San Francisco weather and can we see snow?

Mar 24th, 2009, 04:14 PM
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San Francisco weather and can we see snow?

Okay, we leave for San Francisco, Friday the 27th of March and I am starting to pack. We live in Florida and obviously the weather in San Fran is going to be different then we have right now here. I'm thinking we pack leather jackets and lots of layers. I will be traveling with my husband and our children ages 6 and 9. Do I need hats and gloves for the children? We are booked for an Alcatraz tour first thing Saturday morning...I'm thinking it will be cold on the water, correct? I'm not sure what to expect since we have been told that 60 degree weather in San Fran is very different the 60 degrees in Florida...any thoughts? Also, we are planning on renting a car on Monday or Tuesday to explore Muir Woods and Sonoma for a wine there anywhere within driving distance that we can see snow? I'm not talking about tubing or skiing but I would love for the children to get a glimpse of what snow actually looks like. I's sad that they have never seen it but I thought maybe possibly? Any thoughts on this too? Thanks for all of your help! I am so excited!!
jen_lotti is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 05:25 PM
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Can't answer your question about snow -- but we weren't cold when we went to Alcatraz in early November. But ... we're not from Florida. We enjoyed the tour.

When you're through at Muir Woods (which is wonderful) be sure to take the short drive to Muir beach. It's magical!
Songdoc is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:11 PM
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I lived in San Francisco for two years, and I never know what to expect when I visit there.

In March and April the average low is about 50 and the average high is in the low to mid 60s, but the weather is unpredictable--it could be lovely. We have usually had good luck, but we were there one August when it was so cold and windy we had to evacuate.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:31 PM
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Definitely do the layers..The weather can be hard to predict in San Francisco.I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and if I were going to Alcatraz, I would bundle up!! It can be very cold and windy on the bay.
I know that it was snowing at Yosemite on Sunday(march 22) There would also be snow at Tahoe.
sharon62 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:35 PM
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If you want to drive at least a couple of hours east on I-80 toward Reno you should be able see the snow on the Sierra, if it's a clear day. I would guess, depending on traffic, it would be 3-4hours to get to the snow level.
boom_boom is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:43 PM
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is there anywhere within driving distance that we can see snow?

Depends what you consider "driving distance". You'd have to go at least 2-3 hours away to see snow, and there may or may not be snow that low. Tahoe is about 3-1/2-4 hours.
sf7307 is online now  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:45 PM
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Boo_boom and I are talking about different things -- "seeing" snow, meaning on the mountains from a far distance vs. "snow level" meaning where you can get out of your car and touch it.
sf7307 is online now  
Mar 24th, 2009, 06:46 PM
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If you are where the wind is blowing in SF, you can just about freeze to death. Also, if it's not bad on land, do not be fooled, it will freeze your rear end off on the bay. When I lived in the Bay Area we used to go boating on the bay all the time, and in the summer on the dock I would be in shorts and a tank top and by the time we got out the channel into the bay I was in my jeans, sweater, jacket and a hat.

Layers are good so you can adjust to where ever you are and be comfortable.

The last storm we had was this weekend and it was a fairly warm one. I live at about 4200 feet and we had just a dusting of snow and it melted quickly, so I'm guessing the snow level was at about 6,000 feet, which is Lake Tahoe level, so you would have about a four hour drive to get to snow I'm thinking.
crefloors is online now  
Mar 24th, 2009, 07:44 PM
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We froze going out to Alcatraz in July one year. Our company's "gift" was a jacket and we were all glad to have it. There's a picture of seven of us in matching jackets all huddled up together.

Layers are great in SF. If you head out to Sonoma it should be warm. Muir Woods will be a bit chilly because of all of the shade. We caught a glimpse of snow far, far away when we drove up to Lake Sonoma. I wouldn't count of snow sighting, much less snow touching. Have fun!
starrs is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 07:45 PM
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The weather depends very much on where you are--the S.F. Bay Area is notorious for the microclimates. That said, it's safe to assume that S.F. will be cold and windy, while as you head into Sonoma and further in-land, the afternoons will be balmy if not outright hot. Layering is a very good idea--I would make sure that you bring a medium-weight jacket for the children that they can put on top of their sweaters...They may be warm while they are running about but it is very easy to get hypothermic and catch a chill in the spring weather that we've been having...Enjoy your trip!
aggiealum2 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 08:45 PM
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San Francisco has a damp cold...quite different from 60 degrees in Florida or L.A. A Fleece vest can work great. I'd bundle up the kids. Cold children make everyone's life miserable. You might like to skip Sonoma and head for Tahoe if you want to see snow. There is a great train museum in Sacramento that you would drive through.
kleroux is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 08:49 PM
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The weather is supposed to be very good when you are here. Why don't you check online before you travel? Layers doesn't have to mean really huge levels of difference. On the water, especially in the morning, (and because you are from such a different climate) you will probably want long sleeves. The kids will not need gloves, and hats blow off unless they are ski hats. You can also step inside the ferry and be just fine if the weather is too cold and windy.

I could be wrong but I don't think you can take your children wine tasting. Someone on this board will correct me if I am wrong. Also Sonoma isn't the most exciting place for kids imho.

San Francisco is almost never warm in the evening - at this time of the year nowhere around the Bay Area is warm in the evening. So you will all need a sweater or light jacket. I think hoodies for the kids would probably cover all bases for your vacation.

Have a great time!
cabovacation is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 08:53 PM
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Snow. Sorry, I forgot. For snow you have to go to the mountains and they are at least 4 hours away by car. Then you will be cold when you get there. So, you could drive up - roll around in the snow a bit, and head back to the bay area - but it would take all day and it's not worth it, really. I adore snow and it would be great for your kids to see and feel it. Many people do manage this trip in a day. And it will be sunny so you really would not need true winter clothes if you just played until you were too cold - and then maybe stop for dinner and head back. I think you should just do it another time, but it could work.
cabovacation is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 05:10 AM
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I think we'll skip the snow this trip...maybe head to NYC around Christmas time to do that. Thank you for all of your replies...layers it is!! I have checked the weather online but keep being told that 60 in SF is much different then 60 in Florida....I have a 9 year old arguing with me that he can pack shorts and t-shirts while I say sweaters and jeans! Thanks to you guys, I can show him I am right! Oh an in response to the children and wine tastings...I've been told some vineyards welcome families and some don't. We are "reserved" for the Battaglini vineyards in Sonoma for Monday and the family is from Lucca, Italy which is where my mother in law is from. Via email they told me they would welcome my children because they are "Italian"!
jen_lotti is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 05:47 AM
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Hey, we will be in SF the same time as your family. I have been to SF many times, all times of the year, and am always cold! AND we are from Minnesota. As I am packing I keep telling my husband to put those short sleeved shirts back in the closet! Layers is the way to go. Some advice - bring a tote bag with you to put those layers in as they get peeled off or are needed to put on. I packed one because in past trips I have always found myself having to carry the sweaters, jackets, etc.
rbnwdlr is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 06:47 AM
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I'm usually in shorts, t-shirt year round in SF BUT always with a sweater, sweat shirt, or jacket etc. handy.

Lucca? Mrs Kal's relatives live in the Pieve Sao Paolo area.
I'll have to check out Battaglini.

Should be an excellent weekend in No Cal!
Kal is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 06:53 AM
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I am so excited I cannot contain myself...counting down the hours until our plane leaves six year old woke up this morning and said..."only two more wakeups!!" Thanks for all of your advice folks!
jen_lotti is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 07:00 AM
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Have a great trip.
Kal is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 07:16 AM
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Jen, rbnwdl is right--bring a backpack or some sort of pack to carry all the shed sweaters, etc. Hope that with all your preparations, you will be able to adjust to the climate in the S.F. Bay Area and return home unscathed!
aggiealum2 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 07:34 AM
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You would be better of with waterproof jackets for rain and wind rather than leather.
Marginal is offline  

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