California Central Coast Weather
The Central Coast of California has a Mediterranean climate - warm and dry in the summer and cooler and wetter in the winter. Within this broad general trend, however, California Central Coast weather varies quite a bit according to how close you are to the moderating influence of the ocean. Coastal areas have moderate temperatures all year round and are thus a safe bet for outdoor activities any time of year. Inland areas tend to be hotter in summer and colder in winter.
Coastal areas include Monterey, Big Sur, Cambria, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach.
Inland areas include Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Solvang.
Coastal areas from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica are typically warmer and have less fog and rain than other coastal areas along the Central Coast.
IMPORTANT: The weather on any given day can be very different from typical seasonal weather. We've had thunderstorms in July, heat waves in January and frost in April. Be prepared for a wide range of conditions.
Spring along the coast typically has moderate temperatures (highs in 60s or low 70s) with cooler mornings. Afternoons are often windy - usually with winds out of the northwest. Fog can occur, but is less common than during the summer. Inland areas during spring often have similar conditions as coastal areas. March is still considered part of the rainy season, but we can also get periodic rain through April and into early May. After mid May, rain is extremely rare (although possible) through the rest of the spring.
Summer can be foggy and cool (i.e highs in 60s) along the coast, but sunny days will be warmer. Mornings often start out foggy, but the fog often (although not always) clears by mid day. Afternoons along the coast can still feature strong winds from the northwest, but this pattern is less pronounced than in the spring. Inland areas can be warm to hot in the summer and usually have very little fog. San Luis Obispo in summer has typical daily highs of 70s to low 80s in the summer and Paso Robles typically has daily highs of upper 80s to 90s and can get into the 100s on any given day. Rain is very rare (although possible) throughout the region in the summer.
Fall is actually the warmest season on average along the coast, with daily highs usually in the low 70s. Fog is less pronounced than in the summer (although we can still get days of thick fog) and windy afternoons with winds off the ocean from the northwest are less common than in spring and summer. An increasing number of days may also have offshore winds, which can be highly variable and come from many different directions. Mornings can still be cool. Early fall (September) in the inland areas can still see warm to hot temperatures reminiscent of the summer (i.e 100s in Paso Robles) but after this daily highs are usually more temperate and are often in the 70s to 80s. Toward late fall (November and early December) we might start getting the first rain storms of the rainy season, although several week periods of clear calm weather are just as likely.
Winter daily highs along the coast are still very moderate, usually in the low 60s. Mornings can be cold and frost does happen. Fog is relatively rare, but can happen as well. Inland areas are more prone to frosty mornings and low ground fog and sometimes have lower daily high temperatures than the coast. Wind direction and strength is less consistent than at other times of year and some days may have offshore winds that can be quite strong in certain places. November to April is the rainy season and rain (sometimes heavy) can occur, but even during the rainy season, we sometimes get long stretches of beautiful clear weather.
Bottom line - the Central Coast is a great year round destination, from a California weather perspective.