Driving from SFO to San Diego- April or July?

Old Mar 19th, 2014, 10:14 AM
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Driving from SFO to San Diego- April or July?

We are planning a trip for 2015 (advance planning, I know!) because this year's summer trip to California won't work out. We have two different times where we can fly out to California to drive the coast from San Francisco to LA or San Diego. My question is, which month is better- the first weeks of April, or the last weeks of July? We wanted to be sure we planned the trip when it wasn't going to be too cold and rainy, but if April is beautiful, we feel that it would be a great time to explore the state while freeing up our summer for weddings and other trips. Our plans include Napa/Sonoma, SFO, Carmel, Santa Barbara, LA and possibly San Diego.

Does it matter which month or is it pretty much a safe bet to travel the coast anytime from April-July? Would one be cheaper/less crowded/better alternative to the other?

Thanks!
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 10:16 AM
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I should mention that we can also go in late May/June. We're working around a school schedule so pretty much Spring Break (April) and then end of May-end of July is available for us to go.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 10:25 AM
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If you can't do it in September (the VERY best weather on the coast) I personally would go in either April or May. Summer is no the best weather - especially on the northern half of your route. But really all along the coast in June/July can be foggy to VERY foggy. Sometimes it burns off by early/mid afternoon but not always. Basically the hotter it is inland - the foggier on the coast. We even have a name for it - - June Gloom.

Spring on the cast is usually lovely.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 10:26 AM
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oops -- typos

Should be >>Summer is not the best weather . . .>Spring on the coast is usually lovely.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 10:28 AM
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April is a transitional month. It is usually quite nice, but we can have significant rain, it just depends on how the spring weather shapes up. Usually there is some rain that month. Everything should be nice and green with plenty of wildflowers though and coastal fog is minimal. I think hotel rates will be cheaper and things will be less crowded this time of year.

We don't get any measureable rain in the summer, so from the end of May through September, you are in the clear. Once in awhile there will be a very light shower in the summer time, basically enough to make everybody's car spotty, but nothing more than that. The coast does have fog in the summer time though, so you will probably have foggy mornings sometimes - it generally burns off mid-morning though and is only right on the coast anyway.

Since you have to plan around school breaks, if you go in the summer, does that mean you can take more than a week for the trip? If so, then a longer trip wins, IMO. Everything that you want to do will make for a very tight trip if you want to fit it into just 1 week.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 10:55 AM
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Thanks so much! We actually will have 9-10 days in April to visit because we are getting spring break plus a few extra days for Easter vacation all in the same break. Is that enough time? It sounds like April would be a good choice if so!
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 01:02 PM
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I would scrap LA and go straight to San Diego. I'm not a fan of LA personally; too crowded and smoggy IMO. If you're wanting to see beautiful coastal cities, I don't think LA fits the bill. A little south- Orange County has beautiful beach cities (Laguna Beach, Newport Beach). Less crowded and really lovely. I might also be bias because I'm from San Diego, but I think it is spectacular. Look up La Jolla Beach and La Jolla Cove if you want to see a really lovely coastal area. Just north of San Diego is Del Mar and Carlsbad too- really upscale coastal cities. I agree with other posters that June is a difficult month along the coast. Lots of fog. April is beautiful, but can be a bit chilly. If you want the hot summer coastal temperatures, I would say late July through September. Good luck!
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 01:10 PM
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LA isn't smoggy year-round. If you go in April and want to visit LA, it should be fine.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 02:03 PM
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9-10 is better than 7 With travel days, that will give you 7-8 days on the ground. It's doable - you'll be on the move, but it won't be terribly rushed. You could consider skipping Napa in favor of other wine regions that are on your route - that would free up some times for other areas since you wouldn't have to go north and then south.
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