Welcome to California, the Golden State! If you’re planning to visit in March, you’re in for a treat. With its diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and endless attractions, California offers something for everyone. From stunning natural wonders to exciting cultural events, March in California is a time of new beginnings and abundant opportunities for exploration and adventure.
In this article, we’ll highlight the 10 best things to do in California in March. Whether you’re a nature lover, a culture enthusiast, or an adrenaline junkie, there’s something on this list to pique your interest. So get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty, excitement, and diversity that California has to offer.
From witnessing the breathtaking Superbloom at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to attending the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, March in California is packed with unforgettable experiences. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the lively streets of San Francisco or embark on a wine tour in the renowned Napa Valley. For the science enthusiasts, the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering offers a captivating journey into the world of discovery.
Thrill-seekers can enjoy the adrenaline-pumping rides and attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood, while history buffs can visit the iconic Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Take a scenic drive along the famous Pacific Coast Highway, savoring the breathtaking coastal views. And don’t miss the opportunity to witness the incredible gray whale migration in Monterey Bay.
Lastly, hikers and nature lovers can explore the unique landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park, immersing themselves in its majestic beauty. With so much to offer, California in March is a magical time for exploration and discovery, offering unforgettable experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
Explore the Superbloom at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
One of the most breathtaking natural phenomena in California is the Superbloom, which occurs when an abundance of wildflowers blanket the desert landscape in vibrant colors. And there’s no better place to witness this awe-inspiring display than at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Located in Southern California, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park spans over 600,000 acres and is the largest state park in California. Every spring, after a period of sufficient rainfall, the park transforms into a floral paradise, with blooming flowers as far as the eye can see.
From mid-February to April, an array of wildflowers, including desert lilies, desert sunflowers, and sand verbena, carpet the desert floor, creating a kaleidoscope of colors against the arid landscape. The vibrant hues, combined with the stark beauty of the surrounding mountains and canyons, make for a truly remarkable sight.
Visitors to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park can embark on various hiking trails to immerse themselves in the Superbloom spectacle. The Palm Canyon Trail is a popular choice, offering scenic views of palm oases and opportunities to spot desert wildlife. The Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail is another must-visit, with its stunning waterfalls and abundant wildflowers.
Aside from the Superbloom, the park also boasts an array of other natural wonders to explore. Marvel at the unique rock formations in the Slot Canyon, or visit Font’s Point, known as the “California Grand Canyon,” for panoramic views of the desert landscape. Don’t miss the chance to stargaze at night when the dark skies reveal a mesmerizing display of stars.
Remember to check the park’s website or contact the visitor center for the latest information on peak bloom times and trail conditions. Be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a camera to capture the stunning beauty of the Superbloom. The experience of witnessing the desert come alive with a sea of wildflowers is truly unforgettable and should not be missed.
Attend the Academy Awards in Los Angeles
Lights, camera, action! If you’re a movie buff or a fan of glamour and red carpet events, attending the Academy Awards in Los Angeles is a dream come true. Also known as the Oscars, this prestigious awards ceremony celebrates the best in the film industry and attracts celebrities from around the world.
Usually held in late February or early March, the Academy Awards showcase the finest achievements in filmmaking, from acting and directing to costume design and visual effects. The event takes place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, creating an electrifying atmosphere that is unmatched.
While attending the actual awards ceremony may be reserved for the lucky few who receive invitations, there are still plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the Oscar buzz. Many hotels and venues in Los Angeles host glamorous Oscar viewing parties, where guests can dress up, enjoy delicious food and drinks, and watch the live telecast of the awards show.
If you’re a movie lover, consider exploring the city’s vibrant film scene during the awards season. Catch a movie screening at one of the historic theaters in Hollywood, or visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame to see the stars honoring the biggest names in the industry.
Los Angeles is also home to numerous world-class museums dedicated to film history and art. Pay a visit to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, set to open in 2021, to delve into the rich heritage and behind-the-scenes magic of the movies.
While in Los Angeles, take the opportunity to explore the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory, and the trendy shops and restaurants of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Indulge in the vibrant nightlife and bustling cultural scene of the city, and you might even spot a celebrity or two.
If you’re unable to attend the Academy Awards in person, you can still experience the excitement by joining the crowds outside the Dolby Theatre on the day of the ceremony. People gather to catch a glimpse of the glamorous arrivals and cheer for their favorite stars as they walk the red carpet.
Attending the Academy Awards or immersing yourself in the Oscar fever in Los Angeles is a truly unforgettable experience for film enthusiasts and pop culture aficionados. Whether you’re rubbing elbows with celebrities at a star-studded party or simply soaking up the energy of Hollywood, the Oscars offer a glimpse into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in San Francisco
When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, few cities in the United States can rival the festive atmosphere and vibrant festivities of San Francisco. On March 17th each year, the city comes alive with green-clad revelers, parades, live music, and an overall sense of Irish spirit.
Start your St. Patrick’s Day in San Francisco by joining the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, one of the largest and longest-running parades on the West Coast. The parade kicks off at Market Street and Second Street, winding its way through the heart of the city with marching bands, colorful floats, and Irish dance groups. It’s a fun and lively event that attracts locals and visitors alike.
After the parade, head to one of the many Irish pubs and bars in the city to continue the celebration. Popular spots such as The Irish Bank, Johnny Foley’s, and The Plough and Stars offer traditional Irish music, lively atmospheres, and of course, plenty of pints of Guinness.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly celebration, visit the San Francisco Zoo for their annual St. Patrick’s Day event. The zoo hosts activities such as face painting, live entertainment, and educational talks about Irish wildlife and conservation. It’s a great way to celebrate the day while enjoying the outdoors and learning something new.
For a unique twist on St. Patrick’s Day, consider participating in the annual “St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run/Walk” in Golden Gate Park. This event combines fitness with the holiday spirit as participants dressed in green race through the scenic park. It’s a fun way to start the day on a healthy note and burn off some calories before indulging in traditional Irish fare later on.
Speaking of Irish fare, no St. Patrick’s Day celebration is complete without enjoying some classic Irish food. Many restaurants in San Francisco offer special St. Patrick’s Day menus featuring dishes like corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, and shepherd’s pie. Take a culinary journey to Ireland by indulging in these delicious traditional dishes.
To cap off your St. Patrick’s Day in San Francisco, head to the iconic Irish Cultural Center for a night of live music and dancing. The center hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day festival, featuring traditional Irish music performances, step dancing, and cultural displays. It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in Irish culture and celebrate the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day.
Whether you’re of Irish descent or simply want to join in the festive atmosphere, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in San Francisco is a memorable experience. From parades to pub crawls, live music to traditional food, the city offers a variety of ways to celebrate Irish heritage and embrace the luck of the Irish.
Take a Wine Tour in Napa Valley
No trip to California is complete without indulging in the world-renowned wines of Napa Valley. March is an excellent time to visit this picturesque region, as the vineyards come alive with budding vines, vibrant colors, and the anticipation of a new wine season.
A wine tour in Napa Valley provides the perfect opportunity to explore the beauty of the landscape while savoring exceptional wines. With over 400 wineries to choose from, each offering unique varietals and tasting experiences, there’s something to please every wine lover’s palate.
Start your wine tour at one of the iconic and historic wineries, such as Beringer Vineyards, Mondavi Winery, or Domaine Chandon. These renowned establishments not only produce exceptional wines but also offer informative tours and tastings that delve into the region’s rich winemaking history.
For a more intimate and boutique experience, venture off the beaten path and explore some of the lesser-known wineries. Places like Artesa Vineyards & Winery, Schramsberg Vineyards, and Pride Mountain Vineyards offer unique and personalized experiences in stunning settings.
During your wine tour, take advantage of the beautiful weather in March and enjoy a picnic among the vineyards. Many wineries provide picnic areas or offer curated picnic baskets with local artisanal products to enhance your tasting experience.
Immerse yourself in the winemaking process by participating in vineyard tours or barrel tastings. Gain a deeper appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship behind each bottle and learn about the unique terroir that makes Napa Valley wines so special.
Don’t forget to explore the charming towns and villages scattered throughout the valley. Stroll through the quaint streets of Yountville, known for its Michelin-starred restaurants and charming boutiques. Visit the art galleries and tasting rooms in St. Helena, or unwind in the hot springs of Calistoga.
For a truly unique experience, consider booking a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards of Napa Valley. Watch as the sun rises over the rolling hills and vine-covered landscapes, creating a mesmerizing panorama that will take your breath away.
Keep in mind that it’s essential to plan ahead and make reservations for tastings and tours, as Napa Valley can be quite busy, especially during weekends and peak tourist seasons. Check with the wineries’ websites or contact their visitor centers to make the necessary arrangements.
Indulging in a wine tour in Napa Valley is not just about tasting exquisite wines; it’s about immersing yourself in the magnificent scenery, rich culture, and the passion of the winemakers. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a casual enthusiast, Napa Valley offers an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the art of winemaking.
Enjoy the Festivities at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering
If you have a curious mind and a thirst for knowledge, the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering is an event you won’t want to miss. Held annually in March, this week-long celebration of science and technology offers a wide range of interactive exhibits, workshops, and activities for all ages.
The San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering aims to inspire and engage the community in the wonders of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). It serves as a platform for scientists, engineers, and educators to showcase their work and ignite a passion for STEM subjects in young minds.
During the festival, various venues throughout San Diego County transform into science playgrounds. Explore the interactive exhibits at the Expo Day, held at Petco Park, where you can engage with cutting-edge technologies, conduct hands-on experiments, and learn about the latest scientific advancements.
Attend interactive workshops and presentations led by renowned scientists and experts. From chemistry demonstrations to robotics workshops, there’s something for everyone to discover and explore their scientific curiosity.
For families with children, the festival offers a multitude of activities specifically designed for younger learners. Visit the Kids’ Expo, where kids can participate in interactive science experiments, engage with STEM-themed games and puzzles, and discover the wonders of the natural world.
The San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering also includes events and activities tailored to specific interest areas. Dive into the world of marine science at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, or explore the wonders of space at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
Don’t miss the opportunity to attend one of the many STEM-focused performances and shows held during the festival. From scientific magic tricks to engaging science-themed theater productions, these performances provide a unique and entertaining way to learn and discover new concepts.
In addition to the festival’s official events, various organizations and institutions in San Diego hold their own science-centered activities and workshops throughout the week. Check the festival’s schedule to find out about these additional offerings and expand your scientific horizons even further.
The San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering is not only educational but also incredibly fun. It encourages hands-on exploration, critical thinking, and a love for learning. Whether you’re a science enthusiast or just looking for a unique and engaging experience, this festival is sure to leave you inspired and in awe of the wonders of STEM.
Experience the Thrills at Universal Studios Hollywood
Get ready for a day of excitement and entertainment at Universal Studios Hollywood, a world-renowned theme park that immerses visitors in the magic of movies and offers unforgettable thrills. Located in Los Angeles, Universal Studios Hollywood is a must-visit destination for film enthusiasts, theme park lovers, and adrenaline junkies.
At Universal Studios Hollywood, you can step into the world of your favorite movies and TV shows as you explore immersive attractions and thrilling rides. Experience the heart-pounding action of the “Jurassic World – The Ride,” where you’ll come face to face with gigantic dinosaurs, or join the battle against the Decepticons on the epic “Transformers: The Ride 3D.”
For Harry Potter fans, a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a dream come true. Walk through the enchanting streets of Hogsmeade, sip on a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks, and take a thrilling ride through Hogwarts Castle on “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.”
In addition to the exhilarating rides, Universal Studios Hollywood offers behind-the-scenes studio tours that give guests a glimpse into the world of filmmaking. Hop aboard the iconic Studio Tour and explore the backlots, soundstages, and famous sets where your favorite movies and TV shows were made. Watch out for encounters with movie characters and unforgettable special effects along the way.
Throughout the day, enjoy live shows and performances that bring beloved characters and stories to life. Witness the spectacle of the “WaterWorld” show, an action-packed stunt show inspired by the popular film, or be amazed by the mesmerizing performances at the “Special Effects Stage,” where you’ll learn the secrets behind movie magic.
If you’re a fan of frights and thrills, don’t miss the opportunity to visit “Halloween Horror Nights,” a special event held during select nights in the fall. This spine-chilling experience features haunted mazes, scare zones, and live shows inspired by horror films and TV shows.
When it’s time to refuel, Universal Studios Hollywood offers a variety of dining options to suit every taste. Whether you’re craving classic theme park snacks, international cuisine, or a themed dining experience, you’ll find a range of restaurants and food stands to satisfy your hunger.
Make sure to take advantage of Universal Express Passes to maximize your time in the park and skip the regular lines for select attractions. These passes allow you to experience more rides and shows during your visit and ensure a smoother and more efficient day at the park.
To make the most of your Universal Studios Hollywood experience, consider staying at one of the nearby hotels that offer exclusive perks, such as early park admission and front of line access to select rides.
At Universal Studios Hollywood, the magic of the movies comes to life with thrilling attractions, immersive experiences, and unforgettable memories. Get ready for a day filled with excitement, fun, and cinematic adventures that will leave you feeling like a star.
Visit the Historical Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay
Take a step back in time and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Alcatraz Island, located in the heart of San Francisco Bay. Known as “The Rock,” Alcatraz is famous for its former federal penitentiary and has become a popular tourist attraction that offers a unique and captivating experience.
Once home to some of the most notorious criminals in American history, including Al Capone and Robert “The Birdman” Stroud, Alcatraz is now a National Historic Landmark and is managed by the National Park Service. Visitors can explore the island and gain insights into its intriguing past through guided tours and exhibits.
To reach Alcatraz Island, you’ll need to take a ferry from Pier 33 in San Francisco. As you approach the island, admire the stunning views of the city skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge, creating a picturesque backdrop for your visit.
Upon arrival, join a guided tour that takes you through the prison complex and provides a glimpse into the daily lives of inmates and the challenges they faced. Walk through the cell blocks and see the cramped cells that housed some of the country’s most dangerous criminals.
Learn about the notorious attempted escapes and hear gripping stories of the inmates and the harsh conditions they endured. The award-winning audio tour, narrated by former prison guards and inmates, offers a compelling and immersive experience, guiding you through the various areas of the prison and providing insights into its history.
Aside from the prison, Alcatraz Island is also home to diverse wildlife and offers stunning natural beauty. Explore the lush gardens, seabird colonies, and rugged landscapes that make up the island’s ecosystem. Take a leisurely walk along the scenic trails and enjoy panoramic views of the bay and the surrounding areas.
For an even more immersive experience, consider visiting Alcatraz Island during one of its special events. These events include night tours, where you can explore the prison after dark, which adds an extra layer of mystery and intrigue to your visit.
Plan ahead and book your tickets in advance, as access to Alcatraz Island is limited and in high demand. Due to its popularity, it’s recommended to secure your tickets well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.
A visit to Alcatraz Island is not only an opportunity to learn about its notorious past, but also to reflect on the importance of justice, punishment, and the resilience of the human spirit. The captivating history and haunting atmosphere of Alcatraz make it a must-visit destination for history buffs, true crime enthusiasts, and anyone seeking a unique and thought-provoking experience.
Take a Scenic Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway
Buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable journey along the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the most iconic and breathtaking drives in California. Stretching along the stunning coastline, the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1, offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs, and picturesque coastal towns.
Embarking on a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and awe-inspiring landscapes of the California coast. The drive can be started from either San Francisco or Los Angeles, with both routes offering their own unique experiences.
If you’re starting from San Francisco, head south towards the famed Golden Gate Bridge, where you’ll have the opportunity to capture stunning photos of the bridge against the backdrop of the city. As you continue southward, marvel at the rugged cliffs and crashing waves along Big Sur, one of the most breathtaking stretches of the coast.
Be sure to make stops at iconic landmarks such as Bixby Bridge, a magnificent architectural marvel, and McWay Falls, an enchanting waterfall that cascades onto a secluded beach. Take in the fresh ocean air and relish the serenity of the isolated beaches and hidden coves that make Big Sur truly magical.
As you continue your drive, you’ll encounter charming coastal towns such as Carmel-by-the-Sea and Santa Barbara. These picturesque towns offer a chance to stretch your legs, explore quaint streets lined with unique shops and art galleries, and indulge in delicious seafood at local restaurants.
From Santa Barbara, the drive takes you through the scenic Santa Monica Mountains, providing stunning views of the Pacific coastline. Cruise along the renowned Malibu coastline, where you might even spot some celebrity beachfront homes along the way.
As you approach Los Angeles, make a stop at the iconic Santa Monica Pier, where you can stroll along the beach, enjoy classic amusement park rides, and soak up the lively atmosphere of this coastal hotspot.
Keep in mind that the Pacific Coast Highway is a winding and narrow road in some sections, so it’s important to drive with caution and be mindful of other vehicles. Take your time to enjoy the scenery and make stops at designated viewpoints and pullouts to fully appreciate the panoramic vistas.
Whether you’re driving a convertible, a camper van, or a regular car, a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway is an essential California experience. It offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, coastal charm, and idyllic settings that will leave you with lifelong memories and a profound appreciation for the stunning landscapes of the California coast.
Witness the Spectacular Migration of Gray Whales in Monterey Bay
Every year, the magnificent gray whales embark on an extraordinary journey from the cold waters of the Arctic to the warm breeding grounds of Baja California, Mexico. Along their migratory route, Monterey Bay becomes a prime location to witness this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.
As winter transitions into spring, thousands of gray whales pass through Monterey Bay, making it a paradise for whale watchers and nature enthusiasts. From December to April, the coastline becomes a front-row seat to witness these majestic creatures as they make their way to their breeding grounds.
There are several ways to experience the gray whale migration in Monterey Bay. Join a whale watching tour aboard a boat and venture into the open waters, guided by experienced marine naturalists who provide insightful commentary about the whales’ behavior and habitat.
As you sail across the bay, keep your eyes peeled for the unmistakable spouts and breaches of the gray whales. Witnessing these massive mammals in their natural habitat, gracefully swimming and breaching the water’s surface, is an awe-inspiring sight that will leave you breathless.
If you prefer a different vantage point, head to one of the many scenic viewpoints along the coastline. Places like Point Lobos State Natural Reserve or the Pacific Grove shoreline offer excellent vantage points to observe the whales as they navigate the bay.
This migration is not limited to gray whales alone – you may also spot other fascinating marine life, such as dolphins, sea lions, and various seabirds. The biodiversity of Monterey Bay provides a rich and captivating experience for wildlife enthusiasts.
While the peak of the gray whale migration is during the winter and early spring months, it’s always recommended to check with local authorities or whale watching companies for the most up-to-date information on whale sightings and migration patterns. Weather conditions and other factors can affect the whales’ movements, and professionals will have the latest updates to ensure you have the best chance of spotting them.
Witnessing the spectacular migration of gray whales in Monterey Bay is a humbling and memorable experience. It allows us to connect with the natural world and marvel at the wonders of the animal kingdom. So, grab your binoculars, prepare your camera, and get ready to be captivated by the incredible journey of the gray whales as they navigate the stunning waters of Monterey Bay.
Hike the Trails in Joshua Tree National Park
Escape into the surreal and mesmerizing landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park, where otherworldly rock formations meet vast desert vistas. Located in Southern California, this national park offers a unique hiking experience that showcases the beauty of the desert ecosystem and the iconic Joshua trees.
With its diverse range of trails, Joshua Tree National Park caters to hikers of all levels, from beginners to seasoned adventurers. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the numerous trails that wind through the park, each offering its own special charm.
One of the most popular trails is the Hidden Valley Trail, a one-mile loop that takes you through a hidden valley enclosed by towering boulder formations. As you hike along the trail, take time to appreciate the unique flora and fauna that call this arid landscape home.
For those seeking panoramic views, the Ryan Mountain Trail is a must-try. This moderate three-mile hike leads to the summit of Ryan Mountain, rewarding hikers with breathtaking views of the surrounding desert and rugged mountains.
Another noteworthy trail is the Barker Dam Trail, which combines natural beauty with a dash of history. This easy loop trail takes you to an ancient Native American petroglyph site and a small reservoir that serves as an oasis for wildlife.
For a more strenuous adventure, attempt the challenging 7.2-mile hike to the top of Mt. San Jacinto. While not within the park boundaries, this hike starts at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and offers stunning vistas as you ascend to the summit.
As you hike through the park, keep an eye out for the unique Joshua trees that dot the landscape. These iconic and peculiar-looking trees, which are actually a type of yucca, provide a distinct character to the park and make for fantastic photo opportunities.
Remember to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and protective clothing, as the desert climate can be harsh and unforgiving. Be mindful of the trails and adhere to the park regulations to help preserve the fragile ecosystem.
Aside from hiking, Joshua Tree National Park offers opportunities for stargazing, rock climbing, and camping. The park’s remote location and limited light pollution make it an ideal spot for observing the night sky and marveling at the stars.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, hiking the trails in Joshua Tree National Park will leave you with a deep appreciation for the unique landscapes and the delicate balance of life in the desert. Explore at your own pace and allow yourself to be captivated by the raw beauty of this extraordinary desert wilderness.
California in March offers a wealth of experiences for travelers, showcasing the state’s diverse landscapes, cultural events, and natural wonders. From witnessing the superbloom at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in San Francisco, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
For nature lovers, exploring the stunning trails of Joshua Tree National Park or witnessing the gray whale migration in Monterey Bay provides unforgettable encounters with the wonders of the natural world. Wine enthusiasts can indulge in a wine tour in Napa Valley, savoring world-renowned wines while surrounded by picturesque vineyards.
For those seeking excitement and entertainment, attending the Academy Awards in Los Angeles or experiencing the thrill rides at Universal Studios Hollywood will make for an unforgettable adventure. Meanwhile, science enthusiasts can engage in hands-on activities and exhibitions at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.
As you plan your trip to California in March, be sure to check the specific dates and availability of each activity or event, as well as any necessary reservations. Prepare for the varying weather conditions across the state, and don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the memories.
California, with its rich history, natural wonders, and vibrant culture, offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. Whether you’re captivated by the spectacle of the superbloom, the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards, or the tranquility of a scenic coastal drive, there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy.
So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime. California is waiting to welcome you with open arms and a world of possibilities in the month of March.