeding farm to experience Ostriches strolling in Santa Ynez Valley. The architecture, culture, and other things here in Solvang will transport you to Denmark. 

Spring in California brings mild temperatures to Solvang, making it an enjoyable time to wander through the streets without the intense heat of summer or the chilly winds of winter. The pleasant weather allows visitors to fully appreciate the outdoor attractions, like parks, gardens, and Danish cafes.

Walking around the town is the best thing to do here – as there is no specific building, but all houses, shops, and facilities are themed in Danish style, so admiring this town’s architecture is a unique thing to do here. The whole city is pretty and Instagrammable. (Recommended By Yukti, Travelwithme24x7)

  • Danish style Windmills
  • The Elverhøj Museum of History & Art
  • Old Mission Santa Ines
  • Wilding Museum
  • Royal Copenhagen Inn – best place to stay

Where to Stay in Solvang

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