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California in August: 7 Things You'll Want to Do
August's Not-So-Big Holiday: National Lighthouse Day
August is one of the few months that has no big holidays, so let's celebrate a small one instead. August 7 is National Lighthouse Day, created to honor the day the Federal government took over operation of coastal lighthouses in the United States - back in 1789.
August is an excellent month to visit the California coast, where you'll find quite a few scenic light stations to visit. Even if you don't have time to see a lighthouse in person, we've got you covered with these 16 Gorgeous California Lighthouse Photos.
In some years, Labor Day weekend can begin in August. To get some ideas on what you can do over the long weekend, check out Labor Day Fun in California.
Top Picks for August in California
I'm putting a personal stamp of approval on these, and I've done every single one of them myself, just to make sure they're fun and well run.
Outside Lands Festival, San Francisco: It's a “Grown Up”... version of a music festival where you’ll experience a Taste of the Bay while listening to some great music. Past years' headliners have included Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder and Metallica.
Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach: If you've been, it's hard to forget. But it's even harder to describe to someone who hasn't been there. It's a re-creation of classic paintings using real people and some eye-popping, fool-the-eye lighting effects. You may not believe it even after you see it.
Concours d'Elegance, Pebble Beach: If you love beautiful classic automobiles, don't miss this event. It's a chance to see some of the finest collector's cars, new models and concept vehicles. And the surroundings are pretty nice, too.
Things That Look Like Fun To Do in August
These events look like fun, but we haven't had time to try them yet.
Jazz Summer Fest, San Jose: One of the biggest outdoor jazz fests of the summer
Old Spanish Days, Santa Barbara: Celebrating the city's Spanish heritage
San Jose Renaissance Faire: Lose yourself in the merriment and magic of the Renaissance. Enjoy food, crafts, music and even jesters
Whale Watching in August: You'll be looking for blue whales, humpback, and Minke whales.Continue to 2 of 3 below.
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Things to Do in California in August That You Must Plan Ahead For
Laguna Beach's Pageant of the Masters runs July through September, but January is the time to start making plans and buying tickets for the popular event, which almost always sells out far in advance.
If you want to go camping at a California state park in August, make your reservations six months ahead of time in February. Everything you need to know is here.
If you're planning to camp at Yosemite next July 15 through August 14, be ready at 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time on February 15 to make your reservations online. For August 15 through September 14, get your tax return done early and mark your calendar for April 15. You can do that online or by phone at 877-444-6777 or 518-885-3639 from outside the US & Canada. Get an overview and more options here.Continue to 3 of 3 below.
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More About California in August
More California by Month
If you're just starting to plan your California trip and want to know what it's like year round and not just in January, you can get a look at every month of the year using these guides: California in the Winter is great for skiing and snow play and all the events you'll find in the guide to California in December, January, and February. It's also a great time for a winter weekend getaway.
Spring gets going in March and April, and clear skies will continue at the coast into May. Get an overview of Things to Do in California in the Spring and try some of these California Spring Getaway Ideas.
Summer holiday season starts in June and continues through July and August. It's the busiest tourist season and some parts of the state get almost unbearably hot, but it's a great time for mountain hiking. Start exploring Things to Do in the Summer and get busy planning your Summer California Getaway.
Fall is my favorite time of year in California.... You'll see why in this Guide to California in the Fall. Weather is beautiful in September and October. By November, winter rains may have set in – or not. Start thinking about your California Fall Getaway now.