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13 Ways to Beat the Heat in the Golden State

13 Ways to Beat the Heat in the Golden State

Some love the California heat wave, and others? Well, let’s just say that AC is our best friend.

Roubina Al Abashian


6 min read

June 29, 2023

Some love the California heat wave, and others? Well, let’s just say that AC is our best friend. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors and binge-watch Netflix shows. The Golden State knows how to keep you busy without getting a heat stroke. If you’re still not sure what we’re talking about, these fun ways to beat the heat will do the talking for us. 

These Are The Best Ways To Beat The Heat in California

1. Explore Glass Beach 

California has plenty of beaches, many of them worth visiting even during the colder months, and Glass Beach in Fort Bragg is a perfect example. Covered in colorful glass pebbles instead of sand, this beach is the perfect place to relax and explore. Let the coastal wind blow through your hair as you explore the tide pools.

Glass Beach is a beach adjacent to MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg. Collecting glass is forbidden.

2. Raft in the Russian River 

Anyone looking to beat the California heat knows that going on a rafting excursion is the perfect option. The Russian River, flowing from the Sonoma Valley, is the ideal spot for water-related activities, but rafting and kayaking take the lead. Float down NorCal’s finest river as you cool down and unwind. 

Float down the Russian River in Northern California's cooler, mountainous climate.

3. Treat Yourself to a Massage at South Lake Tahoe 

Everyone deserves to relax and rejuvenate once in a while, and we can’t think of any better way to do so than by visiting one of California’s more affordable spas. South Lake Tahoe’s Grand Residences by Marriott is the place to get a spa treatment and let go of stress. Visitors are bound to leave this spa feeling like a whole new person—a visit to the Grand Residences by Marriott spa will surely beat the heat.

You are now entering a stress-free zone. Facials are more relaxing than flowers. It's a good day to have a good day.

4. Go on a Napa Valley Road trip

Napa Valley is where most people go for a refreshing change, so a road trip to Wine Country is the best way to cool off. Famous for its many vineyards, there’s more to enjoy in Wine Country than just vino. There are several ways to beat the heat here—a hot air balloon ride over the valley, dinner on the Wine Train, tasting local olive oils. No matter what your interests are, a road trip here is worthwhile.

Be sure your Napa trip includes reclining poolside at a resort, eating at top-rated restaurants, or taking to the skies with a balloon ride.

5. Enjoy the activities at Moaning Caverns

Wondering where there’s no heat? California’s caverns are cool, crisp, and chilly. Moaning Caverns is the largest single cave chamber open to the public in the Golden State. Make your way to Vallecito and join the spiral tour or crawl into its less-accessible crevasses. For an adrenaline rush, zipline above the caves to get a different view of the natural wonder. Paying a visit to one of California’s coolest caverns is the perfect way to fight the heat and have fun.

6. Eat Guilt-Free Ice Cream At Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery

I scream, you scream, we all scream for healthy ice cream from Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery. Oh, you’re allergic? Well, guess what? Mr. Dewie came up with the best ice creams, suitable for people with allergies and intolerances. There’s no better way to beat the heat than with a scoop or two of heavenly and healthy ice cream. Give the turmeric ice cream a try—it’s dairy, gluten, and soy-free. If you’re ever in Albany, Emeryville, or Oakland, this vegan ice cream shop will make you forget about the heat.

What is it about ice cream that makes anything better? If you're having a bad day, good day, or anything in between, it'll probably make you happier.

7. Have a Picnic in Golden Gate Park 

It’s never too hot in Fog City, so a picnic is always a good idea. Golden Gate Park boasts 1,017 acres of public grounds and lush greenery, where you'll find the perfect spot for a picnic. But if the heat is too much to handle, visit one of San Francisco’s top attractions, the de Young Museum, located within the park’s premises. And by the way, Golden Gate Park is 20 percent larger than New York’s Central Park. 

The cool ocean breeze and ample amounts of shade makes Golden Gate Park a solid place to beat the heat with friends.

8. Tour the Forestiere Underground Gardens

Out of all the exciting things to do in Fresno, visiting the famous Forestiere Underground Gardens is the most heat defiant. The historic landmark was created in 1901 by Baldassare Forestiere, who purchased 70 acres of land. Since he couldn’t build anything on the ground, Forestiere dug deep and created a series of gardens, tunnels, and rooms, which are now one of Central California’s unique attractions

9. Hike the Malibu Lake Trail 

Hiking may not be the first thing that comes to mind on a hot day, but strolling along the Malibu Lake Trail proves to be different. One of the many Malibu Creek State Park trails, this one is heavily forested and provides a lot of shade for a cool hiking experience. The 6.6-mile trail is not too difficult to trek—it’s considered one of the top winter hikes to take in the Golden State. Forget about the heat and challenge yourself to go on this scenic hike.

The Malibu Lake Trail follows the namesake of the park as it meanders through several areas of spectacular scenery.

10. Tour the Museum of Contemporary Art 

We wouldn’t mind touring an air-conditioned museum during a heatwave, especially if it is the world-famous Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). The free art museum in Los Angeles features several collections that interpret contemporary art. Visit the museum, awaken your inner artist, and beat the heat all at the same time. 

Even if it's too hot to stay outdoors, check the outdoor art pieces at MOCA before moving to the air-conditioned indoor section.

11. Have a Sky High Dining Experience at 71Above

If you think staying in is the best solution for hot days, then you definitely haven’t tried dining among the clouds. Enjoying a meal at 71Above is one of the best experiences you can have in Los Angeles. With views expanding from Malibu to Laguna Hills accompanied by mouthwatering modern American cuisine, you’ll never want to dine anywhere else. Enjoy the best dishes and feel the cool breeze as you sit 1,000 feet above the ground in the middle of D.T.L.A.

12. Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Lake Arrowhead

Not to be biased here, but California has the best lakes ever. And as much as we love Lake Tahoe, we think the best ones are in Southern California. Lake Arrowhead in SoCal offers the best of both worlds—winter activities keep you warm during the cold, and water activities cool you off in the summer. Hurry up and add this spot to your lake itinerary—spending the weekend here is the best way to beat the heat

Widely known as "The Alps of Southern California," Lake Arrowhead is a stunningly beautiful, cozy, and quaint mountain resort paradise.

13. Enjoy the Dive-In Theater at Hotel Del Coronado

Imagine watching a movie on your couch. Pretty lame, right? Now picture watching one at a dive-in theater at Hotel Del Coronado. Yes, you heard us right—the iconic hotel has a dive-in theater, where movie screenings begin after sunset. Movie nights are about to get on a whole new level. 

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