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Pacific Coast Highway - May/June

UK
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Pacific Coast Highway - May/June

Hi there,

My partner and I are travelling from the UK to West Coast USA next year for a 3 week roadtrip arriving on 22nd May. We will be spending a few days in San Francisco and Yosemite before driving down the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterey to Pismo and then on through LA to San Diego (before heading out to Phoenix/Grand Canyon/Vegas).

I have been reading about 'May Gray' and 'June Gloom' and am slightly worried about how this might affect our experience, particularly in terms of the PCH. We have never driven in the US before and are already a little nervous about the winding cliff-hanging roads of the PCH (although very excited for this leg of the trip too) so just want to be aware of what conditions to expect!

We were planning to set off early each morning, to maximise our time, but I'm now wondering if this is such a good idea if road conditions are likely to be very foggy earlier in the day. I also wonder if our views along the coast are going to be affected at certain times of the day.

Does anyone have any experience of driving the PCH in May/June and have any advice they can offer? I understand that the weather is completely unpredictable but any general thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance,

Jules

Manhattan Beach...
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1. Re: Pacific Coast Highway - May/June

May Gray and June Gloom is a real weather pattern near the beaches where the mornings and evenings are overcast. The only impact that I can think of is that you probably would restrict your sun bathing to mid day. The nice aspect to this pattern is that temperatures don't get too hot. I can't see the overcast making any difference to your routing or your activities, but you will have to pack sweaters.

San Francisco
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2. Re: Pacific Coast Highway - May/June

"June gloom" and "May gray" are attributes more common to Southern California than Northern. Around Big Sur you may encounter some morning overcast but it will not be the type of fog that is down on the ground or will hamper your ability to see the road.

San Francisco is never that warm. Definitely plan to layer up in the city. And this is especially true if you plan on being out on the bay (ferry to Alcatraz or Sausalito perhaps), along the waterfront (Fisherman's Wharf of Crissy Field) and especially out on the Golden Gate Bridge. These areas are cooler and much breezier than downtown areas.

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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3. Re: Pacific Coast Highway - May/June

Our fog is rarely pea soup fog. It's usually denser in the early morning, late afternoon/early evening hours. And that's IF it's even present at the time of your visit. We had a lot of nice, sunny May/June days this year. I find a bit of fog along the Big Sur coast to be ideal for the drive. I love watching the white, wispy fingers of fog reaching up and over the coastal mountains. Sometimes the "fog" manifests itself as a high marine layer of overcast that won't block the views, but may affect the color palette before you.

Anyway, the fog tends to "burn off" by mid to late morning, so I wouldn't worry too much.

Edmonton, Canada
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4. Re: Pacific Coast Highway - May/June

like you, i normally like to get an early start to have leisurely drives. however, i've done the coast highway several times...once in may. the plan was to leave early in the day to enjoy the scenary...it would have been a total waste as the fog was so thick so we ended up taking boring freeway 5 instead. if i drove the coast road in may or june again, i would plan on enjoying the morning, wherever you are and try to head out around 11:00 a.m. and plan on a 5 hour drive each day.

UK
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5. Re: Pacific Coast Highway - May/June

Thanks very much for all your messages, it's reassuring to know that this shouldn't affect our plans too much. We do have a few days to make our way along the coast highway so it wouldn't be the worst thing if we had to set off a little later - I guess we'll have to just wait and see what it's like once we're out there!

6. Re: Pacific Coast Highway - May/June

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