Is the ongoing California drought a reason not to visit this summer?
March 1, 2014 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Is the ongoing drought a good reason to postpone a planned summer trip to Northern California to another year? We were thinking of spending a week around SF/Napa/Sonoma in August. Interested in things like parks/hiking, wineries, farmers markets.
posted by Perplexity to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
No. We always have droughts here and it probably won't be any rainier if you postpone until next year either. Or the year after that, or that.....
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:54 AM on March 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

If it was me, I'd still go - but make a backup plan just in case what you want to see turns out to be on fire when you are scheduled to be there.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 10:04 AM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Absolutely not. Go visit. Are you concerned about something in particular?

The only reason to change your plans would be if a wildfire happened to break out in Napa or Sonoma county. In which case you'll be able to find plenty to do in SF and if you still want to visit wine country, head south to Paso Robles. If you're flexible, Monterey and Carmel will fulfill a lot of the non-wine things you want to do. There is great hiking in Marin too (depending on what sort of difficulty level you're looking for).

As an aside: make sure to stop in Healdsburg and drive through Russian River / Dry Creek Valley when in Sonoma county.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:33 AM on March 1, 2014

California is always under some form of water restriction or another. Speaking as a lifelong Californian, here's how our droughts affect tourists:

• You will have to ask for a glass of still water at restaurants
• The hotel will have a little card in the bathroom asking if you wouldn't mind reusing your towels rather than getting a fresh set every day.
• If you visit a lake, you'll have to walk a lot further from the parking lot to the water's edge.
• Depending on the river, you might not be able to go rafting, or if you do go rafting, you might have to carry your raft over the low spots.
• Decorative fountains might not be running
posted by jamaro at 10:45 AM on March 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

And farmers' markets might have slightly higher prices than usual, but if you're going to the touristy/chichi ones like the Ferry Building, etc., they're already going to have high prices. So it probably won't make a difference. There will still be a lot of tasty things to buy.
posted by wintersweet at 10:49 AM on March 1, 2014

Nope! As others have said above, come on over!
posted by radioamy at 10:53 AM on March 1, 2014

Not unless you were planning to make Central Valley farms or boating in the Folsom Reservoir (or similar) a centerpiece of your visit.
posted by salvia at 11:37 AM on March 1, 2014

Large wildfires in Napa or Sonoma are extremely rare, and if they do happen, they're not likely to affect the other valley. Visit away!
posted by cnc at 12:03 PM on March 1, 2014

No. We always have droughts here and it probably won't be any rainier if you postpone until next year either. Or the year after that, or that.....

While this is factually false and California is currently in the midst of a record-setting drought, wildfires are more likely to affect other areas and even then your odds of running into one on any given day are very low.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:20 PM on March 1, 2014

Why would it prevent you from coming? The drought generally isn't affecting anyone's day-to-day. I guess they are asking people to water their lawns less and flush less, but if you came here not knowing there is a drought, I doubt you'd notice anything. Everything feels pretty normal. I'd definitely visit if it's something you want to do.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:44 PM on March 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

The drought is for us homeowners (and all the farmers) to worry about… I can't see it affecting a visit. Enjoy.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:22 PM on March 1, 2014

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