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:
State Parks & Beaches
Lakes in California
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:
desert towns (with spa resorts)
mountain resorts (with skiing)
Off Season = November and April
Off season = November and April
North Rim Grand Cyn
Closes for winter. October – April
South Rim Grand Cyn
Open all year. Off season = November and March
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Off season = November – March
Sequoia NP – Open all year long
Kings Canyon NP – Open all year long
West side Sierra foothills
Hwy 168 – Shaver Lake
Hwy 108 – Sonora Pass
Hwy 4 – Ebbets Pass
Off season = November – March
Gold Country – Hwy 49
Off season = January – March
US Hwy 395 – Mammoth
Off season = November – April
Yosemite Valley – Open all year long. Parking limited.
Off season = November and March
Christmas in Yosemite Valley via Amtrak train is spectacular way to see the park in its full winter wonderland bliss.
High-country / Tuolumne Meadows
Hwy 120 – Tioga Pass
Closes in the winter months: November – May
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.
Big Bear Lake
Big Sur Coast
Kings Canyon NP
La Jolla, San Diego
Mill Valley, Mount Tamalpais
We all have things that annoy us. Campers Beware