June in California: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Yosemite National Park in late spring

 4kodiak / Getty Images

June is the beginning of summer vacation season in California. All of the big-name tourist attractions will be packed until September. Los Angeles will start to get hot — and in San Francisco, it's likely to be foggy.

Desert locales like Death Valley, Palm Springs, and Joshua Tree National Park get so hot that only the hardiest of travelers should make the trip

In the mountains, the snow will be melting — or already gone. Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park will be open, allowing easier access to Eastern California and Highway 395. With all that said, if you're heading to California in June, read on for what to pack, and a list of exciting events to check out.

California Weather in June

June isn't the best time of year for a beach day. In fact, the coastal areas are so consistently fogged in that the condition has a nickname: June Gloom. That makes June an excellent time to head somewhere else. Lake Tahoe is a good choice.

You can get details of the highs and lows around the state in June (and all year round) by consulting these guides to some average highs, lows, and more weather considerations in some popular tourist destinations, such as San DiegoLos AngelesDisneylandDeath ValleyPalm SpringsSan FranciscoYosemite, and Lake Tahoe.

What to Pack

Your packing list will vary depending on where you go and what you're doing. These are a few things to keep in mind.

In June, the beach will start to warm up (though the fog persists), but most people will find the water cold enough to limit their visit to an oceanside stroll. Even so, the beach areas are always colder than inland, and they get even chillier when the sun goes down.

No matter where your plans take you, pack plenty of sunscreen. Even if the sun isn't shining, its UV rays can reflect off water and snow, and you'll still end up with a sunburn.

June Events in California

Father's Day is the third Sunday of the month. For ways to enjoy it with good ol' Dad, we've got some great ideas.

June is one of the best months in California for fresh fruit. If you have a chance, visit one of the many farmer's markets and enjoy the fresh peaches, nectarines, and strawberries. There are also plenty of festivals to tempt you to get out in June:

  • North Beach Festival, San Francisco: Even though North Beach's population is less Italian than it once was, this festival is a big celebration of Italian pride.
  • Sawdust Festival, Laguna Beach: You might think it has something to do with a woodworker's byproducts, but it's actually an outdoor art festival featuring lots of really beautiful creations. It runs through early September.
  • Pismo Beach Classic Car Show, Pismo Beach: If old cars are your thing, this is the place to see them.
  • San Francisco Jazz Festival: Dozens of performers on multiple stages over more than a week in a venue the San Francisco Chronicle calls, "One of the most perfect performance spaces ever."
  • Summer Solstice Parade and Festival, Santa Barbara: It started as a small affair featuring street artists, but nowadays it's full of floats, whimsical costumes, and creative dancers.
  • Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival: Celebrating all things artichoke. With chef demonstrations, a parade, and even an Agro Art competition, where participants create 3D sculptures from fruits and veggies. 
  • Whale Watching in June: You'll be able ti see blue whales, humpbacks, and orcas.

June Travel Tips

  • The 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.
  • Los Angeles Conservancy's Last Remaining Seats series starts at the end of May and runs through June. It's a fun series of screenings, held in some of downtown LA's most gorgeous old movie palaces, places not normally open to the public. Tickets go on sale on April 11 at 10 a.m. PDT and cost $22 can also be bought at the door if there are any left.
  • If you're planning to camp at Yosemite between May 15 through June 14, be ready at 7 a.m. Pacific Time on January 15 to make your reservations online. For reservations between June 15 and July 14, be prepared at 7 a.m. on February 15. To get ready for that, read our guide to the Yosemite camping reservation process.
  • Also at Yosemite, the hiker's cables at Half Dome usually go up the Friday before Memorial Day, but don't expect to walk up and start climbing. Instead, you need to get into a lottery for one of the limited number of permits.
  • If you want to go camping at a California state park in June, make your reservations six months ahead of time in December. It's more complicated than you might think, but everything you need to know is in this guide.
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