Best time to travel to San Francisco

Fogs in San Francisco

When a misty season arrives, the city and the bay area are covered with thick fog, which sometimes creates spectacular photo opportunities

Best time: June–August


A peculiar weather phenomenon occurs in San Francisco Bay Area during hot summer months. When hot air from the land is substituted by colder and heavier ocean air, the flow from the high to the low-pressure zone creates a thick fog, which rushes through the Golden Gate Bridge and covers the Bay. Walking across the bridge, when the tide of fog comes in, is an activity for adventurous.

The foggy season lasts from June to early September. Mornings and evenings provide the most interesting photo opportunities. For the best views, go atop of San Francisco’s Hills and watch the mist beneath covering the city. Take some warm clothes, a picnic busket and a cup of hot chocolate to enjoy these outstanding sceneries.

Practical info

When is the best time to witness the fog in San Francisco?

The ideal months to see the San Francisco fog are from June to September. This fog forms when the cold, heavy ocean air from the Pacific meets and replaces the hot air on land, creating low-pressure conditions that lead to fog. Picturesque views of the fog can be seen during mornings and evenings, especially in hilltop locations. Show more

Where are some of the best locations to view the fog in San Francisco?

For panoramic views of the city shrouded in fog, hilltops like Bernal Heights Park, Corona Heights, and Twin Peaks make ideal spots. The Golden Gate Bridge, which the fog often passes through, offers a unique experience for visitors who want to see the fog up close and personal. Show more

What causes the dense fog to form in San Francisco during summers?

In San Francisco, the summer marine layer causes dense fog. It forms when the cool Pacific Ocean air rushes in to replace the hot land air, creating conditions of low pressure, which make perfect conditions for fog formation. By early afternoon, the sun's warmth clears the fog, which returns to the bay area in the evening. Show more

Can the fog affect travel plans in San Francisco during the summer months?

The cooling fog in San Francisco during the summer months might obscure visibility, but it rarely causes visitor travel disruptions. Before traveling, visitors should check the weather forecast, pack warm clothing due to chilly temperatures, and plan to enjoy the city year-round attractions, alongside the mesmerizing scenery. Show more

What type of clothing should one wear to comfortably experience the fog in San Francisco?

Due to the cold temperatures that come alongside San Francisco's fog season, dressing in layers is ideal. For visitors who will hike up hilltop areas to view the fog, wearing comfortable walking shoes is advisable. A warm jacket, scarf, and gloves, paired with a picnic basket and hot chocolate, could enhance the fog-watching experience. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin