Is January an ok time to visit San Francisco?

Oct 8th, 2007, 11:00 AM
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Is January an ok time to visit San Francisco?

I know that weather/weather patterns are fickle, but wondering whether "in general" January is an all right time for a visit. Hoping to do as much outside things as possible, including, e.g. hiking in Muir woods and the like. Hoping, also, to see some of the coast south of SF, perhaps even going as far as Big Sur. (Will post the Big Sur query separately.)
Thanks for help.
poss is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:05 AM
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You are right about the weather being fickle in Jan. IF we have rain in California, January is one of the rainy months. Although I haven't been in Jan, I was there one year the week between Christmas and New Years. It poured rain most of the time although we did get one nice day to tour the city.

As far as Big Sur, if there is any rain, then mudslides can close Highway 1 in Big Sur. This happens quite frequently. In fact during our trip, we had to cancel the Big Sur portion and drove inland from Carmel to Cambria because of the mudslides.

paula1470 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Hello poss, I would plan on it raining in January. If it doesn't you will be pleasantly surprised. I personally wouldn't come here if your activities will be hiking, driving down to Big Sur etc. If you were coming to visit the city of SF even though it will probably be rainy and cold there is enough inside places to visit you would no doubt enjoy yourself. Just my thoughts.
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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All I can say is: Bring a raincoat.

If you come from the Northeast, the temperatures will be mild compared to what you are used to (it will be in the 50's both day and night usually), but it will most likely be wet.

However, you might get lucky and get a nice sunny day, but that will be the exception rather than the norm.

I would probably skip the hiking unless it appears you'll be getting a dry spell while there. Unless you like getting all muddy that is.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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Thanks very much for the quick responses-- I'm convinced. I suppose that Feb in that area is about the same?
poss is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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If you look at, the rainy months for SF are Nov-March with Jan and Feb having the most rainfall. However the average for those months is only around 4 inches so depending on where you are coming from, that may not be much rain at all!
paula1470 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 12:16 PM
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Personally, I love the winter months in San Francisco. The rain moves through, clears the air, the city sparkles crisply afterwards. Everything tourist-related is much, much less crowded. As far as your hiking plans, you might want to save anythig extensive for another, drier month. That being said, Muir Woods is beautiful in rainy weather -that's when the mosses are really glowing and the streams running through the Woods is at full force. I would plan on a walk rather than a hike though.

If your trip coincides with a fair weather stretch, you should definitely rent a car and do some driving north or south on the Coast. A clear January day at Point Reyes would give you plenty of opportunities to hike and sightsee.
dovima is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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The rainy week we were there, we did go to Muir Woods right after a rain and dovima was right. The ground was wet but the rain had made everything so beautiful. And you can still plan a trip to Big Sur, just be aware that rain could change your plans somewhat.
paula1470 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 01:23 PM
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The key to doing anything outside in winter months is to be as flexible as possible. If we have a dry spell, which happens frequently but not predictably, we get out and enjoy it. This works for us because we can postpone something until the weather gets better, for visitors here for a week it can be tough, because it may be week where it rains all day every day; or it can be stunningly beautiful. If you limit yourself to day trips, you probably can take advantage of clear days.
SAB is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 02:03 PM
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For some reason, and this is just sometimes, the last week in Jan and first week in Feb we can have a rain break. This is NOT scientific, LOL
trippinkpj is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 02:10 PM
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I know of what you speak, trippin'.
In the middle of most S.F. winters, but unfortunately not in every year, there is a four-day stretch or so where it gradually warms up to the mid-70's. Nights and early mornings are still cold, but the afternoons are glorious short sleeve weather. The predictability of these balmy episodes, however, is similar to that of our earthquakes.
dovima is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 02:28 PM
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Quite true Dovima. Although if I was planning a trip to San Francisco, I would pick late January if possible over early to mid Jan. I would plan for the likelyhood of rain all month, and be happy if it was sunny part of the time.
trippinkpj is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 02:41 PM
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Those quirky warm stretches tend to be in mid to late February, not January. According to Intellicast, the record high for the month of January in San Francisco is 71 degrees. The record high for February is 77 degrees, and that occurred on the 26th of the month.
Feb 11th, 2008, 07:47 AM
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O.k., it's happening now.

That "quirky warm stretch" of mild, clear weather in the San Francisco Bay Area in the middle of February. Won't last, you know - it's a teaser, a reminder that spring does eventually come. Ten days from now it'll be drizzling all day again, bet on it.

Follow the advice of Janis Joplin and "get it while you can." This would be the ideal time for an impromptu getaway to our part of the world, if you can manage it.
dovima is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 06:58 AM
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Our closest friends who live in Maine are visiting us now. We've walked along Crissy Field, Coastal Trail, lunch at the Beach Chalet, they visited relatives in Stinson Beach, we've snoozed in lounge chairs on our deck, today the Marin Headlands, tomorrow it's the Ferry building, and the ladies are going yarn/knitting stuff shopping on Thursday (note - no Fisherman's Wharf visits). Our Friends are returning to 10 degree weather & snow in Maine.

Stu Dudley
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