California Spring Getaways

California Poppy and Lupines in Spring
••• California Poppy and Lupines in Spring. ©2005 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.
  • 01 of 07

    Great Places to Go in California in Spring

    ••• California Poppies in the Spring. ©2007 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Some places in California are great anytime, but theses are especially nice to visit during the Spring. In California, that means in March, April, and May. During the spring season, you can see some gorgeous wildflowers and catch Yosemite's waterfalls at their best. You can visit a few places that are going to get too crowded in the summer - and you could even take in a meteor shower.

    In spring, expect some of the year's best weather. It will still be clear at the coast and not unbearably hot in the desert yet. Mountain passes may still be closed, and the ski resorts will be hoping for the snow to linger, but late spring skiing can be fun, too.

    You can get more details about other seasons in these guides to California Summer Getaways, Places to Go in California in the Fall, and Winter Getaways in California.

    Get month by month details in the guides to California in March, California in April, and California in May.

    Continue to 2 of 7 below.
  • 02 of 07

    Hearst Castle: Evening Tours

    Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle
    ••• Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle, San Simeon. Hearst San Simeon Historical Monument®, Department of Parks and Recreation, San Simeon, CA 93452

    Hearst Castle is open year round, but in the spring, they host  Special evening tours. Visitors get a chance to see the castle lit up as if for a big, fancy party. Docents dress in period costume posing as guests. I think it's the best time to see the castle looking like it might have when Mr. Hearst was there.

    Besides all that, spring weather brings clear skies, and your view of the ocean will be less fog-filled. You can also get a jump on summer crowds by going earlier in the year.

    To plan your getaway, just click on over to the Hearst Castle Getaway Guide.

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  • 03 of 07

    Palm Springs: Last Chance Before Summer Heat

    Date Palm Oasis Near Palm Springs
    ••• Date Palm Oasis Near Palm Springs. ©2009 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    By summer, it will be too hot to go to Palm Springs, so go now or wait until fall.

    Weather is glorious this time of year, with sunny skies and warm days. Except for spring break, it's less busy than in the middle of the winter. And in a perfect year, you might even catch the wildflowers blooming in the desert nearby. 

    Here's how to plan the perfect Palm Springs getaway.

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  • 04 of 07

    San Francisco: Clear Skies and Fewer Tourists

    Taking Photos on Lombard Street
    ••• Taking Photos on Lombard Street. © 2006 Betsy Malloy Photography

    San Francisco gets its best weather in spring. 

    Winter rains will be over, and San Francisco's legendary fog won't start for another month or two. The weather will be lovely, with blue skies and comfortable temperatures. It's less crowded than in summer, too.

    No matter when you want to go to San Francisco, this guide will help you plan your awesome getaway.

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  • 05 of 07

    Valley of the Oaks: One of California's Hidden Gems

    California Poppy and Lupines in Spring
    ••• California Poppy and Lupines in Spring. ©2005 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Very few people know about the Valley of the Oaks. In part, that's because it's a name I made up for the area. But even if you say "Jolon" or "Fort Hunter Liggett" or "Mission San Antonio de Padua," - or even "William Randolph Hearst's Ranch," few people will know what you're talking about.

    Few people know about this remote and little-visited valley near King City, which has a romantic-looking old Spanish mission and Mr. Hearst's ranch house (which is now a hotel).

    And it also boasts some great wildflower displays which reach their peak in the spring.

    Here's how to plan your trip.

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  • 06 of 07

    Yosemite: Gorgeous in the Spring

    Mountain Dogwood in Yosemite National Park
    ••• Mountain Dogwood in Yosemite National Park. ©2010 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    I love Yosemite in the Spring. Ok, I love it any time of year, but especially in the spring. That's when the high Sierra's snowpack starts melting and Yosemite's waterfalls put on their best show. In a wet year, you can hear the roar of Yosemite Falls all over the valley. The gorgeous mountain dogwood trees bloom then, too.

    And you can get there before the place gets packed with summer crowds.

    If you're ready to "spring" into action and plan your trip, use this guide to get started - fast.

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  • 07 of 07

    Shooting Stars in the Spring

    Meteor Shower Over Yosemite Falls
    ••• Meteor Shower Over Yosemite Falls. Chris Chabot/Flickr/(CC BY-NC 2.0

    A meteor shower is a little bit like Mother Nature's fireworks. It happens when the earth passes through a lot of space debris. The meteors form when those rocks from outer space burn up while passing through the atmosphere.

    The Lyrids meteor shower occurs in mid-April. It tends to come in a burst and usually lasts for less than a day, which makes it uber-important to check the exact dates for this year. The brighter the moon is, the fewer of them you'll be able to see. I use Sunrise Sunset to check the moon's phase.

    Death ValleyBig SurMendocino and locations along Scenic Highway 395 are some of the best places to see it.