The city is draped across steep hillsides between the Bay and the cliffs of the Marin Headlands, which shield us from much of the four kinds of Sausalito fog. Sausalito weather reflects a Mediterranean climate, and is often much warmer than nearby San Francisco. The fog typically clings to the hilltops, although occasionally it will descend to sea level.
What to Wear in Sausalito
Always pack with “layers” for visiting the San Francisco area, since the entire region can have cool evenings even after warm summer days. Even in the summer we’ll sometimes get a day where the wind blows and the overcast never burns off. Having a shirt, a sweater and a warm jacket (and a windbreaker if you have one) will let you add or subtract layers and stay comfortable even if we get a streak of unusual hot or cold weather.
If you plan to visit the Golden Gate Bridge or ride on the outside decks of the ferry, you’ll need warm clothing, even during the summer.
Both visitors and residents in Sausalito are usually dressed casually. On afternoons from April through October people are often wearing shorts and T-shirts and soaking up the sun. Just as you don’t want to shiver if we get a cold day, you won’t want to boil in our nice summer weather.
For questions of fashion rather than warmth, check out our Fashion in Sausalito page.
Insiders Tip: Always bring a windbreaker or sweater to be prepared for changes in Sausalito weather (or anywhere else near San Francisco). Even when we have bright summer sun, afternoon breezes can cool temperatures into the 60’s (F) or 16-20 (C) and the summer fog is unpredictable.
Springtime Sausalito Weather
It’s usually warmer here than in San Francisco. On most days a light sweater or windbreaker will be enough to keep you warm in the late-afternoon breezes, though a foggy day may call for something heavier. An after-dinner walk through downtown after a nice day normally calls for a windbreaker or jacket.
There is very little rain here after May 1 most years, although the occasional storm still makes an appearance. There was one year where we had a drought and then got the “May Miracle” storms that restored many reservoirs, but that’s happened just once in the last 50 years. Some years April is very dry as well.
Many of the restaurants with sidewalk seating have heaters to keep dinner guests toasty in the evening.
Summer Sausalito Weather
Sausalito weather in the summer typically features late afternoon breezes that cool things down on warm days, and after the sun sets you’ll still want to have a sweater or windbreaker with you. Mornings can also be cold and overcast, though the cloud layer usually burns off by late morning.
Many afternoons the fog will dance along the hilltops above town, unable to enter the warmer inner Bay. Occasionally it will dip in over the southern edge of Sausalito as in the photo at left. The Bridgeway Promenade and downtown Sausalito are still sunny in the foreground. (Photo copyright 2009 Nick Strada, used by permission.)
It very rarely rains in Sausalito during the summer.
Autumn Sausalito Weather
September and October are often the nicest months of the year, since the prevailing winds shift and Sausalito weather includes less fog. Many of the patterns described above for Summer continue to hold true, and we can get our warmest evenings.
These are also the months when we sometimes get our first post-summer rains, however, so a visit later in autumn still calls for an umbrella.
Once November comes we start to see sharp drops in temperature, and rain becomes much more likely. Bring a warm coat if you’ll be visiting this late in the year.
Winter Sausalito Weather
Sausalito weather in the winter can be beautiful, and rain storms occur in irregular patterns where an entire week can be very wet or completely sunny and dry. Temperatures are much cooler than during the summer and autumn, and a warm coat is a necessity.
Of course, one of our editors was born in the Northeastern U.S., and to her Sausalito is never “cold”! We never get snow downtown (once in 100 years, though the hilltops get a dusting every year or two) and “cold” here is 50 degress F., 10 degrees C.
Average Temperatures and Rainfall
Click here for a chart of Sausalito weather and rainfall patterns.