Discover the BEST time to visit San Diego and La Jolla, CA! Learn which months offer the ideal mix of lower crowds and perfect weather. I'll also take you through what events are going on each season.
San Diego and La Jolla make for an ideal getaway when you’re looking for perfect patio weather, ocean views, and enough festivals and events to keep any sort of traveler happily occupied.
The weather is usually sunny and mild, it’s easy to get to since the airport is 10 minutes from downtown San Diego, and there are several scenic day trips nearby.
There are plenty of activities to keep families with kids as well as couples looking for a romantic getaway or a group of girlfriends seeking a relaxing vacation. San Diego/La Jolla is good choice for pretty much any type of trip.
If you’ve decided to add this destination to your vacation list it’s time to start researching the best time to visit San Diego and La Jolla. SoCal in general is nice to visit year-round, but if you want to get picky, I’ll take you through month by month on what to expect.
While this post focuses on San Diego, you can really use this guide for La Jolla and Del Mar as well, since these cities are in the same region.
Fall in San Diego and La Jolla | September - November
Fall is the best time to visit San Diego and La Jolla; specifically October and early November
Fall in San Diego and La Jolla is my absolute favorite. The weather is ideal hovering in the 70s, the sun is shining, and the crowds start to decrease the further you go into autumn.
Try to visit mid to late fall for lower prices and crowds.
September tends to have similar tourist levels to summer. The combination of beach weather in the high 70s, Labor Day weekend, and vacationers trying to squeeze in their last bit of summer brings packed beaches and high hotel prices.
Check the dates of the festivals before you book your flight.
Unless you are specifically going to San Diego to attend these festivals, avoid these dates at all costs. Hotels are sold out months in advance during the weekend of KAABOO.
I prefer to visit San Diego in October and early November. Late fall brings the ideal combination of lower crowds and perfect weather.
It might not be warm enough to swim in the ocean, but it’s the ideal time for outdoor activities like hiking, lounging by the pool, and taking in the sights without breaking a sweat.
Temperatures hover in the low to mid 70s during the afternoon and the mornings and evenings see temps in the 50s and low 60s; ideal sweater weather where it’s acceptable to drink pumpkin spice lattes and sit by the fire pit.
Keep in mind that starting in November there's a chance of rain and temperatures lower to the 50s and 60s
October has a scattering of smaller events revolving around Halloween and Oktoberfest; nothing major like KAABOO to watch out for.
What to wear in fall in San Diego
Early fall is warm enough for shorts or a dress. Switch to jeans and a t-shirt come late fall (long sleeve or slight sweater in November). You'll want a sweater or light jacket for the evenings and mornings. If feels much cooler once the sun goes down.
Spring in San Diego and La Jolla | March – May
April is the best time to visit San Diego in Spring
After October and early November, April is the next best time to visit San Diego and La Jolla. Temperatures are comfortable in the mid 50s to mid 60s and you’ll see plenty of sun with a low chance of rain.
Crowds are lower than fall so you’ll have an easier time getting into restaurants without reservations and lower hotel prices.
Avoid aptly named “Gray May” as this month tends to be overcast.
March has a higher chance of rain and temperatures typically don’t reach above the mid 60s. If you don’t mind it being a bit cooler, March has a lot of fun events that bring the city to life.
Celebrate Mardi Gras (sometimes late February) in the Gaslamp Quarter or watch the largest parade West of the Mississippi on St. Patrick’s Day. After the parade attend the Irish Festival at Balboa Park where you can drink green beer in the beer garden, visit the Celtic Village, and watch live music.
What to wear in spring in San Diego
Spring is a tad cooler than fall. Stick with jeans and a light sweater in early spring. Jeans with a t-shirt or a dress paired with a light sweater work for late spring. Keep in mind that late spring has the potential to feel cooler since it's May Gray.
Like fall, you'll want a sweater or light jacket for the evenings and mornings as it can feel quite cool when the sun isn't shining.
Winter in San Diego and La Jolla | December – February
Winter is the best time to visit San Diego and La Jolla if low crowds and prices are a priority
Winter (excluding the holidays) is the best time to visit San Diego if you’re looking for an affordable getaway. This is San Diego's low season.
December through February may bring cooler temperatures, but it’s nothing like the rest of the country.
Lows stay in the high 40s and highs are consistently in the mid 60s. Pack your umbrella because winter is the rainiest time of year for San Diego. What you lose in ideal beach weather you can make up for with whale watching season (mid-December through April).
Watch out for the Farmers Insurance Open which takes place in January at Torrey Pines (cue the increase in crowds and prices). There's also the San Diego Brew Fest in early January that features craft beer, food trucks, and live music.
If you’re here in December, watch the holiday boat parade in the bay at the annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights or visit Balboa Park for December Nights featuring food and crafts from around the world.
San Diego also hosts the Holiday Bowl college football game in the heart of downtown at Petco Park.
What to wear in winter in San Diego
You'll want a light jacket, think pea coat or light down/down alternative, paired with jeans and a light sweater. Layering is key as it can feel quite warm when you're in the sun. I wouldn't pack heavy sweaters. Winter in San Diego feels more like a typical early fall.
Summer in San Diego and La Jolla | June – August
Summer brings high crowds and prices
Summer is my least favorite time to visit San Diego.
Beaches are packed with vacationers and hotel prices will reflect the high demand this time of year. I also find the weather to be more enjoyable in early fall and April. Even though temperatures range from the 60s to 70s, the sun is strong and it often feels hotter than the temperature reads.
Like May, “June Gloom” has a reputation for being overcast. If you’re doing a lot of activities and sightseeing this may actually be preferable so you aren’t battling the hot sun.
If you're visiting San Diego primarily for beach time and to actually swim in the water, try for August, which is slightly less crowded than July and brings more sun than June.
Summer is busy with events, which adds to the tourist levels. The biggest event to watch out for in the summer is Comic-Con in July. Hotels sell out months in advance and the city sees a considerable spike in visitors.
Other fun summer events include the San Diego County Fair, the Coronado Surf Dog Competition, and the Annual Sandcastle Competition. This website lists the most popular events.
What to wear in summer in San Diego
Think typical summer wear; shorts, dresses, skirts, and t-shirts. Keep in mind that June Gloom will probably make it feel cooler since you won't feel the sun.
Bring a jean jacket or light sweater for the evenings and mornings.
A summary of the best time to visit San Diego and La Jolla
The best time to visit San Diego is late fall and mid spring; shoulder season. You’ll see the ideal mix of lower prices, have an easier time getting into restaurants, and you won’t have to battle the rush of summer tourists.
October through early November and April are the overall best months to visit San Diego. Pick your ideal month and double check the events calendar before you book your tickets.
If you’re like me, you'll find yourself coming back again and again and will soon discover your favorite time to visit.