California in September
Visit California in September and not only do you beat the summer crowds, but it's also a beautiful time to see Northern California and the state's wine regions.
Boasting iconic cities, dramatic national parks, miles of beaches and an enviable lifestyle, California offers something for everyone. The weather can be changeable but on the whole is Mediterranean-mild, and San Francisco, often shrouded in fog during the summer, sees some of its sunniest days during its 'Indian Summer'.
In a nutshell
- Will suit: families of all ages, couples, groups of friends
- Flying time: 11 hours
- Time difference: GMT-8
- Average temperature: big variations depending where in the state but as a rule Southern California has average temperatures of 20°C, Northern California is average temperature 15°C
- Tourist information: Visit California
How to get there
- Fly direct from Heathrow to LA, San Francisco or San Diego with BA
- Fly to LA and San Francisco with Virgin Atlantic and United Airlines
Where to stay
What to do
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Winelands: Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Ynez, Paso Robles, Lodi
- Chinatown, San Francisco and Los Angeles
- Disneyland California, Anaheim
- Palm Springs
- Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
- Alcatraz, San Francisco
- California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
- Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
- National Parks: Redwood, Sequoia, Joshua Tree and Yosemite
- Pacific Coast Highway 1: Big Sur, Hearst Castle
- Lake Tahoe
- Gold Country
- Visit the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, an oasis in the heart of the city and one of the world's largest city parks with over 1,000 acres, and featuring art galleries, museums and the new California Academy of Sciences.
- Santa Barbara County is home to the movie Sideways, so make sure to stop and enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir. The town of Santa Barbara, often described as the American Riviera, has a variety of top restaurants and the Urban Wine Trail – 17 tasting rooms all within walking distance of each other.
- Yosemite is very popular in the summer months, so a visit at the tail-end of September should mean fewer crowds.
- Visit San Francisco Neighbourhoods. The stylish clubs, restaurants and bars of the Mission district, the artistic and hippy Haight-Ashbury, and the exclusive shops and winding roads of Russian Hill to name just three. San Francisco also boasts the largest Chinatown outside of Asia.
- Why not try skiing and surfing in a day: head from the slopes of Mammoth Mountain in the morning and hit the beach in Santa Monica in time to watch the sun set over the ocean.
What Mumsnetters say about holidays in California
- California really offers the perfect vacation as there is such a diversity of experiences. Pitmountainpony
- We did Yosemite and Napa a couple of years ago - both gorgeous, particularly Yosemite. Stayed in the Foresta area of Yosemite which is inside the park and very peaceful. BonyM
- Big Sur is a nice stop off (with some very fancy hotels if you want a splurge) as is Santa Barbara. Hearst Castle is totally bonkers in an utterly brilliant way. CityDweller
- San Francisco is GREAT, especially the Alcatraz tour. Haight Street is a bit cheesy, but has great cafes. There are lots of open-air theatre events in Golden Gate park. If you have a car you can head out to see the Redwoods. EnjoyResponsibly