body of water during golden hour
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Best Time to Visit San Diego California [Month by Month Guide]


Great choice! I’ve been writing about San Diego for years, and I totally recommend visiting.

But you’re probably wondering about the best time to visit San Diego, so you get the best weather.

You’re in the right place to find out with this month-by-month guide to the weather and temperatures in San Diego.

San Diego typically enjoys mild, sunny weather year-round, with an average temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), low humidity, and a light ocean breeze.

If you’re wondering, What’s the best time to visit San Diego? For the hands-down best San Diego weather — you’ll want to visit in the cooler months, from September to November.

Now, if you’re visiting during any other month, you can still have an amazing trip.

The key to visiting during the San Diego winter season, from November to March, is to be prepared.

By the end of this article, you’re going to know everything you need to about the weather in San Diego, California. Ready to get to it? Let’s start with the best and worst times to visit San Diego for weather.

What’s the best time to visit San Diego?

For the best weather, you’ll want to visit San Diego from March to November.

However, you need to keep in mind that in July and August, during the high season, there are crowds everywhere and the prices rise as well.

If you want to enjoy the benefits of nice weather without the massive crowds, consider visiting San Diego in the shoulder season. From March to May and from September to November the weather is comfortable and the tourist crowds are smaller than during the summer or winter holiday seasons.

What’s the worst time to visit San Diego?

The least ideal time to visit San Diego might be considered the summer months, particularly June, July, and August when temperatures are at their highest. This is the time when people usually have their vacations, so there are lines at the attractions, crowds at the beaches, and the highest hotel prices.

Also, the risk of overcast skies known as “June Gloom” can extend into the summer months.

San Diego in January- Best Time to Visit San Diego

palm trees near white concrete building under blue sky during daytime
In January, you can enjoy the various activities at Balboa Park without the crowds.

Average Temperatures: 65°F Day | 49°F Night | 59°F Water

January in San Diego offers a mild and pleasant climate, making it a great time to visit for those looking to escape colder winters. The daytime temperatures hover comfortably in the mid-60s, while nights can be cooler, so packing a light jacket is advisable.

The Pacific Ocean is on the cooler side, yet it’s still possible for those who don’t mind the chill to enjoy some water activities in a wetsuit.

This month is quieter after the holiday season, meaning fewer crowds at San Diego’s famous attractions like the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park. It’s an ideal time for leisurely exploring without the rush.

Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of the clear, crisp days by hiking in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. For those interested in cultural events, the San Diego Symphony offers a range of performances that can be a perfect evening activity.

San Diego in February – Best Time to Visit San Diego

a large ship with a lot of flags on it
In February, you can take advantage of the San Diego Museum Month and visit museums like the USS Midway with 50% off.

Average Temperatures: 66°F Day | 50°F Night | 59°F Water

February in San Diego sees a slight uptick in daytime temperatures, making it a comfortable time for visitors to explore the outdoors. The nights remain cool, and the water temperature is brisk, which might deter all but the most enthusiastic surfboarders.

This month is perfect for those looking to enjoy San Diego’s attractions without the peak season crowds. Whale watching is a popular activity, as gray whales migrate along the coast.

The San Diego Museum Month is another highlight, offering half-price admission to over 60 museums, a fantastic opportunity for culture lovers.

For a unique experience, check out the Chinese New Year Festival in the historic Chinatown district, featuring traditional food, lion dances, and cultural performances.

Outdoor activities like golfing and hiking remain pleasant, with the city’s renowned courses and trails being less crowded.

San Diego in March – Best Time to Visit San Diego

the sun shines brightly over a desert landscape
In March, you can go on a hike in the Anza-Borrego Desert to find the blooming wildflowers.

Average Temperatures: 67°F Day | 51°F Night | 60°F Water

March in San Diego is characterized by mild weather, with daytime temperatures that are warm enough for outdoor activities and slightly cooler nights.

The water temperature begins to inch up, but it’s still on the cooler side for swimming. It’s also a great time for kayaking and surfing, with fewer tourists and more room to enjoy the waves.

This time of year is ideal for visiting the flower fields at Carlsbad, which burst into vibrant color, creating a stunning natural display.

March also marks the celebration of the San Diego Latino Film Festival, showcasing a diverse range of films and a cultural exchange that movie enthusiasts will appreciate.

For those looking to enjoy the outdoors, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a must-see as the desert wildflowers start to bloom, offering a spectacular show.

The San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld are also less crowded, allowing for a more relaxed visit.

San Diego in April- Best Time to Visit San Diego

green and red plastic toy
April is a good time to visit Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and buy some Mexican-inspired souvenirs from San Diego.

Average Temperatures: 68°F Day | 54°F Night | 61°F Water

April in San Diego brings warmer days and comfortable nights, with a gentle rise in ocean temperatures, hinting at the approaching summer. It’s a time when the city begins to buzz with outdoor activities and the beaches start to see more footprints in the sand.

This month is perfect for exploring outdoor markets like the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market, where visitors can enjoy fresh local produce and artisanal goods. April also hosts the Coronado Flower Show, one of the largest tented flower shows in the nation, offering a colorful display of flora and community spirit.

For families, the Easter Egg Hunts held in various parks provide a fun-filled activity for children.

Meanwhile, the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance car show is an unmissable event for automobile enthusiasts, showcasing classic and exotic vehicles against the backdrop of the stunning La Jolla coastline.

Outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and sailing are also at their best, with the mild weather providing ideal conditions.

April is the perfect time for couples to visit San Diego. There is no shortage of romantic things to do together outdoors, and April offers great prices for travelers looking for a budget-friendly experience.

San Diego in May – Best Time to Visit San Diego

a group of sea lions resting on the rocks by the water
May is the perfect month for kayaking in La Jolla Cove. You may even get to see some sea lions basking in the sun!

Average Temperatures: 69°F Day | 60°F Night | 63°F Water

May in San Diego is when the city truly starts to warm up, with daytime temperatures comfortably in the upper 60s and the ocean becoming more inviting for swimmers and surfers alike. The evenings are pleasantly mild, perfect for nighttime strolls along the Gaslamp Quarter.

The Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican heritage with music, food, and vibrant festivities.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find May ideal for kayaking in La Jolla Cove, where the waters are clearer and the marine life, including the playful sea lions, is more active.

It’s also a prime time for botanical garden tours, as the flowers are in full bloom, creating a spectacular display of colors and fragrances.

San Diego in June- Best Time to Visit San Diego

Sunset Cliffs
On the warm June evenings, you can head out to the Sunset Cliffs to watch the most amazing sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.

Average Temperatures: 72°F Day | 61°F Night | 65°F Water

June in San Diego ushers in the start of the summer with warmer days and comfortable nights. The water temperature is pleasant, making it a great time for beach activities.

However, it’s also the season of the “June Gloom,” where mornings can be overcast, though this usually clears up by the afternoon.

This month, the city celebrates the San Diego County Fair, which hosts an array of games, rides, and food. It’s a perfect family outing with something for everyone to enjoy.

For beer lovers, the San Diego International Beer Festival takes place, offering a chance to sample various brews while enjoying live music.

Outdoor activities are in full swing, with surfing, sailing, and paddleboarding being popular choices. For a more relaxed pace, the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park provides breathtaking views, especially during the golden hour.

June is also a good time to visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where the animals are active and the park’s vast landscapes can be enjoyed in the milder weather before the peak summer heat.

San Diego in July – Best Time to Visit San Diego

a person holding a comic book in their hand
In July, you can visit Comic-Con International. If you aren’t a fan of comics, better avoid these dates, as the attendees can make San Diego even more crowded than usual.

Average Temperatures: 76°F Day | 64°F Night | 68°F Water

July in San Diego is the epitome of summer with warm sunny days and mild nights. The ocean temperature is inviting, perfect for a swim or surf session at iconic San Diego beaches like Mission Beach or Pacific Beach.

This month is a buzz with the Fourth of July celebrations, where fireworks light up the night sky, best viewed from the waterfront or aboard a harbor cruise.

The city also hosts the world-famous Comic-Con International, drawing fans from all over the globe to celebrate pop culture in a spectacular fashion.

For outdoor enthusiasts, it’s an excellent time for snorkeling in La Jolla Cove to see colorful marine life.

San Diego in August- Best Time to Visit San Diego

white house beside white wooden fence
The views from Cabrillo National Monument are magnificent all year round.

Average Temperatures: 78°F Day | 64°F Night | 69°F Water

August in San Diego is when the city is at its warmest, with peak summer temperatures and the warmest ocean waters. This is the prime time for beachgoers to soak up the sun and enjoy water activities like surfing, swimming, and paddleboarding.

The warm nights are perfect for the Summer Pops Concerts held by the San Diego Symphony, where music fills the balmy air at the waterfront.

Outdoor activities are still a top choice, with kayaking tours through the sea caves of La Jolla being a unique way to explore the coastline.

For a more cultural experience, the Hillcrest CityFest Street Fair offers a lively atmosphere with arts, crafts, and food.

And for those looking to enjoy the outdoors, the Cabrillo National Monument provides stunning views and a chance to learn about California’s history.

San Diego in September- Best Time to Visit San Diego

flock of flamingos on water
In September, you can observe the animals in the San Diego Zoo with fewer crowds than in the peak season.

Average Temperatures: 77°F Day | 65°F Night | 68°F Water

September in San Diego is a sweet spot for visitors, offering warm days with less of the summer crowd. The ocean remains warm from the summer heat, ideal for those looking to enjoy the beach a bit longer.

This month, the city hosts the vibrant San Diego Bayfair, a powerboat racing event that thrills spectators along the shores of Mission Bay.

The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are less crowded, providing a more intimate experience with the animals.

For outdoor activities, the cooler evenings are perfect for nighttime kayaking in the bay, where you can often catch a glimpse of the bioluminescence phenomenon.

September is also an excellent time for hiking in the local state parks, as the weather starts to cool down, making the trails more comfortable for exploration.

San Diego in October- Best Time to Visit San Diego

Lego mini figure collections
LEGOLAND California Resort is a fun place for the whole family. See it in October for special Halloween-themed events.

Average Temperatures: 70°F Day | 60°F Night | 64°F Water

October in San Diego brings a gentle coolness to the air, with comfortable daytime temperatures and cooler nights. The water temperature starts to drop, yet it’s still mild enough for those wanting to dip their toes in the ocean or catch a late-season wave.

This month is a cultural treat with the San Diego International Film Festival, showcasing independent films from around the world.

For families, the LEGOLAND California Resort celebrates Halloween all month long with its Brick-or-Treat Party Nights.

Outdoor activities are still very much on the agenda, with hiking and biking being particularly enjoyable in the cooler weather.

The La Jolla Art & Wine Festival also takes place, combining fine art, exquisite wine, and charming coastal views.

October is also known for its haunted attractions, like the famous Haunted Trail of Balboa Park, offering spooky fun for those who dare.

San Diego in November- Best Time to Visit San Diego

a person flying a kite on top of a hill near the ocean
Enjoy great views while golfing at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla.

Average Temperatures: 68°F Day | 51°F Night | 62°F Water

November in San Diego ushers in cooler temperatures, with crisp days and chilly nights. The water temperature cools down, making swimming less appealing for those sensitive to the cold, but it’s still possible for avid surfers wearing wetsuits.

This month is a food lover’s delight with the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, one of the largest food and wine festivals in the nation. It’s a chance to savor exquisite culinary creations and fine wines.

For active visitors, the Silver Strand Half Marathon offers a scenic running route along the beach.

Cultural events include the San Diego Asian Film Festival, which highlights the diversity of Asian cinema.

November is also ideal for outdoor activities like golfing and hiking, as the cooler weather makes for a comfortable experience.

San Diego in December- Best Time to San Diego

brown and blue horse carousel
Balboa Park has Christmas-themed activities during December.

Average Temperatures: 65°F Day | 48°F Night | 59°F Water

December in San Diego is marked by cooler days and cold nights, with the Pacific waters being quite brisk. While it’s not the prime time for swimming, the beaches offer serene walks and beautiful sunsets.

The holiday season brings the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, a spectacular boat parade illuminated with festive lights – a must-see event that captures the spirit of the season.

Another highlight is Balboa Park December Nights, where the city’s cultural heart comes alive with music, dance, and delicious food.

For those looking to stay active, the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon is a popular event, taking runners on a scenic route through the city.

Despite the chill, it’s also a good time to visit the San Diego Zoo, which is less crowded and offers a chance to see animals in a more relaxed setting.

The month is also perfect for whale watching, as gray whales begin their migration, providing an awe-inspiring natural spectacle.

San Diego Weather Guide FAQ

The Mission Beach boardwalk
Mission Beach Boardwalk is an iconic place in San Diego.

Where is San Diego located?

San Diego is located in the state of California, on the west coast of the United States. It is situated in the southern part of California, close to the Mexico–United States border. The city is known for its mild climate, extensive beaches, and natural deep-water harbor. It is one of the major cities in California and is the second-largest city in the state after Los Angeles.

What is the best month to visit San Diego?

September to November are the best month to visit San Diego. The weather is still warm, but the peak summer crowds have thinned out.

You can enjoy outdoor activities, visit the beaches, and explore attractions without the summer rush.

What is the best time to visit San Diego beaches?

Summer is the peak beach season in San Diego. The weather is warm and sunny, with temperatures typically ranging from the high 60s to the 70s or even low 80s Fahrenheit (20-30°C).

This is the time when the beaches are the busiest, so you’ll encounter larger crowds. It’s a great time for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying water sports.

Is San Diego dry or humid?

San Diego generally experiences lower humidity levels, especially during the summer months. The coastal location of the city, along with the influence of the Pacific Ocean, helps keep the humidity relatively low.

Flights to San Diego

Wondering what’s the best way to get to San Diego? There’s actually an airport about 10-20 minutes from downtown — San Diego International Airport (code: SAN).

There are direct flights to San Diego from many cities in the United States, like Miami, Chicago, and Austin.

From the SAN Airport, you can drive your rental car, take an Uber or taxi, or public transportation to your San Diego accommodation.

Depending on where you’re staying, the drive is usually around 30 minutes, though it can be a little bit longer during rush hours.

Is San Diego worth visiting?

San Diego is often considered a must-visit destination, and for good reason. The city is celebrated for its year-round pleasant climate, which is perfect for a plethora of outdoor activities. It boasts over 70 miles of picturesque coastline, offering some of California’s most beautiful beaches that cater to surfers, sunbathers, and swimmers alike.

The city is not just about natural beauty; it’s also packed with attractions. From the world-renowned San Diego Zoo to SeaWorld and the historic USS Midway Museum, there’s no shortage of sights to see.

For those who appreciate natural landscapes, places like Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park offer stunning vistas and hiking opportunities.

For outdoor enthusiasts, San Diego is a playground with endless opportunities for hiking, biking, sailing, and golfing. Additionally, it’s one of the prime spots for whale watching, especially during the gray whale migration season from December through April.

With such a diverse array of activities and attractions, San Diego’s appeal is broad and enduring.

What is peak season in San Diego?

The peak tourist season in San Diego typically occurs during the summer months, from June to August. This is when the city experiences the highest number of visitors.

The warm and sunny weather, along with school vacations, make it a popular time for tourists to enjoy San Diego’s beaches, outdoor activities, and attractions.

During this period, you can expect larger crowds at popular tourist spots, longer lines at attractions, and higher prices for accommodations.

Is San Diego safe?

San Diego, like any large city, has areas that are safer than others. Overall, it is considered one of the safer large cities in the United States.

The city’s crime rates are generally lower than those of other major urban centers.

However, as with all travel destinations, it’s important for visitors to stay aware of their surroundings, especially when visiting unfamiliar areas or when out at night.

Final Thoughts: Best Time to Visit San Diego

Gaslamp Quarter
You can enjoy the nightlife at the Gaslamp Quarter any time of the year. But bring a jacket with you, if ou are going during the colder winter months.

San Diego is blessed with nice weather all year long. However, as with any place on Earth, there are times when you’d want to avoid visiting.

For visiting San Diego, the ideal time to visit is from March until May and then from September to November, when the temperatures are cooler and the peak season crowds aren’t here.

Visiting in the winter months may be a great way to warm up, as San Diego is warmer than the majority of other places in the U.S. Winter is great for outdoor activities and avoiding crowds, but it’s too cold for swimming.