Historic cities and towns are commonplace inside California, but very few towns are totally abandoned. By definition ‘ghost towns’ are population locations that have previously thrived (usually in mining), but they’ve ultimately have been deserted. Sometimes a few residents will stick around for the seclusion, but the place often appears empty. Finding an open business is a rarity.
North Bloomfield allows visitors inside the buildings to examine the furnishings, decor, fixtures and the interior style. As part of a ranger guided daily tour, you can explore these historic structures up close and personal.
However – Spring and Autumn are much shorter, as rapid swings in rain and drought (weather related events) often dominate the West Coast region.
And by the way, Earthquake Season is any time of year.
Camping Season can be all year long in California, where we often have mild winters, sometimes without much precipitation.
Southern California has camping and hiking all the time, in every area. Deserts are a favorite camp destination in the winter months, usually December thru March. Find more info on Desert Camping. See also, a page on Winter Camping.
The Central Coast and Central Valley regions often have campgrounds available and open year-round. Northern California and the Sierra Nevada mountains get most of the real wet weather, between November and April, so campgrounds usually close (for half the year) depending on weather conditions.
Often the higher elevations of California (5000’+) can only be accessed by vehicle during summer months. Deep snowpack means paved roads are usually closed for the majority of the year (Nov-May) and sometimes, during a ‘good’ winter, the main Sierra highway routes do not open up to public access until June or July. Read more on Sierra Road Conditions.
Late spring in California is a wondrous time of year for getting out and exploring. Thousands of prime hiking trails and camp spots, coupled with relatively mild weather throughout the state, should insure that your ‘gotta see’ list is long. Total Escape is stuffed full of weekend ideas and your excuses for not leaving the house could be vanishing with the warm weather.
However, for those dwelling in the coastal regions of our great state, spring isn’t all it is cracked up to be. I’m talking about the dreaded marine layer fog, more affectionately referred to as ‘June Gloom’ or ‘May Gray’. This weather pattern can even last into July and August!
The hotter it is inland, the more likely the beach will be cloudy. Advection fog occurs when warm, land air moves out over cool, ocean water. The cold, California Current and upwelling produce cool, moist marine layers that blanket the entire coastline up and down the state. San Francisco is notorious for its dense fog.
Many tourists and newcomers in California expect warm summers with plenty of sunshine, only to be disappointed by dreaded cloudy days. Otherwise known as overcast!
April was warm, but May is gray. It can be annoying, but why wait it out at the beach? … just head east to catch some rays.
If you’re like most folks who prefer the bright, warm sunshine to the gray, cold mist of a heavy marine layer, you might want to head inland. In most places throughout the state it is warm & the sun is shining and very warm inland by June. It only takes only a few miles of eastward travel to lose the gloom and be basking in the warmth of yet another classic California day.
Although, triple digit heat can also begin around June 1st in parts of the southwest. Regions like Death Valley, Vegas, Arizona, and the Central Valley of California often see temperatures creeping past 100 degrees, in the month of June. Consider that tidbit in your road trip planning. Check the forecast.
You may need winter jackets for the campsite at 5000′ elevation – but air conditioning on the drive there. A wide swing in day time temperatures can be expected in Cali.
SNOW MELTS – June is also the month that many of the snow covered mountain passes finally open up for the summer season. These are the main paved routes that go over the highest points in NorCal and the Sierra range, making Wilderness Areas and alpine lakes accessible. Wildflowers will bloom May-July in the Sierra Nevada!
(California State Routes, Interstate & US Highways)
How to Avoid Tourist Crowds when Traveling California
We are sure you’ll agree: Too much of life is spent sitting in traffic jams and waiting in line. Check out the traffic page. This page is created as a warning – CALIFORNIA IS CROWDED.
“Hell is other people.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
Bus loads of senior citizens travel in luxury motor-coaches to casinos; Airport shuttles bring sightseers to local attractions on full day excursions; Mountain bikers head to the trailheads by way of a personal automobile, a sport utility or pickup truck; 4x4s caravan to their meeting spot, in route to the trail destination. People on their daily commute to and from work, school, play. California has loads of traffic, tourism and terrain, with a massive freeway system, plus some awesome state highways. Popular destinations tend to get crowded at certain times of the year.
California Road Trips & Peak Travel Seasons
California population may be ever growing, but they’re not building any more Yosemite Parks. The migratory path westward started w/ the historic gold rush – the trend has literally lasted over 200 years!
Make sure you plan your trip & book your lodging or campgrounds well in advance. In this west coast world of tourism, 3-6 months is not unheard of. The more popular the locale, the more people want that perfect weather month and the further in advance you should reserve. Remember a good portion of these mountains destinations are closed half the year for winter snow.
There’s nothing worse than planning a trip, only to fight traffic on your way outta town, stand in long lines & see way too many tourists running about. Enjoying nature shouldn’t have to include thousands of other people. Try these helpful tips for avoiding the crowds. Get more solitude & relaxation out of your vacation. Check our Fairs, Festivals, & Events list to know when certain towns & areas will be busiest.
With California population near 40 million people it’s a wonder we don’t kill each other faster. Slow down on the freeways and enjoy the back roads with Total Escape. Statistics show: One outta 8 Americans lives in California!
This staggering large population is ever growing and expanding. College students, retirees, world-travelers and young families flock here, bring relatives and friends to migrate west… ever since the gold mining boom of 1849.
Still we are cranking out babies and building more communities in California. Add a huge tourism industry that brings in millions of outta state folks for conventions & outdoor vacations.
Although Cali is a huge regional paradise to explore, it is amazing that locals can find any secret refuge for weekends or week-long fishing trips. With vast deserts, mountains and countryside, half the golden state land could be easily considered public land, park, wildlife refuge or neighborhood open space preserve. Total Escape has this back roads thing covered. Getting you out in the boonies to relax, in nature, is exactly what this site is for.
more nature, less people
Try out new areas! If you’ve never heard of it, chances are most people haven’t either. Go ahead, explore a little. California is a really big state.
California’s Busy Season
Summer is definitely the tourist season in California. All the out-of-staters coming in to see the amazing Golden State: the recreation & the sights it has to offer. Summertime is the busiest time to visit the well-known areas such as:
Best time to plan trips to avoid summer crowds is –
Before Memorial Day (last weekend in May)
After Labor Day (first weekend in Sept.)
Plan your trip to overnight in the National Forest lands adjacent to a National Park . You can still enjoy nature and scenic attractions without having to sleep with the masses in the expensive campgrounds, which take camping reservations a year in advance.
Plenty of secluded primitive camping & small campgrounds are available in the NFS. California State Parks are very abundant too, often less crowded during the week days and non holiday weekends.
Winter can be the busiest time to visit these areas:
Better Book It – Below is a list of some super popular California destinations that have pretty limited accommodations. Tight quarters, limited capacity. Total Escape recommends you book early if you wanna spot at one of these prime places, especially in summer or winter months.