Best Time to Visit Big Sur

Pacific Coast Highway Travel picks the best time to visit Big Sur, with a monthly summary of the weather, including the renowned fog, plus hotel prices and special events to help plan a visit

Big Sur, a rugged and mountainous section of the Central Coast of California, is known for its stunning natural beauty, with the Santa Lucia Mountains rising dramatically from the Pacific Ocean.

The climate in Big Sur is Mediterranean, characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. But when is the best time to visit Big Sur? Let's take a month-by-month look at what you can expect.

big-sur-pixabay-1087144_1280.jpgBig Sur

Best Time to Visit Big Sur Month-by-Month

January is the coldest month in Big Sur, with average temperatures ranging from 43°F (6°C) to 59°F (15°C). Rainfall averages around 5.5 inches (140 mm), and snowfall is rare. Hotel prices are relatively low, and there are no significant events. Fog is common in the mornings.

February sees similar weather to January, with temperatures between 44°F (7°C) and 61°F (16°C), and rainfall averaging 5.2 inches (132 mm). Hotel prices remain low, and the annual Big Sur Foragers Festival, a celebration of wild foods, takes place. Fog is common in the early mornings.

March brings slightly warmer temperatures, ranging from 45°F (7°C) to 63°F (17°C), and rainfall decreases to an average of 4.3 inches (109 mm). Hotel prices begin to rise slightly, and fog can occur at any time of the day.

Best Guide Covering Big Sur

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April sees a significant decrease in rainfall, averaging 2.3 inches (58 mm), and temperatures rise to between 46°F (8°C) to 65°F (18°C). The Big Sur International Marathon takes place at the end of the month. Hotel prices continue to rise. Fog is less common but can still occur in the mornings.

May brings warmer weather, with temperatures ranging from 49°F (9°C) to 69°F (21°C), and rainfall drops to just 0.7 inches (18 mm), and hotel prices start to peak due to the influx of tourists. Fog is common in the early mornings and late evenings.

June is the start of the dry season, with average temperatures between 52°F (11°C) to 72°F (22°C), and minimal rainfall. Hotel prices remain high. Fog is common in the early mornings.

July is the warmest month, with temperatures ranging from 54°F (12°C) to 74°F (23°C), and virtually no rainfall. Hotel prices remain at their highest. Fog is common in the early mornings and late evenings.

August continues the warm, dry trend, with temperatures between 54°F (12°C) to 74°F (23°C). The Big Sur River Run, a 5k race, takes place, and hotel prices begin to decrease slightly. Fog is common in the early mornings.

September sees temperatures between 53°F (12°C) to 73°F (23°C), and rainfall begins to increase slightly to 0.3 inches (8 mm). The Big Sur Jade Festival takes place, and hotel prices continue to fall. The Big Sur Fashion Show also happens this month, and fog is common in the early mornings and late evenings.

October brings cooler temperatures, ranging from 49°F (9°C) to 69°F (21°C), and rainfall increases to 1.1 inches (28 mm). Hotel prices are moderate. Fog is less common but can still occur in the mornings.

November sees a significant increase in rainfall, averaging 3.9 inches (99 mm), and temperatures fall to between 45°F (7°C) to 63°F (17°C). Hotel prices drop. The Big Sur Food and Wine Festival takes place this month, when fog is common in the early mornings.

December is the wettest month, with rainfall averaging 5.8 inches (147 mm), and temperatures range from 43°F (6°C) to 59°F (15°C). The Big Sur Winter Solstice Celebration is a festive event, and hotel prices are low. Fog is common in the mornings. 

big-sur-pixabay-1008190_1280.jpgThe Big Sur Coast in California

Best Time to Visit Big Sur: Summary

So, when is the best time to visit Big Sur? It depends on what you're looking for. If you're a budget traveler who doesn't mind a bit of rain, the winter months offer the lowest hotel prices. And Big Sur is a pricey part of the coast.

In terms of weather, the best time to visit Big Sur is during the summer months, when the weather is warm and dry. However, this is also when hotel prices are at their highest.

The spring and fall months offer a good balance of pleasant weather and moderate hotel prices, along with a range of cultural events.

The winter months are the wettest, but also offer the lowest hotel prices and the chance to see the spectacular winter storms that Big Sur is known for.

In conclusion, the best time to visit Big Sur really depends on your personal preferences and what you want to get out of your visit.

Other Big Sur pages

  • Big Sur is the most scenic and dramatic stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway along the California coast, hemmed between mountains and ocean and with many hiking trails and state parks to explore.

    Big Sur

    Big Sur is the most scenic and dramatic stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway along the California coast, hemmed between mountains and ocean and with many hiking trails and state parks to explore.

  • Photos of Big Sur in California, the most dramatic and beautiful stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway

    Photos of Big Sur

    Photos of Big Sur in California, the most dramatic and beautiful stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway



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