San Francisco Fog

San Francisco Fog
••• Getty Images

What Causes Fog

Fog famously blankets San Francisco in the summer when hot inland temperatures create a low-pressure zone over Northern California's Central Valley. The hot inland air rises and the heavier cold ocean air rushes in to replace it. This flow from the high to the low-pressure zone pulls the fog through the Golden Gate passage and into the Bay.

When and Where Fog Occurs

Summer fog is common, but not an everyday event, so a bit of spontaneity works in favor of those in pursuit of a fog adventure.

Morning and evening fog rolls into San Francisco Bay from June to August, pushing its way through the Golden Gate Bridge towers, drifting and swirling up and over the Marin Headlands, and nestling up against shoreline piers. Then, more often than not, it magically stops before consuming the city itself. It's a picturesque show of nature that changes each day as the elements of the sea, sun and the wind interact.

Best Fog Viewing

When the tide of fog is in, a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge is for the hearty and adventurous. Along Crissy Field, the Golden Gate Promenade, Marina Green and Fisherman's Wharf, the wetness and the wind may be a bit less chilling, but bundle up and bring the hot chocolate.

For a peak experience, rise above the mist atop one of San Francisco’s Hills and look down upon the shroud of fog as it penetrates the entrance of the bay. First as wispy tendrils, then as a blanket of fleece, fog sometimes covers even the tips of the Golden Gate Bridge towers and stretches itself out into the Bay.

In the same glance take in the city skyline with the unmistakable silhouettes of Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid reaching upward. Breathtaking is an understatement.