What Hemisphere is California In?

The state of California, widely known as The Golden State, is one of the US’ most popular destinations for a reason. Aside from its natural beauty – from its gorgeous California coastline to its top-rated national parks – California, whose population is nearly 40 million strong, boasts some of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world.

Whether you want to jam to rock and electronic dance music at Coachella or build a tech startup in Silicon Valley, there’s something for you in California. But first, if you’re thinking about visiting or moving to California, there are a few things to consider. For example, what hemisphere is California in? What are the weather and climate like?

Read on as we answer these questions – plus more! – for you.

What hemisphere is California in?

What Hemisphere is California In

In short, California is located in the Northern and Western hemispheres. This means the state is located in the half of the earth that’s north of the equator and the half of the planet that’s west of the prime meridian.

The southernmost tip of California is approximately 2,541 miles from the equator, putting the state well within the Northern Hemisphere. The state’s westernmost point is about 3,325 miles from the prime meridian, putting it in the Western Hemisphere.

California’s size and location give it its varied climate, physical geography, and weather. It should come as no surprise that what you come across in Northern California may be a world of difference from what you encounter in Southern California.

Let’s go over some of the things you can experience in this glorious state.

Physical geography, climate, and weather

At 163,696 square miles, California is quite large. In fact, it’s the third-largest state in the US by land area after Alaska and Texas. Bordering Oregon to the north, Nevada, and Arizona to the east, Mexico to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west, California enjoys quite a diverse physical geography.

You’ll find anything from cliffs and mountains to deserts and volcanic lava beds. It may be surprising for you to learn that California contains both the highest (Mt. Whitney) and lowest (Death Valley’s Badwater Basin) points in the continental US.

Climate and weather

Climate and Weather

California’s climate and weather are equally varied. Known for its Mediterranean-like climate, the state sees warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters in most years.

The average daily temperature depends on whether or not you live near the coast. The temperature on the coast tends to be around 70°F or higher and can easily reach 80°F or above during the summer months. You likely won’t experience freezing temperatures in any part of southern California, even during its coldest winter days.

California’s (in)famous fog normally appears during the summer and usually disappears by the middle of the day before reappearing at dusk.

Unlike the rest of California, higher-altitude locations experience more of a four-season cycle, with warm summers, colorful autumns, snowy winters, and flowery springs.


Spanning 840 miles, California’s Pacific coastline has much to offer for beachgoers, surfers, and whale watchers. For the “typical” sandy beach experience, you can visit the beaches in Southern California, like Malibu, Venice, Santa Monica, and Huntington. The Central Coast further north also offers sandy beaches, such as Carmel, Monterey Bay, and Santa Cruz. Even further north, you can hit up remote coves and rocky bluffs along the coast; these places also happen to be excellent venues for whale watching.



Mountain climbers have an array of hiking options in California. The Sierra Nevada in eastern California is, perhaps, the state’s best-known mountain range. Its peaks range from 11,000 to 14,000 feet. Mount Whitney, a favorite among avid mountain climbers, stands at an impressive 14,505 feet. Due to their high elevation, all the Sierra Nevada peaks are covered in snow during the winter, providing breathtaking views.

The White Mountains, the state’s second-highest mountain range, stand near the Nevada border and even the Sierra Nevada, separated only by Owens Valley.

Winter sports enthusiasts might be happy to learn that the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles have a high-enough elevation to please skiers and snowboarders. San Gorgonio Mountain is the highest peak at 11,503 feet. Below this mountain range, you’ll find the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa, and the Laguna Mountains.

Rivers and Lakes

California’s main rivers are the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, flowing from the Sierra Nevada through the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys into San Francisco Bay, then into the Pacific Ocean. Running along California’s border with Arizona is the Colorado River.

The largest freshwater lakes in the state are Tahoe in the Sierra Nevadas, Clean on the Northern Coast, and Lake Shasta in the Shasta Cascade. Tahoe is actually the world’s largest lake by volume, with a depth as massive as 1,644 feet and a length of 22 miles. Due to its vastness, it’s impossible to see one side of the lake from the opposite bank. Saline lakes in California include Mono, which is east of Yosemite, and the Salton Sea, which is located in the Colorado Desert and is also the largest Californian lake.

Final Thoughts

California is certainly a land of variety. From its bustling cities to its scenic mountain ranges to its glorious coastlines, the state has something to offer for every kind of individual.

Its particular location in the Northern and Western hemispheres makes its climate and weather diverse and reasonably pleasant for a lot of people.

Although the weather in Northern California is generally a lot cooler (and foggier) than in Southern California, the state, by and large, enjoys a climate similar to that of the Mediterranean region, with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters.

Its physical geography is also wide-ranging, with every type of outdoor scenery and activity a person could wish for. California’s beaches suit the fancies of surfers and whale watchers alike, while the state’s mountain ranges offer many types of options for outdoor enthusiasts, from skiing and snowboarding to hiking and camping. The state’s rivers and lakes, some of which are among the world’s largest, are also to die for.

Californians get to enjoy a wide range of cultures, activities, and events all over their state. They can also study and conduct research at some of the world’s most respected universities, such as Stanford and UC Berkeley. In addition, they can take advantage of the endless entrepreneurial opportunities in any of the major cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Yes, California has it all. And, perhaps, you’ll get to call The Golden State your home someday.