California in March

  • 01 of 03

    California in March: What To Do

    San Francisco St. Patrick's Day Parade
    --Mark--/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    If you want to visit California in March, you picked a good month. During the lull between winter and spring break, the weather is often delightful and the skies are mostly clear. Crowds are low, and you can enjoy major attractions without feeling crowded. You may also get hotel rooms at a reasonable price, especially in the first part of the month.

    Holidays in March

    Poor March, it's a month without a big, everyone-gets-the-day-off holiday. Of course, there's St. Patrick's Day. Here are some ways to celebrate it:

    Once in a while, a couple of lunar holidays fall in March. In 2018, Easter falls on April 1 but that makes the last weekend of March the time to plan for it.

    Chinese New Year is a lunar holiday that occurs in late January or early February. San Francisco holds the most extravagant celebration of it in the state, maybe in the entire U.S. - and the big Chinese New Year Parade is always on the weekend (and occasionally doesn't happen until early March).

    Top Picks for March in California

    These are a few tested and proven things to do in March that you and your friends may enjoy.

    Blossom Trail, Fresno: Much of the country's stone fruit (peaches, apricots, nectarines and their relatives) are grown in California central valley near Fresno. Take a drive on the blossom trail through miles of orchards filled with pink and white blooms, and you won't soon forget it.

    Cinequest Film Festival, San Jose: Cinequest is the first big film festival after the Academy Awards and one of the best film fests in the state. They host an impressive number of movies and get some truly fine guests, too. It starts in February and usually extends into early March.

    Poppies in bloom, Antelope Valley: It takes a lot to have a good bloom season in Antelope Valley near Los Angeles, but when the conditions are right, the landscape erupts in orange-colored California poppies. Keep an eye on the latest news for this one, to find out how good the season will be and when it will peak.

    Things That Look Like Fun To Do in March

    These events look like they would be fun but haven't been tested or reviewed yet.

    Swallows Return, Mission San Juan Capistrano: It's a surprising thing, but every year the swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano on March 19, St. Joseph's Day, after flying from their winter home in Argentina. Get information about the celebrations at the mission website.

    Daffodil Hill, Sutter Creek:  For generations, every spring during mid-March and early April, this gold rush era ranch explodes with over 300,000 daffodil blooms. 

    California Spiny Lobster season ends in the middle of March. They don't have the big claws like Maine lobsters but are sweeter than their East Coast counterparts. You may find them on the menu in southern California restaurants, but get 'em quick or wait until next September.

    Whale Watching in March: This is a good time to see gray whales off the California coast.

    California Wildflowers

    It takes a lot of things going right to get a great wildflower bloom. If there's been winter rain, things are off to a good start. But it's not enough - weeds can start growing too soon and choke the sprouting flowers before they can get a good start - or rain can come too early or too late.

    Unfortunately, the wildflowers bloom according to weather conditions and not the date on the calendar. And despite whatever hype you may have seen, they don't put on an exuberant show every year. The California Wildflower Guide will give you some resources to track the current year's conditions.

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  • 02 of 03

    Things to Do in California in March That You Must Plan Ahead For

    Wildflowers in Death Valley
    Christine Warner Hawks/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    If you want to go camping at a California state park in March, make your reservations six months ahead of time in September. Everything you need to know is about California State Park reservations is here.

    If you're planning to camp at Yosemite between February 15 and March 14, be ready at 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time on November 15 to make your reservations. For March 15 through April 14, reserve on December 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.

    If you're going to California in March and want to see wildflowers in bloom, you can make your reservations and hope for the best — but Mother Nature may or may not cooperate by providing them during your travel dates.

    Don't miss the Chinese New Year Parade because you didn't know the right date. Check the Chinese New Year Parade guide to get more information.

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  • 03 of 03

    More About California in March

    Hollywood Hills Mountain Landscape with Flowers Los Angeles
    Arpad Benedek / Getty Images

    It Might Rain... It might put a damper on your travel plans, but we can't control what Mother Nature does. Just in case your vacation plans are sinking faster than the Titanic, here are some ideas for things to do on a rainy day in California:

    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 only in March, 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 DecemberJanuary, 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.