San Francisco – the fourth largest city in the US state of California – is an absolute dream destination for many travelers. Together with Los Angeles, San Francisco is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Golden State. The metropolis is world-famous for its sights – above all the Golden Gate Bridge. However, if you want to see them, you should pay attention to the best travel time for San Francisco . Otherwise the bridge may be shrouded in thick fog. In this article, I’ll tell you how this fog comes about and when the ideal travel weather for San Francisco is. Using a climate table, I will show you how high the temperatures are from January to December and in which months the most rain and the most hours of sunshine can be expected.
Climate table for San Francisco
|Max. Temperature in ° C||13||15||16||18||19||21||22||22||23||21||17||13|
|Min. Temperature in ° C||5||7||8||8||10||11||12||13||13||11||8||6|
|Hours of sunshine per day||6||7||9||10||10||11||10||9||9||8||6||5|
|Rainy days per month||8||7||8||6||2||1||0||0||0||2||7||8|
|Water temperature in ° C||10||11||12||12||13||14||15||15||16||15||13||11|
Climate in San Francisco
According to naturegnosis, San Francisco has a Mediterranean climate . The weather in San Francisco is heavily influenced by the cold air of the Pacific. In particular, the cold California Current from the north has an impact on the climatic conditions of the North American city. Temperatures in San Francisco are mild all year round. There are no extreme temperatures in summer or winter. Between December and February the thermometer remains in the plus range. Snowfalls are extremely rare. The coldest months of the year in San Francisco are January and December with minimum temperatures of five to six degrees Celsius. It gets warmest in July and August with 22 degrees Celsius and in September with an average of 23 degrees Celsius. The annual average is a temperature of 14 degrees Celsius.
Between May and October, you can expect the least rainfall in San Francisco. The months of July , August and September are almost free of rain . During this time it rains an average of zero days a month. The temperature of the Pacific reaches its highest values at 15 degrees Celsius in July, August and October and at 16 degrees Celsius in September. Water is only perceived as pleasantly warm from a temperature of 21 degrees Celsius. The Pacific never reaches this on the coast of San Francisco. It is sunniest in April, May and July with ten hours of sunshine per day and in July with eleven hours of sunshine. March, August and September are also friendly with an average of nine hours of sun a day.
When is the best time to visit San Francisco?
In general, the best time to visit San Francisco is from May to October . During this time, the most optimal climatic conditions prevail. Vacationers expect the highest temperatures, most hours of sunshine and the lowest number of rainy days. During the summer vacation in the United States , the city is crowded and the cost of travel is significantly higher. Therefore, May, June and October are recommended as the best travel time for a cheaper and quieter San Francisco vacation. In summer, the maximum values rarely exceed the 25 degree mark. So you can also vacation in midsummer spend pleasant temperatures . July, August and September are almost free of rain with an average of zero rainy days per month.
Winter is also relatively mild with minimum temperatures of 5 degrees Celsius in January. With water temperatures of 10 to 16 degrees Celsius, the Pacific is rather unsuitable for a beach holiday all year round. If you want to explore the sights of the city , all seasons are suitable . Spring and autumn are also beautiful in San Francisco. A hike through the surrounding mountains in an autumnal setting is guaranteed to be a unique experience. Lombard Street shines in a special light in spring. Hydrangeas in various colors bloom along the winding road from May to July. The weather in San Francisco is very fickle year round. Rains can often occur in winter. Even in summer it is often very fresh due to the cool sea breezes. Regardless of whether you are traveling in March, July or September – I recommend that you always have enough clothing with you to wear. A good onion look is essential in San Francisco. So you are guaranteed to defy the cold.
The best months to travel to San Francisco at a glance
- May: 19 ° C, 10h sun, 2 rainy days, 5 mm precipitation
- June: 21 ° C, 11h sun, 1 rainy day, 3 mm precipitation
- July:22 ° C, 10 hours of sunshine, 0 rainy days, 1 mm of precipitation
- August:22 ° C, 9 hours of sunshine, 0 rainy days, 1 mm of precipitation
- September: 23 ° C, 9 hours of sunshine, 0 rainy days, 5 mm precipitation
- October: 21 ° C, 8 hours of sunshine, 2 rainy days, 31 mm of precipitation
Fog in San Francisco
San Francisco is often shrouded in a thick blanket of fog in summer and fall . This gives the city a mystical atmosphere. Hot, dry air currents from the Sierra Nevada meet the cool, moist air of the Pacific Ocean . This creates a thick fog. The air is perceived as cool and humid in the morning. Due to the sun’s rays, the fog usually disappears again during the day. It is still worth getting up early. Because a ride with the cable car through the misty city has its very own charm. The mist-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge is also a special sight. If you want to explore the sights of the city in clear weather conditions, then postpone your excursions to the afternoon.
In the districts of San Francisco on the Pacific coast, a blanket of fog almost always hangs in the summer and early autumn. The areas in the east of the metropolis are significantly sunnier and less foggy . Only a few kilometers away from San Francisco it is often up to 10 degrees Celsius more than in the city itself. But the sea breeze also brings something good with it. The dirty air is blown out of the city by the strong wind. As a result, there are only about 18 smog days a year in San Francisco. The measurements for New York and Los Angeles are significantly worse at 174 and 231 days.
My conclusion on the ideal travel time for San Francisco
The best time to visit San Francisco is from May to October . The weather during these months is ideal for a vacation in the California coastal city. In summer there is particularly little rain. The number of hours of sunshine is also highest during this time. But don’t worry, temperatures don’t get uncomfortably hot in midsummer. Since America is on summer vacation in July, August and September, the city is comparatively overcrowded during this time. The prices for vacation in the Californian metropolis rise considerably during these months. My tip: decide on a trip in May , June or October. These months are outside the American holiday season. Note that San Francisco is wrapped in a thick blanket of fog in summer and early autumn, which usually disappears at noon.
With the right clothes, San Francisco is an attractive destination all year round . Because the city is weather-friendly even in winter. However, increased precipitation is to be expected. If you don’t mind, you can spend your vacation in mild temperatures of a maximum of 13 to 15 degrees Celsius during the day. However, you should pack warm, rainproof clothing. Because at night it becomes increasingly wet and very cool in San Francisco. Many vacationers visit San Francisco as part of a road trip along the American west coast. This often includes the destinations Los Angeles , Las Vegas and San Diego. To plan a tour of the west, you should also check the travel weather for these destinations. In my travel calendar you will find all the information about the best time to travel to Los Angeles and Las Vegas . I will also provide you there with an overview of the best time to travel to California . So you are well informed! Regardless of whether it is an extensive road trip through the States or a city trip to San Francisco – I wish you good weather and an unforgettable time!