California is a country with such a varied range of attractions that many people find just one holiday is nowhere near enough time to fully appreciate its cities, coast and landscape. With glamorous Los Angeles and Hollywood, miles of scorching desert, vibrant San Francisco, the famous Napa Valley and hundreds of other iconic locations, the variety of experiences on offer make California an unbeatable travel destination. If you’re after sunshine and adventure, visit California in July for a summer holiday you’ll never forget.
Reasons to visit California in July
- There is virtually no chance of rain in California in July, so you’re pretty much guaranteed good weather for your holiday
- July is one of the warmest months of the year in California, making it a perfect destination for a sun-filled break
- American Independence Day falls at the start of July and is one of the USA’s best and biggest public holidays
Weather in California in July
July and August are the hottest and driest months of the year in California, so if you’re searching for some real heat in the summer then this is the perfect destination for you. The coast of the country can experience heavy summer fog in July, so bear this in mind if you’re headed to the south and have been hoping for full days of sunshine by the sea.
Temperatures vary quite dramatically across California, tending to feel a lot warmer in the south of the country than the north. Average high and low temperatures in July in San Francisco are 23°C and 15°C, in Las Vegas they are 27°C and 16°C, and in San Diego they are 24°C and 19°C.
Clouds and Rainfall
July is one of the driest months of the year in California, and you’re unlikely to experience any rain whichever part of the country you are in. The coast tends to experience more overcast days than inland locations because of the thick fog that rises off the sea, but this isn’t usually that bad in July.
There are around 13 hours of sunlight each day in California, so from sunrise to sunset you’re pretty much guaranteed to need your sunglasses! Times vary a little across the country, but the sun usually rises just before 6 am and sets at around 8.30 pm.
Where to go in California in July
Yosemite National Park
One of the most popular attractions in California is Yosemite National Park, home to the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains alongside a host of other incredible natural wonders. If you’re looking for jaw-dropping views and unforgettable hiking trails, then this is definitely the place for you.
July is a great month to visit Yosemite because it’s one of the driest parts of the year, which is ideal for those who want to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors. Bear in mind however that this dry weather can also bring incredible heat with it, and temperatures can sometimes reach the low thirties during the day in the park. If you’re planning on hiking or camping, bring lots of water and sun protection, and try and stay out of the heat in the middle of the day.
If you’re a wine fan visiting California, you might have considered going to places such as Napa or Sonoma County to enjoy the produce of some of America’s finest vineyards. These areas tend to be incredibly busy in the summer months however, and a brilliant alternative is Pasa Robles, California’s new up-and-coming wine country.
This beautiful, rural area was first made popular by its natural hot springs and now offers a much more laid back wine region experience to visitors along with a host of different things to see and do. July is one of the best times to visit Paso Robles because the weather will be so good, and it’s worth booking accommodation well in advance as more and more people start visiting this area of California in the summer.
Things to do in California in July
Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
There is so much to see and do in California in July that trying to choose a single destination for your holiday can seem like an impossible task. A solution to this, and a great way to avoid getting stuck in a city that is heaving with summer tourists, is to take a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway that runs between San Francisco and San Diego.
Roads can be busy in July, but there’s no need to rush as you travel along this beautiful stretch of road that lines the coast of California. The whole trip takes 10 hours, but we recommend that you plan overnight stops to really enjoy the journey and can experience a range of the country’s towns and attractions as you drive.
Escape to Joshua Tree
You might want to avoid crowded cities and tourist traps altogether whilst visiting California in July, in which case we recommend that escape to Joshua Tree National Park and disconnect from the rest of the world in this stunning desert. The area is made up of two quite different deserts, the Mojave and Sonoran, which offer both a dry and sparse expanse of sand and a greener and more rocky stretch of landscape.
Joshua Tree is a fantastic place for hiking and rock climbing, and there are nine different campsites for visitors as well as more luxury accommodation options and a range of motels in the area. The most stunning aspect of this part of the country are the incredibly clear night skies that stretch out over the desert every evening and are famous for their unbeatable stargazing opportunities.
Crowds & costs
The summer season in California is the country’s busiest time for tourism, as thousands of people flock to the coast and cities to enjoy the good weather and make the most of their summer holidays. Prices for flights and accommodation will be at their peak during the month, and you’ll need to book your holiday quite far in advance as many popular places can fill up quickly.
July festivals & events
American Independence Day
Wherever you are in America in July, the 4th of the month is always going to be a big day of celebration. This annual federal holiday celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence and is perhaps the biggest national celebration of the whole year.
The 4th of July is often celebrated with fireworks displays, and there is a huge range of these across California that are well worth a watch. Live music and entertainment are also often included in larger events, or you can just kick back with a beer and a barbeque for a more relaxed celebration.
California State Fair
The California State Fair was first held in San Francisco in 1954 as a farming event and has now grown into a huge event that not only celebrates the country’s agriculture, but also features live entertainment, sports, a fairground and culinary displays. Held in the Cal Expo fairground in Sacramento, it’s a brilliant day out that is particularly suitable for families, where you can enjoy a range of different competitions, food tastings and demonstrations.
Frequently asked questions about California in July
Is July a good time to visit Los Angeles?
The summer months are some of the busiest of the year in Los Angeles, so if you’re not a fan of crowds or don’t fancy sharing your trip with hundreds of other tourists, you might be better off visiting in the spring or autumn instead.
What is the hottest place in California?
The hottest place in California is Death Valley in the southeast of the country, which currently holds the record for the highest temperature recorded on earth.
California is one of the USA’s most exciting states with a huge variety of different experiences on offer for a wide range of travellers. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast, a fan of classic cinema or you’re seeking a SoCal beach break, there’s nowhere better than this vibrant and diverse part of the world.