California's Top Summer Getaway Locations

  • 01 of 09

    Great Places to Go in California in the Summer Months

    Summer Bike Ride at the Beach
    ••• Summer Bike Ride at the Beach. John Humble / Getty Images

    Some places in California are fun to visit anytime, but this set of selected destinations are especially nice to visit during the summer.

    In California, what we mean by summer is June, July, and August.

    Why should you go to these places in summer, you may be wondering. It could be the weather, the wildflowers, the animals, a meteor shower or a special event. You can find out more about what California is like in summer in this guide.

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  • 02 of 09

    Lake County: A Hidden Gem Destination

    Lavender Garden at Ceago Vineyard
    ••• Lavender Garden at Ceago Vineyard. Jen/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    A trip to the lake is always a good summer activity, and you'll find Lake County refreshingly uncrowded.

    Many Californians may not have any idea of where Lake County is. It's just north of Napa County, with the largest natural freshwater lake in the state, an emerging wine region and some fun, little towns to poke around in.

    All you need to know to plan your Lake County Getaway is here.

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  • 03 of 09

    Mendocino Coast: In Full Bloom

    Summer Flowers at the Coast Botanical Garden
    ••• Summer Flowers at the Coast Botanical Garden. Betsy Malloy Photography

    On the Mendocino Coast, wildflower season comes later than it does in other parts of California. The early summer blossoms — especially the showy rhododendron bushes — make an already scenic coastline even more attractive. 

    Use this guide to plan your Mendocino Getaway.

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  • 04 of 09

    Mount Lassen: Easy to Access in Summer

    Mount Lassen
    ••• Mount Lassen. Lassen NPS/Flickr

    You may have heard about the massive Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption in 1980, but it's not the only volcano on the West Coast that blew its top in the twentieth century. In fact, Mount Lassen in northern California erupted first in 1915, creating an explosion that spread volcanic ash up to 200 miles away. 

    At Lassen Volcanic National Park today, you can see lava flows, steaming fumaroles, a landscape so bizarre you can't imagine it's real — and a frightening spot called Bumpass Hell. The park is easiest to get into in the summer, and it's never crowded.

    Here's how you can plan a weekend trip to Mt. Lassen or how to spend a day at Lassen National Park.

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  • 05 of 09

    Pismo Beach: California's Best Beach Town

    Street Mural in Pismo Beach
    ••• Street Mural in Pismo Beach. Betsy Malloy Photography

    Summer and "beach" in California go hand in hand, and the Golden State has plenty of them to visit, from urban to uninhabited.

    One of the best California breach town tor a taste of iconic California summer at the beach is Pismo Beach, on the coast between Santa  Barbara and San Francisco. ​Use this planning guide to find out everything you need to know about going there.

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  • 06 of 09

    Russian River: For Outdoor Recreation

    Wine Country Destination: Sonoma County
    ••• Korbel Champagne Cellars in the Russian River Valley. George Rose / Getty Images

    Between the Pacific Coast and Sonoma, the Russian River area attracts lots of visitors. The river runs west across the county, reaching the ocean near Jenner. Near the coast, you'll find wineries along the way, and lots of recreational opportunities.

    Hiking and horseback riding in Armstrong Woods, water play along the river, bicycling on the back roads make it a fun summer getaway.

    Get started now with the Russian River getaway planner.

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  • 07 of 09

    Sequoia High Sierra Camp: Easy Camping in the Mountains

    Afternoon at the Sequoia High Sierra Camp
    ••• Afternoon at the Sequoia High Sierra Camp. Betsy Malloy Photography

    If you like the idea of sleeping in a tent, but would rather have a comfy bed and a hot shower than a sleeping bag and wash basin, this is the place for you. It's only a short hike from the nearest road, and you can get the outdoor experience without sacrificing those creature comforts.

    This luxury, high-country camp is only open in the summer. Read this review and plan your visit now.

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  • 08 of 09

    Sequoia National Park: Better Than Yosemite

    Giant Redwood Trees in Sequoia National Park
    ••• Giant Redwood Trees in Sequoia National Park. Betsy Malloy Photography

    John Muir called Sequoia a rival of Yosemite, but it's much less crowded than its sister park to the north, especially in the summer when Yosemite is packed to the max.

    You can visit anytime, but only in summer can you drive all the way down into Kings Canyon, which is by some measures the deepest canyon in North America.

    You can get started planning your trip to Sequoia right away using this handy guide.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    More About Visiting California

    You can get more details about other seasons in these guides to best California places in the spring,  places to go in California in the fall, and winter getaways in California.

    Get month by month details in the guides to California in JuneCalifornia in July, and California in August.