California in November

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    California in November: 7 Exciting Things You'll Want to Do

    Time for New Olive Oil at Kiler Ridge Near Paso Robles
    ••• Time for New Olive Oil at Kiler Ridge Near Paso Robles. ©2013 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    November's Big Holiday: Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Many people get Friday off, too, making this a four-day weekend.

    We've got some great ideas for things to do during the Thanksgiving holidays - some of them can't be done any other time of year.

    The LA Times says the best airfare deals for Thanksgiving and Christmas are found in early October.

    Top Picks for November in California

    This short list is a couple of things in California that are fun to do in November.

    Christmas Parade, Hollywood: The stars come out for this annual parade, usually held Thanksgiving Weekend. It feels surprisingly like a small town parade - except all those people riding in those convertibles are real movie stars.

    Doo Dah Parade, Pasadena: It started as a parody of the Rose Parade, and it's one of the zaniest, wackiest parades you'll ever see. Not only it is fun, but it's not crowded.

    New Olive Oil: November is olive harvest season and the only...MORE time of year you can get "olio nuovo" (new olive oil). It's fresh, unfiltered, right out of the mill, wonderfully pungent, cloudy with unsettled particles, intensely green - and peppery. Bagging a bottle of this rare oil while it's fresh is a good excuse for a day trip or weekend getaway. Try one of these places, which have it and also offer tastings and tours: Kiler Ridge in Paso Robles, Round Pond Estate in Napa Valley or Da Vero in Sonoma.

    Things That Look Like Fun To Do in November

    These events look like fun, but we haven't had time to try them yet.

    Sky Show: November is the time for one of the year's showiest meteor showers, the Leonids, which happen mid-month. Find the exact date here. The best places to see them are far away from city lights and where there are few trees: Benton Hot SpringsJoshua Tree or Lake Shasta

    Mavericks Invitational: This surfing competition can happen anytime between November and March, as soon as the waves are big enough. This guide has all the details and information about how to find out when it's happening.

    Ridgecrest Petroglyph and Heritage Festival: If you’re a fan of Native American rock art and music, you may love this festival, which includes a rare opportunity to see the largest collection of petroglyphs in the Western Hemisphere. Other activities include concerts by big-name Native American musicians like R. Carlos Nakai - and a traditional Cherokee Indian Hog Fry.

    Whale Watching in November: Gray whales continue south, and you may see fin whales. too.

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

    Death Valley National Park
    ••• Death Valley National Park. Chris Murray / Getty Images

    If you want to go to the Napa Valley Film Festival, start finding a place to stay now. By late March most of the moderately-priced lodging in the area will be full. To decide whether you want to go, read the Napa Valley Film Festival Guide.

    If you want to visit Death Valley in November, make hotel or campground reservations in September. As long as you pay attention to cancellation policies, there's little risk if you change your mind later. For more information, see the Death Valley camping guide and the Death Valley Hotel Guide.

    If you want to go camping at a California state park in November, make your reservations six months ahead of time in May. Everything you need to know is here.

    If you're planning to camp at Yosemite next October 15 through November 14, be ready at 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 15 to make your reservations online. For November 15 through December 14, mark your calendar for July 15. You can do that online or by phone at 877-444-6777 or 518-885-3639 from...MORE outside the US & Canada. Get an overview and more options here.

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    More About California in November

    Hollywood Christmas Parade
    ••• Hollywood Christmas Parade. WireImage / 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:

    Or It Might Snow... Tioga Pass between Yosemite and the Eastern Sierras has been closed for a while now and it won't re-open until well after the spring thaw.

    If you plan to travel anywhere above sea level, you should know the requirements for snow chains. They apply to personal and rented vehicles - and we have some ideas if you need them for your rental.

    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...MORE 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.